This is Part Four (!!) of our Five Part Epic Exploration into antagonists forces and sources of conflict. In this episode we explore “system/world/society” antagonists. While stereotypically associated with science-fiction, these sources of conflict are found across genres.
To that end, we talk MINORITY REPORT, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, MUDBOUND, and THE LOBSTER – with a special mention of high school movies.
We continue refining our tools surrounding antagonists/sources of conflict: obstacles, pressure, enablers, pushers, pullers, education and thwarting. We especially focus on how the pressures of the system/world/society force characters to either submit to the system, overthrow it or escape it; and how framing all of your characters’ journeys in relation to the rules of the world they inhabit can lead to a thematically strong story.
In this Part Three of our Five Part Epic Exploration™ into antagonistic forces (and sources of conflict), Chas & Stu explore “nature” antagonists, including some supernatural ones. What became clear in choosing the homework was that the antagonistic forces – whether natural or supernatural – presented different narrative challenges to the protagonists if (a) they did not seem to make choices and (b) could not be bargained with or defeated.
And so we embarked upon ALL IS LOST, THE GREY and CONTAGION — with special mentions of THE VVITCH, WORLD WAR Z, ZOMBIELAND, ANNIHILATION, ALIEN, ALIENS and probably some others we’ve forgotten.
Stu elaborates on his distinction between obstacles and pressure; Chas riffs on how nature antagonists can mirror the protagonist and reinforce theme; and they both explore the effect on protagonists who are pushed to their limits by antagonists that cannot be reasoned with.
As always: SPOILERS ABOUND!
In Part Two of our Five Part Epic Exploration™ into antagonists, Chas & Stu take a look at “vs self” stories. Stories where the protagonist (or main character) serves as their own antagonist as well as the antagonist for those around them.
It took us a long time to settle on our homework, but we ended up exploring LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, SHAME, and MONSTER. Our discussion continues in backmatter with MINDHUNTER and STEVE JOBS.