When I read a book or watch a movie, one of the things that irritate me the most are unrealistic scenarios or characters. I’m not saying plot lines, movies and books that explore the possible are some of my favorites. I love Lord of the Rings and all the Star Wars/Star Trek movies. (Yes, I am neither a Star Wars nor a Trekkie, but enjoy both. Shocking, I know.) No, it’s the impossible that annoys me. Like in the movie Wonder Woman where she leaps the gap and climbs the tower. Yes, I know that she’s a demi-goddess, but it was enough to pull me back to reality and away from the storyline.
When we read or watch a movie, we participate in something called the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
A willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment
Word Origin: Coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
However, there comes a point when something is just too much for our minds to take and we are jerked harshly back to reality. So how can a writer stop from passing that line? That’s a hard question to answer. The patently ridiculous is obvious. For example, in a western, floating cyber cows that can shoot laser beams from their eyes will immediately pull us from the storyline as we shake our heads and wonder when that happened. But on the other hand, what if they have subtle chips that have GPS in case rustlers happen to take them? I would be willing to keep reading and see where this goes.
However, when you have characters, unless you have Superman, keep it within human limitations. And remember, even Superman had a weakness. Kryptonite reduced him down to human standards. What readers and viewers want are flawed heroes, people that they can relate to. Perfect characters can turn people away even faster than bad prose can.
So what is a book or movie that you found totally impossible?