Very often, filmmakers will ask audiences to make inferences about what’s going on with the characters or the plot. Frex, they’ll show a character staring off in the distance and you’re supposed to pick up that she’s sad or happy or etc. from her expression and whatever’s going on in the plot and his or her character. Or in movies from censorship days we see Cary Grant grab a leading lady’s hand and then we see a roaring fire and we’re supposed to know his proud stallion is charging through her throbbing virginia.
But then we have a situation like the one cited in
this thread which cites a scene from a Star Wars movie in which an A-wing fighter, about the size of a modern jet fighter, crashes into the bridge of a Super Star Destroyer, totally disabling it. Superstar Destroyers are supposed to be tens of kilometers long, dwarfing the largest modern aircraft carrier, and they’re combat ships, which means they’re presumably protected against people who want to, like, blow them up and stuff. So it’s kinda like a matchbox toy crashing into the bridge of a modern aircraft carrier, totally disabling it. And the question was, how do you explain something like that?
The explanations ranged from stuff that seemed like reasonable inferences to extreme fan-wankery (Uh, the Emperor was controlling all the commanders with his mind and when Darth Vader killed him, they all collapsed like puppets with their strings cut, leaving the ships to drift in space without, um, commanders. – Timothy Zahn was cited on that one, IIRC).
Art films are the worst offenders in this respect, often asking so much wankery from viewers that their reviewers/defenders are left to do extreme hand-waving in defense of films that most viewers reasonably regard as pure balderdash. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s reasonable to ask audiences to infer stuff in art films or elsewhere, just that there ought to be clear references in the film to base their inferences on.
So whaddya think? Where does inference end and fanwankery and handwaving begin?