You know, stories where the action can proceed only by having characters act like total gibbering idiots. IMHO, this is really just an example of lazy writing - they need to move from Point A to Point B, and instead of coming up with a creative way of doing so that conforms somewhat with realistic human motivations and thought processes, writers just have a character do something entirely too stupid to believe. Actually, one monumentally stupid decision is usually forgivable - it’s when every plot turn depends on monumental stupidity that it gets really laughable.
Case in point: 28 Weeks Later. I know this got a lot of good reviews, but I hated it. I couldn’t engage with any of the characters because everyone we’re introduced to does such stupid stuff they deserve what they get!
Let’s see if I can list the high points of Idiot Plotting here:
1.) Having watched their country entirely destroyed by the Rage virus, and most of their countrymen wiped out, a brother (12) and sister (14-ish) return to England, where they hear how their mother was killed in the disaster, and are stringently warned not to go outside the “green zone,” due to feral dog packs, rotting bodies and attendant non-Rage disease, and the possibility of Rage infection, as well as other dangers. The next morning, they decide to sneak out of the green zone, rifle a putrefying corpse for scooter keys, and jaunt to their old home to get a picture of their mother. :smack:
2.) The American forces are so tetchy they have snipers everywhere and helicopter patrols, and so on. A sniper spots the kids sneaking out, immediately reports it . . . and as far as we can tell no one does anything for a good half hour, with troops finally showing up after the kids have explored their old house and found their mother alive.
3.) They bring mom & kids back to the green zone, and hold them in quarantine - finally a somewhat good choice - but evidently in some building complex that also houses lots of civilians - so much for intelligence. Doctor sees a huge bite mark on Mom’s arm, and that she has a bloody eye, and then proceeds to examine her and take a blood sample, while wearing less protection against contagion than my dentist does for a cleaning.
4.) Having found that she’s Typhoid Alice, and can infect people with saliva or blood, they promptly leave her all alone in her locked exam room, with no guards, video surveillance, or personnel of any kind around. Did I mention that due to his being some kind of caretaker, the dad apparently has access to even the most high security military areas? And that after waltzing in to give the wife a smooch, and getting all Rage-y, he retains the smarts to swipe his way back out and gain access to anywhere he wants to go?
5.) In response to this, the military doesn’t lock down the building, but tries to evacuate all civilians, then after packing them tightly together ensures panic by shutting off all the lights. When the shit really hits the fan, the plan is for snipers to differentiate between fleeing, panicked people, and running, loony infected.
After that, the “plot” is pretty much set up, and you get the standard run and chase sequences, so grotesque levels of stupidity aren’t really required. I also admit I stopped paying too much attention, because who cares what happens to these nimrods?
So what’s your favorite Idiot Plot, and are you still able to get into or enjoy such a story?