Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Bulls-Eye Landing Coincidence Syndrome

One thing I never fail to notice - and that I like to think about from time to time (nerd alert!) - is an occurrence in movies and TV shows that I call the Bulls-Eye Landing Coincidence Syndrome, or BELCS, for short. This is when a character, usually the protagonist, arrives on a planet in less-than-planned fashion and immediately ends up right next to his or her intended destination. Not sure what I mean? Here are a couple of the best-known examples:

1) Luke Skywalker and Yoda
In Episode V, Luke is headed for the swamp planet of Dagobah (on a related note, why do entire planets always seem to be devoted to one type of terrain? Is the whole thing really just one big swamp?) where he needs to find a legendary Jedi master named Yoda. Then, basically, all of the instruments in his X-Wing fail, and he goes blindly plunging through the atmosphere until he crashes somewhere on the planet's surface. Not long afterwards, he runs into a small creepy green creature who turns out to be - voila! - Yoda. Wow, how about that?

2) Young Kirk and Old Spock
In the 2009 Star Trek reboot movie, Young Spock dumps Young Kirk off on an arctic planet (there we go again with the single-terrain planet thing) called Delta Vega after a failed mutiny attempt. Young Kirk gets chased by a big mean creature and then basically runs right into Old Spock, who had himself been dumped off on Delta Vega by Nero, a Romulan who wanted Old Spock to watch the destruction of Vulcan.

In both of these examples, entire planets are reduced to areas that are seemingly not much bigger than, say, a football field or so. And yes, I realize that this is done in order to move the plot along and keep things in sync, but it just seems funny, is all.

Also, both of these examples have been explained, more or less, in an Expanded Universe novel and a deleted scene, so, okay, I'll accept it. And sometimes, don't we all experience fortunate coincidences in our own, actual lives? So, as this article says, as long as BELCS isn't overdone, then hey, it's cool with me, and probably with you, too.

Although, just for fun, one day I'd like to see a movie where the main character lands on a planet and then travels for decades through all sorts of different landscapes in search of whoever it is he wanted to find. Or, well, maybe not...

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