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Okay but with an odd opinion on theme and character arc.
on February 3, 2015
Generally good, with in-depth discussion and examples of character development barely covered by some authors in this category.
But in Chapter 4, Theme and Character Arc, Hauge seems to go astray: he avers that the Hero must always recognize his similarity and relatedness to the Nemesis before the theme can emerge, at which point character growth can begin. While this "necessity" may work for some classes of story, it has become a cliché in many recent movies, i.e. the Hero creates his own Nemesis, or in the case of Batman, the Hero is created *by* the Nemesis. The Incredibles has a pretense that takes this Mr. Incredible-Syndrome mutuality at face value--which could have been handled by the classical notion of mere irony. Perhaps political correctness demands that evil must always be the good guy's fault...
Real life is more complicated than this, and many if not most good movies work fine without such an artifice: in Die Hard, McClain and Gruber have little in common, and the former wastes no time in pondering how much he resembles the latter, nor does the action or subtext even suggest any underlying relatedness. Instead, Gruber's a greedy criminal (masquerading as a terrorist), and McClain treats him as any good superhumanly-tough and determined cop would. Basically there are just evil people, and good stories don't need to dig deep to explain them. One does not invariably need a Hero-Nemesis equivalency, connectivity or antecedents to make a compelling story: Gruber is merely a huge, drawn out obstacle to McClain's motivations: reconciling with his estranged wife and being (a bit) less of a jerk.
In LotR, Frodo Baggins did not create Sauron, nor make that Dark Lord desirous of dominating Middle-Earth, but he bravely steps up when it's obvious that only he can put an end to the threat; thus ends act I. In both book and movie, the ring-connection between Frodo and Sauron is indeed established, but it serves merely as another challenge and threat to the success of Frodo's mission. Gollum's erstwhile similarity to *all* hobbits is interesting, but incidental and not essential to establishing the story's theme (done long before Frodo ever meets Gollum), or to Frodo overcoming this secondary villain--which he never does BTW: Gollum destroys himself--setting Frodo free--and to the very end he never stops being a secondary nemesis and primary reflection of Frodo.
That said, the book's okay for putting a polish on one's understanding of some aspects screenwriting method. I'm just glad I read Brian McDonald's Invisible Ink before this one, otherwise I might have taken this seemingly spurious "rule" of thematic development seriously.