657: Movie Narrative Charts
|Movie Narrative Charts|
Title text: In the LotR map, up and down correspond LOOSELY to northwest and southeast respectively.
The transcript (see below) already explains most of it.
The movies referenced are (links go to Wikipedia):
- Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- Star Wars (original Trilogy)
- Jurassic Park
- 12 Angry Men (there are two movies "12 Angry Men" on the same topic)
If you click on the chart on the original xkcd page, you'll get a large (3274x2064 pixels) image.
The joke in the 12 Angry Men graphic is that in the movie all 12 jurors are all in the same room the entire movie. They never move and they all always interact with each other, hence their lines stay straight and close to each other.
The last box is a movie called Primer from 2004, which became a cult classic. It is about a group of engineers who discover a way to time travel, but only in one direction (backwards) and only at the speed of regular time (i.e. you have to stay in the time machine for one hour to move an hour back in time). Because of this, the story ends up having multiple versions of the same person existing at the same time; the plot and time-travel mechanics are notoriously hard to follow, so that it is almost impossible to figure out where each character is at one time, as the comic illustrates.
These charts are a reference to the map by infographic pioneer Charles Joseph Minard that details the movements and losses of Napoleon's troops on his failed conquest of Russia.
The chart for Primer is referenced in the title text of the fourth image in the Plastic Dinosaurs What if?
- These charts show movie character interactions. The horizontal axis is time. The vertical grouping of the lines indicates which characters are together at a given time.
- Lord of the Rings: A mass of colored lines weaves back and forth across the chart, representing various characters. Sauron is represented by a red bar at the bottom contained within a huge black bar with branches, that in turn represents his army of nazgul, orcs, etc. Major locations (Moria) and plot points (the breaking of the fellowship) are marked. Gandalf, especially at the beginning, jumps all over the map in a short time. Eagles appear and then disappear a couple of times. Treebeard's line is flat except for the march to Isengard. At the end, the ship to the West drifts off into a corner.
- Star Wars (original trilogy): This chart is simpler. Luke, mostly accompanied by R2-D2, joins and parts from other sets of characters. There's a dotted alternative path on Jabba's line for the special edition. Yoda appears about halfway through (where Luke's Jedi training is marked). All the surviving lines group up at Endor except for Vader, the Emperor, Luke, and Lando; after the climactic duel, the latter two join the rest.
- Jurassic Park: The human characters are in black; dinosaurs are in red. Dilophosaurus appears briefly to eat Nedry and then fades out again. The three raptors are together at the beginning, but split up about halfway through. One has a dotted portion of line between "locked up" and "escapes." In the meantime, they cut off the lines of Arnold and Muldoon. The raptor lines all end when t-rex's swoops down to meet them at the end, and all the surviving humans leave together.
- 12 Angry Men: The lines are labeled Juror 1 through Juror 12. They are all perfectly horizontal and parallel.
- Primer: Three lines start on the left labeled Abe, Aaron, and Granger. They enter a mass of scribbling. Somewhere vaguely towards the end, three lines emerge and fade out, all labeled with question marks.
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