The Importance of Being Vague

Discuss how the lack of complete explanations regarding supernatural, science fiction, etc. and how this lack of development on the logic can enhance the telling of a story. It is probably obvious but movies don’t always explain the whys and how comes of their story.Being vague is often a necessity because who can fully explain how city-sized spaceships hover over cities, annihilating them soon after (Independence Day)? Leaving the premise open seems like a necessity in film for this reasoning.

Of course, vagueness often comes in different amounts and should be explored. Book based film’s like Harry Potter have little vagueness because of spectacular world building outside the films. On the flip side however, films like the recent hit animation Zootopia require the viewer to accept the premise and move into the story.

So what is the importance of leaving the unexplained just that, and what is its value to storytelling?

  • Admittedly, I don't consider vagueness to be an integral component of "reading" popular films. Traditional texts I might be convinced otherwise, of course. Vagueness as a concept is important because fine details will only be understood by those actively searching for it. Consider this: as an English student, my habit in many films I watch, such as Zootopia, is the point where the narrative converges on a common trope: be it the inevitable backstory scene which reveals past traumas justifying current personality, or foreshadowing a plot twist too emphasized by the creators (an unabashedly tragic character with infinite patience and no assertiveness, for example). In contrast, my sister in Computer Sciences makes note of animation techniques and feats in the film I take for granted because they're so natural. A scene lasting less than 10s where each individual fur on a lemming has been animated to a degree surpassing Elsa's hair. Water dripping from a leaf recently soaked by an artificial sprinkler in a series of frames within a larger, arguably more grand shot of Zootopia's terraformed districts. This is fascinating to me, yes. But not to the extent of someone who can fully appreciate it. The explanation of vagueness evokes little more than a wondrous clarity which, of course, dissipates quickly. As an added, vagueness is also a tool of clarity employed to convey the gravity of a situation. I'm sure there's a scene in most popular films where information is condensed or convoluted to impress the "average" viewer. – JMIWrites 6 years ago

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