Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / July 20, 2015 , Mon / films & music

To me, continuity is so important. I need it to make whatever I’m reading or watching enjoyable, because I need the story to be plausible and believable. This is more common in movies, though (especially of the horror variety), I must say.

A lot of the time, I feel like writers use the rule of: if it wasn’t mentioned, it wasn’t not part of the original story.

e.g. The Grudge 2, in which Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character) suddenly has a sister. In the first movie, Karen didn’t mention having a sister or not, so the above rule was used. In fact, this rule was again used in The Grudge 3, in which the grudge woman suddenly has a sister (repetitive much?).

e.g. 2. Jeepers Creepers 2 pretty much took every part of mythology mentioned in Jeepers Creepers, and shoved it down the toilet. The thing is the monster only needed to eat parts of humans (or a whole one, I guess) to create his human-esque body. When he gets the kid at the end of the first movie, bam. Done. The creature has what he needs. And then in #2, he’s still hunting people … uhm, okay. And then there’s also a scene where the head of the last kid he ate becomes his head and then morphs into the creature’s actual head, and every plausible idea the movie ever had just went completely out the door.

And sometimes that rule doesn’t even matter at all, we’re just gonna do whatever we want.

e.g. 3. When the Initiative closes down in season four of Buffy, a mysterious high-up military dude says “fill it with concrete”, and then lo and behold Buffy and Spike visit it in season seven. WHAT? It was filled with concrete, dammit.

e.g. 4. Juliette in Shatter Me (the series, rather than just the first book) underwent an extreme change of the romantic nature from the first book to the last. I mean, I’m glad it happened because I prefer the guy she ended up with, but it didn’t particularly make any sense to me. I mean, I know people can change their minds but woah was this unforeseen.

Anyway, I could keep giving examples, but I think you get what I mean. Continuity is integral because it keeps the all important aspects of plausibility and believability in the story. Just because something wasn’t mentioned doesn’t make that silence an opportunity for insertion of something else. It just looks pretty tacky, in my opinion.

Now, an example of really good continuity are the Step Up movies. I binge watched them recently, and there was a connection between each and every one. I was pretty amazed, because I have seen way too many multiple-movie series where continuity is ignore completely. But the sequel tied into the first one, which tied into the third, fourth, and fifth. It was so great, and I was super proud that the writers thought to include this because continuity-based thinkers like myself can just sit back and relax and watch the movie, rather than nitpick it the entire time.

I suppose one could say that this continuity issue is personal, but I can’t be the only one, can I? Can I? *looks around for other continuity-minded people*

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15 Responses to the importance of continuity

  1. Crini says:

    YOU ARE NOT!
    I need it! Like air! I hate when do things like the ones you mentioned above (I did not even know there was a second Jeepers Creepers movie LOL)
    Especially Shatter Me though. I too liked who she ended up with because I love that guy, but I felt like she made us like the other guy in the first book and then completely changed him just to make us dislike him, so we approve who she ends up with.

    The continuity in Step Up is AWESOME! I love when old characters come back in a later movie and is still exactly the same person.
    That’s why I also love The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. Lots of books about completely different characters, but they are all connected and the books have a common thread.

    • Chiara says:

      YAY! :D

      And yeah, don’t watch the second Jeepers Creepers, it was so freaking terrible and also super boring T.T

      IKR. I was like … why get us all attached and keen for the first guy, and then turn him into a total douche just so we jump ship? It was a bit too convenient, to be honest.

      AND YES. I was so happy that they kept the continuity in the Step Up movies. So proud.

      I haven’t heard of those, but I have read Kelley Armstrong before, and liked her stuff! It’s awesome that they’re connected even though they have different protagonists!

  2. Alyssa says:

    So basically I’m not in these fandoms, but I do agree with your general point that continuity is important. I mean, I loved all the Poirot mysteries but there were little shout-outs, little tics, that made it seem like a coherent whole instead of just a serial.

  3. Um, YES. This is why I still (!) keep watching BBC’s Sherlock – even though Season 3 was a train wreck and don’t even get me started on the hiatus – because I simply can’t get enough of the utter mastery of continuity. Nothing is an accident in this show – there are constantly little references to past episodes to uncover on re-watching, and it’s as if the world is complete and real. I think that is an utterly lovely feeling, to immerse oneself in a place that only ever existed in one’s mind – but I also think that it can only be achieved when there’s excellent continuity. (Aaaand that is what editors are for. ;))

    • Chiara says:

      Oh Sherlock <3 I still haven't been able to bring myself to watch season, three. I know, heinous D: But I just don't know how long I can wait for season for. So I am saving for a rainy day. But yes, the continuity in that show is pretty fabulous! :D

      Sadly, editors aren't always doing the best job. I was watching Angel the other day, and he plugged his phone in to charge because it was dead, and then when it showed him THREE SECONDS LATER, it wasn’t plugged in any more and just *screaming*

  4. Romi says:

    Hmm, well this isn’t something I’ve perhaps come into contact with (or if I haven’ I don’t remember it), so I don’t really know how I feel OH WAIT. The Phantom of the Opera. So I love this musical/film, and I watched the first one in musical and film version to prepare myself for the second when I was given it on DVD. And it’s like (Spoilers) “remember that time we made sweet love with the music of the night here is my sonnnnnnnn” and I was like WHAT. WAIT. PAUSE. DISCUSSION. I mean, I’m pretty sure I had to take a moment to just go over how out of nowhere that was. The Phantom and Christine, I love them (particularly the former), but whatever may happen in the novel to my mind in neither production was it implied, even, that they had sex. Ever. I mean, he even closes the curtain around her and walks away, which means he would have had to go back and possibly rape her, because she wakes up alone and surprises him kind of thing. I mean it was really out of nowhere and the whole continuation of the story really had so many random openings and the continuation was bizarre. So yeah, that wasn’t positive for me (fun for discussions, though). Other than that it doesn’t happen often. Sometimes I think having something softly implied can be awesome, because you can take it up later or whatever, but I suppose even an implication is more continuity than none?

    So that was a confusing mix of thoughts. Your details of horror films TERRIFY ME. Hugs to you and your kitty, lovely. xx

    • Romi says:

      OH WOAH LONG COMMENT. SORRY FOR NOT SPACING THAT OUT EVEN A BIT. GOLLY.

    • Chiara says:

      OMG YES I FORGOT TO INCLUDE THAT IN THIS POSTTTTTT. If you listen to one of the songs in Love Never Dies, the one where Christine sees him again in her apartment room thing, she says something along the lines of “I cam and found you” so I guess that’s when they had sex. But yeah, the continuity between Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies was pretty horrible. I mean, Christine LEFT HIM ALONE IN THE SEWERS because she chose Raoul, so why would she go back and find him? UGH. I have a lot of feelings about this because Phantom is my favourite musical ever <3 But when I look at Love Never dies as a separate kind of thing, I love it.

      MWAHA. I love my horror movies ^.^ Thank you, dear <3

      • Romi says:

        PHANTOM FANS UNITE. I went and saw it in Melbourne when I was 11 or 12 and had two dancers I’d worked with in it (one was a stage mother, so it was utterly wonderful) and I was totally smitten.

        • Chiara says:

          I saw it when I was about 14 (in Brisbane), and fell absolutely in love! :D I really want it to tour Australia again as a professional production.

    • Chiara says:

      OH, and subtle implication is GOOD. It’s when something is out of the blue, or completely goes against what’s been said before that kills me!

  5. Lola says:

    I totally agree! I hate it when thigns don’t make sense or world building rules are changed as it fits the later books I had that happen once in a series I really enjoyed up till that point and the world buildign rule breaking really annoyed me.

    Or how about Star Wars, is it just me or do seem Anakin and Obi Wan Kenobi like they just forgot the whole past? I guess they did as the didn’t make the prequels yet. But if you watch the rpequels first and then the original trilogy, this is extremely frustrating. Or maybe that’s just because I liked Anakin so much in the prequel movies.

    On the other hand, books who do this right, with continuity and hints in earlier books, that you won’t understand till later books. I love that! So I vote yes for continuity!

    • Chiara says:

      Changing “world” rules super annoys me, too! I cannot stand it, because it feels like it’s been changed just so a certain event can happen, which is not cool.

      And YES! I mean, I get why that might happen (the differences between the times of production), but then I guess the writers for the prequels should have thought of the future movies? And I love Anakin in the prequel movies, too!

      I love it when everything ties together with subtle hints in books. It’s awesome. YAY continuity!

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