A couple of months ago, I took my children to see the new Lego Ninjago movie at the cinema. For those people unfamiliar with the movie (like, perhaps, most people who don’t have a child under the age of 12), the plot revolves around five trainee-ninja teenagers who must learn the ways of Spinjitsu and defeat the evil Lord Garmadon. The movie opens with our heroes foiling Lord Garmadon’s attack against the city of Ninjago by piloting giant elemental-themed mechs.
There’s action and adventure and ninjas—the trifecta for my sons—and all was going well. Then, just as they easily win the battle, one of the heroes exclaims, “As long as we have these mechs, we’re unstoppable!”
It was at that moment that my ten-year-old son leaned over to me and said, “That means they’re going to lose their mechs, and have to beat Garmadon without them.”
What I said was, “Let’s keep watching and see.”
What I thought was, “Yep. We may as well leave now. We already know how the story will play out. That’s the most heavy-handed foreshadowing I’ve ever seen.”
[SPOILER ALERT: The heroes lose their mechs, and have to beat Garmadon without them.]
Later that night, I was watching some particularly good stand-up comedy. As the set drew to a close, and I was laughing much more loudly than I probably should have been while my children were asleep in the next room, I found myself thinking about the art of the callback. That, in turn, led me to wonder about the relationship between foreshadowing and call-backs.
Are they related?
One sets up future events, and the other references past events, sure. But does that mean they’re linked? [Read more…]