Which Story Endings Would You Change?

This is a bumped and edited old post that I felt needed a bit more exposure and an update. This was originally a Post a Day prompt to 2011. An interesting subject. We all have books and films where we felt a disappointing ending marred what had been a great story. Here is my humble list of changes I would make.

Films

Daybreakers: Talk about a seriously wasted ending! In the near future, the world is full of vampires and the last few remaining humans are in hiding. In stark contrast to I Am Legend, society to all intents and purposes, has carried on as normal. But the blood exploitation on which the economy depends (obvious metaphor for oil) is in increasing short supply and scientists have been unable to synthesise it. Society is breaking down as demand for food outstrips supply. In the middle of all this, it is revealed that one man has been able to cure himself of vampirism. It eventually becomes clear that he has indeed been cured and in the final battle, the chief protagonist’s brother who has by this time been cured, sacrifices himself to start a chain reaction that should have reverted the populace back to human. But this chain reaction ends quickly when the vampires attacking him are cured and then gunned down by a single man making the elaborate plot all for nothing, killed by a lazy bit of writing. I would change it to show that the protagonist’s plot succeeded but I would make it a dark ending and show just what a huge sacrifice was made and how bloody (pardon the pun) the revolution was.

It’s a Wonderful Life: It is one of the films to watch at Christmas but whenever I watch the end I can’t help feeling that Potter has got off lightly. Is it really punishment enough that this avaricious and corrupt man, the source of so much misery in the town, is alone at Christmas? Not for me.

Alien: Resurrection: The human-like alien was awful. I would take it out and have a showdown between Ripley and the Queen as the ship rapidly approaches Earth.

No Country for Old Men: Seriously uneventful as Tommy Lee Jones’ character announces that he is disillusioned with being a cop. No idea what I would have done, but that was so sudden you have to ask ‘is that it?’

Books

The Amber Spyglass: As regular readers will know, I am a huge fan of His Dark Materials but personally, I see no reason for making Lyra and Will separate at the end never to see each other again. To keep them together would have given closure that the trilogy required. Philip Pullman has so far written two short books Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North. Lyra appears in the first and Will is conspicuous by his absence. We may yet have resolution, as Pullman has been promising for years that a novel that will tie up all loose ends The Book of Dust will eventually be published.

The Witch’s Honour: When I read the first part of this trilogy Prospero’s Children, I did so with little expectation as it was a magazine freebie. I’m glad I read it because it is one of the best examples of contemporary fantasy – and I am pretty fussy about fantasy. The story is about a 16 year old girl named Fernanda who re-locates to the north of England with her father and brother. She soon discovers that things are not quite right: strange noises in the night, sinister locals and a strange man with an equally strange dog always seemingly watching her. She ends up finding a portal to Atlantis within the house. In this final part, Fern is now in her late 20s and has spent the last few years suppressing her magical powers. At the end she decides to give them up and forget everything that happened. There was a number of loose ends that were never tied up and this ending made an unsatisfactory conclusion. I still recommend the trilogy though.

The Lord of the Rings: I am probably going to get flamed for this but I really couldn’t care less about the raising of the shire. For me it put an unnecessary delay between the defeat of Sauron and the sombre departures at Greyhavens. Of course, it closes the Saruman story but it could have been done so much better and maybe even before the destruction of the ring.

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