So here’s an idea.
Say you watch a film which is an adaptation of an earlier work of fiction, say a classic novel or a forty year old film, transposed to a relatively realistic modern-day setting. In order for the plot to make sense, you have to assume that this new story is set in a world where the earlier fiction it is based on never existed. Otherwise, the story would be so familiar that everyone would be walking around with real life spoilers inside their collective social memories. This is particularly noticeable with things based on very famous works, for example, Shakespeare plays transposed to the modern day – though, admittedly, the use of early modern English colloquialisms in an American high school probably causes more of a break in the realism. Forsooth, thou saucy cheerleader.
I say this because I just watched the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds (the slightly disappointing one with Tom Cruise in it) and thought that all of these poor civilians running around screaming must live in a world where the original novel by HG Wells never existed. Otherwise (SPOILER ALERT… :P) they would realise that those familiar tripods would keel over and die after a very short while due to their lack of resistance to Earth’s microorganisms. Maybe then they would’ve just found somewhere quiet to hide for a while instead of panicking so much.
Just a thought. I realise it’s probably been suggested before, so if this isn’t the first place you’ve read this, please just pretend there’s a footnote. (also, let me know) 🙂