No matter the genre, no matter the medium, every writer loves their characters. I understand that. However, for there to be a story, a writer must give their little darlings challenges to overcome. I saw a movie this weekend which was ultimately unsatisfactory because, in my opinion, the writer failed to do this.
Now, this writer had some hurdles to overcome. The characters he is writing have become iconic, which would be limiting in its own way. (An issue I'd be thrilled to tackle, by the way.) But his biggest problem (I believe) is that each character had already been given their 'happily ever after'. Everyone was happy. How do you mess with that - remembering that these characters are beloved world-wide?
This movie is a comedy, which means you know everything is going to turn out fine. But before that ending, let's get a little messy. Let's take away something that one of the characters has always taken for granted and see how they deal with it. Let's have a character make a potentially disastrous choice. Let's throw a few bumps in the road. There were moments when some characters dipped their toes into the puddle of trouble, but they quickly removed their toes before trouble occurred. The result? Dullness, disguised by really good shoes.
The movie served as a good reminder that even though I love my characters, I have to throw them under a bus. I have to let them face their fears. Maybe they overcome them, maybe they don't - but at least they grow.
The end is called the end because the characters have finished that stage of their journey. They're in a different place than they were at the beginning. Give me a happily ever after, but let me have a few minutes of worrying whether I'm going to get there or not.