Wednesday, November 4, 2009

XKCD: Movie Narrative Charts

Great post by the XKCD online comic series!  They occasionally post a infographic-style piece, and this one doesn't disappoint.

Created by Randall Munroe at XKCD, the Movie Narrative Charts plot the interactions between key characters on a timeline, grouping the character lines together when they are interacting in the movies.  He obviously spent some time working on these, and be sure to check out the detail in the full size version.

The last two are jokes, but the ones for Lord of the Rings, the original Star Wars Trilogy and Jurassic Park are real and very well done.  I love the Primer chart poke at trying to follow the movie!  Not as mainstream as the other movies, but it's definitely appropriate.  I'd love to see how Randall would chart Memento!

Thanks Tom for the email link!  Popular on the blogs, this was also found on Infothetics, FlowingData, SimpleComplexity, VizWorld and Fast Company.


  1. I love XKCD. If you scan back he does stuff like this from time to time. Look for a map of the internet.

    Regarding Memento the question is which "timeline", as the movie presents it or the real timeline? The real timeline would be not that unusual, there wouldn't be any loops, for example.

    Personally, Iwonder if the Primer chart is accurate or just a bunch of scribbles thrown in there.

  2. I really like xkcd and this one in particular. I'd been wanting to do a graph visualization on a timeline so I mashed it up with this comic. The result is pretty cool, you can see it on my blog.

  3. Numbersguy, I do think the Primer chart is a bunch of scribbles, but I bet it's pretty close. Very funny.

  4. yea, me too. Seems only a bit odd that he put all that work into StarWars and LotR (and Jurassic Park) only to "punt" so heavily on Primer.

    Frankly I'd LOVE to see a real one for Primer. But I suspect it won't be as funny as XKCD as ... well... how complicated can the interactions of the 2-3 main characters be? Even if they do loop in time multiple times. Ahhh comedy wins here over accuracy ;-)

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