Movie magic bests mundane novels


Photo via Flickr (SalTheColourGeek) under Creative Commons license

Blythe Terry, A&E co-Editor

The incredible and eery vastness of outer space. An elaborate, iconic dance number. A delicate ballad that would be remembered forever. Not only are these prized moments from some of the most celebrated films in history, they represent something crucial about the medium. It is film’s ability to bring thoughts to life, to show (not just tell of) emotion and meaning like never thought before.

[F]ilm is more versatile and miles more expressive than fiction writing.”

— A&E co-Editor Blythe Terry

From sci-fi to horror to romance, every story feels more honest on film. There’s a connection and understanding that transcends that of text on a page. As a medium, film is more versatile and miles more expressive than fiction writing.

Movies are able to access what seems like millions of possibilities. Masterpieces can be made on a tiny budget because the camera lends itself to creativity and experimentation. Whether it’s elaborate sets, innovative cinematography, breathtaking performances, or a director’s delicate touch, the variables are endless. In filmmaking, pioneering is the point. The aim isn’t just to tell a story, but to transform it into a vivid sensory experience.

Conversely, film is also able to do more with less. Whereas in a book, words are needed to justify complex human emotion, in the movies, it’s as simple as a glance. There is no constant explanation needed. Oftentimes words can be cumbersome, inhibiting the message trying to be conveyed through tangents it’s far too easy to get lost in. Where feelings are concerned, simplicity is king.

Oftentimes words can be cumbersome, inhibiting the message trying to be conveyed through tangents it’s far too easy to get lost in.”

— A&E co-Editor Blythe Terry

And movies aren’t the product of some lone genius. There may be an architect that puts the vision into motion, but film is a uniquely effective medium in that its process emphasizes collaboration. Every big name in film has a huge team behind them. Actor, director, cameraman, stunt guy, costume designer, the whole lot are dedicated individuals whose combined passion makes for a better finished product. Some of the best films are the product of teamwork and oversight. This represents a stark difference from the innately individualistic nature of writing.

Because art doesn’t have to be some guy sitting out by the water reflecting on the meaning of life. There is a intellectual value in film that many people don’t often realize. There’s this shoddy association made between “movie” and cash=grabbing, fast-paced senselessness. There’s this idea that because you’re not reading, movies are just entertainment, and the usefulness stops there. But that’s all it is — an association. Behind these preconceived notions lies the truth, that many films have impacted the psyche of society, rather than just being something to do on weekends.

But that part isn’t a downside either. Movies are social, and that’s certainly a plus. More often than not, sitting down to watch a movie is something done with family or friends. And even if cheesy sitcoms aren’t some lofty triumph, they don’t have to be, because even the silliest movies and TV foster togetherness. Besides, what’s better than an excuse to eat popcorn and candy for two hours straight?