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What makes a good movie great?

Just read an entry about stinky movies over at dqg_neal's blog. 

Whether it's on the screen or on the page, I believe the difference between a good story and a great one is the amount the protagonist (and possibly one or two other characters), changes during the course of the story.  If you think about it, this even holds true for the great action movies, which you wouldn't  think need such an emotional connection with the viewer/reader (think Die Hard, Bourne Identity etc.)

I've been trying to think of an exception that would disprove this theory. I haven't been able to come up with one.  

Can you?

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)

James Bond.

Sherlock Holmes.

I would say that neither character truly changes much. In fact, its their consistency that makes them interesting, because both characters to some degree or other exist almost outside the circle of society. They are so distinct from the ordinary, that they contrast our world for us.

Perhaps that's just my interpretation...
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
I agree neither of them change, but would you really call the books/movies 'great'?
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, actually I would call both of them great. But they are the difference between character driven novels and plot driven. Sherlocke Holmes and James Bond are based on the idea that the plot is most relevant. There is minor character development over the course of the series, but the action and tension is most important. In that style of novel it is the interaction with an evolving world that is important.

Feb. 6th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
Okay, a quick litmus test then, are Holmes or Bond in your top ten best books or movies ever, ever, ever? Much as I like both, none of the books or movies would make it into my top thirty. Perhaps the second 'Casino Royale'(showing my age here), might make a top fifty, but then again, you have to agree that Bond changes in that one?

Again, I say 'good', but not 'great'.
Feb. 6th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think that is a fair assesment. There is nothing wrong with plot driven novels. Just as character driven novels don't necessarily make it a great novel.

I find the best novels and movies are experimental. They challenge you in some way. And as a result most likely have as many people instantly disliking them/loathing them as loving them.

I'd be hard pressed to pick just 10 novels out of the multitude of volumes in my house. Many of the best ones I probably haven't read in years.
Feb. 6th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well, if the assessment has to be fair it takes all the fun out of it :p

That said, I know what you mean about the experimental thing. I'd never watch 'The Sixth Sense' a second time, you need to not know the ending. I also never want to watch Sean Connery's 'Swords of the Valiant' again, though for completely different reasons :).
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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