Critique Group

Going to the Movies

In Dawn Allen, Film, Genres on February 14, 2013 at 10:46 am

From the first time I went to the movies, I was addicted. It seemed to ignite the storyteller in me because that’s when I started writing also. Movies are stories that visually play out in front of us. It is the most extraordinary experience. Like writing, filmmaking has morphed with time and technology. Movies are not different from books in that they blend genres together changing a film from one thing to another. Even Alfred Hitchcock well known for the suspense thriller, Psycho, actually blended crime, horror, and humor into his films as well.

Blade Runner, film noir/crime, also blended in sci-fi through this futuristic landscape. Kill Bill took the action adventure genre and blended in elements of thriller and horror. Shaun of the Dead,  zombie film, blended horror and comedy together. Forest Gump, a well received drama,  incorporated history and comedy into a film and made a musical score almost as vital to the film as if it were a musical. Looper blended Sci-Fi with gangster action adventure. Back to the Future III did this also while adding in comedy. Cowboys and Aliens blended the western and Sci-Fi. From Dusk to Dawn too the vampire genre and added crime to the horror aspects. Want to get men and women into the same movie? Romancing the Stone attempted it by melding action adventure with romance. The Indiana Jones films incorporate aspects of history, action adventure, thriller, and comedy. Star Wars blends sci-fi, action adventure, romance and comedy.

This year’s Oscar’s race? Silver Linings Playbook melds drama and comedy. Les Miserables, a musical, blends in elements of history, drama, and romance. Django Unchained, a western, blends in elements of adventure, drama, and history. The Life of Pi blends adventure and drama. Lincoln, a biography, blends history and drama as well. Argo and Zero Dark Thirty incorporate historical events, dramatizes them adding a thriller twist. Beasts of the Southern Wild blends drama and fantasy and Amour blends drama and romance. It was a really good year for film in this regard.

The secret to blending genres and having it work is to have a foundational genre. Lincoln is a biography which Spielberg blended tropes of history and drama into. Django Unchained is a western, which Tarantino incorporated elements of three other genres into. Can you have too many to work? Absolutely. In the wrong hands, two may be too many. The beauty of story telling is if the story is strong and the characters have that story to tell, the rest falls into place. This year’s Oscar films prove that genre blending can be done and done well.

What are your favorite genres to blend?

DawnAllenSig

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