Friday, May 8, 2015

Comprehending Narrative Art

   "Question: What is Art?
   "Answer: Art is exploring questions about life through narrative."
   "How does that work with paintings or sculptures?"
   "Point taken. Therefore 'Answer: Art is exploring questions about life through narrative or emotion.'"
   "Very good, answer accepted. Continue."
    "With such an idea about art, specifically narrative art, such films/television/novels must be comprehended in a complete way. There are various pits one can fall into when facing the comprehension of stories. One of these is to take the story at face-value, deeming it great or gruesome based on the content contained within."
   "Consider Netflix's Daredevil: it presents various ideas about how one should relate with the law, among other things, but some people will deem it disgusting due to violence. Consider also the 2009 Beowulf. It has raises questions about lust, family, and loving one's enemies. Again, some would deem it unwholesome due to the content.
   "Therefore, a story's merit as art should not be based on the content alone. Of course, content should be recognized, but it does not disqualify something as art. As almost all will agree.
   "Another pitfall one can fall into is rating a film solely on the ideas it presents. Thor is a very thought-provoking film, but it has technical faults. The ideas and heart are there, but the portrayal of those are not as good as could be hoped. That is not to say that Thor is a bad movie, but that it is not a great film. Nevertheless, it is still art.
   "Lastly, there is the pitfall of looking only at the story-telling quality of a story. These films are well-written, well-filmed, and well-acted. However, when one bases the quality of a story or the ideas it presents solely on the execution, sometimes one fails to recognize that these films are making statements with which one needs to grapple. I find the Star Wars Prequels to be very thought-provoking films, yet people ignore them due to poor execution. Critics use the lack of quality as a means to ignore the ideas which the trilogy presents. This is acceptable if one is merely learning how to make a good film, but when one is reviewing a film one must look at more than mere quality."
   "What's the point?"
   "My point is this: when one looks at art, one must recognize that it comes in various forms. One must also look at it on various levels: recognizing that there is violence/nudity/language which aids or detracts from the story, quality which aids or detracts from the ideas presented, as well as recognizing the ideas which are presented by the story itself. For one to fully comprehend a story, one must consider all these factors before making a final judgement on the rating of a film, television show, or novel."
   "...Well, your ideas are good, but your quality could use a boost. Go back, rewrite, and do better next time."
   "Thank you, sir. I will."

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