LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #23

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 9 22:02:11 PST 2007

On Nov 9, 10:59 pm, Lalo Martins <lalo.mart... at gmail.com> wrote:
> Also spracht Tarq (Fri, 09 Nov 2007 09:38:04 +0000):
> > Just to throw in some two cents here, but I wouldn't actually say that
> > 'musical' was a genre -- rather a mixing of two or three media (music,
> > dance and theatre/film, depending on the case). While many musicals are
> > comedic ('Crazy for You'), others are really rather tragic ('West Side
> > Story'), and others still are open to interpretation; 'Someone's Son'
> > would be my preferred example, though 'The Sound of Music' is probably
> > better known.
> I'm with Tarq on this one.  I'd add that Sci-Fi isn't a genre either, and
> then we could extend the list with super-heroes, westerns, war stories,
> and probably more.
> I guess more useful would be to describe works in a multi-dimensional
> way.  Something like:
> Story genre: drama, horror, mystery, action, humour, etc
> Narrative/setting devices: sci-fi, magic, western, war, super-hero, etc

There are two popular sci-fi settings: the future and space.  Jason X
_looks_ like a sci-fi movie but it's really about teenagers screaming
because Jason is coming to kill them.

> Medium focus: acting, music, dance, martial arts, what I call "non-human
> performance" (car chase, aircraft or spacecraft dogfights or piloting
> stunts, etc), imagery, and why not, sex

I apologize to Tarq for describing musicals as a genre (especially as
it seemed to "disturb" him).  I had forgotten how some musicals can
make people cry.  So an opera is a drama told through music.
Interesting.  It makes sense too because you could never have a
"musical novel".  Really all genres should be able to translate to
different media.

I know what you mean when you about martial arts and sex being media.
Bollywood producers claim that they don't need sex in movies because
they have music and dance and they can just as easily show a couple
falling in love that way as between the sheets.  I think that's a good
example of what you mean.

Of course, martial arts is also a genre: it's a kind of action movie.
Movies with Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris are/
were all martial arts movies with (usually) a Western setting as
opposed to an Eastern one.  Writer / director Kurt Wimmer even made
the argument that "gunkata" is a martial art through movies like
Equilibrium and Ultraviolet.  Certainly swordplay is considered a
martial art.  I guess technically all action movies that involve
fighting are technically martial art movies!  As you point out there
are also action movies that don't involve human fighting but rather
car chases, aircraft or spacecraft dogfights, piloting stunts, etc.

> And of course, on any of those dimensions, one given work may "tick" on
> more than one choice.  In fact, the best sci-fi (in my opinion) always
> does that; to go with easy examples, B5 uses sci-fi and war story
> devices, while Serenity uses sci-fi and western.

You're right, we've been thinking one dimensionally whereas these
three considerations (genre, setting and medium) are separate.  A good
example is animation: in the West, people think of cartoons as a genre
whereas Japanese cartoons can be any genre.  The same is true of comic
books: there have been Western, romance, horror, sci-fi and funny
animal comic books, not just superhero comics.  More often than not
the medium simply isn't the message. :)


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