Moviegoers, Story, and Dreams…

As movie studios lament the low numbers of moviegoers that seems to be dwindling even further, movie directors and producers appear to be utilizing gimmicks of technology to draw crowds back to the theater.

Movies made in 3-D, and shown on Imax screens comprise the recent fads that are but an extension of forcing plot over character in an effort to engage audiences.

In years past this effort rested on action packed adventures, swashbucklers we call them, and enormous special effects.

But what about story?

This weekend my husband and I took our youngest to see “Alice in Wonderland“. Johnny Depp was great, as was Mia Wasikowska, who played Alice. And then there was Helena Bonham Carter with Anne Hathaway playing The White Queen, the younger sister and alter ego to Bonham’s Red Queen.

While we did view the movie in 3-D and on an Imax screen, I must say it was the story that gripped me.

Alice, who holds a wide and deep imagination that she inherited from her father is being nudged, pushed, and urged towards marriage, as most girls of her stature and of that time were encouraged.

After meeting her soon-to-be husband who in few words lets us know that he sees imagination and dreams in the same vein as small pox and disease, to be avoided at all cost.

On hearing Alice’s elder sister describe herself as happily married, we then see, along with Alice, her sister’s husband, Alice’s brother-in-law kissing a woman who is not his wife.

Much stands amiss in the world of waking reality.

Then comes Wonderland and The Mad Hatter played beautifully by Johnny Depp.

How much the story of this movie mirrors real life.

Alice does not want to marry Hamish. In fact the entire idea of marriage grows sickening when evaluating not only her brother-in-law’s unfaithful behavior, but also the elder sister’s lack of awareness.

We feel for Alice. When she chases the rabbit and falls into the hole, we are with her to for the ride.

Who wouldn’t want to escape the madness above ground?

That which angers and hurts us will either madden us to action or leave us insane.

And so we must decide. We must act and decide and continue to respond until our world changes thereby transforming us in the process.

Isn’t that what great stories are all about–facing the impossible and making real what others said we could not and we doubted ourselves accomplishing.

Throughout the movie, Alice mantras, This is my dream.  I am Alice.

Who are you? And what is your dream? Better yet, how might you claim it?

As writers we must remember that despite the gimmicks theaters use to draw in audiences, it is story that holds a reader or audience’s attention and compels them after reading the last word of the novel, or viewing the closing scene of a  movie that compels them to tell others.

Story involves two parts: the words that tell of characters and what they do, their actions, plot. And then there is how the mixture and interaction of characters and action leave the reader–how readers experience the story of our characters.

We want to accomplish not what the movie directors and producers seek when impregnating their stories of images with special effects and the latest that technology offers to stimulate the eye.

Our goal as writers is to stimulate the heart. This is what Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who wrote under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll accomplished in the story.

He is my idol, his skill and artistry my polestar.

What are yours?

~ by Anjuelle Floyd on March 15, 2010.

2 Responses to “Moviegoers, Story, and Dreams…”

  1. Anjuelle, I enjoyed your blog post and as a writer, I concur. My plan is to see the new Alice in Wonderland movie this weekend. And to answer your question, my favorite would be “The Chronicles of Narnia” in movie and in text. C.S. Lewis offers so much within a story to work with on screen and the results were magical. However, I was challenged with last season’s AVATAR. I did not necessarily care for the story line. It appeared to be lost or competing with the special effects; but in terms of sales, it was a blockbuster. Well, these are my opinions, anyway.

    • It’s important to identify what movies and theatrical works of art stimulate us. In this way we keep our creative reservoir filled. These works of art also teach and assist in refining and improving craft and skill in creating our works of art.
      That we enjoy these works, as you with C.S. Lewis, relaxes our mind and allows us to absorb unlimited amounts of knowledge.
      In this way entertainment and food to our soul also serves our brains.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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