What distinguishes a fantastic film from a mediocre one? There isn't a single thing that the answer is. The plot, dialogue, and performances of the actors, as well as the photography, soundtrack, and directing, all come together to create a cohesive whole. All of these aspects work together to achieve a shared goal: a deep, resonating feeling that allows the film to make a statement about the world or human nature. The film's theme is based on this.
In films, what is a theme?
The basic unifying concept of the film is a theme. A subject for example, like "love," "death," or "coming of age", invokes a common human experience and can be expressed in a single word or short phrase. The film's plot, dialogue, cinematography, and music all exemplify the subject, even if it is never expressed overtly.
What Is a Film Theme's Purpose?
The audience can engage with the film's specific subject matter through the theme. Strong themes are also what keeps a film in your mind long after you've seen it. The theme serves as a guide for filmmakers as well as a key idea. As you write, you can ask yourself, "Which choice links more to my theme?" when deciding between multiple prospective narrative developments.
10 Classic Film Themes:
Good themes relate to universal and profound aspects of the human experience, thus it's only natural that they exist in a variety of films. Below are some of the most common themes to consider:
A good love story is something that everyone enjoys. The topic of love runs throughout the film Titanic right down to its Oscar-winning theme song. Class differences, disapproving family members, and disaster are all challenges that love can overcome. Characters in a film change as a result of their encounter with love. Rose awakens to the world's inequalities and realizes her individuality. Jack transforms from a charming and aimless traveller to someone with a strong purpose, willing to risk all for the person he loves.
2. Humanity vs. Technology
Science fiction provides a unique platform for exploring technological phobias. A great example is the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The bone club, a murdering device, appears in the prehistoric sequence as our species' first great technological innovation. Much of what we see in the future is long-distance communication via viewscreens, and a spaceship's intelligent computer tries to murder its human crewmates. Finally, a godlike alien intellect appears as a cold, black monolith, as efficient and inscrutable as any machine, rather than as a feeling and anthropomorphic entity.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy has various themes running through it, but sacrifice is the most uniting. While the heroes, such as Gandalf, Sam, and Frodo, are distinguished by their willingness to sacrifice themselves for others and the greater good, Sauron and Saruman are defined by their desire for power. The virtue of sacrifice redeems even weak characters like Boromir.
4. Good vs. Evil
This is a battle that has been waged for centuries. The Star Wars saga's fundamental subject is good vs. evil, and the series is a great example of how all parts of cinematic language may work together to reinforce a central topic. Not only by their words and actions but also by their outward design, the good and bad characters can be distinguished. The Rebels and Jedi are made up of a diverse mix of humans and aliens dressed in earthy, natural tones. Darth Vader and the Empire are machine-like hegemons, icy, gleaming, and uniform.
Some subjects are better suited to particular genres than others. Conflicts quickly escalated to gunplay in the heightened reality of the American Western, and murder was dispensed casually by both white and black hats. Traditional Westerns frequently use death as a story device or stakes, while revisionist Westerns have gone deeper into the subject. We're reminded that death isn't always just or fair in films like Lonesome Dove, Unforgiven, and No Country for Old Men.
Rocky's protagonist is an underdog who, through persistence and hard effort, overcomes great obstacles. This topic is reinforced not only through the plot and language, but also through techniques peculiar to the film medium, such as montage. (Who can forget the iconic sequence of Rocky training, pounding slabs of flesh, and rushing up art gallery steps while a chorus on the soundtrack sings a song to tenacity: "Trying hard now... I'm starting to feel better... It's time to take off.") In the end, the movie emphasizes that perseverance is a greater victory than ring success.
7. Coming of Age
The Harry Potter series exemplifies this topic not just because the cast literally ages in front of our eyes throughout the course of the films, but also because the fundamental experiences of growing up are woven into the story. When Harry becomes the leader of "Dumbledore's Army," he moves beyond relying on older people and into an adult role; he loses his innocence when he witnesses Cedric and Sirius' deaths; and, perhaps most importantly, he gains a more complex understanding of the world when he learns more about both Dumbledore and Snape.
8. Family Drama
Happy families are all alike; every sad family is unhappy in its manner," Tolstoy famously observed. It's maybe unsurprising that so many compelling stories focus on family conflict. We all strive to be independent of our parents, but we also inherit a lot from them, both physically and metaphorically. The Godfather opens with Michael Corleone determined to live a life separate from his father's, but as the story progresses, Michael takes on Vito's mantle.
9. Faith vs. Reason
This is a debate that has been going on for quite some time. Raiders of the Lost Ark is as exciting and action-packed as any James Bond picture, but it stands out because of its intellectual concept. Indiana Jones is a sceptic and a scholar, a man of reason who rejects "superstitious hocus-pocus" despite his daring deeds.
But, as the film progresses, he is compelled to confront the Ark, which represents a holy force that transcends comprehension. He appears to fail in his effort to vanquish the villains and save the heroine when he can't bring himself to destroy the sacred artefact, which is an unusual turn for an action hero. However, by closing his eyes and accepting extraterrestrial power, Indy succeeds in the film's conclusion.
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Disney's Robin Hood, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, among others, build an adventure story around this extremely relevant idea decade after decade. In a period where traditional judicial systems have been perverted, allowing the powerful to exploit the weak and the wealthy to profit from the poor, the hero transforms into an outlaw for genuine justice to triumph.
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