Theme in a movie.

TurbulentTurtle

Diabloii.Net Member
Theme in a movie.

How would you describe a theme in a movie? What is the theme of a film? We had a pretty interesting discussion today in class today and I just wanted your guys' opinions.
Most people just said that the theme is the central idea of a story, but others kinda got mixed up between the theme and the type of film (comedy, horror, action...).
 

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
genre has little to do with theme usually

are there movies with the theme "zombies are bad, kill them"?
nah, there's usually something deeper

such a discussion is usually aided by examples
 

Croup

Diabloii.Net Member
The theme of the movie is generally the point that the director/writer wants to get across to an audience. Some movies don't necessarily have a tangible theme (what high-budget action movie has something to say that isn't trite and obnoxious), while others wrap the theme in the rest of the movie. For example, ask 10 people what the theme of Fight Club is. Odds are that you'll get 7-8 different answers.

I've always associated "theme" with "message" as far as movies go.
 
I always thought theme was different from the moral or message. I just saw Sin City, for example, and the theme would be blood, guts, murder, and, well, sin. I don't think it had a moral other than some sort of gruesome justice.

Take Troy, for example:
Genre: action
Theme: Bronze Age (I think) or ancient war and diplomacy
Moral/message: war is fought for the glory of men.
 

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
setting and content aren't theme, the thematic elements of Troy are more akin to fellowship, valor, legacy, and so on

as for the message of the director, I don't and have never cared what the director is trying to say, if what I get out of it is different from what he was trying to say it is only a testament to his failure to properly convey that message
 

TopHatCat64

Diabloii.Net Member
Cloud_Walker said:
I always thought theme was different from the moral or message. I just saw Sin City, for example, and the theme would be blood, guts, murder, and, well, sin. I don't think it had a moral other than some sort of gruesome justice.
Ok first off I just decided to google "theme" since I was leaning towards theme=message and the definition I got supports this:

"The central meaning or dominant idea in a literary work. A theme provides a unifying point around which the plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbols, and other elements of a work are organized. It is important not to mistake the theme for the actual subject of the work; the theme refers to the abstract concept that is made concrete through the images, characterization, and action of the text."

Now, with that out of the way I'm going to disagree that Sin City has no theme. Sure there's violence and lots of it in the movie but violence is merely a tool the characters use a means to an end. In all three story lines (That Yellow Bastard, The Hard Goodbye, and The Big Fat Kill) the main themes are Faith, Sacrifice, and Dedication as the characters do whatever it takes to achieve their goal even when it results in their own death.
 
What I had always thought was taken from, say, themed parties. Themed parties have no moral or message, but they do have a central idea around which people dress and act, like my above example of the theme in Troy.

I never said Sin City had no theme. Faith, sacrifice, and dedication are surely guides for what happens in the story and how the characters act, but they are not necessarily messages.

We can let Dictionary.com clarify for us:
A theme is definitely not the same thing as a moral or message.
 

TopHatCat64

Diabloii.Net Member
Cloud_Walker said:
I never said Sin City had no theme. Faith, sacrifice, and dedication are surely guides for what happens in the story and how the characters act, but they are not necessarily messages.
Yes, but they are themes :)

Alright so going with your Dictionary.com: An implicit or recurrent idea; a motif: a theme of powerlessness that runs through the diary

What comes up again and again in the Sin City stories? The idea of doing whatever it takes to get the job done.

I'm grasping for the right word but perhaps Loyalty works better for the general theme of Sin City.

EDIT: Oops, spoilers.
 
TopHatCat64 said:
Yes, but they are themes :)

Alright so going with your Dictionary.com: An implicit or recurrent idea; a motif: a theme of powerlessness that runs through the diary

What comes up again and again in the Sin City stories? The idea of doing whatever it takes to get the job done:

1. Hartigan getting shot, beaten, sent to prison for years, and eventually killing himself in order to protect Nancy

2. Marv getting shot, beaten, killing, and eventually being executed in order to avenge Goldie's death

3. Dwight driving the bodies to the pits, and nearly dieing in order to help the girls of oldtown as well as old flame Gail

I'm grasping for the right word but perhaps Loyalty works better for the general theme of Sin City.
I never disagreed with you that they are themes.
 

TopHatCat64

Diabloii.Net Member
Cloud_Walker said:
I never disagreed with you that they are themes.
Do you agree that they are the theme(s) of Sin City though?

-

Oh yea and I was just notified of the spoilers in my post so you might want to edit out that part of my quote, i just edited the original. Guess I started to think this was a Sin City thread.
 

Draconis

Diabloii.Net Member
The theme of a film is generally best expressed as a statement, rather than a word. You don't need to try to reduce it down to a single word, 'You have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done' is a perfectly good theme.
 

Sokar Rostau

Diabloii.Net Member
Lord of the Rings has two major themes. The first, and most important, is expressed in the title of the first book/film - Fellowship. The second is Duty, which is referred to in the title of the third book/film in a slightly abstract way. Duty is secondary to the main theme of Fellowship as it is, in fact, a part of the meaning of Fellowship (you have a duty to your friends), but it is worthy in this book/film as a theme all it's own.

I havn't seen Sin City and am hoping to blot out those spoilers from my memory before I do...
 
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