After watching Mad Max: Fury Road, the most awesome movie of 2015!, I started to wonder about the genre specifics and how sometimes it’s necessary to understand what to expect. That in return got me thinking about the bigger theme of movies combining genres and wondering what in those cases deserves more attention, and whether some genres are by unwritten law, paired up automatically and don’t actually fit together.
Based on my educational knowledge, and personal opinion, it is always better to take a thing and see it for what it is. It’s not smart to expect some mind blowing meaning from a comedy, or to expect constant humor from a drama. The same goes for throwing around the word good. Each movie in their own genre could be considered good, but just as we start to compare Pitch Perfect to Birdman, the juxtaposition happens with different genres and the comparison is unfair. A sports movie is either better than the other sports movie, or it is not as good as the one with baseball, but it’s not bad because it’s not as riveting as Nightcrawler.
That basic understanding is easily forgotten when in the cinema. You watch something and you expect it to blow your mind despite it being an animation or a musical because Fight Club is your favorite movie. The trick is to get used to the idea of thinking about similar movies in the same genre and based on that, set your expectations. This is by no means a teaching moment, everybody is free to do what ever they want but this is me simply sharing my way of viewing movies. Certainly it’s sometimes hard, especially considering the fact that many genres are frequently combined and it’s even stated that action can’t exist without adventure and vice versa.
One of my favorite comedies as of late is This Is the End because it combined the element of comedy with fantasy and it allowed itself to think outside the comedy-box by having ridiculous, yet plausible scenarios. The reason they were plausible were to due the fantasy-genre that allows, let’s face it, pretty much anything because it’s considered to be realistic representation of something unreal. Game of Thrones deals with political issues, but it’s far more interesting than House of Cards because it’s high-fantasy. Meaning, a specific genre could create the same element, for instance politics, in a whole new way.
The soon to be released, and most likely another Melissa McCarthy failure of a comedy, is Spy. It describes itself as a comedy and an action movie which is probably the worst combination. Sure, it may work together in some rare cases, but action is a difficult genre to pull off in the first place. Mad Max: Fury Road that started this whole conversation is pretty much the perfect example of an action movie and it does it with class. To achieve that kind of level of action one has to build a world and add characters that don’t need a lot of explaining. I doubt any comedy will be able to achieve that kind of action and it feels redundant to even call it like that. This Is the End had action sequences and yet, it is classified as fantasy so I doubt Spy will justify it’s genre specifics. But this argument will be surely proven after Spy is released, or it could also bite me in the ass and be an awesome action movie, though I highly doubt it.
Finally it’s probably necessary to discuss the fact that mixing genres isn’t always as unsuccessful as comedy + action. My latest experience with The Voices shows me that mixing comedy with thriller and crime could be an unnatural union with a successful outcome (if you happen to enjoy dark humor). Frankly, I think combining genres is a great way of exploiting the idea of genres in the first place and putting together ones that are rarely shown together could lead to an amazing outcomes. Yet, there should always, in my opinion, be a balance between the genres.
Image: Unmask Group
This post is a Coffee Talk post, a series where I write and ramble about emotions, feelings and decisions behind my process of watching things and blogging about stuff.