23 September 2007

Watching like a writer

Yesterday, Sir Talkalot and I went to the movies to see Stardust. I hadn't heard anything about this movie, and by chance followed a link off the cinema website to find out what it was about. Neil Gaiman -- that told me enough. So, then I had a look at the preview -- fantasy -- and knew this was a must-see for me.

How did this little sleeper get past me? It was a wonderful film, full of other worlds, fallen stars personified, sky pirates -- though Sir T and I both decided it would be immeasurably improved by cutting the last line, but that's another story.

What I found interesting was how quickly I picked up clues, which later turned out to be right. Was this the writer in me watching, or was it as simple as just being an adult watching? Sir T didn't get any of the clues I got, which doesn't help me sort it out. At the first mention of things, puzzle pieces were slotting into place, leaving me wondering whether I was supposed to be making these leaps or not. Quite possibly I was.

It's that eternal quandary when writing about how much you tell the reader. I know we had a discussion about it the other day in Western Women while workshopping a story.

When is a twist not a twist but a well-earned turn in the plot, rather than an abrupt about-face because the reader has held back information or gone off in a new direction? Does it differ in different genres? This movie was obviously meant for children (as well as adults), so obviously more information has to be given out. Children can't work as hard as readers because they just don't have that experience.

Anyway, back to the movie -- it had a lovely, innocent warmth to it, a charm, and a great undercurrent of humour that ran through it. Highly recommended for everyone, but especially for fantasy lovers!


ellen said...

Hi there. I've see the shorts for this a few times and couldn't decide if it looked good, or whether it was merely cashing in on fantasy flavour of the month. Glad to hear it's good. I must go see!

Tracey said...

Neil Gaiman's probably enough of a clue. I enjoyed it, but it does have the feel that it's written for kids. Very happy overall -- though, come to think of it, some of the humour is more adult. Definitely worth a look.