Friday Flix: Sound and Fury
I make no secret that I don’t like the Star Wars prequels. But about two weeks from when this entry posts I was flipping channels and Spike was running “Revenge of the Sith” for probably the 100,000th time. It reminded me that that movie features my two favorite scenes of the prequel trilogy.
- The first scene is the montage when all the Jedi are being killed by clone troopers thanks to Palpatine’s Order 66.
- The second is later when Anakin is sitting in the Jedi Council chambers, deciding whether to go help Palpatine or stay there as Mace Windu said. Meanwhile, across the city, Padme is thinking of Anakin and the future and whatnot.
What these scenes have in common is that they don’t feature really any dialog. In the first one Palpatine says, “Execute Order 66” but that’s pretty much it. The second features no dialog at all. Instead, George Lucas uses the music of John Williams along with the actors to convey the emotion of the scene. And it worked because A) John Williams is awesome (really, name one memorable movie theme song from 1975-2000 he wasn’t involved in: Jaws, Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, etc.) and B) Anything that eliminates Lucas’s tin-eared dialog is welcome.
That’s one advantage that movies have over books. With movies you can use a combination of dialog, images, and sound to convey meaning. When the three work in harmony it’s best, but sometimes you only need one or two for a poignant scene. As writers, though, we’re locked into only words to try and paint a picture of the scene. We unfortunately can’t call in John Williams to add a little extra meaning to a scene with a music cue.
But it is a good reminder that in writing a scene, you can convey emotion in more than one way. You can use a lot of description or sometimes a lot of dialog, or a combination of the two. It’s really up to you to figure out what will work best for the scene.
Monday what I’ve learned about Blogging so far…