Anything Goes : What do you appreciate more in a movie: action or story? by Victor Titimas

Victor Titimas

What do you appreciate more in a movie: action or story?

Which one of the above do you think matters more in a movie? Do you appreciate more a movie with a solid story behind, or do you prefer action based movies, where it's entertaining to watch the main character against various enemies and the story is just to explain what and why it happens?

Paul Sumares

One of my favorite movies is "The Game", starring Michael Douglas, and I think the reason is that it has a great balance of both action and captivating story line. Check it out, if you have not seen it. The more top-notch and well-executed either type of movie is -- action based or story-centric -- the more I like it. In my view, however, a solid story does not always have to say volumes in order to be entertaining. Character studies are often extremely entertaining, and yet often the characters will not undergo any huge epiphany in the course of the story (perhaps one might). "Real" people are simply entertaining to see in their many varied behavior patterns, especially when contrasted with others who are vastly different from them. Game was strong on both levels in this regard. Not only does the story itself contain many twists and turns, but the main character does indeed go through an important transition.

CJ Walley

Game is a great movie and I agree it shows great balance. Personally I have no preference, over action or story.

D Marcus

One or the other? I prefer story. But I would rather see a movie with action and story. All the really great action based movies have great stories.

Michael Nielsen

Story. Even if the movie has a lot of action, it has to have a good story. It doesn't have to be complicated, either.

Trev Lewis

I definitely prefer story and character based films than action packed movies. They tend to get at fetched, depending heavily on thrills and pitfalls that you know the protagonist will escape from. But not always though. I prefer down to earth if not comical dramas, such as the work of Wes Anderson which not only includes some beautifully shot cinematography and some excellent characters, but also contains a wealth of great comedic performances from all of its cast.

Nitten Rajput

Balance of both.

Peter Yamazaki Hetzel

From the top of the mountain I yell, STORY! For the love of story and the purpose for the medium in the first place...STORY!

James Peters

I feel "the story" is more important. Action is cool, but not necessary. But again...who am I?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Story. Without it action is rather pointless and boring.

Colin Chaston

action should come out of story?

Justice Born Allah

Story...I agree 100% with Colin. Action without a story is pointless.

Jonathan Kramer

Story that inspires, entertains and engages by highlighting the good in people rather than instilling fear and limitation. When I think of action, it's more genre than anything..

Colin Chaston

Brilliantly put!! Totally agree

James David Sullivan

In my humble opinion, story is everything. Otherwise, you might as well be looking through a kaleidoscope. There are three levels of story in terms of audience fulfillment. Lowest level = entertainment. Next level = enlightenment. Highest level = Inspiration/motivation.

Mary Dallas

STORY. Too much action stresses me out. I always feel as though I've had way too much coffee after watching an action flick. A solid & powerful storyline (from beginning to end) keeps my interest, not only during the movie, but long after the movie has ended.

Khalid Rasheed Kreativist

good story comes first. Action can not hold you on the seat until logical story connection. After all film is story telling not action showing process.

Tommy Allen Taylor

Story by far. If there is no good story, why bother? I go to the movies to relax. If I want to watch a lot of action, I have MMa fighting or youtube.

Martin Victor

Story is THE most important element. It's what makes a movie so compelling. And without a compelling story, what do you really have? Even a cast of A-list actors can't save a bad story.

Mike Grell

Story is everything. Even if there's a lot of action, there has to be a reason for it. When the car chase starts, my brain switches off.

Daren Scot Wilson

Gotta have a decent, not too simple story. But being a visual artist not a literature nut, I may have an unwittingly low standard for what counts as good story. Where does Spongebob fall on the spectrum of trivial to great literature?

James David Sullivan

Your not likely to see a studio movie that focuses on story. They don't think it will sell globally, and that's money left on the table.

James David Sullivan

A-list actors are interesting in story, but their character is what they decide on.

James David Sullivan

A-list actors have about 10 top items they look for in a script. It's not simply story. For example, if one of the other characters outshines them, they are not going to want to do the script.

Christopher Kardos

It's a sad world when you have to ask this question...and it is a good question. people should think about their take on it. Story is everything. Well, story and characters together, imo. Having that said, a story and character-based script will probably not do well in sales nowadays, so if you wanna make your script marketable, than have a nice balance of both. Or more story, but def some action. That's what audiences (the masses) are used to. Lot of them don't even understand that there's tension in the script at some point, so they'll just get bored. Having said that, there's a fine line between making it subtly obvious that there's tension for the masses and not ruining it for the intellectual audiences, who of course will pick it up even without it. 'Do not underestimate your audience' of course but don't write like all of them have PHDs either. The reason I brought this up is because most people need some action for a film to work for them. My next feature, my first, actually, is gonna be a lot of substance but I'm not gonna leave it dry as far as action goes. Not too much, just 'enough'. To give a more appealing coating for the substance.

D Marcus

I wonder if Victor has read any of this discussion...

Brad Starks

I'd say story is the main thing. If Action has no root in a good story, its very boring.

MJ Brewer

It would depend on whether someone has long-term goals for watching something. Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, are all based on killing with little to no plot; how many ways can you fillet a fish? I prefer a bit of thought to earn my dollar, with principles to change my thinking.

Jonathan Kramer

When I equate a good story that will attract A-list actors, I often wonder when viewing some films from the past how that happens. Example: I was watching Diane Keaton in "Baby Boom". The story is very predictable, her character isn't that interesting or unusual and James Spader's character is also quite predictable since he's so good and playing the rotten brat who steals the gold. That said, the action really isn't there, the story is fair, but it was a big success and attracted good talent. Yes, it WAS years ago, but the topic is story or action.

Allan Chen

By action, I assume performance. By story, I assume script. A bad script can be made watchable by good performance. The same cannot be said of a good script with substandard performance. So I would tilt slightly towards action. But then again, if all is great, the story should be of more importance. Hope I’m making sense.

James David Sullivan

The ADD with the younger generation, in my view, is the inevitable result of an all-too-tolerant educational system and a gross lack of parental involvement. Education should not be consider a privilege or even a right; it should be an absolute obligation. If we keep going the way we are currently, it won't be long before we are a third world nation. The kids in other "less fortunate" countries understand how crucial education is to their future. We don't.

Christopher Kardos

Allan, you seem to make a lot of assumptions regarding this topic, action does not equal performance and the story is not the script. A story is PART of a script. Performance doesn't need to include action. James, I have to agree with the addition that ADD/ADHD is not only how we condition our children nowadays but it's also a biochemical imbalance in their systems. Eating all kinds of junk food. Another addition is that even people without ADHD are conditioned via TV to have a short attention span. "ADHD is a collection of symptoms, not a disease, and shouldn't be listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. " quote by Richard Saul, "ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder" Here's a few things to avoid: Ada, I don't think it's people consciously or willingly shortening their own attention spans, it's the conditioning/programming they get by living here in the US or most of them at least. Schools are totally messed up, as James D.S. pointed out but that's not the only problem. It's multifaceted.

James David Sullivan

@Ada - if your post refers to my comment, you must have totally misunderstood what I was trying to say. I suggest that you read it again.

James David Sullivan

Schools are not the only problem, but they are a major problem. And it isn't the teachers - it's the administrations which find it all too easy to blame the teachers. The system will get worse and worse until: (1) parents take responsibility and tell their children in no uncertain terms that misbehavior at school will not be tolerated; and (2) administrators decide to fully support the teachers. Clearly, from the above posts, writers favor story over action. Yet, what do we see on the screens - action, action, action. Space aliens, giant lizards, car chases. And when the kids watch this stuff, they go back to school and are bored stiff. So, among other causes, the movie industry needs to hold itself accountable - for not letting great stories, especially those with compelling social impact, go to the screen. Maybe then, the kids would understand how important education truly is.

Christopher Kardos

Ada: I agree. The media, even the formatting of TV just by itself with commercials almost every 5 minutes. I haven't watched any tv for almost 5 years. @James: I do agree with what you wrote. The teachers need to be trusted more, especially the good ones (like Adrian Brody's character in Detachment) but I think the fundamental problem lies within the parents themselves. Parents don't know how to be a parent. They have no idea because they weren't raised the way they should've been either. Too much control or too much freedom - among other things - will distort a child's sense of self and that's what they grow up with, they won't know any better. By the time kids get to high school, it doesn't matter what the teachers say or do, they'll be ignored. The teachers and parents need to work together on this issue to better our young ones and do what's truly best for them. (there are many books out there on the subject of what works/doesn't work in raising children, Timothy Wilson being one of the psychologists who wrote on the subject.

MJ Brewer

While stories are incredible, the younger crowd appears to be wanting a jolt every twenty minutes or so.

Martin Victor

Maybe it's because younger people don't have a very long attention span, and story development takes time, and enough intellect to follow along, scene to scene, and be able to ascertain what is being given to them as story points. Sensationalism in and of itself can only survive for so long. A great story line will live so much longer, and enrich an audience so much further.

MJ Brewer

Martin, what you are saying is very true. Look at what a sensation Lord of the Rings from J.R.R. Tolkein has been around and recreated. My son watches it over and over. That is true art.

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