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Qualities Of Better Films #3 of 31: Innovation

Innovation, as opposed to originality—which is about content and form—is generally about application of technique. Ang Lee’s The Hulk was innovative in terms of how it found a multi-screen presentation representative of cartoon panels, but the story by the time it made it to the screen, certainly wasn’t original. Tom Twyker’s Run Lola Run was both innovative and original; its fast forward approach to examining secondary characters’ lives was innovative and its approach to a thriller genre tale was original.

Innovation can also extend beyond the experience of watching the film itself. The experience of a film is not relegated exclusively to the time the audience is in the theater or watching the disc. Filmmakers have been making real strides lately extending that experience via preceding or other carefully placed shorts. These can be “additional value” on a disc, or be found on the internet and extend the audience’s understanding of the film’s universe. Virtual worlds can be created via websites and other materials. Even how a film is presented in a theater is up for grabs, with various artists providing live scores and other forms of expansive entertainment.

Similarly, many film enthusiasts appreciate innovation on a technical level, be it in quality of image, projection, or sound, or in range or experience of the same. It is mistake to think that only the well financed have access to innovation; the flaunting of one’s limitations has often led to innovative work too. In fact the lower budget work can afford to take more risks and it is often this experimentation that leads the way.

— Ted Hope

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