Can a piece of work have both style and substance?

Samtemdo8_v1legacy

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To anyone familiar with the criticism "Style over substance" it gives me the impression that both things are mutually exclusive.

Is there a piece of work be it a game or film or anything that succeeds in having both style and substance?
 

Zhukov

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Obviously.

That phrase doesn't mean the two are mutually exclusive.

If I say someone is "all brawn and no brain" it doesn't mean someone else can't have both.
 

Barbas

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Well, lots of things have both - like a good blade or a sex toy. So yes. It's a balancing act.
 

Thaluikhain

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Er...not seeing why anyone would think the two couldn't exist in the same thing.
 

FalloutJack

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As with all things that SEEM to be in contention with each other, there is a medium by which you have some of Column A and some of Column B.
 

Chanticoblues

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I think they're sort of the same thing. Style can be substance and vice versa.

The saying only goes one way too. Substance over style isn't really said. Style over substance is just a way of saying that the ideas in the work aren't as strong as the formal execution.
 

WhiteFangofWhoa

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I'd consider many of the best works to have both, managing to be both quality material and presented in a memorable and stylish fashion.
 

K12

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... yes, there's literally no inherent conflict between the two. In fact I'd say they usually compliment each other. Style has more impact when it has a deeper context to it and substantive ideas are better when they're presented stylishly.

Honestly I find "style over substance" to usually just a way for smug elitists to dismiss popular stuff when high brow art, poetry and music are probably the best examples of style over substance (I don't mean that as an insult by the way).

I think there can be examples of "substance over style" like scientific and academic papers. They can be surprisingly badly written and seem like little effort has been put into making the content understandable and clear. Precision of meaning is paramount and since, generally, only people who already have a good grasp of the subject are going to go to the original source anyway.
 

Kae

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Of course, have you seen Blade Runner? That film has lots of style and substance, so does the original Ghost in the Shell film and it's sequel Innocence , same goes for Psycho Pass, 12 Monkeys, Taxi Driver and like a million other works of fiction, so yes, yes it can, that phrase just exists to say that a work has more style than substance, and while there are also ton of works that only have good substantial ideas but are horribly paced and rather dull the best works tend to be well balanced in style and substance.
 

Joccaren

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Is style defined as effectively "Lacking substance"? No?
Is substance defined as effectively "Lacking style"? No?

Then no, they're not mutually exclusive, and yes, a work can have both.
Style over substance is bought up usually in relation to works where style is prioritised completely, and substance is ignored. If a work is very flashy, but doesn't really have much to it - style over substance. Ideally, a work would begin from a great idea it wanted to communicate, build up a lot of substance around that in how to communicate it, and then throw in style to make it more interesting to watch. Take the latest two Captain America movies; Civil War and Winter Soldier. Both have started from very current social issues; whether its the government that should be in control of those protecting us, and whether we should trade freedom for security respectively. The movies explore these ideas, and let out their maker's opinions on them, but do so with a ton of style that makes them fun and interesting to watch.

Style over substance is when you start planning from the style stage, and the plot exists purely to justify that style, rather than to explore any ideas or be compelling in its own right. Ideally, style is a servant to substance. Its a tool substance uses to make itself more interesting and more engaging. Style over substance is where the reverse happens, where style uses a facade of substance to try and create a reason for itself to exist.

That said, movies that are all style and little substance can still be enjoyable, however they will never be as great as movies that utilise both style and substance effectively - and the same goes the other way around. Movies where its all exposition about some issue that the producer is trying to convince you of their opinion on aren't all that great. Both working in tandem makes a great movie. Either working alone generally leads to a mediocre experience.

As someone else pointed out, its like brains vs brawn. You can have your 'puny' nerd who's really smart, but an utter weakling and just does not do well with physical activities. You can also have your sports jock who's really great at athletics but just does not do well academically at all. There's also the third kind of person who is great at sports and physical activities, but also intelligent and well learned. The two aren't exclusive, and ideally a well balanced person would have both enriching their lives. Same goes for style over substance for any media. Both can exist exclusively, but its just better when they exist in balance to enrich a work.
 

Saelune

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"Style over substance" just refers to a lack of balanced focus, that someone focused on something looking great or exciting while otherwise being hollow and lacking in anything of intellectual value. Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams come to mind.

Substance over style I suppose would be a boring philosophy lecture.
 

Samtemdo8_v1legacy

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Saelune said:
"Style over substance" just refers to a lack of balanced focus, that someone focused on something looking great or exciting while otherwise being hollow and lacking in anything of intellectual value. Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams come to mind.

Substance over style I suppose would be a boring philosophy lecture.
Interesting question because if Bayformers is all style and no substance?

What would you add to give it substance?
 

Silvanus

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I can think of a thousand examples. Such as ketchup applied in such a way as to make a smiley face.
 

Hero of Lime

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So instead of just saying the same thing as everyone else did (seriously guys, you all don't need to say they aren't mutually exclusive) I'll just say an example.

The first that came to mind was Wind Waker. The visuals were amazing for their time and still look great today, despite the uneasy feelings over the art style. And of course Wind Waker has plenty of substance to back itself up with.
 

Saelune

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Samtemdo8 said:
Saelune said:
"Style over substance" just refers to a lack of balanced focus, that someone focused on something looking great or exciting while otherwise being hollow and lacking in anything of intellectual value. Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams come to mind.

Substance over style I suppose would be a boring philosophy lecture.
Interesting question because if Bayformers is all style and no substance?

What would you add to give it substance?
Character development and interaction, and remove a lot of the excess action, explosions, and Megan Fox.
 

Vanilla ISIS

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Some lot of Terry Gilliam's movies (Brazil, 12 Monkeys)
Some of Paul Verhoeven's movies (Robocop, Total Recall)
Some of Edgar Wright's movies (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz).

Yeah, there's stuff like that all over the place.
You just need to look for it a bit.