Why do so many movies keep me in the dark


Are Directors so obsessed about shooting in the dark? In a fit of masochism and boredom I decided to watch the latest Star Wars extravaganza, Solo, on a plane. 85% was shot in the dark. I hardly could make out anything (except the actor playing Solo had all the verve and personality of a week-old halibut). Now all that darkness might look uber cool on a screen wide enough to land a Millennium Falcon on, but puh-lease.... more and more people watch movies on TV screen tablets or even smart phones. Dark Don’t Display. This is a classic case of creatives sticking heads up collective arses and ignoring reality. To see all those effects on tiny screens needs brightness. Here is a tip for the major studios. You want a few extra $ million in downloads? Shoot an entire picture during the day!

...and another thing

I accept I am rushing towards my dotage so maybe my synapse don’t fizz with the agility of youth, but it’s not only visuals on some movies that keep me in the dark… but plot lines. Take Bond, From Russia with Love. Steal a Lector decoder. Goldfinger makes Fort Knox radioactive and increases the value of Auric Goldfinger’s hoard and ruins the US economy. Thunderball, pinch a Nuclear Bomb and blackmail the West. Easy…

Now, a one liner for Quantum of Solace, Skyfall or Spectre anyone?

Film enjoyment seems more about the visuals than the plot. And for that blame Pop videos and MTV. Before the launch of MTV the most successful feature film Directors came from commercials (the Scott Bothers, Alan Parker, Adrian Lynne, etc). Those little commercials were mini movies with character and plot.

Boom. Along comes MTV and our visual shorthand changed overnight. It was all fast edits, visual effects and eye candy. The next generation of Directors came from (or were influenced by) music videos. MTV changed the whole rhythm and edit of TV and movies.

Don’t believe me? When was the last time you watched a sixties or seventies classic like The Godfather Trilogy?

To those born before 1965 they now seem kind of quaint to watch again in their slow deliberate pace but to anyone under 35 it’s like watching toast get cold.

“How can you watch that. It’s so slow,” they moan oblivious to Brando mumbling away or that the only special effects in the movie is the cotton wool padding stuffed inside Don Corleoe’s lips and cheeks.

Most TV manages only six seconds before a cut. Go watch a Columbo epode with Peter Falk and the denouement scene (always starting with “Just one more thing”).

That finale scene is all done in one take and are several minutes long! That style would never survive now.

...and another thing

I guess its attention span. Nowadays not being able to absorb information over a long period seems to be increasingly attributed to ADD. I accept some people may have a serious condition but for most, having the attention span of a gnat is due to growing up absorbing images and data in bite size pieces (hence the rise of newsbytes).

It’s only a shame that this speeding up of processing data has not managed to reach UK Post offices where you can easily spend a decade waiting to send off a late birthday present or send your last-minute tax return via registered post! Maybe Andy Warhol could have shot one of his sixties marathon movies in one!? Nah… on second thought, that would be too exciting.

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  1. Peter Clark says:

    Valid comments. However my major concern and it may well be part of the ageing process is that I have a problem with films and dramas on television understanding what the heck the actors are saying. Rapid mumbling is the issue and it’s not that my hearing is going totally because I can still understand Jacob Rees Mogg mouthing off his ludicrous concepts on Brexit …. unfortunately !!

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