This is Getting Old

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

The International movie image Clive Owen

Clive Owen in “The International” (2009)

assassins-creed-revelations-constantinople-artwork-small

“Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” (2011) H/T: Enzo N.

skyfall-motorbike-istanbul

Daniel Craig’s stunt double in “Skyfall” (2012)

Liam Neeson in “Taken 2” (2012)

About Fabrizio del Wrongo

Recovering liberal arts major. Unrepentant movie nut. Aspiring boozehound.
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8 Responses to This is Getting Old

  1. Callowman says:

    Would it be better if they were women and they weren’t wearing clothes?

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  2. agnostic says:

    The Orient looks least exotic in the harsh afternoon sun with nothing casting strong shadows for contrast. That video game also looks uniformly bland, no strong chiaroscuro. Low-contrast lighting drains the strange location of any potential to feel other-worldly — it looks too clinically sterilized and sanitized, like’s it’s nothing more than an ethnographic shot of everyday life. I wouldn’t even want to see that in a documentary, let alone in an action movie. Give us something striking to look at.

    Then again, maybe today’s movie-goers dig the boring crappy look.

    Striking lighting must be one of the hardest things to program into a video game. I’ve never seen a screenshot where the figure stood out from the ground because of lighting — they all have this washed-out look where you can’t tell what you’re looking at, even aside the fact that the shot is also always cluttered with too many things to tell what is supposed to be important.

    Or maybe video game players just dig the boring crappy look.

    Jean-Leon Gerome painted several panoramic views of a city outdoors during the afternoon, but there are enough pockets of shadow, where the figures are finding shade, to relieve the sun-bleached monotony. There may be parts of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven that look like that too, since the style is similar, but I don’t remember about exterior shots in particular.

    Shooting a strange location indoors or at night makes it a lot easier to achieve chiaroscuro. Indoors also lets us experience the other-worldly environment more vividly, since we’ve gained entry rather than been kept out. Gerome was not much of an exotifier compared to the Romantics, but the single set of choices related to chiaroscuro makes his paintings look so much more fascinating than his clinically dull Victorian contemporaries.

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  3. agnostic says:

    It’s like the appreciation of the strange location is supposed to be cerebral/conceptual rather than emotional/visceral. “Wait a minute, there are no domes and minarets where I live — Oh, I get it, it’s like, somewhere else.” If that’s the audience you’re targeting, then why bother with how the domes and minarets are delivered or presented by the cinematographer. Just barf them right on top of the shot.

    Another thing that those shots need is an anamorphic lens to make the depth of field more shallow, again to direct our attention to what’s worth attending to and remembering. The space goes so far back, and there’s a pretty deep focus, causing too many objects at too many distances to be clear = information overload. An interior shot right in front of a wall doesn’t need any help, but these panoramic exterior shots need all the help they can get to make the interesting parts stand out from all the rest.

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  4. I nearly always hate the light in videogames, and in computer-animated movies too.

    Did the chase-over-the-Istanbul-rooftops cliche get started with “Topkapi”?

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