Dark Knight Rises Cinematographer Bashes The Avengers

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Dark Knight Rises Cinematographer Bashes The Avengers

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Cinematographer Smash!

Do you remember when The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers were still lurking on the blockbuster horizon, and the constant bickering between the films' acolytes became so unbearably obnoxious that you began to hate both films and, indeed, the very concept of cinema itself? You do? Great, because chances are it's all going to kick-off yet again thanks to some harsh criticism of The Avengers courtesy of The Dark Knight Rises cinematographer, Wally Pfister.

"What's really important is storytelling. None of it matters if it doesn't support the story," he said when describing the art of cinematography in an interview with the Sarasota Herald Tribune. "I thought The Avengers was an appalling film. They'd shoot from some odd angle and I'd think, why is the camera there? Oh, I see, because they spent half a million on the set and they have to show it off. It took me completely out of the movie. I was driven bonkers by that illogical form of storytelling."

Now it seems to me that Pfister's comment is limited to the film's cinematography, but it's difficult to tell now that the Sarasota Herald has cut the quote from its interview. While we journos love the delicious taste of industry drama, ragging on another movie, particularly a rival movie, is considered unprofessional by many. The quote may have been dropped for PR reasons, but now it's just floating around the internet, devoid of context.

In Pfister's defense, he does know what he's talking about when it comes to cinematography. Known for his work on Christopher Nolan's films, Pfister has been nominated for four Academy awards and won one for his work on Inception. He's currently working on his directorial debut, an unnamed, present-day sci-fi flick, with Nolan acting as executive producer.

Source: Sarasota Herald Tribune

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...Really?

Spending money on sets is not as important as getting the right camera angle?

As long as the camera angle is correct then it could be in the least appropriate place possible?

Excuse me; i'm needed in the basement...

*calmly walks downstairs into flame bunker, slams the door shut and locks it*

*Muffled screaming is heard from the other side of the door*

Sounds to me that he is a bit of a snob. Haven't seen TDKR yet, so it'll be interesting to see what he finds to be good cinematography. But, judging from the previous two Batman films, it's probably going to be en par with The Avengers.

Rough translation: "We didn't like how The Avengers beat us at the box office, but it obviously wasn't OUR faults, such as dragging on far longer than it needed to, or having the villain be as uninspiring as possible, or our plot twist being pointless for comic fans and devoid of originality for non comic fans."

Plus, after the confusing at best angles Inception had, I don't think he has room to talk.

It's all very good saying "That was bad and you should feel bad", but does it matter if people ENJOY it?

Som stories are told to get the emotional value across (Schindler's List perhaps?) whereas some are made for pure enjoyment, which is why scenes like this were very well received:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AORKWkN3-c&feature=related

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Rough translation: "We didn't like how The Avengers beat us at the box office, but it obviously wasn't OUR faults, such as dragging on far longer than it needed to, or having the villain be as uninspiring as possible, or our plot twist being pointless for comic fans and devoid of originality for non comic fans."

Nailed it right on the head.

Jealousy is an ugly, ugly mistress. And that's all this comes across as. Sorry, make a better movie next time.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Rough translation: "We didn't like how The Avengers beat us at the box office, but it obviously wasn't OUR faults, such as dragging on far longer than it needed to, or having the villain be as uninspiring as possible, or our plot twist being pointless for comic fans and devoid of originality for non comic fans."

Plus, after the confusing at best angles Inception had, I don't think he has room to talk.

Going with this guy, this looks like a half-arsed excuse made up to try and maintain investor confidence than an actual critique of another's work.

Then again, without context, it's really hard to pass judgement either way, I think I'll file this under "Don't really care, may revisit if it actually becomes a thing."

Look I'm sorry if any of you have that name, and I know it is a perfectly normal name and probably has a long and distinguished history and everything but...I really like how his name sounds like he is a professionally derider...pffft you Pfister you...

I haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises, but in terms of style both movies are going for a totally different tone. So it seems a bit weird for this guy to start critisizing another movie on this point.

I'll admit that The Avengers wasn't shot in any real imaginative way, but it's meant to be a straight up lighthearted action flick for the whole family, not a dark and moody slow burn.

The Avengers was great, and The Dark Knight Rises was great. Go see them both or get the Bluray/DVD.
There, problem solved. Nothing to see here people! Show's over!

Small question, did anyone here feel they couldn't bring themselves to enjoy The Avengers because of poor camera angles?

So is he going to get troll on just like that woman who think the film wasn't good before the film was release?

octafish:
Look I'm sorry if any of you have that name, and I know it is a perfectly normal name and probably has a long and distinguished history and everything but...I really like how his name sounds like he is a professionally derider...pffft you Pfister you...

Actually a lot of people will use a silent P on that, meaning they would pronounce his name "Fister," I see only bright futures for a child with -that- last name.

how odd... i found all those exotic angles very enjoyable in the avengers. i actually noticed and liked it. but what do i know? i'm only part of the audience (the one with the money you work for)

I didn't notice odd camera angles in The Avengers... I was too busy wishing I hadn't chosen to watch in in 3D because the 3D effects were so shit.

Mind you, I remember thinking during The Dark Knight Rises, "Hmm, for a Batman film, a hell of a lot of this is being shot in broad daylight. Why?

Oh, that's right, because they were so scared The Avengers was going to squash them they had to make everything BIGGER AND BETTER than The Dark Knight, for the purposes of showing off, rather than actually serving the story.

I still thought The Avengers was good, but I agree with Pfister. To me it felt like really, really, really high budget tv.

To be honest, I wasn't a fan of the story of The Avengers. I can't really go into detail about it right now due to it being very late at night but the two things that bugged me were that, firstly, the plot felt like it just went in a circle and, secondly, the final battle just bored me. It wasn't dramatic or exciting to me in the slightest. This is because the bad guy mooks, who I knew absolutely nothing about, were not there as entities with personalities but rather as punching bags to show off the special effects.

Loki, however, averts this. My favourite scene in the movie, bar none, is when Hulk picks him up and throws him about like a rag doll when he's in the middle of talking about him being a god and the Hulk should obey him. I love it so much. :D

Eh, he's a cinematographer. He's allowed to be snobby about his own field.

But I don't care at all.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Rough translation: "We didn't like how The Avengers beat us at the box office, but it obviously wasn't OUR faults, such as dragging on far longer than it needed to, or having the villain be as uninspiring as possible, or our plot twist being pointless for comic fans and devoid of originality for non comic fans."

Plus, after the confusing at best angles Inception had, I don't think he has room to talk.

Yeah, a slightly more accurate translation would be, "How the fuck does that incompetent hack, Whedon, keep getting work?" To be fair, a lot of people have been asking that question for over a decade.

Illogical form of storytelling? Then tell me how showing Bruces fancy kicking skills due to his augementation added something to the story? How the hell does it add that Gordon never came to the idea of destroying his stoopid speech letter? How the fuck ...

Ah forget it. Dark Knight Rises looked pretty but was rigged with plotholes and apparantly long-known character who weren't in the previous movies (not even shown!). I take the meaningless wide shots of the Avengers over Dark Knight Rises 'meaningfull' use of cinematic use due to less plotholes, not establishing important characters out of nowhere and just less pseudophilosophical BS that made me want to fall asleep during DKR...

Agow95:
Small question, did anyone here feel they couldn't bring themselves to enjoy The Avengers because of poor camera angles?

Yeah, I had to stop watching it at the 143 min. mark. After that scene, it was unwatchable.

OT: This almost screams, "Look at me! See how much better my shots are compared to theirs."

yeah, the avengers cinematographer will call the dark knights cinematographers mom and tell her how much of a stinky meanie he is.

slow news day, here we go.

Personally I'm in a hate-enjoy position with TDKR, the movie IMO was pretty weak compared to Batman begins and The Dark Knight, but not enough to make it a bad movie, still, there were a couple of scenes and events that just made me really hate it, and what made even more pissed is that one of them could be EASILY fixed with a little bit more attention to the acting, and that's

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

Talia's death, it's not the way she dies, or anything, it's the acting in that moment, it was awful, that cunt of a whore of an actress seemes like a 9 years old faking a death scene, she's talking in pain and all of a sudden she lets her head hang and bang she's dead, it was just as bad as that fight between Daredevil and Elektra in the playground

ENNNNNNND OF SPOOOOOOILER

The ending wasn't to my liking either, because it failed to give closure, that could be fixed with a new movie following the "Nolan cannon", but the way it ended, it just created a bigger question and no valid answers, seemed like a TV show that got canceled in the worst moment it could end (I'm looking at you Deadwood, you got canceled in the middle of a conflict for fuck's sake!)
The Avengers on the other hand, it was a blockbuster but that's all, it was nice and fun all the way, but it didn't add no big drama nor anything. But hey, it didn't even attempt to, it just wanted to be like, surprise, the COMIC BOOKS, and that he did. So yeah, maybe the "awful" camera shots were there for a reason, to make you feel like you're watching a comic book, which is the way you should.

I know, Batman isn't shot that way because Nolan wanted a different feel, something less comic book and more "real", and it did work. What didn't work, for me, in TDKR were other things.

I came into this thread genuinely interested in what this guy had to say. Then I saw his name and started laughing.

OhJohnNo:
Eh, he's a cinematographer. He's allowed to be snobby about his own field.

But I don't care at all.

I really disagree. Snobs in any field, even if it is their own are unbearable. Usually they're so convinced that their way is the bet way that they'll refuse to believe that other ways are more efficient.

As a programmer, I deal with these arseholes every day.

While Mr Pfister is entitled to his opinion, which I won't argue (though I do disagree), there is a little thing called professional courtesy.

Going out of your way to point at one of your peers and say "they suck, they're a sell-out" mid-interview is a pretty tactless act on his part, especially when he went after what's perceived to be his competition without any provocation or prompting from the interviewer. I guess I just expected a little more class from a man of his status.

(btw, is it my imagination, or does 'Mr Pfister' not sound like the name of a '90s techno-club act? From Germany?)

I enjoyed the Avengers movie far better than all of the Batman movies, combined.

TheKasp:
Illogical form of storytelling? Then tell me how showing Bruces fancy kicking skills due to his augementation added something to the story? How the hell does it add that Gordon never came to the idea of destroying his stoopid speech letter? How the fuck ...

None of which has anything to do with cinematography, which is what he was referencing.

People seem to be assuming that this guy is jealous that The Avengers was a more popular movie, but to me it simply sounds like a professional commenting on an aspect of his craft. As a cinematographer, he is obviously going to look at films in a completely different way, noticing things that would be easily missed by Joe Public. I can sympathise, my friends often refuse to watch movies with me now because as a Film/TV writer I call out all the obvious story crutches that most people are happy to ignore. Once you have devoted a certain amount of your life to one particular aspect of a craft, it is hard to look at the big picture without focusing on your speciality.

While it is generally considered bad form in the industry to bad mouth someone else's work, this has almost certainly been taken out of context and there are probably a number of circumstances surrounding this discussion that haven't been revealed to the public.

You're just mad that Dark Knight Rises was just good compared to The Avengers being THE LITERAL GREATEST SUPERHERO MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

Except i have to agree with this guy: The Avengers film was ripe with weird camera location choices. Fact is there were just way to many of these wide camera angle shots... Those aren't out of place in a movie like Lord of the Rings, but in a contemporary set movie, its done just to pander to the very expensive sets.

Don't get me wrong, Avengers was a much better film then practically all the Batman films ever made combined, but it did objectively pick some bloody strange filming techniques.

Sugarman101:

None of which has anything to do with cinematography, which is what he was referencing.

People seem to be assuming that this guy is jealous that The Avengers was a more popular movie, but to me it simply sounds like a professional commenting on an aspect of his craft. As a cinematographer, he is obviously going to look at films in a completely different way, noticing things that would be easily missed by Joe Public. I can sympathise, my friends often refuse to watch movies with me now because as a Film/TV writer I call out all the obvious story crutches that most people are happy to ignore. Once you have devoted a certain amount of your life to one particular aspect of a craft, it is hard to look at the big picture without focusing on your speciality.

While it is generally considered bad form in the industry to bad mouth someone else's work, this has almost certainly been taken out of context and there are probably a number of circumstances surrounding this discussion that haven't been revealed to the public.

Well, the latter examples were just a few gripes I had with the movie...

The first one still stands. Like he wrote, if a certain camera angle is used it should have a purpose for the story - What was the purpose of the emphasis of the one leg augmentation? (I remember clearly the camera focusing on it during those scenes - if the purpose was to show us the frail Bruce Wayne and all the damage his body suffered: It was already made clear in several scenes before that [as in his first encounter of Celena, his visit in the hospital and pretty much the whole body language of Bruce Wayne up to this part.)
Sadly I have yet to purchase DKR to refresh my memory of all the questionable shots used during this whole movie so this is the one clear example I remember which boggled the fuck out of me during the whole flick.

dint like the movie because of one camera angle??? this has to be a joke. what does he expect? that every movie must be realistic or what?
i think he is just jealous that it cashed in as well as batman.

I thought the cinematography was amazing in The Avengers. I was blown away by the big battle set piece, which obviously had a lot to do with how good the cinematography was.

TheKasp:
Well, the latter examples were just a few gripes I had with the movie...

The first one still stands. Like he wrote, if a certain camera angle is used it should have a purpose for the story - What was the purpose of the emphasis of the one leg augmentation? (I remember clearly the camera focusing on it during those scenes - if the purpose was to show us the frail Bruce Wayne and all the damage his body suffered: It was already made clear in several scenes before that [as in his first encounter of Celena, his visit in the hospital and pretty much the whole body language of Bruce Wayne up to this part.)
Sadly I have yet to purchase DKR to refresh my memory of all the questionable shots used during this whole movie so this is the one clear example I remember which boggled the fuck out of me during the whole flick.

From memory (DRK is a bit hazy for me as well), those scenes were largely about showing off the augmented leg, which gets into the murky territory of whether or not the Director insisted on having those shots, in which case the DoP has to go with it and make sure it looks as good as possible. Without being on set, it's impossible to know.

I'm certainly no cinematographer, but I would imagine that the emphasis on the leg was to show the artificial means that Bruce was using to convince himself that he was back on his A Game; not realising that the real obstacle he needed to overcome was spiritual.

Not that I necessarily think that's a good enough reason, just a possible explanation. DKR had had a LOT of problems, but judged solely on the visual aspect I feel it was a far better film than The Avengers.

OhJohnNo:
Eh, he's a cinematographer. He's allowed to be snobby about his own field.

But I don't care at all.

Pretty much all that needs to be said. If you're an artist and take your work seriously (as I'd imagine Mr. Pfister does), then you're going to look at similar art (in this case cinematography and all that that entails) with more of a critical eye and greater understanding of the other artists' choices than the standard viewer. Why assume that Mr. Pfister is trolling, jealous, bitter, or trying to start a flame war when he may just like a different style of cinematography than what was used in The Avengers (and, as a result, was taken out of the film by his intimate knowledge of his field)?

Has no one else here seen a film where, for whatever reason, you got hung up on a particular detail or aspect of the film that completely took you out of the film? I don't see why a guy who works on films isn't also allowed to have that happen to him (especially if he wanted to enjoy the film).

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