Dark Knight Rises Cinematographer Bashes The Avengers

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

No. Realistically not but he does have a point. A couple of shots come to mind that just drew me out of the film instead of keeping me there. In particular, when Tony and Bruce are working in the lab and the end of their conversation is shot from really far away. It just shoved me out of the scene altogether.

Why do I imagine him wearing hipster glasses when he recites this quote?

How long till the flame wars start?

Poor guy. His professional deformation is preventing him from enjoying a good and fun movie. All he can see are camera angles and all he can do is fuss over them, missing so much. Also, it's ironic that he states how everything is about the story and storytelling then focuses soley on his own field...

The Avengers was 2 hours of pure escapist nonsense. Twaddle, but grade A twaddle.
Batman took itself a touch too seriously at times.
Thus, on an enjoyment level, Avengers wins out. If I want to watch something intellectual and challenging, I'll watch 'The Wire.

I found Dark Knight Rises to meh at best, it suffered from the curse of trilogies. Avengers on the other hand was an awesome watch.

The only camera angle I noticed that annoyed me was at shield where the camera was looking strait down at one of workers. Granted, it wasn't the camera angle itself that annoyed me, it was the fact that the actor playing the worker was told, "look like your busy typing" and the guy interpreted that as completely spreading out your hands and alternating hitting 5 keys per hand in the same spot. I confused the people around me in the theater as I broke out laughing.

I can't believe that made it into the film in center frame.

I watched the DVD commentary and it was admitted several times that the angles were messed around with just to show off the 3D. I don't think it's out of order to say the cinematography wasn't perfect. Saying it was unwatchable is overkill, though.

So I wasn't alone in looking down on the cinematography in The Avengers. That's encouraging.

I would take Pfister's comment more seriously if the action scenes in all the Batman movies didn't suck shaky projection on a jello cup's balls. This trend with fast cutting "shaky cam" needs to die and Pfister is balls deep in the trend.

Well at least he is bring up valid criticisms even if his choice of words is piss poor. As I've said numerous times before you can criticize without being an asshole.

At worst, he is just a snob trying to find excuses to hate a movie more successful than his.

At best, he is just a professional viewing a movie from his professional perspective, instead of as just a movie; which can hurt his enjoyment of it. I should know... being an IT consultant, the scene when they hack and turn all cellphones in Gotham into some sort of big brother, omnipresent sonar almost hurt my experience with such "illogical form of storytelling" and convenient plot point. Luckily, then I remembered it was just a movie about a guy with a pyjama and a bucket on his head fighting crime.

Either way, he is missing the point entirely...

Wait, hold on, hold on, hold on. Cinematographer?

You know what, at first I interpreted it as Director of Photography. It's come to my attention that I'm not exactly 100% what a cinematographer even does. Oh, wait, hold on! A cinematographer is the DoP! Well... in that case... this guy is blatantly a snob about a film that isn't really in his own film's direct competition (anyone who thinks Dark Knight Rises and Avengers are the same genre of film just because they're both superhero films is wrong, as far as I'm concerned - one is a action/thriller/drama and the other is an action/comedy).

Anyway, I completely disagree, at any rate. Avengers had no plot to advance, but it did have characters to build up, and far as I can tell from flicking through my DVD version right now... I can't really see many "excess" shots. Well, at least in the battle scenes; everything is created very purposefully to paint the picture of where each character is and, more importantly, how they're feeling, what their reaction to their surroundings is. It's not a brilliantly shot film but it's not so bad it deserves to be mentioned as such. It's not a Star Wars prequel.

Really, I'm just a little confused that Dark Knight Rises apparently considers Avengers competition. The Dark Knight saga is, essentially, film noir with a man dressed up as a bat that shows up occasionally. Avengers is a Saturday morning cartoon filled with humour and larger-than-life caricatures. I don't see much point to this guy's statement - which makes me think he was probably asked what he thinks of Avengers in the context of an interview, and so he gave his honest opinion. If that's the case, well... I guess that makes sense. Any other context, I feel kinda like his comment is redundant. I mean, this guy shot Inception. I can't think of a single film that wanks itself off on its own locales and craaazy action!! more than Inception.

90sgamer:
I would take Pfister's comment more seriously if the action scenes in all the Batman movies didn't suck shaky projection on a jello cup's balls. This trend with fast cutting "shaky cam" needs to die and Pfister is balls deep in the trend.

What Batman film were you watching? Begins had it, yes. Then they switched to IMAX and they couldn't do it. Like... it would be physically impossible for them to have done it. I mean, watch pretty much any scene from Dark Knight and you'll see everything is attached to either a crane or a dolly because the handheld "shaky" look would have been a logistical nightmare with those three-tonne monster cameras.

The fast-cutting is an issue, but the blame for that would rest on either the editor(s) or the director, not the DoP. The camera does do a lot of silly rotating around in some of the brawls, but... shaky cam? Nolan outgrew shaky cam around The Prestige and it hasn't been prevalent since. (Then again, I'll probably watch Rises on Blu-ray and notice it everywhere and I'll realize how mistaken I was. Until then, I stand by my point, sir.)

Casual Shinji:
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.

He's still a cinematographer who has a valuable opinion on how things should be shot: I don't see why the tone of the films matters.

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

He's a fucking cinematographer likely being asked about cinematography. What are you people expecting him to comment on? The weather?

At least it wasn't boring as fuck.

I was one of the ones kinda disappointed by DKR to be honest, I'd hope the next inevitable Batman film is more in line with the comics, We've done dark and gritty.

Yeah sure Avengers was flashy.
But TDKR was so boring I stopped paying attention.

It really just sounds like he is being pissy because his movie did nowhere near as good as the Avengers

Grey Carter:

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?

No. In fact I remember no animosity between the two fanbases at all. Unless you count prefering one movie to the other as unbearably obnoxious.

bravetoaster:

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).

I think the problem is the (lack of) context - No-one's denying him an opinion, especially one related to his job, but he really shouldn't be saying it in interviews; that's just uncalled for.
Even if you're unquestionably amazing, and are talking about someone else's work that is universally hated, you still shouldn't be putting it down in such a public form.

On top of that, he mentions in that interview that he hates superhero films, so he's going to be naturally biased against Avengers, because he can't grasp what it's after.

This might sound snobby but I agree with his point. I work in that field so I can see where he coming from. You are always trying to do the best you can and it is a terribly critical business because the average viewer will not notice cinematography unless it's bad.

The Avengers was a good film but it didn't really try and have a unique visual style and he is dead on about some of the shots. I could name 10 other films that commit the same crimes he is talking about that came out in the last year or so.

It's a shame that he is going to be taken out of context and that people who are bashing one or the other movie will jump on these comments, because it is an interesting point if you are into the field.I am sure the Avengers cinematographer can level a few arguments of his own about Batman and they would be just as valid.

It's a very specific argument he is making why the hell is everyone relating it to the rest of the movie? I have watched terrible films with great sound design and cinematography. You can enjoy one without the other

The dark knight rises had an illogical and ineffective story, better than batman begins, but this guy is talking out of his ass. The story of the avengers did what it was supposed to do (Althought Loki never worked that well as a villain for me in the avengers or thor) compared to the story of the dark knight rises where although bruce wayne is a better character than the previous two, the villains have a retarded plan and the characters don't work well overall.

Of course the knee jerk reaction for people who hold Marvel comics in the highest literary regard (and MovieBob) will be "He's just jealous cause this movie made more money than his."

But there were several reviews that pointed out how many of the camera angles were odd, possibly mandated in order to show off the 3D. And it looks like some of the other commentators noticed too. Foliage in the foreground! Dolly in between tree branches! Appreciate how there's depth in this shot!

I don't think it was so bad that I was removed from the story, but then I'm not an award-winning cinematographer. They probably should've used a different guy than Seamus McGarvey, as the Avengers was his first ever "big budget epic" (with the exception of Sahara I guess, but no one considers that a movie). His previous credits include High Fidelity, The Hours, The Soloist, and Atonement.

9thRequiem:

bravetoaster:

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).

I think the problem is the (lack of) context - No-one's denying him an opinion, especially one related to his job, but he really shouldn't be saying it in interviews; that's just uncalled for.
Even if you're unquestionably amazing, and are talking about someone else's work that is universally hated, you still shouldn't be putting it down in such a public form.

On top of that, he mentions in that interview that he hates superhero films, so he's going to be naturally biased against Avengers, because he can't grasp what it's after.

People can understand what something is after and still hate it. We don't only hate the things we don't understand, and the Avengers follows the superhero conventions pretty closely. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's a good movie, but if you don't like superhero movies, there's nothing in the Avengers that's gonna change your mind.

I don't know who shit in Pfister's coffee that morning, but his criticism seems uncalled for. The Avengers was a movie epic in scope, with its impressive scale and comic origins calling for cinematography that showcased its locales and, even as Pfister said, its million dollar sets.

Different movies call for different approaches to cinematic imagery, and I think The Avengers nailed it fairly well. The Dark Knight Rises was a more intimate, darker affair, which set the mood and demonstrated the harsh tension of drama within the film.

But again, this is just one cinematographer's opinion. And it's possible that Pfister just might have done things differently if he were the cinematographer in The Avengers. Opinion noted, sir.

doggie015:
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*

OT: Yeah... what can I say?... I liked The Avengers and I've heard not so good things about The Dark Knight Rises.

Why should the shots be logical and small scale? The Avengers is a coming together of many heroes with a main epic battle in the city OF COURSE they're going to do wide shots that try to show off as much of the frenzy as possible.

Plus, how else are they to fit the Hulk in one shot?

Oh and TDK doesn't have The Hulk.

I like the Hulk. You're move Pfister

The Avengers was one of the worst films this year, totally devoid of anything. Wally's cinematography may not be artistic but it's a hell of a lot classier than the Avengers'.

his name reminds me of this:
image

Pretty sly of the Escapist to criticize the newspaper for reporting on his rant "out of context", but then go right ahead and make a news article about it themselves.

It's the sort of utter lack of self awareness you'd normally see in badly written satire.

They were both fantastic films for their own reasons, at least to me. Seems kind of... childish to take shots like this.

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.

Pretty much said everything I felt was wrong with The Dark Knight Rises. Long, boring and predictable, things that The Dark Knight avoided extremely well. I enjoyed The Avengers much much more than TDKR.

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.

Dude, both movies grossed over a billion dollars, I can't imagine he cares that much that the avengers made a bit more.

As for the rest? Is it really that unbelievable that a cinematographer might be overly critical of cinematography, you know, the thing he spends his life doing and has won awards for. I guarantee you've been overly critical of something just as petty (as has everyone on this site, including me), probably involving gaming, so it seems a bit unnecessary to attack the guy for his opinion, particularly about things that he had nothing to do with.

On the topic of awards, while I have a large problem with the Oscars and their often baffling choices, I don't think the opinion of some guy on the internet outweighs the decision made by experts in the field. You can't just claim that he has no room to talk because you don't like it, you aren't the be all and end all.

For the record, I found the Dark Knight Rises to be a bit disappointing, and the Avengers was an awful lot of fun (if unambitious).

I want to come back at him for this, but this is the man who did the cinematography for Inception, so I clearly am not qualified enough to gripe or comment that the cinematography of The Avengers might well have been awkward, but worked perfectly for what they wanted from the film. However, not being a professional cinematographer, I am free to comment that, while the impressive filming in Inception definitely heightened my experience of the film, no amount of amazing cinematography could save The Dark Knight Rises from being a terrible film, unfortunately.

Woodsey:

Casual Shinji:
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.

He's still a cinematographer who has a valuable opinion on how things should be shot: I don't see why the tone of the films matters.

Tone matters because the way one shoots a movie influences the way an audience views it. The Avengers was very snappy and campy; If they shot it similar to, say, Drive the whole quick paced energy would've been lost.

Casual Shinji:

Woodsey:

Casual Shinji:
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.

He's still a cinematographer who has a valuable opinion on how things should be shot: I don't see why the tone of the films matters.

Tone matters because the way one shoots a movie influences the way an audience views it. The Avengers was very snappy and campy; If they shot it similar to, say, Drive the whole quick paced energy would've been lost.

Again, so? You can still comment on how its shot. Someone who writes detective novels can comment on and criticise the effectiveness of a tragedy.

Don't be such a hater, Wally. It's not The Avengers fault that a 10-foot-tall green muscle-man swinging a Norse god around like a bag of grass clippings looks more believable than a man with a pointy-eared bucket on his head playing happy-slaps with WWE's Kane.

I'm just saying the next time you guys film a fight scene, try not to use angles where Batman is clearly punching the air in front of his opponent. Might help.

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