Dark Knight Rises Cinematographer Bashes The Avengers

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I don't have any reason to doubt the guy's honesty (it's slightly amusing how many Escapists, who probably have zero knowledge of cinematography, automatically assume he's "just jealous"), but he's kind of a dick.

Also, strictly anecdotal, but my brother is a serious movie nerd (not a hipster nerd; more like a "truly in love with cinema," "watches Stanley Kubrick films all the time," nerd, like Quentin Tarantino or w/e), and he actually notices stuff like cinematography in movies. He found the cinematography in Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, and Inception to all be lacking.

The only time I had trouble with the camera angle in Avengers is when Thor and Loki were beating each other on Stark's tower. Camera did that thing where it gets in REAL close to their faces, then would cut away every two seconds to show another fight, then cut back. That made my head hurt and I remember thinking, "I can't tell what's happening." The rest of the movie was fine for me--especially that part where the camera zoomed in on the bridge where Captain America was fighting, then Iron Man shows up and does a combo attack, then it follows Iron Man up as he flies off.

I can't really remember much from the Dark Knight Rise except for that fight scene with Batman and Catwoman fighting together on the roof. That seemed like the same type of camera work as The Avengers to me.

Why is he ragging on Avengers now anyway?

People are blowing this waaaay out of proportion. From his own professional view, he doesn't like the camera angles in the Avengers.

It's that simple. People are reading into this too much. Stop whining about jealousy like a bunch of little kids. He's a professional in that field and he's allowed to have opinions and voice them.

Considering that the edits in The Dark Knight Rises was detrimental to the cinematography of the movie, this gentleman should shut the hell up. TDKR is a great movie but it was cut down in screen time for theatres and cinematography took a decent ding.

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

If I did my pants surely didn't know, that erection lasted the entire film.

I kinda want to go buy it and watch it again now that he brought it up.

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 this. Who cares if a cinematographer didn't like the cinematography in another film? Us ordinary cinema goers might not appreciate the nuances of the craft, but this guy obviously noticed and it bugged the hell out of him.

Unprofessional, but not a bid deal.

So why is Avengers so much better to watch/enjoy?

Its probably not even his fault and I realize its taking in gotham, but when you are shooting in a city known for something beautiful and something you went to the city for specifically (the Skyline) and then you dont actually show it (the FUCKING SKYLINE) I dont know why youre talking shit on someone else because they spent money on a setting and have to show it off.

Milanezi:

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Do you know how to do spoiler tags?

I thought The Avengers was an underwhelming movie. But I didn't think it had anything to do with camera angles.

It's funny because I had the exact opposite reaction. The camera movements fit in with with the high-octane adrenaline shot mood I was looking for in a movie starring a bunch of the worlds most well known superheroes. TDKR on the other hand actually brooke my immersion constantly with the unnecessarily close close-up shots of the characters. I really didn't need to see every blemish on Christian Bale's face.

SnakeoilSage:
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.

You, sir, win this thread.
No matter the general opinions on the two movies neither had the best use of cameras in the world. In other words...
image

Storytelling, Marvel style:
This is the good guy
This is the bad guy
HULK SMASH

Storytelling, DC style:
How bout a magic trick?

themyrmidon:
You, sir, win this thread.
No matter the general opinions on the two movies neither had the best use of cameras in the world. In other words...
image

It's true, I won't deny it. But I noticed it more in TDKR. Maybe it wasn't doing enough to draw my interest away from such things.

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

Exactly. In my case, as just the viewer, I couldn't care less about said "crappy" camera angles. In fact, I doubt anyone ever would stop watching a movie because of that (Unless you're a cinematographer?). I will stop watching a movie if the plot sucks or if the acting sucks or it's just plain boring, but not because I think the scenes could have been shot better.

The Avengers was just an action flick. We didn't need any backstory or major character development. We already have The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 1 and 2, Captain America and Thor for that. TDKR was different in the sense that it had to carry on with the previous two movie's plots, introduce new characters, relationships and plot AND conclude th--

You know what? Both were good. No need to get all defensive about it, Mr. Cinematographer.

Given the guys awards and history, I'm going to have to agree with him.

He's kind of right.

Cinematography definitely wasn't The Avengers strong point, disappointed me really, Serenity looked so nice.

Of course, that doesn't really matter given what Avengers was trying to do.

EDIT: Kind of funny seeing all the "jealousy" response from people. This dude knows what he's talking about, one of the best cinematographers working today.

amazing how many people immediately jump on the guy and act like a bunch of insecure teenagers. Usually to the effect of "well, uh, uh, AVENGERS MADE MORE MONEY!" Cute, you immediately go for the most meaningless and desperate argument around. Can't wait for TDKR on DVD in December.

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.

Well, he did win best cinematography for Inception. So clearly his own peers where impressed.

Like any other geek/specialist Pfister feels that his own way is the best and that deviating from that path is tantamount to a cardinal sin. You see it in almost everything, the grammar nazi hates a genuinely good book because of some awkward errors, the cinematographer hates the movie for some bad angles,etc... it's just a snob waving his nerd-willy around for everyone to see. Yes it's unprofessional, it's also very childish. I'll grant that he's an great cinematographer, the camera angles in all of Christopher Nolan's movies have been impeccable. That is not what makes a great movie though, it is simply a part of a whole. Not umimportant but far from the deciding factor.

As a side note I'd love to hear his thoughts on the camera angles for the Transformers movies. That would be bloody hilarious.

Sounds like someone's a bit of a snob. Not all movies are about storytelling, some are just about entertainment. I do think TDKR was better objectivly than The Avengers but it wasn't as...enjoyable? And what about movies like Blade Runner that are more about making you think? Not all movies are about the story, if they were we'd all just read books.

He sees them rollin'. He hatin'.

SnakeoilSage:

themyrmidon:
You, sir, win this thread.
No matter the general opinions on the two movies neither had the best use of cameras in the world. In other words...
image

It's true, I won't deny it. But I noticed it more in TDKR. Maybe it wasn't doing enough to draw my interest away from such things.

Sorry if I wasn't clear, that pic was meant for Pfister, I was posting it in agreement with you. I prefer Avengers to TDKR in almost all aspects, cinematography is one area neither can stand as a shining example.

canadamus_prime:
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.

But around here, any criticism instantly makes you an asshole. No matter how non-confrontational or how level-headed you are about it, if you levy any criticism on anything popular (Avengers, Mass Effect, Skyrim, etc) you become worthy of scorn.

'Course, on the flip side, you have those people that think you have to be an asshole when you're criticizing something. Like it's their personal mission to put something, and it's fan-base, down.

Sigh...anyway, OT:

Pfister has been nominated many times for his cinematography. He's worked on quite a few award-winning and popular films. The guy knows his craft. So maybe, just maybe, he knows what he's talking about when he levies criticism on another film. (or even his own)

I'm also inclined to agree with him, to a degree. I loved The Avengers. It was a fantastically fun film.

Even so, I did have gripes with aspects of it. One of them being rather odd and, at times, awkward action shots and camera angles.

Does that mean I hate the movie? Hell no. In fact, part of why I notice some of it's failings is because I love the film so much.

Why is that so hard to accept for some people?

Vigormortis:

canadamus_prime:
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.

But around here, any criticism instantly makes you an asshole. No matter how non-confrontational or how level-headed you are about it, if you levy any criticism on anything popular (Avengers, Mass Effect, Skyrim, etc) you become worthy of scorn.

'Course, on the flip side, you have those people that think you have to be an asshole when you're criticizing something. Like it's their personal mission to put something, and it's fan-base, down.

Yes and this cinematographer guy clearly falls into the latter category.

Also the former wouldn't be so much of a problem if it weren't for the latter.

camera angle...like the camera angle in the first batman film during the fight scenes...those were so awful, worst I've ever seen.

Eruanno:
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!

I agree. It's like people trying to argue between cake and pie about which is better. They're both great, so you should just try and get both.

I have a friend who's really, really good at programming.

Every time he opens open-source code, he weeps. Does the casual observer care about that code? Nope. Apparently, most PROGRAMMERS don't care about that code (hence the weeping). But it upsets him because he knows better, less flashy ways of doing the various tasks.

It's the same here. Pfister pays WAAAAAAAAAAY too much attention to cinematography in different movies because it's what he does best. Just like how my friend begs me to not use such programming train-wrecks such as Audacity or OpenOffice. I use them anyways, just as average people watch Avengers anyways with no issues, because we don't care about the finest details of that one aspect.

However, I slap my friend for being silly about this kind of thing.

Ergo, Pfister still deserves to be slapped.

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

that kind of stuff would only really bother someone who's constantly working on it himself
and i agree though it didn't bother me the cinematography wasn't great

but maybe I'm biased because by the time i got to see it the movie was way over hyped and i was kinda disappointed

Vigormortis:
But around here, any criticism instantly makes you an asshole. No matter how non-confrontational or how level-headed you are about it, if you levy any criticism on anything popular (Avengers, Mass Effect, Skyrim, etc) you become worthy of scorn.

Maybe it's because I'm (relatively) new here, but I haven't seen that at all. In fact, in most of the cases you mentioned, it's been the opposite - people pile on Skyrim for having little plot, and ME3 for...being ME3, both with lots of criticism and scorn. I'm a cynic, and I'll give credit where credit is due, or criticize when I see an opportunity.

Pfister has no room to talk - when I think about it, just about all his films have had weird camera angles and shots. Off the top of my head:

Batman Begins: the cinematography during the Tumbler chase (cops who fail to see a car with its lights turned off driving past them in the background, which the audience can see; shot placement is off-kilter, some of the action is incredibly hard to make out and obscured by quick cuts/smoke).

The Dark Knight: The "ohgodimblowingupbutmyhairisflyinginthewind" Rachel Dawes death shot, the odd shot where Harvey's face is burning with weird camera angles/obscuring.

Inception: showing his love for the "hospital room vault" that Fischer's father is in during the shakycam panning shots.

I haven't seen TDKR, but I'm willing to bet his comments stem from a sense of jealousy. TDK was the reigning king of the ring until the Avengers dethroned it, and that was made from a comparatively-inexperienced director.

I liked the latest batman film, but storytelling wise it sucked next to the Avengers.
The Avengers had a simple story, but it was also simply told and fun for it.
The dark knight rises had a simple story, but it was long winded, largely uneventful and ultimately pointless through the ending.

At least the Avengers doesn't vary in volume from minute, barely audible whispers to ridiculously loud explosions. At least it had its characters doing what they were supposed to do, instead of Batman's attempt to wade in and kick Bane's ass, rather then using his BRAINS and EQUIPMENT.
Naturally he gets pwned... But in the rematch he does THE EXACT SAME THING.

Yeah I'm sorry; he's got no right to criticise the clearly superior film on these points.

I'll stop my rant now :p

*deleted*

Dangit2019:

Milanezi:

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Do you know how to do spoiler tags?

Of course I do, it's easy, I just didn't have enough time because... because... OKAY I don't know how to do that. I DO wanna know how though.

I'm sorry but if you've worked on a comic book movie and you criticise another comic book movie, your criticism is invalid.

I really like The Avengers and for me it's at the top with of the list of best Super Hero movies. Iron Man gets first place though.

Still I did not mind those wide angles at all because I see so many things going on at the same time. Then we had a clear view of what was going on and the heroes told each other what they where doing. Like Iron man luring that monster in the huge fight.
Had it been some other block buster film that part would certainly just have popped in out of bloody no where.

I haven't seen the latest Batman movie but I did see the two others. They where good too, though the Joker got around way to good without being detected. Honestly, getting away from the cops and getting into the hospital without a problem? :/

I just don't buy that.

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