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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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April 09 2012

(SPOILER) Another clip from 'The Avengers'. Featuring Nick Fury and Maria Hill, this clip premiered on The Late Show with David Letterman.

"Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on."

Yep, that's some Joss Whedon dialogue right there.

(Also, note the comment which says it looks like a TV show. I consider myself a film buff and yet I never really understand this complaint. Unless it concerns the Duplass brothers, in which case yes, it always looks like they're shooting an episode of The Office.)
I saw a trailer tonight while watching DWTS. (GO Double D!) Started with Colson calling Black Widow in from the field, then had some scenes from other trailers. And the Hulk smiled!
I wish I could say the same, but while I adore Joss and everything he does, the criticisms do ring true to me. Film sense is something that few directors are gifted with, and I can't explain it much better than Pauline Kael, writing about (early) Spike Lee:

And Lee himself is endowed with something more than training and imagination: he has what for want of a better term is called "film sense." It's an instinct for how to make a movie move — for how much motion there should be in a shot, for how fast to cut the shots, for how to make them flow into each other rhythmically…

It's something you feel subliminally, and which you recognize with the part of your brain that recognizes that a sound is sweet and pure rather than off-key, or that someone is dancing gracefully rather than badly.

But again: only the very first rank of directors have innate film sense: Fincher, del Toro, Tarantino (though I fear he is losing his film sense), Cuaron, Wong Kar Wai are the ones working today I can think off the top of my head... and great directors tend to lose it after a while (Scorsese, James Cameron, Coppola, Spike Lee, Bryan Singer). Most directors, and I'm including Joss himself in this, have perfectly fine visual styles and manage to make great movies based on other skills. Jon Favreau made a great first Iron Man movie by focusing on the characters and story, and drawing a great performance out of his star.

Also: I love that the first 2 clips released feature the female members of The Avengers, perhaps to balance out the male-heavy trailers and TV spots.
I understand what you're saying, dottikin, and agree with most of it. I suppose I just don't go into certain films with that in mind. A good example is the one you mentioned, the first Iron Man. I didn't expect it to look like it was shot by Christopher Doyle, and therefore wasn't disappointed when it didn't. I think Joss' visual sense is perfectly attuned to the stories he tells; Serenity looked gorgeous. I guess I'm just so used to Joss' visual style that "Oh, this looks like a TV show" never occurs to me. I also don't think The Avengers, thus far, looks noticeably worse than any of the solo Avengers films (and I'd wager it's a step up from Branagh's Thor).
Since a lot of TV is vastly superior to most film, I'll take that lame "criticism" as a compliment.
Haha, that's another part of it. I remember one criticism of Serenity being that it felt like an extended episode of the show. "And the problem with that is?" was my reaction.

It just seems like any time a TV director crosses over to film, that's the first thing anyone thinks to say. Paul Feig's Bridesmaids, which many were hoping would be nominated for Best Picture, looked far more "TV" than The Avengers, not that it bothered me.

(In fairness, Bridesmaids wasn't a giant action spectacle, but still.)
The clip is in 4:3 on Youtube for a start. Of course it's not going to look cinematic under those conditions.
When Frankenheimer and Lumet started making movies, people said they looked like tv shows; of course thay influenced the seventies movies-world enourmelsy.
I thought Branagh's Thor was beautiful.
But again: only the very first rank of directors have innate film sense: Fincher, del Toro, Tarantino (though I fear he is losing his film sense), Cuaron, Wong Kar Wai

Eh, seeing as how the only one of those examples I rate highly is Cuaron, I'm glad not more directors have this "film sense".
What I don't understand is one of my biggest problems with TV vs Movie directing is that in TV it seems to me like there's a lot more cutting back and forth between characters faces. Too many angle changes, and it drives me nuts. That's part of why I love Joss' TV shows more directing-wise because there's less of that.
Sometimes Joss's stuff looks like it wishes it was Neal Adams art but ends up as John Byrne art.
Seeing as both artists have been involved with Joss' stuff, I'll quite happily take Byrne.
Kaan, film sense doesn't mean you make meaningful or particularly intelligent movies, sadly. The body of Spielberg's career proves this. (Also, how can you dislike del Toro?? He's awesome.)

I once read a critic who said that movies are like poetry. If you extend the simile, then television shows are like novels. You use the same tools to make both, but they are such different beasts. A great poem has its own special music and lyrical flow (which is why I think pacing is of primary importance). Television relies less on visuals and more on dialogue, sprawling subplots, character interactions, serialized storytelling. I think Joss is a genius at the latter.
Judging a movie from a poorly compressed, poor ripped, wrong aspect ratio clip from a TV to YouTube = bad idea.
(Also, how can you dislike del Toro?? He's awesome.)

I didn't say I disliked any of them. Just don't rate them all that highly. I would see any Cuaron film no matter what. With the others it'll depend on the project. I am looking forward to del Toro's Pacific Rim.

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