Summary of Reading Movies.
As I began reading the article written by Roger Ebert, I felt as if this would be a pretentious person talking about movies the way English teachers talk about symbolism or metaphors. They find meaning where there is none and attempt to make a bigger deal about the topic than anyone meant. After a while of high school and dealing with English teachers such as this, it can make one defensive and tired when someone says they’ll “interpret” a piece of art to find a “deeper meaning” which has a high percent chance of not existing, but will affect your grade if you did not see it the way your teacher saw it.
Nevertheless, I continued reading. As the article continued, I felt as if the meanings were not just interpretation, but had actually been thought of by the movie creators. Now, I’m not sure how much of this is actually thought of in every movie. Nonetheless, the explanations felt natural and not unique to movies. The talk of positioning and how right means positive and left means negative is a universal thought. They don’t require interpretation because our mind will go there without needing to write a three to four page paper explaining why the curtains were blue. I think that’s why movies are so enjoyable because it doesn’t require reading between the lines but between the scenes, the way a character stands off into the corner, where the shadow hits their face, and other visual queues we see in our lives.
Space. By the way, the video opened up, I knew we were going to be in the middle of space. It felt like Star Wars where they jump into light speed. It travels fast and you feel as if you are following along an old path and will soon come across a ship. As the video continued the feeling remained. You are a part of this scene, whether you like it or not. A fly on the wall or just hovering in the middle of nowhere. It makes you connect with a scene, especially when you’re looking down a long hallway. It works well when you want to scare someone to. There’s no escape from a one-point perspective. You have one point to look at, to run to. There’s no turning back. Welcome to the movies. You’re not going to be leaving us anytime soon.
Next came zooms. And not just any zooms. All the zooms. You would use zooms all the time in middle school when it came to presentations. You want to zoom because you want it to focus on this one thing. Look at this car traveling on the road. You start off with a lot of cars and hear the music going off in the background, or some yelling. As the credits roll you get closer to the car and the yelling gets louder. The title flashes. Boom, you’re inside that yellow car you’ve been following with a family of six arguing about the type of music or “why can’t we just stop at Burger King” and another argument breaks out about how the youngest doesn’t want Burger King and wants to eat at Taco Bell because why not? Zooms tell a story that gets more specific as you go along. It also works well with horror movies. Starting zoomed all the way in on a child drawing. Seems normal if you haven’t watched that many horror movies. Zoom out. Hey what’s the in the corner, oh just a parent. Keep zooming. Oh, we’re in a house, or, wait, is this a mental hospital and that’s a nurse. Zoom out. The walls are covered in the dark drawings. Zoom out one more time. Is that a hand in the window? Cut and zoom back into the boy and he’s drawing the hand on the window. It helps set the mood and allow one to see everything without having to go through the scene quickly and figure out everything. It let’s you ration out what you see.
Overall, these tricks of the trade are very interesting and commonly used.