Blowing the Lid off of 'Chaos Cinema': How Action Films Have Changed
Who doesn't like a good action flick, right? A bullet-dodging, time-bombing, impenetrable hero that doesn't know the meaning of the word physics is one of my guiltiest pleasures. But, over the years it has become very apparent that action films have changed significantly into two hours of sensory overload from the entertaining run/jump/climb jaunts they once were. In this three-part video essay, Los Angeles scholar and filmmaker Matthias Stork takes a deeper look into the changes in filming and editing in the action genre, which, according to him has birthed what he calls "chaos cinema".
The way we tell stories is bound to change. The way we use our medium's tools for stylistic and narrative reasons has changed as well. In the beginning, we simply had a single static shot -- a train coming into a station, a woman dancing, a baby eating. With the development of a diverse film language and continuity editing, our filmic stories began to emerge as complex narratives, and because of that, the true skill of a filmmaker was shown when he/she made a film that was not only interesting and beautiful, but coherent.
According to Mattias Stork, this is no longer the case when it comes to commercial action films. In his three-part essay (the third part is dedicated to addressing the concerns and questions of viewers), Stork investigates the changes action films have gone through since their inception -- a slow exodus from the classical Hollywood style of cinema (purposeful, hidden editing) to what most commercial action films are today. He discusses the sound, the rapid editing (film theorist David Bordwell calls this "intensified continuity"), the loss of spacial awareness, VFX, as well as the "chaos" that all of these things and more produce on-screen.
Check out Stork's video essay below:
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/28016047
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/28016704
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Whether you think chaos cinema, with its "intensified continuity", is another dimension of our art form that deserves respect, or just lazy filmmaking meant to overwhelm audiences rather than intrigue them, it's a change that has now become a part of our cinematic history, and therefore deserves our study.
What effect, if any, do you think "chaos cinema" is having on cinema as a whole, as well as storytelling? What do you think of Stork's view on it? Are you, as Stork puts it, a "Neoclassical Get-Off-My_Lawnist? Let us know in the comments below.
Link: Matthias Stork -- Vimeo
[via Filmmaker IQ]