"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pacing in filmography

Today I watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland followed directly by Eminem's 8 Mile. And I noticed something. While the two movies are obviously disparate, there was one thing that really stood out to me, and that was the timing between the two movies, the pace and how it lent itself to the narrative.

Alice in Wonderland lets you just float and trail along for the most part. There is no real force in any direction, just the most minor hint of a push forward.
8 Mile comes at you like a bullet train to the back telling you that you either go forward of get run down.

That push and drive is something that really kept me in the movie, despite my interest waning near the middle. They throw thing after thing at you, questions of a sort, and then hold a gun to your head asking you to answer them. Which is kinda neat. It makes you feel involved in the film and important.

The only problem with a push like that is that, as media consumers, we are accustomed to being brought down from a high slowly. Led there, hand held the whole way. 8 Mile didn't do that. At all. When the end credits started rolling I was left with a "that's it?" feeling, and I think what happened there is I got so used to the pushpushpush that the sudden... nothing didn't feel right.

I mean, it makes sense, being a biography of sorts, life just isn't so kind as to wrap up all the loose ends for people. But it still felt a bit... rough, I guess.

As for Alice (who is a character in 8 Mile, I laughed when the name showed up), there is that lull I mentioned, just a slight ebb in the right direction. Which is a nice alternative to the pushiness. It lets you rest and listen, not needing to provide to the story, or fill anything in. It feels like a story tale (which it is, so kudos there Mr. Carroll and Mr. Burton), and plays like one.

In a way that is almost disappointing though, in comparison. It doesn't give you any hand hold to grab onto and wish it were all real. From the very moment we reach the engagement party everything takes on a varnish of fakeness that is hard to get over. The story is being told to you, and that is that. A large wall of "It's not real folks!" surrounds the whole movie, keeping you firmly here, and them firmly there.

Which kinda sucks.
(Though I wouldn't want to deal with that frumious Bandersnatch, no matter how cute it is.)

So there you have it. Some late night (Early morning, actually) ramblings about symbolism through video pacing. Have fun with that.

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