Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Didja Ever Notice?

Now that movie studios have everything digitized, they are altering colors. Today's movies are washed out in order to emphasize flesh tones. Teal and orange are the predominant colors these days.

Picture from Ace of Spades "Overnight Open Thread"

Technicolor is closer to reality than today's color palette.
It's bad enough when horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies seem to slavishly adhere to this unpleasant template, but even mainstream adult dramas like Up In The Air and Fair Game (both of which are films that I would otherwise like) are being drained of all their colour in post-production. This unfortunate trend in dreariness also lessened my enjoyment of last year's Best Picture winner, The King's Speech.

Recently, I did some searching on Google to find out whether others are equally disturbed by this ugly trend in today's films. Sure enough, I turned up this article that helps to explain what is going on. It's interesting to read the numerous comments afterward, as there are many, like me, who abhor this unpleasant trend, while others defend it as being true to the director's "vision". Though they may like to think of themselves as unique visionaries, most directors working today merely conform to one basic template of mediocrity that the Hollywood studios all decree must be followed. Because of this trend toward the drab and ugly, I find myself seeing fewer and fewer films with each passing year. Perhaps Hollywood should realize that many older moviegoers are used to far richer looking movies from the more glorious past - today's films just turn us off. BLECCHH!!

After reading the various posts linked to above, it seems even my favorite new movie of the last year or two True Grit is guilty as well - it sure seems to be a sepia kind of tone, perhaps to convey the idea that the events took place in the past, where the pictures we see from that period look the same. And the latest Harry Potter movie was almost unwatchable on my television - I was working over the brightness and contrast just to see detail that was obscured by the intentional cutting out light. After I'd fooled with those settings, the rest of television land was overly bright and sharp.

Hollywood doesn't seem to listen much to the actual people who pay to see their products. They all jump on bandwagons that only they, in their insular world, have any use for. I've got enough gripes about the endless copying, the predominantly liberal mindset (and if you know what's good for you you'll agree with whatever mindset they're pushing, because after all, they are the beautiful and cool trendsetters), the advent of short attention span theater quick cuts (remember when a long shot was art?), shaky and disoriented camera work and, and - well, you get the idea.

And now we get dulled and dark movies that look depressing. Yeah, color me not so entertained. No wonder I end up watching old movies these days.

H/T Ace of Spades, who linked to Boing Boing, who linked to this article and this article.


drjim said...

I totally agree about the color saturation in later movies....IT SUCKS! Still, even in the "Old Days" when Technicolor reigned supreme, they still like to be "avant garde". I recently watched "Grand Prix" in Blu-Ray, and while the colors, camera work, and sound were superb, they payed all kinds of 70's trick stuff like all the split-screen effects. I didn't care for it then, and it makes an otherwise 'timeless' movie look dated.

Jeffro said...

I hated the split screen crap, too. Perhaps the worst was More American Graffiti - unwatchable.

I still like Grand Prix, even with the crap effects. Even so, the effect did give some urgency when they had a shot of the driver in the cockpit at speed with a shot over the nose giving a sense of speed and tenseness.

But I'm a sucker for racing movies, except for Talledega Nights. Don't care for Will Farrell or the movie's portrayal of NASCAR.

drjim said...

I don't think I've _ever_ seen a Will Farrell movie I liked.
I've also got "Le Mans" in Blu-Ray, and while I think my wife might enjoy "Grand Prix", I don't think she'd care for "Le Mans". It really doesn't have much of a story other than McQueen's driving.

Jeffro said...

Of course I like Le Mans, but I can sure see why your wife wouldn't care for it. As for Will Farrell - heh. We see alike on a hell of a lot of things, don't we?

I haven't popped for Blu-Ray - I've got way too many DVDs and I really don't feel like replacing them all. Plus, I suspect we'll all be watching streaming movies soon enough, if the bandwidth issue is solved.

drjim said...

A Blu-Ray player will play 'regular' DVD's, and in most cases "upconvert" it so it looks good on a large (50" class) TV set.
A Sony PS/3 will also play Blu-Ray discs, and is very good at it.
I'm buying newer movies, and ones I've always wanted, in Blu-Ray, but I'm not going to convert my entire collection!

Jeffro said...

Yeah, I knew a Blu-Ray player would handle DVDs and upconvert as well, but that's not the only reason I haven't gotten one yet. Another is last year my old 34" flat screen went tits up, and the only thing I could afford at the time for a replacement was a 32" Vizio. I sit too far away in my living room to discern much in the way of fine detail. I'd like a 50" or so, just not wild about replacing a perfectly good set. If and when this one craps out or my income is drastically increase through some miraculous means, then I'll be willing to change.

threecollie said...

I hadn't really noticed, but now that you mention it, you are right.