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The Bourne Ultimatum

Dear Director of the Bourne Ultimatum,

Tonight, me and my best guy went out on a date night - movie and dinner. I chose the movie. It was The Bourne Ultimatum. I enjoyed the first two movies and was assured that I would enjoy this third one. I had completely forgotten about the warnings involving your love of the shaky cam until it was far too late.

Imagine if you will, that you are snuggled up against your loved one, watching a very intense conversation between two actors and you suddenly realize that you cannot keep a decent focus on either of the actors' faces because, while they are ten feet tall in a close up, they are constantly moving. Now imagine that you have scarfed down half a tub of oily popcorn that is starting to turn over in your stomach. Then, just to make things interesting while you are snuggled up next to your loved one, add in a bunch of action sequences that have tons of quick edits, dark and light flashing AND that damn shaky cam.

Now, I did not hork up that oily popcorn all over my loved one because I recognized that the action sequences were actually making me seasick and I closed my eyes. Then I averted my face when I realized that the constant flashing of dark and light against my eyelids was still making me sick.

After the movie, which I will have to watch again on a much smaller screen so I can actually watch the action sequences without getting violently ill, I admitted to my SO that I was actually getting motion sick in the theater. He agreed that the shaky cam was extremely annoying.

In the end, he and I decided that whoever introduced the concept of the shaky cam to you ought to be shot while you, sir, should be tarred, feathered and run out of town with that shaky cam shoved up your ass. In the future, please put the damn shaky cam down and go back to the steady cam. I, for one, will appreciate the ability to actually watch the movie you directed on the big screen.

Love and Kisses,
Jennifer and Jeff

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
fullcontactmuse
Aug. 28th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
Frankly, if I see another hand-held, shaky cam movie, it will be too soon. I am so there with you on this.
mouseferatu
Aug. 28th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
Hmm... I found the shakey-cam annoying in many scenes, but I didn't think it was as bad as it had been in the second movie.

Regardless, I do hope you're able to see it on a smaller screen without making yourself sick. It's a great movie, shaky-cam aside. Easily up to the quality of the rest of the series.
shannybug
Aug. 28th, 2007 08:01 am (UTC)
In the end, he and I decided that whoever introduced the concept of the shaky cam to you ought to be shot while you, sir, should be tarred, feathered and run out of town with that shaky cam shoved up your ass.

::Claps wildly::

Well said.
shaharazad
Aug. 28th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
And maybe next time, the director/writers might realize that it would make sense for the CIA to have such high-tech security fearures as curtains on their office windows. :)
devonapple
Aug. 28th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
I agree on both the Bourne Ultimatum AND Transformers. One of the advantages of the cartoons was that there were, you know, SOLID LINES surrounding characters so you know where one ends and the other begins. The "busy" body style of the new Transformers is wonderful to behold, but completely impractical for following the action -- they didn't get the same dramatic treatment that human actors do. In action shots you zoom in on the eyes, the set of the jaw -- with the robots, we didn't get them as characters -- just as improbably huge hazards destroying things. The latest-incarnation-CG-Godzilla seemed to get the benefit of more pathos, and he didn't have any actual lines!
hamstersbane
Aug. 28th, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
Haven't seen BU yet, but Transformers had a similar problem. It was so shaky, grainy and up close at times that I couldn't tell who was fighting who. Loved the movie, but could have done without that.
ecmyers
Aug. 28th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah! You know, The Blair Witch Project didn't give me any problems, but BU annoyed the hell out of me and made me a little queasy. Mostly, I just couldn't figure out why we needed a handy cam for close up shots like that. I think gratuitous handy cams should be banished along with soft focus and slow-mo effects.
spross
Aug. 28th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
Now, I did not hork up that oily popcorn all over my loved one because I recognized that the action sequences were actually making me seasick and I closed my eyes. Then I averted my face when I realized that the constant flashing of dark and light against my eyelids was still making me sick.

On the other hand, up until you told him why, your SO probably thought you were being really, really affectionate. ;)

But, I agree with you about the shaky cam. We get enough of that with home movies. We don't need it on the big screen too...
jw1776
Aug. 28th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
The only time I like the shaky cam, is for a few brief seconds when they are showing an action scene... like in the Firefly pilot when one ship is chasing another thru the atmosphere... doing a whole movie in it... Shesh.

Also you may want to avoid the new monster movie (search "1-18-08") by J.J. Abrams (LOST)... apparently its gonna be all or mostly from teh perspective of people at this party, and they have hand held cams, and "something" attacks New York. The trailer is all shaky cam, or so it seems.
sothicus
Aug. 28th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
I've gotten sick of the shaky-cam for action scenes. If I can't tell what the hell is happening, then what is the point. I realize that the purpose is two-fold, one it's supposed to "immerse" you in the scene and two, it hides the fact that the actors aren't really all that good at stage-fighting.

However, the past 5 years or so, it's the only way ANY action movies is doing their movies. In addition, Bourne Ultimatum (all 45 minutes that I saw of it... I'll have ot go back and finish watching it) was done with the "let's-use-a-cam-mounted-on-a-guy-who-has-Parkinson's" for every single scene... not just the action ones. Eventually, the shaky-cam does the opposite effect, I'm no longer immersed and it breaks my suspension of disbelief.
eyezofwolf
Aug. 28th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
I agree with the whole aspect of hiding the fact that the actors aren't good at stage fighting. But, I think it is a poor technique.

The only time that I've enjoyed the "shaking camera" is when it is supposed to represent something like the earth shaking or - as some other commentor mentioned - when Serenity was going through the atmosphere. There, it makes sense because you're world would be shaking.

In a fight, your view doesn't actually shake. Spin, yes, shake, no.

Even when you run... does your world shake? No, because your eyes adjust (unless you have a really prance-like run, I suppose).
gaaneden
Aug. 28th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Btw, when we were talking about "Seattle Knights" at GenCon, I thought we were talking about "Seattle Nights" a LARP troupe. I only realized this when I wandered through your website. It explains some of the funny looks you were giving me.
eyezofwolf
Aug. 28th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
Ah! Yes, it makes a little more sense now. I had never heard of the Seattle Nights. Now I see why I was confused! Of course, I was also still recovering from the "Hey! I know you! I've sent you stuff!"

I have my first show where I will be fighting in two weeks. Exciting stuff!
k_crow
Aug. 28th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
Amen and amen. Made me motion-sick, to the point where I was greatly relieved when we had a major camera malfunction during the movie, and was able to walk out and receive a movie pass from the theater people. :) So very done with shaky cam now.
artname
Aug. 29th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Years ago a pal of mine dubbed that SpastiCam. I too found it might have reached its height in BU. I can only hope.
Vulpin OpenID [myopenid.com]
Aug. 29th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Or, as Casey called it, the unsteady cam.

I've been sick of the overuse and misuse of unsteady cam since Gladiator. Serenity/Firefly did it right (used for stylistic reasons) and the new Battlestar Galactica usually does it right, too.

-Me
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )