Dark Knight Cinematographer: The Avengers' Camera work was Appalling

Story on HuffPo here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/wally-pfister-the-avengers-dark-knight-rises_n_1973113.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment

Good lord - meow much?

This feels like a detailed critique of craft but presented in a way that takes down the whole film. I certainly wasn’t “taken out of the film” by so-called jarring camera angles…but I don’t have the discerning eye and deep craft skills that Mr. Pfister has.

I remain impressed and entertained that Joss Whedon was able to meet all of the commercial needs for the franchise - and still pull together an immensely entertaining-and-in-the-right-spirit type of movie.

Pretty ballsy for the guy to talk about “storytelling” in a movie that had no fucking story. Oh, look, Bruce Wayne is still in a hole. Yippee.

Gawd I hated that movie.

Avengers cinematography didn’t have enough black for his tastes?

I mean, a fight scene, outdoors, in broad daylight? Where you can see everything that’s happening? Madness.

How does he feel about the cinematography in Hunger Games?

Not enough close-up shaky-cam action scenes for Mr. Pfister, I guess. Or maybe there needed to be some really slow pans that Hans Zimmer can later underscore with ominous staccato strings.

Nolan and Pfister formulaic? Perish the thought!

I want to +1 every response in this thread. I mean, I didn’t hate TDKR exactly, but man, talk about a movie that needed to get over itself …

Pfister is spot on. The Avengers looked atrocious. Whether or not The Dark Knight Rises was too dark of had plot holes has little to do with the discussion. Many of the big action movies from Michael Bay to crap like the Avengers has crass cinematography that maximizes the ACTION! feel.

My inexpert impression was that The Dark Knight Rises had excellent cinematography and some very memorable shots, while The Avengers looked a bit cartoonish. I think Pfister has a point. However, that didn’t stop The Avengers from being throughly enjoyable, while The Dark Knight Rises was a real muddle of a film.

I enjoyed both, but would give the clear edge to The Avengers.

The cinematography in the avengers wasn’t good or bad enough for me to notice it at all. certainly not enough to pull me out of the movie.

I agree. God knows you wouldn’t want a movie about superheroes to maximize the action feel.

I’ll go with you 50% on this one.
I had no problem with the cinematography of Avengers. It was comprehensible and made total sense to me. I never once questioned what the hell I was seeing and from what POV.
Michael Bay on the other hand is total and utter shite. Transformers 2 & 3 were uncomprehensible fast cut odd angle shots that never gave you and sense of what the hell you were watching. It gave me a headache and in the end made me laugh at the “just put in everything, mash it down if it doesn’t fit, and turn it up louder” approach. I despise Michael Bay garbage.
Avengers was high art in comparison.

Meant to add, the problem isn’t with what Pfister is saying, it’s how he goes about saying it, even allowing for selective quoting.

You know what both movies needed? Lens flares! Hundreds and hundreds of lens flares! Nothing screams “storytelling!” louder than lens flares!

It was margininally unfair to group The Avengers with Michael Bay. MB is the extreme.

You aren’t sore about your lack of screen time then? :wink:

It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Like in horror movies. The cinematography in Halloween is some of the best of its era (in any genre.) Then there is stuff like Friday the 13th, which is just made to maximize spooks. Both have the same fear factor. Halloween however is a beautiful piece of art. FT13 is just plain old fun.

Heaven forfend! Every nanosecond was pure gold.

The Avengers an “appalling film”???

Dear Mr. Pfister, please be advised that caviar and chianti will NOT be available for consumption during this “film”. Should you wish to view cinematic art at its finest, and most refined, feel free to attend the amazingly-crafted new BATMAN feature, the cultural implications of which shall be opined upon in the most heavy-handed internet fora comic book fans have yet devised.

What a snob.