Wednesday, October 17, 2012

*Sigh* Wally Pfister Calls THE AVENGERS Appalling And Illogical

Surprise, surprise. Wally Pfister, the outspoken anti-3D cinematographer for Christopher Nolan has well, spoken out once again. Embarrassingly so in my books. I was trying to keep Pfister out of my editorials because it's the professional thing to do. He's anti-3D. So what? While he's a dying breed he is entitled to his opinion after all. I truly believe that. However...

Pfister told the Sarasota Herald Tribune in response to their question "What's most important when shooting a movie?":

"What’s really important is storytelling. None of it matters if it doesn’t support the story. I thought The Avengers was an appalling film. They’d shoot from some odd angle and I’d think, why is the camera there? Oh, I see, because they spent half a million on the set and they have to show it off. It took me completely out of the movie. I was driven bonkers by that illogical form of storytelling."

It is my personal belief (shared by many others) that Pfister is way outside the bounds of professionalism by speaking out like this. Sure his THE DARK KNIGHT RISES work behind the camera is great, but petty words like this only cause people to imagine that he is deeply jealous of THE AVENGERS box office success and that the world has lovingly embraced 3D. AVATAR is number one. TITANIC (now with a 3D re-release) is number 2. THE AVENGERS is number 3. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 is number 4. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is number 5. All 3D. It's fact.

Dare I say THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY surpasses Jackson's other LOTR works? Moves into top 5 all time? Potentially. And yes, another 3D movie.

But it's not just Pfister's stance on 3D that's upsetting. He is bad-mouthing another learned cinematographer in Seamus McGarvey (and director Joss Whedon as well). McGarvey's list of achievements is amazing. Here's his background as taken from Wikipedia: 

[McGarvey] is an Irish cinematographer who began his career as a still photographer before attending film school at the University of Westminster in London. Upon graduating in 1988 he began shooting short films and documentaries, including Skin, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Cinematography Award, and Atlantic, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, nominated for the 1998 Turner Prize. He also photographed and directed over 100 music videos, for such artists as U2, The Rolling Stones, PJ Harvey, Robbie Williams, Sir Paul McCartney, Dusty Springfield and Coldplay. In 1998, the British Society of Cinematographers invited McGarvey to join. In 2004 he was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's prestigious Lumiere medal for contributions to the art of cinematography. His credits as a cinematographer include Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, starring Nicolas Cage, The Hours, directed by Stephen Daldry, starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore, for which he earned the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Technical/Artistic Achievement; the action-adventure film Sahara, starring Matthew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz, for which he won the Irish Film and Television Award for Best Cinematography; Along Came Polly, starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston; High Fidelity, directed by Stephen Frears, starring John Cusack; Wit, starring Emma Thompson, directed by Mike Nichols; Enigma, directed by Michael Apted; The War Zone; Butterfly Kiss; The Winter Guest; The Actors; A Map of the World; Charlotte's Web...

Atonement, for which he has received an Academy Award nomination (2008), a BAFTA nomination (2008) and the Technical Achievement award in the Evening Standard British Film Awards for 2007 and won the 2008 Irish Film and Television Award for Best Cinematography; A 2007 television advert for Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle campaign; and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency directed by Anthony Minghella. In 2008 he shot The Soloist for director Joe Wright in Los Angeles. He shot "Nowhere Boy" for director Sam Taylor-Wood and reunited with director Joe Wright for the short film Cut. He shot the acclaimed Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin, starring Tilda Swinton, in New York and Connecticut for which he won the 2012 Irish Film and Television Award for Best Cinematography. He shot The Avengers for director Joss Whedon which is the third biggest grossing movie of all time. He recently shot Anna Karenina for Joe Wright.

...And Pfister thinks McGarvey's highest grossing work is appalling and illogical. Right. Personally I think Pfister should take a long dark stare into a mirror before saying things like this - then again, that mirror may remind him of 3D camera rigs.

All this flying in the face of die-hard Marvel fans and the millions upon millions who paid to see THE AVENGERS in the theater. We all loved an appalling movie it seems. Illogical. Think about Marvel and Disney who have to put up with his comments just as their AVENGERS discs have gone on sale in advance of the upcoming holidays. Warner Bros. should step in here and settle this man down. Poor taste, Mr. Pfister. Very poor taste.

Sources: Sarasota Herald Tribune | Box Office Mojo | Wikipedia
 

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Jim Dorey
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