My new favorite trailer.
I know I talk about Understanding Comics on this blog a lot, but that’s only because it so succinctly presents so many fundamental ideas of human communication. (I propose, yet again, that you should read it. Yes, you. Even if you hate comics.)
One of the ideas presented in Understanding Comics is how the lack of realism in art forms like comics and animation actually lends itself to greater acceptance of the ideas presented. We see things that look real enough to be recognizable but obviously aren’t; this allows us to accept things happening to and with these things that in a realistic medium would look jarring and out of place.
Simple example: Batman’s ability to effectively teleport when nobody is looking at him (this trope is known as the Stealth Hi/Bye). Commissioner Gordon looks away for a second, the camera follows his gaze – and when he looks back Batman is gone. The comics have presented Batman as being able to do this in a moving vehicle. We accept it completely in those media. But in the more realistic medium of film, our first thought would not be “Wow, that’s cool!” but “There’s no way he could have done that.” Don’t believe me? Go back and look at the Christopher Nolan films and notice how few Stealth Hi/Byes Batman pulls.
Video games have the incredibly enviable advantage of having that same acceptance as comics and animation, while adding the additional benefit of interactivity. And video games aren’t stuck in a kiddie rut like American animation is. Creators of video games are using its advantages to give us visuals and situations that we couldn’t see/hear/experience in any other medium.
I guess this is a really long-winded way of saying that I’m far more enthusiastic about the release of games than of most movies nowadays.
Have you seen Lars von Trier’s movie Dogville? In that movie there’s less visual realism, the buildings don’t even have doors, yet somehow it’s more captivating than other movies. I guess when you take out the extra detail you activate a different part of your brain that deals with concept and hypotheticals and such like, and thus nothing really feels out of place. However, I wonder, if you had stuff that was out of place, wouldn’t the viewer eventually get used to it as long as you’re consistent?
I like Carl Barks comics, Gladstone Gander is ashamed that he ever had to work for a living, it’s his biggest secret. Now in real life that kind of silver spoon character could be real fun.
I guess there are two ways to explain something either with visual effects, maybe a “force field” that’s glowing bright blue and humming slightly helps Batman teleport, or you can simply say that Batman teleported and leave out the details. I hate Harry Potter, a horrible story, anyway, he has a wand that he has to wave around, and of course the wand doesn’t do anything, it’s just a stick, but you need some visual cue that something is going on. The only thing the wand really accomplishes is that it makes it apparent who it is that makes a claim that they’re doing magic. Kind of ridiculous and overused in his universe.
I like explanation through absence of details, don’t tell me how Batman teleports, he’s just capable of doing that somehow.