(Spoilers) Initial Reactions and Discussion for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by HanSolo29, May 17, 2008.

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  1. jedibri Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 4
    I saw Indy again today and thought it was even better than the first time I saw it. It has now cemented it's self as my 3rd favorite of the series.
  2. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Just got back from my third viewing myself and it was as good as ever. Although, we did hear quite a few negative comments from people as they filed out of the showing before ours concerning the ending and how the alien plot was dumb. After the midnight showing, I would've agreed with them but it really is true that the film gets better and better with repeat viewings. I have now fully accepted the alien plot point and I think it works. It has definitely surpassed ToD in my rankings and it's coming awfully close to meeting Crusade.

    I also have to comment about the lens flares. I was reading through this thread before heading off to the theater and the whole time, I couldn't help but look for them. They were far from distracting, but it's funny what you see when you're actually taking the time to point them out.
  3. zombie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 1999
    star 4
    Well, it looks different because its made by another DP in another era, using different lights, different lenses, different film stock, different technology. I don't think the intention was ever to match the exact look Slocombe used in the first three but rather that they wouldn't try to personalise or stylise it too much and keep within the general framework of what was established. Which I think it pretty much does, though the second half in the jungle looks too glossy because of all the CGI. I thought Kaminski did a pretty good job at holding himself back, I mean he held himself way, way back compared to his normal "personalised" style, this is as "normal" or "neutral" as you can get, and he retained a lot of the stylistic devices Slocombe used like silhuettes and source-lighting by fire. Slocombe used a lot of bottom-lighting though, which I don't think Kaminski stuck to, but I've only seen the film once when it came out so my memory isn't very detailed. Generally though, Kaminski doesn't do a lot of bottom lighting.

    Really though, the film can't look exactly the same, unless you went to great pains to purposely manipulate the image to look like it did when Slocombe shot the originals. But even Slocombe's originals were never that distinct, they look like a lot of films shot in that period in terms of visual quality, just like Crystal Skull looks similar to a lot of films shot in 2008. This basically comes down to technology, more than anything else. Theres a reason why Raiders of the Lost Ark looks pretty much the same as any other film Spielberg made at that time in terms of quality and eccentricities of the image, be it Close Encounters or Jaws. Those films all used similar lenses, similar film stocks, similar lights and made in an era with a common taste. Today lenses are much sharper and generally have more contrast, so things look crisper, film stocks are very very fine grain, so it looks very clear (in fact many DP's find modern stocks to be too fine grain, thats why you had the counter-response that Kaminski began in the late 90's with intentionally-grainy images, eg Private Ryan), and film stock today also give better dynamic range, deeper blacks and more vibrant colors, so you have a "pop"ier look--whereas back in the 70's, the high-key lighting style was in vogue in many circles to the point where DP's would "flash" the film by deliberately fogging the exposure to raise your black levels and get those milky blacks where you can see more detail. Today, the modern taste is the opposite, but its a taste guided by the technology used as well, and Crystal Skull is as consistent with that as Raiders was in 1981. Also, the quality of light is different in films today, back in 1981 you didn't have kino flows, you had to use arc lamps and such, and it gave the light a very different quality. Plus, every film gets a Digital Intermediate today where you can play with the contast and colors and exposure levels even more, and of course you have CGI instead of having special effects that used physical models lit by physical lamps and matte shots painted by hand on glass with brushes.

    Raiders simply looks like a film made in 1981, its really a product of its time and I don't know how closely you'd want to literally copy that, and Crystal Skull basically looks like a film made in 2008; actually Raiders is more contrastier than a lot of films back then so it dovetails with todays tastes more smoothly than many films from that time (a good example is ESB, which almost looks
  4. chibiangi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 4
    I never notice anythng special effects wise. I mean never. People talk about Obi-wan's beard being crooked and I never noticed. Stuff like that I just never pick up on.

    But the switch between outdoor/indoor lighting in the begining scene where Jones meets Spalko did bug me. It was noticible. Ok we're on a set...no we're outside...no back on the set.

    So you don't have to be a film nut to notice some of these things...
  5. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
  6. Obi-Wan2001 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 6, 2001
    star 4
    Correction: People talk about Obi-Wan's beard being totally fake in many scenes in AOTC. And he wore a very stand-out wig in the TPM and AOTC reshoots, that I can't believe doesn't completely stick out to some fans. I mean, we're talking Obi-Wan Kenobi, easily as iconic a character as Indiana Jones to most fans here, yes? The really bizarre thing is, Ewan talks about, in one of the behind-the-scenes documentaries, Sir Alec's hair piece being all over the place, continuity-wise in "Star Wars", and I'm left thinking, "Ewan, have you seen yourself in these movies?"

    Now, you have to ask yourself, if Harrison Ford wore a wig in tons of scenes in KOTCS, would you notice? I think so. How it got a pass in the prequels with Obi-Wan, I'll never know.



  7. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    But why expect everything to be perfect, down to the smallest detail? When you go a play, a lot of things are left to the imagination. You don't obsess over things like that when attending live theater. Whether on the stage or on the screen, it's a story that's being told, it's not something that is supposed to look perfect down to the smallest tiny detail. ;)
  8. chibiangi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 4
    No, I wouldn't notice! That's my point!!! I don't notice fake beards or crooked beards or whatever. See I didn't even notice it enough that I didn't know the correct issue.[face_laugh]

    So in response to Tina, yeah, I think I would be the average not-paying-attn-to-anything viewer so the fact that the lighting in that one scene was so jarring means it was really bad. Maybe they will fix that on the dvd although it probably won't be noticible on a small screen...
  9. Obi-Wan2001 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 6, 2001
    star 4
    A small tiny detail, a badly-matched wig and beard? I don't think so. Sorry, mods, sorry for being off-topic, just fascinating to me is all. Your best friend walks into the room with a wig on, and you don't notice?
  10. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    If you're just following the story, it isn't a big deal, I don't think. Nor do I think it needs "fixing". ;)

    To me, it was never really something I noticed. I was just having fun with the movies, and such details don't really bother me. :cool:
  11. Juan-King Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2004
    star 2

    Deakins is very good , but I'd still give Kaminski the prize -- Schindler , AI , Waar of the Worlds , Munich , Diving bell and the Butterfly , his work is magnificent.

  12. solojones Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Run The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. Deakins, wow.

    Obi-Wan's fake beard is not really noticeable to me, but my word that wig in TPM is awful :p I mean, if it was distracting when I was like 13 you know it was bad. Really frustrating. Although it's not like I blame Ewan for that. He's way too big of a Star Wars nerd to think about his hair when he gets to play with lightsabres ;)

    zombie, I never said it was necessarily possible to have it look the same, I was just pointing out some reasons the cinematography in Skull looks different. Whether it's anyone's fault or not, I think it does sort of make it feel slightly less Indiana Jones-esque. It's not intentional on my part, it just is. It's not a huge, huge deal but it's something I noticed about the film and since I like to discuss all aspects of film I thought I'd bring it up.

    My brother definitely agreed there were a *lot* of lens flares, though. He said he thought it looked like they perhaps noticed there were *some* in the trilogy and decided not to protect against them at all. Now that definitely is something they could have easily changed, so it's a bit annoying. But oh well.

    Did anyone else notice in the exterior beginning scene, outside the hangar, in the reverse shot over Indy's shoulder looking at Spalko... there's something on the frame. It's really noticeable to me, I mean, I've noticed it since the 2nd time I saw it. It's like a whisp across much of the right side of the frame. It looks either like a weird reflection, something on the lens, or something caught in the gate... any way, I feel like the 1st AC would have been in deep trouble had that been noticed in dailies :p

    So anyway, I was really glad that my family all really liked the movie a lot more this second time they saw it. My brother, who was pretty meh about the whole thing, leaned over to me after the "They weren't you, honey" line and said, with slight amazement, "I like this movie!" I do like it more the more I see it, too. I still think they shouldn't have shown so much in the ending. If they had just shown Spalko exploding w/o the alien and then shown the ziggurat collapsing w/o the spaceship, we all agreed it would have been completely fine. As it is, I do think it both messes with the mystery and just feels frankly like something out of a different movie suddenly. The script still lacks some artistry and the monkey thing doesn't make sense... but we all agreed these are things we can forgive because we love the rest of the movie.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  13. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    A movie that looks amazing but is in itself less than compelling (and arguably overlong) isn't really a great picture. Great cinematography and mediocre storytelling don't make a movie great.

    Well, I don't know. I think most people don't necessarily go to the movies to look at actors' hair. Maybe some do. In any event, when you get caught up with the storytelling, those details are relatively meaningless. Someone could quibble that when you watch the original King Kong, you can totally tell that it's a miniature King Kong and that it's easy to tell that it's mostly stop-motion animation. If you just look at a detail like that, you'll be missing out on a great movie.

    The differences aren't all that great, considering that 19 years had gone by since the last installment, and that the movie, too, is set 19 years later. Why would it seem even remotely reasonable to expect it to look identical? Did time just freeze for the last 19 years? Was there some disturbance in the space-time continuum that dictates everything must look exactly like it did 19 years ago? And how on Earth can it make it seem less "Indiana Jones-esque", when it's such a trivial detail as (among others) the fact that this movie is set in the late 50's? Things have changed in real life, and they have in the Indiana Jones universe, too. It seems unreasonable, to say the least, to expect the cinematography to be exactly the same down to the tiniest detail.

    If you want a really detailed examination and discussion of the cinematography in certain movies, then set your sights a great deal higher, at the very least. That kind of ultra-detailed attention, imho, would be better spent on stuff like Gordon Willis' work in the first two Godfather movies, or Vittorio Storaro's work on Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor, or Luna. Or even the classics, like Gregg Toland's work in Citizen Kane. You may or may not like all of these movies, or the work of their respective DPs, but at least you're looking at the some of the most memorable work in the history of cinema.

    I am pretty sure that neither Spielberg nor Kaminski set out to make one of the greatest movies in the history of cinema, the movie has to deliver where it counts, and slight differences in cinematography with movies that most people haven't even seen in the big screen in two decades probably aren't a great deal to most. My sympathies if this detracts from your pleasure in any way, though - I'm not putting you down because of it.
  14. solojones Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I happened to think that was the best film of last year, but ok.

    You're right, I don't go to notice someone's hair. So when it's so bad it's that noticeable, then there's a problem. It's like camera movement in a film... if a lot of people easily notice camera movements, that's bad. Some things in film are supposed to blend in and not be distracting. So when they encroach and a *lot* of people notice them, like the terrible wig, it takes them out of the film a bit and that's a problem.

    In any case... my comments on the cinematography aren't directed at you, just like every single comment I make in every thread here is not an invitation for you to jump all over me for no reason and invent new opinions simply for the sake of disagreeing with me. Do the board a favour and cut it out.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  15. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    A minority opinion, to be sure, but I respect it. ;)

    His hair in that movie really wasn't distracting at all, as far as I can remember, and I'm not sure but I think most people tend to focus on an actor's face rather than on their hair. At least that's what I usually do. I'm sure there are people out there who are just trying to notice the least tiniest discrepancy or flaw - like when cigarettes or semi-filled glasses aren't exactly the same between shots. There's nothing wrong with that, although I personally wonder if it's that much fun. :confused:

    No need to be snippy. Last time I checked, everyone is free to comment on what comes up in the thread -- and we certainly had been talking about the cinematography before. ;)
  16. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I'm too wrapped up in the story to notice something like slightly different hair between shots.

    Same goes for the indoor/outdoor shots mixed into a single scene. I didn't even notice that.
  17. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    That's the best way to enjoy a movie, imho. ;)
  18. chibiangi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 4
    You can blame the brightness on TECHNICOLOR! [face_laugh]

    At least that is the feel I thought they were going for in the begining of the film.
  19. Jango10 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2002
    star 5
    I hardly ever noticed stuff like that until I have it on DVD and I've seen it many, many times. Even then I just have a little chucke and move on, it doesn't detract from the viewing experience at all.
  20. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Gonna have to agree. Although, I have to admit I have never noticed the wigs on Obi-Wan(maybe because I hardly ever watch the Prequels, but I digress). I would be curious to know what scenes you can see it best. ;)
  21. zombie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 1999
    star 4
    Most of stuff like that goes by people pretty smoothly because its not the focus of the shot so you're not even aware that its different (ie Obi Wan's flipped braid). The beard of course is the focus of the shot because its a close up of the actors face so its much more noticeable, though for me it was only on repeat viewings that I could pinpoint it, when those shots first came by I got the sense that something was "off" but couldn't figure out what it was.

    The one thing that always bugged me though is the Obi Wan-Qui Gon scene in the swamps of Naboo where Obi Wan apologizes. It looked like they got an entirely different actor! McGregor looked about five years older, about thirty pounds heavier, and his skin was all gaunt and pot-marked, it looked like they found someone that sort of looked like McGregor and then dubbed his real voice over it or something. That one always looked awful. I think I read that he was making Black Hawk Down at the time so thats why he looks much beefier and a little rough around the edges.
  22. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Yeah Ewan has really thick hair in that shot too.

    The other one I always notice now is how much taller Anakin is when he goes to say goodbye to Padme on Curuscant.

    Another pickup that is funny is at the end When Palpatine and others show up on Naboo. They have a totally different guy playing Mace Windu. [face_laugh]
  23. Princess_Tina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    This is all the kind of stuff I could notice, if I thought it would in any way enhance my enjoyment of the movie. But it doesn't, so I just ignore it. :p
  24. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I accept it as part of what it takes to make a movie.

    If you want to fine tune things after principal shooting, you have to rely on pickups.

    It's interesting for me to notice this stuff, but it isn't effecting my ability to enjoy these movies.
  25. Juan-King Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2004
    star 2

    that was a very good movie , very underrated I thought.

    as for KOTC -- can't see me watching it again til it comes on tv , it was okay , but i'm reminded of Sickboy's speech from trainspotting about things/people that were once great , basically okay = kinda ****e .

    what's the point in giving these movies so many free passes ? it should've been better .



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