Wee! Back to writing about cartoons.
This is not a movie review.
But in case you were wondering: I liked Bolt. No complaints really.
Well, except that I was forced to wear glasses on top of my glasses so I could watch it in craptastic ‘Real 3D’.
The 3D thing was totally useless for this movie. Useless, I say! There was no reason for it but to gauge me an extra $3 for a ticket.
And the fact Disney gave away all the funny hamster bits in the trailers leading up to the movie release. (Yeah, thanks guys.)
But I digress.
I thought it would be a good movie to learn some lessons in action sequences.
Ahh, the action sequence.
Some board artists love ’em. Some hate ’em.
In a script they sit as cute little paragraphs. Seemingly harmless.
Then you start to thumbnail them out. And that cute little three-line paragraph suddenly morphs into a beast of pages upon pages of storyboarding hell.
I am not all that fond of them. I’m more of an ‘acting and dialogue’ kind of gal.
But they can be fun sometimes.
The opening sequences of Bolt have some really great ones. Because they are kind of spoofing action movies, there is a lot of cliched fun going on.
So let’s take a look at a few.
The Quick-Cut Mini Montage
I actually really like doing these. They are dynamic, fast and cut to the chase.
And are awesome ‘cheats’ to tell a lot of information without worrying too much about hook-ups.
Penny and Bolt are about to be chased by the bad guys. So Penny needs to get out her super-scooter thing.
How exciting would it be to storyboard this on a wide shot?
So with a series of quick little cuts from different angles, we get all the information we need.
Up shot on Penny lifting the scooter into shot.
Zing! The wheel comes to camera.
Cut to the front wheel on the ground. The camera is low.
Whoosh! The back wheel zips back to us as the camera pulls back with it fast.
The extreme close-up of Penny putting on her helmet.
Where was the helmet? In her backpack? Do we care? Do we really want to see her take it out and all that?
NO! We get the information without worrying about silly details like that. We just need to get the thing on her head.
They’re in a hurry, dammit!
Close-up of her thumb on the handle bar. She presses a button.
Very fast truck-out to reveal both of her hands on the handle bars, revving the scooter.
And it’s done.
The shot goes wide and off they scoot. Like I said, they are nice little cheats and a fast, interesting way to get that scooter scooting.
Plus it tells the audience the scooter has a few extra gizmos on it. Good information that comes into play later.
The Multi-Angle Slow Motion Series
Here’s some action flick goodness for you.
Bolt is about to get shot at from another helicopter that is off screen.
Slow that camera down so we see our hero missing those helicopter blades and soaring over it.
Change the camera angle and shot size so we see it continue. (Soarrrrrrrrrr)
One more time! From the top.
But notice they are cutting with continuity here. Where he ends up at the end of one shot, he continues along on the next one.
Then we get to the back of the helicopter and Bolt is off screen. It starts in slow motion, then speeds up to real time.
Just in time for his landing. And off he runs.
You can breathe now.
But it’s not over!
No, now we get the joys of:
The Multi-Angle Repeat-Action Series
How many times have you seen this one? Pure cliched fun here.
The up shot on the helicopter Bolt just jumped over.
Boom! The other helicopter blasts that sucker.
Let’s see it again. Higher and wider.
Boom! Oh yeah, baby. More! More!
Wee! One more from the side.
Boom! This one fills the screen with all it’s fiery awesomeness.
And now, just for good measure after all that pumping adrenaline, we need a little comic relief.
Extreme wide shot on the city with the explosion way off in the distance. And an empty soda cup in the foreground.
And it ever so gently blows over. Tap!
Nice touch. It’s smart to put that little pause in there.
It makes the audience smile.
It gives them a little break from all the fast action and gets them ready for more.
All that was missing was Penny and Bolt walking in slow motion away from a huge fiery blast in the background.
Or diving to camera with a huge fiery blast in the background.
None of this makes you roll your eyes because they are doing it on purpose.
This is all for the Bolt TV show in the movie. It’s supposed to be over the top and full of those action movie cliches.
Like I said, fun stuff.
I’ll probably continue with this little series. There are some great uses of up shots and down shots in the movie. Something I’ve been wanting to touch on for a while.
So tune in next week for the exciting continuation!!!
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