All of us were disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files. That felt like a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.
Black Panther is the latest spectacle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has been getting rave reviews from everyone who’s seen it. I’ve seen the film twice so far, of course on the first two days of the film’s opening on Feb 16th in India. I loved it! It’s not an extraordinary masterpiece like some are calling it — rather, it was a very refreshing change from the typical Marvel affair for me. The film has flaws, but if we’re to look at it as a film, I loved it. Don’t worry, this isn’t another review that’s going on to praise the culture, the colors, the costume, or the VFX of the film. Instead, I’m going to be talking about the Title Sequence of Black Panther.
If you’ve seen the film, the Title Sequence is what we get to see towards the end of the film, right before the credits start rolling. This Title Sequence is, to me, the best part of the entire film.
Black Panther’s Title Sequence was surreal, and a visual masterpiece. The whole thing was crafted with incredible motion graphics and transitions and set to an amazing track by Kendrick Lamar & SZA. It’s a fascinating display of bright and bold colors, energetic camera work and transitions, smooth motions and everything comes together to take you through a summary of what happens in the film. A major reason why I even went in to watch a second screening of the film with my wife was so that I could sit through the Title Sequence yet again in all its glory. It was simply outstanding!
This Main On End Title Sequence of Black Panther was crafted and brought to life by a small team of incredibly talented people at an NYC-based studio called Perception. Founded in 2001, Perception has worked on and contributed their remarkable work towards several films, not just in Title Sequences, but also in User Interfaces, Experience Design, and other material. Many, if not all of the fascinating displays and user interfaces seen in Shuri’s laboratory in the film are crafted by Perception.
At the center of Black Panther’s story is Vibranium — a Wakandan metal that practically powers all the technological advancements in the country. Perception decided to base the Main on End Title Sequence on Vibranium — rather, vibranium shavings.
Perception’s Chief Creative Director John LePore says:
The idea was to have small shavings of vibranium— like dust or sand that would morph or reassemble into various three-dimensional shapes and forms, all by being actuated by sound waves. The vibranium sand has a great physical quality to it, which works really well with the blend of technology and spirituality seen in Wakanda. We also considered the sense of touch that we’ve lost with touchscreens or holograms to be a holy grail for interaction.
This form of Vibranium appears in several scenes in the film, and most notably, is also used for the opening prologue that tells the story of Wakanda and its history. Perception worked on the pre-vis for the opening prologue too, while the final animation was done by Storm VFX.
I am absolutely in awe by the work done by Perception, so it didn’t come as a surprise that the studio has also done the title sequences for two other Marvel films — Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-man: Homecoming. Perception also has films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers to their credit.
1917 is one of the most incredible films I have ever seen, and sits high on my list of favorite films of all-time. It is directed by Sam Mendes, with the Cinematography helmed by the “God of Light“ Roger Deakins. 1917 is such an amazingly crafted film that I do not have enough words to describe it.
For the uninitiated, 1917 is set in the war-torn era of 1917 and follows two English soldiers trying to deliver a message in an attempt to stop 1600 fellow men from walking into a trap. What makes 1917 a beautifully crafted cinematic experience is the way it is presented — one, single, two-hour-long continuous shot that follows these two protagonists.
Of course, it’s impossible to actually shoot a two-hour long film at this scale and polish, so the are going to be cuts. But Sam Mendes, together with Editor Lee-Smith and VFX studio ‘MPC’ have done a remarkable job of stitching together and hiding these cuts.
However, 1917 is still impressive for the fact that in many scenes, Sam Mendes manages to utilize blocking to move the camera where you’d traditionally require a cut in other films. This brilliant video essay by Thomas Flight explains why 1917 is so good:
I’ve been mesmerized by the art of Cinematography for a long time, and am a sucker for one-shot long takes. It’s fascinating to sit back and study how films like these were made.
If you can still find a way to watch 1917, please do watch it. You probably won’t enjoy it as much as watching it on the big screen, but you can surely enjoy and praise Sam Mendes’ impressive direction, Roger Deakins’ surreal cinematography and Lee Smith’s crafty editing.
Sidenote: While not the same thing, there’s also a really-impressive 12-minute long scene in Netflix’s new film ‘Extraction‘ starring Chris Hemsworth. It’s definitely worth checking out for the action-alone.
Ever since I’d seen its trailers, I was excited about watching the movie Lokmanya: Ek Yug Purush. It is a Marathi film that was released in the theaters on 2nd January, 2015 and its lead actor, Subodh Bhave, received widespread praise for his portrayal of Lokmanya Tilak. It was a pretty solid movie, but the thing that I was most excited about was the preparation and efforts that had gone into making it. It was exciting to see a Marathi film in this form. I went for its screening on the very first day and thoroughly enjoyed it. The make-up and the sets, along with the dialogues and the music were top notch. I was glad to see a Marathi film of this quality running housefull shows around the city.
I had decided to purchase a copy of the film whenever it was going to be released to the public. I wanted to own a high-quality version of the film and would gladly pay for a Blu-ray of it. Leading up to its release, I tried contacting its director, @omraut via Twitter, to ask him whether they’d be releasing Blu-ray version of the film (Marathi films usually get released on Blu-rays), but unfortunately received no response from him. I was hoping if not for a Blu-ray, we’d at least get the option of a legal, digital download in 1080p via iTunes or Google Play Movies.
Unfortunately, the film only got released on CD and DVD. Fine, I said, and went ahead and pre-ordered the DVD anyway via Amazon . While I waited for the delivery, a friend of mine told me that a 720p version of the film was already out on torrents and that he’d already downloaded it and watched it. Since I’d already pre-ordered the DVD, I told him I’d just wait for its delivery.
When the DVD got delivered, I was throughly disappointed. The DVD packaging was flimsy and terrible and when I tried to play the DVD, it just wouldn’t play. I tried to rip it using Handbrake, but that kept failing too. I looked up on Amazon and apparently I wasn’t the only one. Two others had complained that their DVDs too were corrupt and wouldn’t play at all.
Here I was, all excited about a movie I really liked, ready to pay good money to own a high-quality version for viewing at home but without any options to do so. The copy that I legally bought and paid for ended up not working at all. On the other hand, my friend who pirated a copy not only watched a much higher quality version than my DVD, he also got to watch it much before me. And of course, he would watch the entire film without trouble.