Posts Tagged With: bohemian rhapsody

The Smallerpictures video dump (2019, part three)

Videos. You know the drill by now. And I’ve got a Holby I haven’t watched yet, so what say we dive straight in?

 

1. Things the Thirteenth Doctor loves (February 2019)

It was Emily who noticed. We were tidying the lounge one Monday morning, the day after ‘The Witchfinders’ (unless you had Amazon, in which case you’d probably already seen it), and talking about Series 11 and the way it was written. And Emily picked up on something about the new Doctor that I’d missed. “She doesn’t have a catchphrase as such,” she said, “but she does tell us about stuff she likes, doesn’t she? ‘Oh, a conspiracy. I love a conspiracy.'”

I looked through the transcripts, and it’s all over the place. I think almost every episode is referenced in the video below – ‘Rosa’ is missing, as is ‘Resolution’ and ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’, although in fairness the Doctor spent half of that one lying on a sofa. But everything else has at least one, and some have several. It’s the sort of thing that’s easy to criticise, if you’re not a fan of Chibnall, although this is somewhat pointless as Moffat did much the same thing with Smith, who had a tendency to say “And then you did that. Why did you do that?”. It became something of a trope, although it’s trickier to actually source the dialogue. I’m of the conviction that Doctor Who does not need catchphrases, and that (Baker aside) the fandom’s attempts at finding them are scrappy at best, but if we must have one these days I’m not sorry that it’s manifested as it has here. I know we’re giggling about it, but at least there’s a bit of variety.

I had a lot of fun making this one. Whatever you think of the writing, Whittaker has a sense of fun about her that I hope comes across. There is something particularly endearing about the way she bellows “APPLE BOBBING!”. Oh, and in reference to number 7, it was explained to me (via a YouTube comment) that the they’re talking about Hamilton, the Broadway musical dedicated to the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, which opened a couple of years ago and which, according to the Doctor, is destined to have more revivals than Cher’s musical career. You learn something new every day, don’t you?

 

2. The Bohemian Rhapsody edit (March 2019)

Quantum of Solace is a big pile of shit, isn’t it? Well, perhaps that’s a little harsh. It’s better than View To A Kill, at least, although I confess I’ve undergone tooth extractions which were less arduous than having to watch that one. But Solace – which has an interesting premise – is completely massacred by Marc Foster’s fondness for jump cuts. There are sometimes two or three a second, usually in the action sequences (the boat chase springs to mind), pummelling the viewer with shots of flying fists and the chains and the fizz of surf, as Bond and some random guy whose name I can never be bothered to remember duke it out in an exotic locale that we can’t even see anyway because the bloody camera won’t stay still. It is impossible to follow. I have no idea what’s going on and I refuse to put this down to old age: it’s just incomprehensible garbage.

Compare this to the fight scene in Atomic Blonde. You know, the one in the stairwell? Or John Woo’s 2 minutes, 42 seconds in the frenetic final act of Hard Boiled. Or, if we’re thinking about 007, the beautiful, single tracking shot that opens Spectre, where Bond wanders in and out of hotel rooms and across roofs as the dizzying spectacle that is the Day of the Dead unfolds below him. That, film students, is how you open a blockbuster. It’s all studio trickery, of course – so is Atomic Blonde, come to that – but it doesn’t matter: the only real difference between the two of them is that Atomic Blonde has an outstanding fight sequence couched in a generally wonderful movie, whereas Spectre is graced with a mesmerising opening and then it’s downhill all the way.

Anyway, I thought we were done with frantic jump cuts, until I heard about Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s a film I got to see quite recently and, as a word of reassurance, most of it’s fairly straight-laced, perhaps too much so. There is a press conference which mines every cliche in the book and there is a dramatic climax outside, at night, in the rain. Because obviously. On the plus side, the band look and sound the part (even if certain songs are dropped in earlier or later than they should have been) and the Live Aid set is so well done you can forgive the liberties they take with history. Besides, it’s kind of hard to concentrate on the anachronisms given that you spend about fifty per cent of the running time staring at cats.

Still. There’s one scene. You remember. It’s the one at the pub. The one that has more edits than the ITV version of Robocop. There are 52 in all, making the average shot around 1.57 seconds long (someone else’s homework, not mine). I’m told there are reasons for this; that narrative shifts after the scene was shot meant it no longer made sense and they had to go back and re-sequence it, but that doesn’t stop it inducing migraines. The film was Oscar-nominated for best editing; go figure. Interesting times at the Academy.

How to translate this into Doctor Who? It had to be something dialogue heavy, something featuring a number of people who could form different focus points, something where everyone stayed roughly stationary to keep the continuity fluid, and something I knew reasonably well. This one was an obvious choice: it is my favourite scene in an otherwise patchy episode and I do find it rather sweet, so I thought it might be fun to chop it up a little. The results speak for themselves, and not necessarily in a good way.

 

3. Doctor Who and the Vow of Silence (November 2018)

Yeah, I dunno. Thirteen years since ‘Rose’, and the Doctor still doesn’t have a clue.

 

Allons-y!

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Thunderbolt and Lightning

We’ll get back to the Doctor Who stuff with a vengeance next week, but for this week’s trawl through the video archives, let me take you back to 1992. Actually, scratch that – let me take you back to April last year. Preparations for the Royal Wedding are full spring. Speaking of springs, there’s a couple going on in the Middle East, where Osama bin Laden is still alive and well and living somewhere in Afghanistan. Closer to home, my middle son is not quite four and is obsessed with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, or ‘Scaramouche’, as he refers to it. Thomas isn’t the easiest child to entertain, and you have to find stuff, and watching YouTube videos with him – mostly Sesame Street clips (his choice) or classic pop videos (mine) has become a Fun Thing To Do Together. He has eclectic taste, but the Rhapsody is his current favourite. He’s familiar with the original and the Muppets version, and has quite recently (thanks to me) discovered the notorious headbanging scene in Wayne’s World.

Wayne’s World was a film that swallowed us up, in much the same way as Monty Python and the Holy Grail did, and we’d spend hours recreating our favourite scenes and reeling off pages and pages of dialogue. The monologues from Ed O’Neill are downright hysterical, the multiple ending split is inspired, and I can recall shaking in my seat with laughter when Robert Patrick peered in through the window of Mike Myers’ car, held up a polaroid and said “Have you seen this boy?”. Some twenty years after the fact it’s still a funny film, as are the sketches that inspired it.

You have to pick and choose when it comes to YouTube – I certainly wouldn’t allow any of my children to watch it unsupervised – and while there are several rips of the car sequence online I’d been having trouble finding a decent quality version that really suited Thomas’s needs, mainly because every time they get out of the car he starts whining. I was having to frantically scrub forward to an appropriate point so that the song could continue more or less uninterrupted, and eventually it hit me that perhaps a better way of doing this would be to edit a copy of the video myself. And if I was doing that, why not go the whole hog and do another montage?

Two weeks later, and we’re finished and the thing is online, all in time for Kate and Will’s big “I do”. The end result hangs together quite well and there is, I think, some reasonably effective matching of visuals to vocals (even though a lot of it is pretty tenuous). But I wish, wish, wish I’d known about speed matching and slowing down video, because it would have solved the problem I had when lip-synching the opera section at 3:06 – working with a PAL copy of the DVD meant the pitch was a little higher and the characters’ mouths moved a little faster than Mercury’s voice. I managed to get round it  with a little creative editing but the end result is a little less polished than I’d like. Still, at 13,000 hits (at least before Paramount made me take it down and I had to re-upload it to Vimeo) I’m not complaining. Fandango!

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