Slow-mo action device a passing fad cliché?
During the late 1960s and early '70s, almost every movie seemed to include the same transitional shot: a single flower, grass blade or other object in the foreground would be in sharp focus, but everything in the background would be blurry.
Quickly, people walking in the background would come into focus just as the flower or grass blade would blur out.
Today, that overused visual cliché seems so dated.
In Charlize Theron's new movie "Atomic Blonde," one of its later fight scenes goes from speedy hyper-action into r-e-a-l-l-y-s-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n, the same way that "Wonder Woman" and other superhero films, even Zack Snyder's animated adventure "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" presented their fight scenes.
So, 15 or 20 years from now, will these overused slow-motion visual cliches become as dated as those blur-in/blur-out shots from four decades ago?
Back in 1999, the Wachowski siblings did something ingenious in their breakthrough fantasy "The Matrix." They had Carrie-Anne Moss leap into the air from a standing position, then STOP!
The camera wheeled around 180 degrees to the other side of the room, then Moss completed her stunt. The Wachowskis used this effect only once. They knew that employing it 10 more times, or even twice, would cheapen the effect and undermine its dramatic impact.
This simple lesson has been lost on filmmakers, or at least non-visionary Hollywood studio executives who think that repetition, not innovation, gets butts in theater seats.
I, for one, will be happy when r-e-a-l-l-y-s-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n gets replaced by the next overused Hollywood visual cliché destined to date the movies that use it.
'Kedi' the cat's meow at Charlestowne 18
Classic Cinemas' "First Wednesday Film Club" presents the delightful cat documentary "Kedi" at 1 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the Charlestowne 18, 3740 E. Main St., St. Charles. Admission costs $5 for the matinees and seniors; $7 for the evening show. Go to classiccinemas.com.
• Daily Herald film critic Dann Gire's column runs Friday in Time out!