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  • Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences

    Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences

    November 18, 2009, 12:11 pm
    The hot conspiracy theory of the time is Earth’s impending doom, which has always been a popular movie scenario. However, it’s one thing to ward off impending doom and another to be right in the centre of destruction. In any case, it’s interesting to see humanity’s obsession and awe with the concept of obliteration—hyper-real special effects movies about the apocalypse always do really well in the box office. With the recent release of <em>2012</em> the film (and what seems to be a slew of other apocalyptic-themed movies), I thought it would be appropriate to showcase the best sequences featuring the main character known as "Armageddon." Just remember that should something as catastrophic as anything in these films actually happen, there will always be at least one survivor: the earth.



    Criteria:
    -Total destruction onscreen! Few human survivors among crumbling cities around the world.
    -Not just an isolated disaster (volcano, tornado, etc), we’re talking the whole world getting destroyed.
    -Viewers get a feel for being within the destruction rather than just watching it from afar.
    -Logical cut sequencing and timing so that the viewer doesn’t get pulled out of the action— this can be difficult because a lot of the cutting is around non-composited green screen or special effects.
    Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences
    5. Deep Impact (1998)

    The destruction sequences in this film are done so slowly and deliberately that they are more beautiful than frightening. I know, it’s weird to watch Manhattan get submerged in waves and call it "beautiful" but the viewers are rarely taken into the action and they don’t really get a feel for what’s really happening. Thanks to the very slow timing and ultra-wide aerial shots, we get to see some nice special effects but emotionally we’re relatively disconnected from the city being destroyed. Sure we feel bad or maybe even sad by the thought of the concept, but again, without context it’s just ...cool. And that’s it.
    Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences
    4. Knowing (2009)

    This wins the prize for fitting the criteria a little too well— (spoiler alert!) humankind is completely wiped out! In my personal opinion the film as a whole was a little much, but there are two reasons why it gets number 4 on my list. First, Richard Learoyd’s timing was impeccable. The slow cuts during the destruction sequences were just long enough to give that "epic" feel without it feeling too long. This goes into the second reason is the use of an incredibly long take when Cage is investigating the airplane crash. I timed it at 2 minutes without visible cuts! It’s a really interesting sequence because it feels like real time without dragging on— you actually want it to keep going. For me it was momentarily ruined by some poor computer-generated fire placement (I’m pretty picky about that stuff), but I was brought back by the awe of such a long take that worked so well.
    Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences
    3. War of the Worlds (2005)

    This film also has almost complete and utter destruction of humankind. It effectively uses long takes of wide angles during destruction scenes, and viewer eye movement (montage theory) is seamless. Another thing that was interesting about this version of War of the Worlds, is the lack of public hysteria. In all the other films that I watched it always included terrified people doing anything to get away, but here it was toned down. People only started getting hysterical when they were alone with each other rather than in the face of a huge alien robot. I’m still on the fence about whether I liked that decision or not, because at points they seemed a little too subdued to be realistic.
    Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences
    2. 2012 (2009)

    Out of all the films that I watched this week, 2012 had the most intense destruction sequences I’ve ever seen. You’re put right in the middle of it and consequently you find yourself on the edge of your seat. I think this is due to the fact that, in the film, the earth is basically out to get the main character. Nature is treated like a zombie trying to eat your brain— relentless, overpowering, and yet always an inch out of reach of you. Unfortunately, putting this kind of {I guess you could call it) anthropomorphism in the planet is a little silly (funny, actually) and I found myself laughing while watching certain shots in the film, which took me out of it. All that said, there is something to be said for the intensity of the sequence and the fact that it must’ve been one hell of a bitch to edit. For more information check out an interesting article about it here.
    Top 5 Edited Humankind Obliteration Sequences
    1. Day After Tomorrow (2004)

    I really like how the destruction sequences were edited in this film. There is always a gradual build up in cutting speed, which is then released like a breath being held too long by putting a long shot of something totally epic happening. The long takes are slow and absorbing— making the situation more ominous than anything else. The montage is logical and the cutting is smooth, but I think what seals the deal for being number 1 on my list after what I just mentioned, is the heavy use of extras being affected by the disasters. Just when you thought it was only the people directly in the tornado’s warpath who were going to get wiped out, it cuts to a janitor in a building as it’s demolished. My only wish: that they would’ve used real wolves. :-(

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  • Other Postings By Member
    • Light Sabre Battles! (v)
      EDITING

      Light Sabre Battles! (v)

      January 18, 2012, 3:00 pm
      As an interesting note, it was conveniently blocked by FOX just as the internet is on blackout strike today in solidarity against SOPA. American friends, please be aware that if SOPA passes, videos like this where I attempt to teach about film editing in a fun way will not be available anymore, even if I am in compliance with the Fair Use clause— in fact, I could be shut down, fined, and/or jailed without due process. If you like the internet and the ability to find information freely and easily, please educate yourself about this bill, and do whatever you can to stop it from passing!

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    • Top 5 Marx Brothers Films
      EDITING

      Top 5 Marx Brothers Films

      January 4, 2012, 1:19 pm
      First EDL of the new year up! Marx brothers, see? nyaah!

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    • Top 5 Moment of Despair Scenes in a Xmas film (v)
      EDITING

      Top 5 Moment of Despair Scenes in a Xmas film (v)

      December 14, 2011, 4:44 pm
      Have a video version of my very first Christmas blog, the best edited Moments of Despair in a Christmas film!

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    • Top 5 Scenes With a Steam Engine
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes With a Steam Engine

      November 30, 2011, 11:29 am
      Check out this week's EDL, featuring the top 5 edited scenes with steam engines!

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    • Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attack Scenes!
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attack Scenes!

      November 16, 2011, 1:28 pm
      I know I've covered this one in the past, but with the new video format I feel like I can really do some of previous written blogs justice. This one especially!

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    • Top 5 Scenes on a Mountaintop
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes on a Mountaintop

      November 3, 2011, 1:54 pm
      Vlog number 3! Scenes on a mountain. See my epic climbing skills (not)...

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    • Top five scenes in a Mad Max film!
      EDITING

      Top five scenes in a Mad Max film!

      October 19, 2011, 1:19 pm
      In Vlog number 2 of the Edit Decision List, I look at the best edited scenes in a Mad Max Movie, as well as manage to completely butcher an Australian accent.

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    • Top 5 Edited Die Hard Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Die Hard Scenes

      October 5, 2011, 12:07 pm
      My very first vlog covers the top 5 scenes in a Die Hard movie!

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    • Top 5 edited scenes in Metropolis
      EDITING

      Top 5 edited scenes in Metropolis

      September 21, 2011, 4:25 pm
      Metropolis is one of the most influential science fiction films of all time, and it's obvious that the editing has a lot to do with it. The expressive nature of the acting is superbly juxtaposed with epically framed shots in such a way that story isn't only easy to follow, but really fun to watch!

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    • Top 5 Back to the Future Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Back to the Future Scenes

      September 7, 2011, 12:16 pm
      Great scott! I must've blown a hole in the space-time continuum with my 1.21 "Jiggawatt" blog entry…

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