Off the top of your head, could you sing the theme from Star Wars? How about James Bond? Or Harry Potter? But here’s the kicker: can you sing any theme from a Marvel film? Despite 13 films and 10 billion dollars at the box office, the Marvel Cinematic Universe lacks a distinctive musical identity or approach. So let’s try to answer the question: what is missing from Marvel music?
Daniel Pemberton - Orchestra Tuning Up (from The Movies (2005) video game)
Ramin Djawadi - “Test Day Eleven” (Unreleased from Iron Man)
Patrick Doyle - "8m52 Warriors Find Thor ALT” (Unreleased from Thor)
Henry Jackman - “The Smithsonian” (from Winter Soldier)
Danny Elfman - “Heroes” (from Age of Ultron)
Danny Elfman - “Farmhouse” (from Age of Ultron)
Patrick Doyle - “Ride to Observatory” (from Thor)
Henry Jackman - "A New Recruit” (from Civil War)
Temp Music Examples:
Elliot Goldenthal - “Victorious Titus” from Titus (1999)
Tyler Bates - “Returns a King"
Titus owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures
300 owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Steve Jablonsky - “Einstein’s Wrong” from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Patrick Doyle - “Hammer Found"
Transformers owned by Paramount Pictures
Thor first owned by Paramount Pictures, then transferred to Walt Disney Studios
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
Henry Jackman - “Captain America” from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Junkie XL - “Brothers in Arms"
Winter Soldier owned by Walt Disney Studios
Mad Max: Fury Road owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
DRIVE ANGRY (2011)
Hans Zimmer - “Mombasa” from Inception (2010)
Michael Wandmacher - “Mass vs. Acceleration"
Inception owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Drive Angry owned by Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment
It got me thinking about what the five best "punctuation marks" in film might look like. I wanted to assemble a video essay with a rapidfire list of nominees of great moments of editing-as-punctuation in film. But as I started putting it together, the project grew into a twofold piece: an analysis of and response to Schulz's article as well as an attempt to spur new insights about editing by examining it through the metaphor of punctuation.
So, here it is: 20 minutes long, clips from 100 films (101 if you count that Woody Allen quotes Duck Soup in Hannah and her Sisters), and, I hope, an inspiration to anyone else who loves film on a formal level and believes, as Bazin did, that the language of cinema isn't done being invented yet.
Thanks to Kathryn Schulz for sending me down this wonderful rabbit hole of thought, and to the editors (in order of their cuts): Sally Menke, Buster Keaton, Abel Gance, Yelizaveta Svilova & Dziga Vertov, Michael Snow, Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss, Harry Gerstad, William Reynolds & Peter Zinner, David E. Blewitt & Robert K. Lambert & David Newhouse, Sergei Eisenstein, Daniel Rezende, Valeriya Belova, Richard Pearson & Christopher Rouse, Lou Lombardo, Marguerite Beaugé & Carl Theodor Dreyer, George Tomasini, D.W. Griffith & James Smith & Rose Smith, Lev Kuleshov, Charles Chaplin & Willard Nico, Ron Fricke & Alton Walpole, Sam O'Steen, Edgar Adams & Edward L. Cahn, Ray Lovejoy, Siro Asteni, Anne V. Coates, Robert Wise, Susan E. Morse, LeRoy Stone, Ken Eluto, Spike Lee, Jerome Thoms, Lyudmila Feyginova, Peter Przygodda, Ferris Webster, Andrew Weisblum, Léonide Azar feat. Anton Walbrook, Alan Heim, Claudia Castello & Michael P. Shawver, Michal Leszczylowski & Andrei Tarkovsky, Ralph Rosenblum, William Hornbeck, Barbara McLean, William Chang & Kit-Wai Kai & Chi-Leung Kwong, Véronique Parnet, Kim Hyeon, Andreas Prochaska, Mary Sweeney, John Smith, Jolanda Benvenuti, Harold F. Kress & Argyle Nelson Jr. & J. Frank O'Neill, Florence Eymon, Nicholas T. Proferes, Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Yoshiyasu Hamamura, Cécile Decugis, Joe Bini, Robert Leighton, Milton Carruth, Jay Rabinowitz, Owen Marks, Ted Cheesman, George Tomasini (again), Blanche Sewell, Georges Méliès, Reginald Mills, Siv Lundgren, Thelma Schoonmaker (finally!), Kôichi Iwashita, Alex O'Flinn, Kirk Baxter, Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Chris Marker, Jean Ravel, Roderick Jaynes (Ethan and Joel Coen), Sharon Rutter, Miroslav Hájek, Fernand Léger & Dudley Murphy, Melvin Van Peebles, Martin Arnold, Bruce Conner, Walter Murch & Richard Chew, and Yelizaveta Svilova & Dziga Vertov again. Plus unseen contributions from Jacqueline Sadoul, Jim Miller & Paul Rubell, Monique Bonnot, Ralph Foster & Stephen Perkins & Andrew Weisblum, Verna Fields, Jack Murray, Daniel Mandell, Françoise Collin, Solange Leprince, Patricia Canino, Nelly Quettier, Matt Chesse, George McGuire, John Seabourne Sr., Takis Davlopoulos & Giorgos Triandafyllou, and a few VFX teams, too.
Paul Thomas Anderson has been my favorite filmmaker since I started watching films closely. I've always wanted to somehow pay tribute to the influence his stories have had on my life, and so I finally decided to string each of his feature films together in chronological order, beginning with There Will Be Blood, set in 1898, and eventually arriving at Punch-Drunk Love, which was set in the present day when it was shot in 2002.
Frankly, this technique was mostly just an excuse to delve into some of PTA's more emotional themes, and draw connections between Freddie Quell, Daniel Plainview, Dirk Diggler and an entire entourage of colorful characters. Hopefully, lovers of PTA's style and technique will find this essay to be something of an ode to a true Master of filmmaking and his body of work.
For educational purposes only. Fair use of material.
Film Editor Margaret Sixel was given over 480 hours of footage to create MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. The final edit ran 120 minutes and consisted of 2700 individual shots. That's 2700 consecutive decisions that must flow smoothly and immerse the viewer. 2700 decisions that must guide and reveal the story in a clear and concise manner. One bad cut can ruin a moment, a scene or the whole film.
One of the many reasons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is so successful as an action film is the editing style. By using "Eye Trace" and "Crosshair Framing" techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot...the Center of the Frame. Because almost every shot was center framed, comprehending the action requires no hunting of each new shot for the point of interest. The viewer doesn't need 3 or 4 frames to figure out where to look. It's like watching an old hand-drawn flip book whiz by. It's always in the same spot!