The Colour of Death

Last night was impromptu date night. My wife and I had been planning to see Skyfall for a while, but just hadn’t had the chance. We did a little christmas shopping after getting home, then it was all about Bond.

Pictured: dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun
Pictured: dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun

I’d been able to remain spoiler free, by just COMPLETELY ignoring everybody that was talking about the movie. If you’re one of those people, my deepest apologies. Of COURSE I care that your goldfish ran away, but you said the word bond. In retrospect, it may have been of the rental variety, but one can’t take chances.

We arrived a little late – midway through the trailer for The Hobbit, which reminded us both that we needed to re-read the book ahead of the movie. I think there was one other trailer after that, but I seriously don’t remember what it was, so it couldn’t have been THAT good.

(Edit: My wife has informed me that it was Hitchcock. That was also pretty damn good. Disregard the previous comment!)

Then it began. Right in the action. Then the action stopped, and a trippy dream sequence began, which featured Adele’s voice and an explosion of colour.

Pictured: What red may look like.
Pictured: What red may look like.

There’s a lot of criticism about many movies being rather limited in their use of colour. Movie posters tend toward the orange and cyan, and you don’t even notice it’s happening until someone either mentions it, or your brain pokes you with “Hey, remember that colour… red?” I know how that is. Somewhere during the 90s, my computer monitor had an aneurysm of sorts and also forgot that the colour red existed. If you know VERY little about how light and colour work, you’ll know that red is an instrumental part of forming many colours on the screen.

Instead of the proper palette, I had a very reduced palette that consisted of mostly green-grey-blue while playing The Dig. I adapted, but seeing all the colours come up again was a wholly interesting experience. One of my favourite movies to watch for a similar reason, is The Fall. It was my wife that first clued me on to the movie, and I found the cinematography breathtaking, and the use of colour was refreshing.

By use of colour, I mean there were actual colours beyond orange and cyan.

The trippy-dream sequence mentioned above was the opening credits (as you hopefully guessed already), and it had a few nice splashes of colour. Sure, Hollywood’s favourite colours were there, but you could see there was a conscious effort to make Skyfall more than a moving instagram.

I’m not going to post any spoilers here about the movie, and while I definitely enjoyed it, it’s not meant to be a review either. The real reason for writing this post, is that the cinematography was definitely inspiring. One could just as easily point to the copious amounts of popcorn consumed in the opening scenes of the movie and a plausible salt-induced dehydration-based delirium sending my brain into a daze, but there was something about the sweeping landscapes, wide shots of cities and overall… stuff.

Pictured: There's even green!
Pictured: There’s even green!

I found myself sitting in the cinema at one point, wishing that I could pause it, switch on a light and start frantically writing my novel a bit more. Luckily for the other viewers (and since one was my wife, lucky for me also), I couldn’t find the remote.

The colours kept coming throughout the rest of the movie, and the general cinematography was utterly captivating. So many beautiful shots throughout, and I seriously wouldn’t shut up about how many colours there were. My wife, she is a tolerant one. It did seriously make me think a lot about writing, not just the one I’m working on at the moment, but all the stories I want to tell. I wish I were in a position to just write stories as a means to maintain my existence, but it’s all a gradual process.

If you weren’t too sure about seeing it, especially if a James Bond flick isn’t your thing, I’d say at the very least check it out when there’s a rental available, but watch it on as big a screen as you can muster (or sit very bloody close). The whole two-tone palette was interesting when it first happened, but I think it’s time that a full colour wheel became a staple in film. It’s an even more impressive add than the 24/48 fps debate, and if you’re going to push for realism, you need to acknowledge that the colours red, green, yellow and purple happen. The real world is a vibrant place, which is why I get so starey at nature stuff.

It’s still allowable to have cyan and orange though, especially when they can also be so damn pretty.

Pictured: Big, stupid jellyfish
Pictured: Big, stupid jellyfish
Pictured: Tanning booth
Pictured: Candlelight?
Pictured: Just plain sexy
Pictured: Gratuitous sexiness

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