When director Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was released earlier this year and started breaking all kinds of box office records, it looked as if 2012’s most anticipated superhero film—The Dark Knight Rises—might be a tad upstaged. Both movies enjoyed critical and commercial success, but without 3D The Dark Knight Rises was unable to match The Avengers’ box office take. Nevertheless, it’s the substance of the films that counts, and both Marvel and Batman fans seemed pretty happy with the respective blockbuster adaptations.
One Batman fan, however, recently let loose some harsh words regarding Whedon’s superhero pic: The Dark Knight Rises cinematographer Wally Pfister. Christopher Nolan’s longtime collaborator (and an Oscar winner for his work on Inception), apparently had some issues with the camerawork in The Avengers, calling the whole film “appalling.” Hit the jump for more, including a few more details regarding Pfister’s impending directorial debut.
“What’s really important is storytelling. None of it matters if it doesn’t support the story. I thought The Avengers was an appalling film. They’d shoot from some odd angle and I’d think, why is the camera there? Oh, I see, because they spent half a million on the set and they have to show it off. It took me completely out of the movie. I was driven bonkers by that illogical form of storytelling.”
To be fair, Pfister admits in the same interview that he’s not a big superhero fan, but The Avengers wasn’t exactly cinematographer Seamus McGarvey’s first rodeo. McGarvey is responsible for the gorgeous photography in films like Atonement, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and most recently Anna Karenina, so one assumes he knew what he was doing. I’ll admit that The Dark Knight Rises is a better looking film than The Avengers, but by no stretch of the imagination would I consider the latter to be “appalling.”
Pfister recently announced that he’d be moving away from the cinematography profession in favor of making his directorial debut on a project to be produced by Nolan and Emma Thomas, but next to nothing is known about the film’s story. Pfister opened up a bit about the project in the same interview, revealing the film’s genre and time period:
“I can’t talk too much about it. It’s a present-day science fiction film, a fairly big concept. It’s bigger budget — not as big as Batman, but not independent.”
Pfister has crafted some absolutely brilliant photography over the years, so I’m eager to see what he’ll bring to the table as a director. Like Nolan, he’s also a steadfast supporter of film over digital, so it’s safe to assume he’ll be one of the last filmmakers using film stock in the coming years.