I just got back from seeing the Bourne Ultimatum. This might be a good movie, from the sound of it. I wouldn’t know though, because cinematographer Oliver Wood seems to have screwed the movie up entirely by only hiring cameramen with advanced Parkinson’s disease or some other severe palsy, so you couldn’t actually see much of anything. When the DVD of this movie comes out, someone should go through it and count the frames that consist of nothing but motion blur. I’d wager the count will be more than 15%. Some highlights:

  • A scene where Matt Damon and Julia Stiles are sitting down, looking at each other, doing nothing but quietly talking. They seem to be unaware that the cameramen are, evidently, caught in a massive earthquake or about to be eaten by the worms in Tremors.
  • Several different points where the camera spends several seconds frenetically panning around at absolutely nothing.
  • One of the best car crashes ever is rendered completely moot by the fact that you can’t see a damn thing. Repeatedly. From several different angles.
  • Most of the scenes, where editor Christopher Rouse takes footage from several cameras providing different angles on a single shot, and toggles the lever that switches between them like it was a Robotron controller.
  • The credits, when you realize you are looking at the first stable shot you’ve seen in the past two hours.

Similar stupidity marred what might have been a good movie trailer for Cthulhu in the Field of Clover or whatever it’s called.

I don’t pretend to be a filmmaker. I am, however, a film watcher and, seriously Hollywood, how many more films are you going to let the Handheld ShakyCam™ technique ruin before you knock it the hell off? I know you think it makes the film look “edgy” or “gritty” or “realistic” or something, but it doesn’t. It just makes the audience nauseous. Normally the rest of your recent products do that without the benefit of cinematography induced motion sickness. Please, at least, stop ruining movies that don’t suck from conception by shooting them handheld. Tripods aren’t that expensive.