Zoom! Zoom!


So I recently watched the movie Unstoppable, where Denzel Washington has to stop an out-of-control train. It’s a very good movie, but I was distracted by all of these quick little zooms. Not dramatic zooms into Denzel’s face as he says “Unstoppable? I don’t think so!” [Not actual movie quote] but constant quick little zooms in and out, as if the cameraman didn’t quite have the shot he wanted. 

It happened so often, and for no conceivable artistic reason, that I thought maybe my TV was trying to auto-correct the aspect ratio or something. I kept messing with the settings, and, nope, constant tiny zooms. Weird. 

After that I watched Jeff, Who Lives At Home. Same frickin’ thing! Constant distracting mini-zooms. A charming little movie, but watching it reminded me of the annoyance level of a VHS tape where you could never quite get the tracking perfect. Clearly, I was going to have to figure out a way to fix this, or get a new TV.

Then I read reviews of both movies…which criticize the filmmakers for the constant mini-zooms. Roger Ebert’s review of Jeff, Who Lives at Home says:

“One stylistic note: In nearly every scene, the Duplass brothers use quick little zooms in and out….They’re good directors. They’ll outgrow this.” 

The moral of the story? If you watch Unstoppable and Jeff, Who Lives at Home back-to-back, you might think your TV is broken. 

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