Sunday 30 December 2007

The "making of" a rant...

I recently nabbed myself a copy of "28 Weeks Later" on sale and went over the extra features (which were admittedly not copious) and something sprung to mind for me to rant about, and what may that be?

DVD "making of" documentaries on films such as this, and many others for that fact. Now a good 'making of' will be something along the lines of those you often find on George A. Romero movies, usually for his older films. While retrospectives, they actually provide you with knowledge about how the movie was made and what it was like to be there during the making of it.

For more recent films, "30 Days In Hell" on the excellent 2-disc DVD for "The Devil's Rejects" is utterly superb. Two and a half hours of true making of behind the scenes footage. In-movie clips are kept to a minimum. Interviews are plentiful, but what's more we actually almost overdose on behind-the-scenes footage, as documented by some lucky bugger who got to hang out and watch an awesome movie get filmed.

"The Devil's Rejects" is a prime example of a quality making of documentary...admittedly it's the sort of movie in the sort of genre with the sort of fans who'd want such an in-depth examination, but two and and half hours or not, it is truly deserving of the name "making of".

This brings me back (about time) to "28 Weeks Later". The 'making of' is actually titled as such, and so you'd expect to really find out about the making of the movie...but like many similar documentaries to cover popular cinema, it's mainly interview footage of people either saying how great everybody else is, or people saying who their characters are, or the filmmakers telling us the story - OF THE FILM WE HAVE JUST FUCKING WATCHED!!!

After all, who watches the extra features before seeing the film? Exactly, nobody but numpties - so why do we need to know the story? We don't. Why do we need to know what everybody's character is like and what they're there for? We don't. What we do need/want to know is how they made the film, what went into the actual making of the film, how did they decimate a field of infected with a helicopter? ... and so on.

True behind-the-scenes footage is kept to a minimum (which must be annoying to the lucky bugger who got to document the making of a kick-ass movie and no doubt worked hard - I know I would have, if I had been in the same shoes). The interview footage is mainly kept to telling us information we already know - all of the 'how & why' we don't know is kept to a minimum.

What is most annoying however, despite the lack of true 'making of' information, is the sheer volume of in-movie clips (in 28WL's case, annoyingly sliced up to look 'funkier' that just a normal clip). Fuck off, I want off-camera moments, people falling over and laughing, I want alternate takes from behind-the-camera-people-behind-the-camera. I want a tour of the locations as they're prepped, I want to feel as if I was there for the filmmaking process - that is a 'making of'.

I've seen countless 'making of' docs such as these on many different films. They're near-pointless (and sometimes completely pointless) and go against their description, their purpose. Once again I come back to the excellent long-feature-length effort on "The Devil's Rejects" double disc DVD. A superb piece of filmmaking documentation. It doesn't have to be that long all the time, but at least we were afforded useful and interesting insights - both from interview-given information, but from seeing ... vicariously through the eye of the on-set flaneur.

1 comment:

Danny Smith said...

dude i agree, i watched two yesterday, heroes and my name is earl and heroes was just arse licking, but my name is earl had the creators telling you everything, from how fox didnt like the pitch to how he spent 3 hours a day writing a pilot anyway and how such and such actor was really hard to get and just a good overall insight into the creation of the show.
but dont get me started on dvd extras, i swear a few times ive gotten one that had only these sepcial features "interactive menus" "scene selection" and *gasp!* "feature film".

yes i swear to god one film toted the feature as a special feature.