Grey is the palette of terror, apparently

Posted on November 25, 2012

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This was what crossed my mind while watching the recent remake of The Wolfman. It wasn’t the only thing that went through my head. Other musings included: how Chaneyesque Benicio del Toro looked, in and out of make up; how Hugo Weaving always makes any film a little bit better; and really, when it comes down to it, CGI effects of humanoid characters fighting, flying, or fornicating in a superhuman stylee are still quite rubbish, aren’t they.

But back to the grey. What is it with this steely blue grey? These days when you put a movie on, especially if it’s a fantasy-horrory style one, you can tell a lot about how it’s going to turn out by the palette in the opening five minutes. And the golden rule appears to be the greyer, the lamer.

I’m way out of touch with most new movies released in the last couple of decades, but looking back I think the seeds of it lie in Underworld and a couple of Tim Burton efforts–Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd–maybe the Saw series too, and in a certain genre of horror games, but there the palette shifts into concrete and rust, and that’s not really what I’m getting at here.

What this is, is a string of cheap-assed, fantasy action movies that are mainly extended violent CGI’d fight scenes. The Blade films, Van Helsing, all that.

Far as I can see, the visual palette is pretty much an indicator of the imagination that’s gone into the thing. Grey is the word.

 

*****

UPDATE: thanks to @bazzargh this interesting link goes some way to explaining the phenomenon. Orange v Teal seems to be the order of the day.

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Posted in: Movies