So get this.
You’re watching a movie, the actors are deep into their characters, the lightning is gorgeous and everything is on point when suddenly the scene is edited choppy. They are not cut and placed in the proper order in regard to the continuity presented. The characters are looking one way, but then the next they are looking the other, they were originally inside but are now outside without reason.
The editors got too trigger happy cutting up the film.
Sadly, I’ve been noticing these editing issues pop up lately in films released this past year, with the most notable being the recently released Transfromers: The Last Knight, making some moments in the movie hard to keep track of. It’s like the editors got to excited cutting up movies.
While sure The Last Knight isn’t the greatest of movies out there right now, it’s a part of a film series known for its long panning shots, strong visuals and easy to keep track of moments. Yet with the latest entry in the series, it was anything but.
The first twenty minutes of the movie gives no rest for the audiences eyes with editing cuts happening so fast that the story feels strongly disjointed, there’s no time to soak in the cinematography and let the eyeballs breathe it all in.
One notable scene is when Mark Wahlberg’s character is walking through the junkyard talking to Isabela Moner’s character early on in the movie. At first the scene is relatively normal but then the editor begins getting too edit happy and starts cutting the scene apart at a rapid pace between the two actors; eventually this exact scene shifts over into the inside of a trailer and the characters are still talking about the same thing they were earlier when nowhere near the said trailer seconds ago. It is like they magically warped to the trailer without the help of Autobot technology. Eventually the rapid editing cuts mellow out, but then they pick up again minutes later when following other characters.
It’s a very disjointed mess once you start noticing it.
However also, outside of the editing cuts, the movie doesn’t know what format it should be presented in with the aspect ration constantly shifting every few seconds. While not as noticeable as the rapid editing cuts mentioned above, it does become a thing that can draw you out of your immersions.
It is like over the years, the editors got tired of letting the eyes soak in the beauty of the cinematography and became overzealous in editing cuts.
Yes, never editing a piece of film is a bad thing, but also over editing is a bad thing too. It needs to be a moderation between the two with the right, justified, cuts being made.
A properly edited scene adds depth to the story and creates space for the setting the characters are in. It gets the audiences familiar with the environment and actually care about what’s going to happen to. Most notable genres that do this are Sci Fi and Horror. In these two genres the environment and how the films are cut can build character and also give the film its tension.
Will modern film editors realize this or not? Time will tell. What should not be lost is the audience’s focus when it comes to watching a scene.