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The Cinema Of Robert Zemeckis __TOP__

In 2004, Zemeckis reteamed with Hanks and directed The Polar Express, based on the children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The Polar Express utilized the computer animation technique known as performance capture, whereby the movements of the actors are captured digitally and used as the basis for the animated characters. As the first major film to use performance capture, The Polar Express caused The New York Times to write that, "Whatever critics and audiences make of this movie, from a technical perspective it could mark a turning point in the gradual transition from an analog to a digital cinema."[29]

The Cinema Of Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis is a director with a rather interesting fate. He entered the big cinema stage as the author of major films and gave the world several iconic pictures filled with deep reflections on the past and future. Zemeckis does not claim the laurels of an auteur indie film, but he and other visionaries of technology were not afraid to radically experiment with the forms of cinematography. So, we are happy to present a new blog about how Robert Zemeckis has made time the central theme of his career and taught the world to travel through it with the help of stars and cars.

Who knows, if it weren't for John Lennon and Beatlemania, Robert Zemeckis might not have become a filmmaker. The first help from the Beatles' music came when, in the early '70s, he decided to go to film school at the University of Southern California, where he submitted a short film based on the song "Golden Slumbers." There he met Bob Gale, the future co-writer of the "Back to the Future" trilogy. The two friends' tastes helped them bond, and they separated from the other students in the group. Zemeckis recalled that he and Gale, unlike the others, were never fans of the French New Wave and didn't want to make art films like European films. They were into James Bond movies, Walt Disney and Clint Eastwood and wanted to make movies in Hollywood. During his studies, the twenty-year-old filmmaker made a short work called "The Lift" (1972), a remarkable story about how a confident man's ordinary life becomes extraordinary thanks to an elevator. In the film, through insert shots of a wristwatch dial and a mechanical alarm clock, the main interest of the Zemeckis' cinematography - time - appears for the first time.

Interest in cutting-edge technical innovations do not prevent the director from reveling in nostalgia and exploring different eras. By looking back on history, Robert Zemeckis reinforces filmmaking's properties, allowing a glimpse of a different reality. His reverent love for the past has given rise to many pop-culture personalities and allows us to call Zemeckis' cinematography an almanac of 20th-century American life.

Zemeckis could be called the main supporter and popularizer of motion capture technology. "The Polar Express" (2004) became the first film created entirely with this technology. Additionally, it allowed Tom Hanks to perform five roles at once. Since then, Robert Zemeckis has become the biggest advocate of digital cinema, which, in his words, does not restrict the authors' freedom.

This technique is consistent with the belief that cinema is primarily a narrative art and thus requires a certain editing rhythm. A long frame shot with a smoothly moving camera allows the viewer to absorb the atmosphere of the space more deeply. In addition, for the director, it is another method of creating a spectacular: in such frames appear complex action or virtuoso choreography.

Besides this technique, it's hard to find any other distinctive features of Zemeckis' visual style because his approach to cinematography was greatly influenced by the classic and new Hollywood movies. Throughout his career in cinema, he consciously sought to create a "true" Hollywood cinema, understandable to the general audience and not burdened with contrived intellectuality.

As for "Forrest Gump," the spirit of Frank Capra, author of one of the most important American films, "It's Wonderful Life" (1942), is evident. Like Capra, Zemeckis is an optimist, a bit moralist, a lover of miracles, and a creator of the image of the American national hero, honest and straightforward. Forrest Gump clearly came from this kind of cinematography, where James Stewart and Gary Cooper played similar characters before Tom Hanks, who claimed fortitude and vitality. Someone even had the idea to edit the Forrest Gump trailer if it came out in the late forties; look it up.

Robert Zemeckis is one of the greatest reconstructors of American history in cinema. And what makes his interest in the past remarkable is not how accurately he reproduces various facts, but how interestingly and creatively he embodies the spirit of an era. That's probably why he tries to saturate his films with as many different personalities and historical figures as possible. "Forrest Gump" will remain the best and most unbiased film in its league for many years to come. Forrest, with his mind, devoid of cynicism and organically disinclined to lie, is an unbiased symbol of time himself. There are rarely clock dials or electronic scoreboards because Forrest himself testifies to all events, he is their omen and, according to Zemeckis's version, the cause.

One such film, The Polar Express, was released shortly after this period of cinematic self-loathing and hoped to bring harmony to the world of film with a brand new motion-capture method of live-action CGI. The result is something of a festive purgatory where director Robert Zemeckis welcomes us into a world of soft, pliable faces with characters who wish their time in the eternal animated hellhole would abruptly end.

This same uncanny aspect can be seen in the early works of Pixar that seemed to nail the animation of ants, fantastical toys and fish, though often struggled with human characters in the likes of Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. In this period of transition, the shortcomings of motion picture technology were constantly exposed, with The Polar Express becoming the poster child for a cinematic industry reaching far beyond its means.

Each day during this special week we will be highlighting the filmmakers and actors that Roger championed throughout his career. A table of contents for all of our "Roger's Favorites" posts can be found here. Below is an entry on the cinema of Robert Zemeckis.

Robert Zemeckis may as well have been one of Roger's favorite American filmmakers. The fascination that Roger had with Zemeckis' cinema is career-long, from his first four-star review (for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit") to the last film the critic reviewed, 2012's "Flight," and the many other raves in between. Whether working in live-action, animation, or a trademark mix of both, Zemeckis proved to be an exciting innovator and entertainer to Roger, a director who continued to push the expectations of a moviegoing experience, while still offering a classic fun in the process.

Robert Zemeckis is often routinely labelled as a man heavily interested in the technical side of cinema, mainly because he is. But that overlooks his ability to draw excellent performances from his cast, and his skill at putting human beings at the heart of his stories. The Back To The Future trilogy is an obvious example of that, but you can find examples as far back as Romancing The Stone, and as recently as Flight. Few directors, in live action at least, balance the human and the technical quite so well.

A genuine film noir with cartoon characters in the real world? The concept alone is better than some movies, and it's more than satisfying to see that Robert Zemeckis successfully combined his love for innovative technology with two classic forms of cinema and combined them all in one of the most creative and entertaining films to come out of the 80s. The late Bob Hoskins puts in one of the best performances of his career, and we get to see Romancing the Stone star Kathleen Turner reunite with Zemeckis to become one of the most sultry cartoon characters ever created. But perhaps the most impressive feat is bringing together the cartoons of Warner Bros. and Disney, something that will likely never happen again.

This movie is perfect. Hollywood doesn't make movies like this anymore, mostly because scripts that are this airtight, creative and fantastic are either hard to come by, or studios just aren't willing to take a chance on them. For a sci-fi element as complex as time travel, this movie has the most simple story that never lets itself get too complicated. This movie is the definition of iconic, and it's because Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale wrote a script that is imaginative and fun, with characters that you're with every step of the way and have influenced cinema for decades now, not to mention a villain that you love to hate. This wasn't a script that was written with the intention of selling toys, or launching a franchise (the sequel tag was just meant to be a gag), and without being hyperbolic, it's undoubtedly one of the best movies ever made.

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Change in cinema is inevitable. It is after all, relatively speaking, not a particularly old form of art, ever changing and adapting along with technological advancements. It might not always be smooth sailing, but you can be sure that with Robert Zemeckis at the helm, the evolutionar


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