The American popular imagination has long portrayed World War II as the “good war,” fought by the “greatest generation” for the sake of freedom and democracy. Yet, combat films and other war media complicate this conventional view by indulging in explosive displays of spectacular violence. Combat sequences, Tanine Allison argues, construct a counter-narrative of World War II by reminding viewers of the war’s harsh brutality.
Destructive Sublime traces a new aesthetic history of the World War II combat genre by looking back at it through the lens of contemporary video games like Call of Duty. Allison locates some of video games’ glorification of violence, disruptive audiovisual style, and bodily sensation in even the most canonical and seemingly conservative films of the genre. In a series of case studies spanning more than seventy years—from wartime documentaries like The Battle of San Pietro to fictional reenactments like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan to combat video games like Medal of Honor—this book reveals how the genre’s aesthetic forms reflect (and influence) how American culture conceives of war, nation, and representation itself.
Most moviegoers think of editing and special effects as distinct components of the filmmaking process. We might even conceive of them as polar opposites, since effective film editing is often subtle and almost invisible, whereas special effects frequently call attention to themselves. Yet, film editors and visual effects artists have worked hand-in-hand from the dawn of cinema to the present day.
Editing and Special/Visual Effects brings together a diverse range of film scholars who trace how the arts of editing and effects have evolved in tandem. Collectively, the contributors demonstrate how these two crafts have been integral to cinematic history, starting with the “trick films” of the early silent era, which astounded audiences by splicing in or editing out key frames, all the way up to cutting-edge effects technologies and concealed edits used to create the illusions. Throughout, readers learn about a variety of filmmaking techniques, from classic Hollywood’s rear projection and matte shots to the fast cuts and wall-to-wall CGI of the contemporary blockbuster.
In addition to providing a rich historical overview, Editing and Special/Visual Effects supplies multiple perspectives on these twinned crafts, introducing readers to the analog and digital tools used in each craft, showing the impact of changes in the film industry, and giving the reader a new appreciation for the processes of artistic collaboration they involve.