The Cinematography of Bond 26 (and beyond)

edited May 2 in Bond 26 & Beyond Posts: 327
Don't think there's a thread specifically for this, although I've seen many people discuss the cinematography of the Craig era. Anyway, who would you like to see as the Cinematographer of a future Bond film and/or what direction do you think the cinematography should take creatively?

I generally think the cinematography of the Craig era has been technically strong, particularly Skyfall. I wasn't as much a fan of Spectre or No Time To Die's visuals - the latter especially looked beautiful but for me lacked that purposefulness of storytelling and emotional resonance that draws me in. I generally think Bond films should have a vibrancy and colour to them, especially when depicting secondary locations (the Matera and Cuba sequences in NTTD had this for me), although I also like when there's some sort of juxtaposition (I liked the fact that London looked a bit more flat/grey in SF for example, especially when compared to how Shanghai is depicted later as being more colourful/full of contrast).

There are certain trends in cinematography nowadays I don't want to see in Bond. No purple neon lighting like in John Wicks and many of Nicholas Winding-Refn's films (among many others). I also don't want Bond 26 to look like The Batman which is essentially an entire film of very low key lighting. That said, one thing I think a future Bond film can take away from that film are the more Hitchcockian elements in the cinematography (ie. the opening POV shot with Riddler's binoculars giving off that voyeuristic feel, many shots where the camera is mounted closely and right in front of Batman's face when he's using his grappling hook or flying etc.) Just a bit of creativity and visual strategy to give the cinematography that extra something would be nice, ideally without being too flashy or resorting to things like 'long takes' during fight scenes.

As for who could do the cinematography, I'd nominate Charlotte Bruus-Christensen (A Quiet Place, Molly's Game, The Girl on the Train, Far From The Madding Crowd, The Hunt, various episodes of the 2020 Black Narcissus). Watched her give a talk at a Cinematography festival in 2017. Most of the festival itself wasn't for me (I saw a panel with a world famous cinematographer and couldn't understand a word of what they said) but her interview was a highlight and her approach to cinematography was well explained and showed a lot of depth. With a strong director I'd like to see someone like this for a future Bond film.

What about you guys? What are your thoughts on the cinematography of Bond 26 and beyond?

Comments

  • LucknFateLucknFate Arkhangelsk
    edited May 1 Posts: 168
    I think it's guaranteed we see Bond utilize The Batman's and Mandalorian's new digital sound stage, and I'd love to see Bond go for the cinemascope look again like they did in NTTD. The digitial-to-film transfer The Batman did also resulted in a good-looking movie imo, that had the character of film still, so I'd be down for that.

    Haven't had a movie's cinematography blow me away in years, so I'm afraid I don't have many names to offer. Just not Hoyte Van Hoytema again.
  • Junglist_1985Junglist_1985 Los Angeles
    edited May 1 Posts: 567
    I think most Bond films should look like QOS, personally - Bold and colorful with a gritty realism.

    Yes Deakins did amazing work in SF, but I don’t think Bond needs to look quite so artistic every time.

    So, I’m going with Roberto Shaeffer.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,332
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    But I loved most of the cinematography of Matera and Jamaica, I'd love it if the next film looks similar to that. You could almost feel the heat of the place coming off the screen, like you were there, which was a treat coming after the pandemic
  • Posts: 327
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    Yes, lots of lighting flares and a bit of blurring around the edges when Bond and Madeline are driving up to Mantera to give off that 'romantic' feel (looks like they spread some Vaseline or something over the anamorphic lenses to my eye). I personally don't like it. A bit too overt and gooey for me. I always notice the cinematography in NTTD which is not my preference for a Bond movie. If Bond is surreal or fantastical I think it should be in stuff like the script, the villains, their lairs, the scenarios (albeit in a way that makes it plausible) and not necessarily the cinematography. I think it should be more purposeful from a storytelling perspective (again, having a visual strategy and things like juxtaposition/interesting shot compositions are fine, but I don't think it should take me out of the film even to admire how beautiful or cool that shot is).
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 341
    Cinematography that gets noticed isn't good cinematography. If the audience is thinking, "wow this is a really beautiful shot" as opposed to, "wow, this is a really beautiful scene," the director isn't doing his job.

    I never thought Skyfall was a beautiful-looking film, I always thought it looked stagey. Deakins' cinematography is technically well-done but it's over-dramatic and doesn't tell the silly story Skyfall is telling. Spectre is the most visually-bland entry in the entire series, with every scene looking flat and muddy. It makes AVTAK look like a Baz Lurhmann movie.

    Going forward I'd like to see a return to a stripped-down, unpretentious approach to this series' cinematography. Not a bunch of pretty images but something that's conducive to action-adventure storytelling. GE, TND, CR, and QOS are good examples of how Bond movies should be shot: competent but not showy.
  • edited May 2 Posts: 327
    slide_99 wrote: »
    Cinematography that gets noticed isn't good cinematography. If the audience is thinking, "wow this is a really beautiful shot" as opposed to, "wow, this is a really beautiful scene," the director isn't doing his job.

    I never thought Skyfall was a beautiful-looking film, I always thought it looked stagey. Deakins' cinematography is technically well-done but it's over-dramatic and doesn't tell the silly story Skyfall is telling. Spectre is the most visually-bland entry in the entire series, with every scene looking flat and muddy. It makes AVTAK look like a Baz Lurhmann movie.

    Going forward I'd like to see a return to a stripped-down, unpretentious approach to this series' cinematography. Not a bunch of pretty images but something that's conducive to action-adventure storytelling. GE, TND, CR, and QOS are good examples of how Bond movies should be shot: competent but not showy.

    I very much agree with the first paragraph but disagree with the second! At least your thoughts on Skyfall anyway. I find it pretty effective and some of the best cinematography of the series, but these things are subjective. Spectre can be an ugly looking movie in places though, I completely agree.

    Yes, ultimately Bond cinematography shouldn't take you out of the film. As beautiful as the purple neon lighting and long takes are in John Wick/many modern movies I don't think it has any place in Bond. Again, I'd personally like to see a more Hitchcokian approach going forward more akin to DN or FRWL (things like subjectivity, POV shots, how characters are framed/shot etc.) insofar as it'd work with the story.
  • Posts: 430
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    But I loved most of the cinematography of Matera and Jamaica, I'd love it if the next film looks similar to that. You could almost feel the heat of the place coming off the screen, like you were there, which was a treat coming after the pandemic

    Yeah the dream thing is entirely intentional. Sandgren talks about it in the Making Of book — it's to give it this spiritual/religious quality. Especially when Madeleine is on screen. All the stuff with light surrounding her.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,332
    BMB007 wrote: »
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I liked the cinematography on NTTD, but at times it did look almost like a dream, which was a bit odd for Bond I thought. It looked a bit surreal, which might have been the intention

    But I loved most of the cinematography of Matera and Jamaica, I'd love it if the next film looks similar to that. You could almost feel the heat of the place coming off the screen, like you were there, which was a treat coming after the pandemic

    Yeah the dream thing is entirely intentional. Sandgren talks about it in the Making Of book — it's to give it this spiritual/religious quality. Especially when Madeleine is on screen. All the stuff with light surrounding her.

    Thanks mate I thought it might have been intentional, I haven't read the book yet.

    I liked it but I felt like I was watching a dream sequence and Bond was about to wake up, which took me out of the film a bit. It looked almost too perfect
    It remind me of Mission Impossible Fallout, when Ethan is having the dream about his wife and then he wakes up suddenly
  • MalloryMallory Do mosquitoes have friends?
    Posts: 1,613
    I dont know much about the artistic and technical delivery of cinematography, except that I prefer it when the first and second units are stylistically aligned. i.e not an obvious switching of styles between the two (steady v shaky handheld camera).

    I would like to see a lot more use of the IMAX format in Bond going forward. The IMAX shot sequences in NTTD were fantastic but extremely limited (the whole PTS, a single Jamaica shot and the second half of the Cuba sequence).
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