Imaginations from the other side

As part of SiPgoesTT, our last movie genre of the year is fantasy.

Fantasy as a movie genre comes from the same genre in literature. It strongly relates to our previous two movie genres: science fiction and horror. The similarity lies in all of them being speculative fiction. The main difference is that fantasy uses myths and folklore as its main source of inspiration. However, it’s not uncommon for the border between them to be blurry with genres such as science fantasy (e.g. Star Wars), steampunk, and dark fantasy (which would include many of the movies listed below).

The Influence of Fantasy

Alongside Adventure, Fantasy is undoubtedly the genre that has had the most influence on my own photography. Do I even need to say more when my most photographed subjects are Elves and Dragons?

But beyond the toys I chose to photograph, I’ve always had a much deeper relationship with Fantasy as a genre throughout my life. Particularly as a teenager. Not only because of movies: fantasy also influenced me heavily through literature, video game, and even music.

As for movies, some of my oldest childhood memories are of the fantasy genre. The Neverending Story, Hook, Insektors, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Last Unicorn, Dragonheart, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, or Legend. (And I guess I should also list a few Disney movies here such as Fantasia, Aladdin, The Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, The Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, The Little Mermaid, or Pete’s Dragon…)

My love for dragons goes back to my childhood with movies like Pete’s Dragon, The Neverending Story, and of course Dragonheart, which I still consider as the best dragon movie ever made.

Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings

Fantasy often aims at showing something surreal and making the unreal believable. Thus, technical aspects are often essential in making a fantasy movie successful. Take IMDB’s list of best fantasy movies, and you will find on top the Lord of the Rings.

It’s no surprise considering how revolutionary were the special effects used for The Lord of the Rings.

I think the success of Peter Jackson’s trilogy partly lies in a good balance between practical and digital effects. (And of course, it also happens to be the film adaptation of the most influential piece of fantasy literature…)

Despite all the advances since then, I find the trilogy has visually aged much better than many other contemporary movies. This is particularly striking in comparison to movies from directors who decided to rely exclusively on digital effects.

More generally, The Lord of the Rings was the very first movie I paid attention to the cinematography as a teenager. I find Peter Jackson’s cinematography very inspiring and love his use of wide-angle lenses or various camera angles.

This photo, which was the topic of one of my recent blog posts, is directly inspired by the cinematography of The Lord of the Ring. Can you guess which character(s)/scene(s)/shot(s)?

Old and new

There has been tremendous progress with CGI that now allows creating almost anything. However, I think many fantasy movies from the 2000s have often relied too much on CGI. This often leads to a very polished look that 10 years later feels incredibly fake to me.

I think the 80s (and early 90s) were some kind of golden age for the fantasy genre. Because of the lack (or limitations) of digital effects, directors had to heavily rely on practical effects. This creates a very raw aesthetic that deeply contrasts with modern movies.

While certain things are near impossible to create with practical effects, practical effects make things appear more real in the long term. Practical effects might not be always the most realistic, but they feel real and don’t age as fast as CGI. A puppet on screen will still look as real in 50 years as it does now. The same can’t be said of CGI.

I find that the raw aesthetics of The Neverending Story still makes a far more believable world and story almost 40 years later than the artificial aesthetics of something like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland does 10 years after its release.

Talking about The Neverending Story, I always found there was something of Falcor in the LEGO Elves Dragon Queen…

I don’t think it’s possible (or necessary) to completely avoid digital effects. Still, I find that the (modern/recent) fantasy movies I appreciate most are often those that manage to balance the use of digital and practical effects. One good example of such good balance is Netflix’s prequel series to the Dark Crystal.

The Dark Crystal and other Netflix series

The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance came out of nowhere for me last year. I only learned about it a few days before its release.

While the Dark Crystal isn’t necessarily my favorite fantasy movie from the 80s era (that title would go to the Neverending Story), I’ve always loved Jim Henson’s work. (And as I’m writing this, I’m waiting impatiently for my Sesame Street set to arrive…)

When I saw the trailer, I couldn’t believe it… There was going to be a 10-hour long fantasy show with muppets puppets. As a toy photographer, it’s the perfect material for inspiration. (After all, isn’t puppetry the closest art form to toy photography?)

Since its release, I’ve been in awe with the series… So of course, I couldn’t resist buying some figures last year. I’ve wanted to write about it since then but never did.

A significant part of my inspiration for the past two years has come from a few Netflix fantasy series, such as the Dragon Prince or Guillermo Del Toro’s Trollhunters. But by relying on old-school techniques enhanced with modern digital imagery, The Dark Crystal stands above. It’s like that perfect mix between old and new.

My only disappointment with the series is that it ends on a cliffhanger… and that there won’t be a second season. (And also the poor quality of those Funko figures!)

Deets is still trying to cope with Netflix’s unfortunate decision…

SiPgoesTT and Fantasy

Want to join this month? Be sure to show us your favorite fantasy movie by making a photo inspired by it! And of course, don’t forget to tag your photos on social media with #SiPgoesTT and #SiPgoesTT_Fantasy

My Science Fiction Favourite

After last month’s scary movie theme, it’ s finally arrived.. sci fi ! By far my favourite of all the movie genres.

The Crossing over of Genres

Science fiction, often called “sci-fi”, is a genre of fiction literature where the content of imagination can be explored based on science.

The choice is endless with a lifetime of favourites. So many sci-fi classics ‘criss-cross’ several genres, it’s sometimes hard to nail down the specifics. Take Alien for example, is it sci-fi or horror? Or Blade Runner, is it sci-fi or film noir?

Alien Chase

Check out this definition

According to Wikipedia “Science fiction (or sci-fi) is a film genre that uses speculative, fictional, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not fully accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial lifeforms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception and time travel, along with futuristic elements such as spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, interstellar travel or other technologies. Science fiction films have often been used to focus on political or social issues, and to explore philosophical issues like the human condition.”

Star Wars

All of which sounds a lot like the big one…
Star Wars!
Star Wars is ‘technically’ an action-adventure fantasy film series, and perhaps it needs its own genre: science fantasy. For me, it will always be connected to the sci-fi world and is by far my biggest influence in toy photography. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to share some of my favourite Star Wars-themed shots.

And I thought they smelled bad…on the outside!

In conclusion, science fiction is a genre of imagination, innovation, and full of possibilities for the future of mankind and the universe in a way that is not only realistic but imaginative.

What’s your favourite sci-fi film? Let’s see what shots you can come up with this month. Don’t forget to tag your images with #sipgoestt_scifi and #sipgoestt

SpoOktober

Hellooooouuuu Everybody

Natasja here with the theme for his month…….yes one of the best themes I think : HORROR. And this theme fits perfectly for this month coinciding with Halloween.

How creepy does it have to be???

When I think about horror in the movie theme, the first film that pops-up is The Exorcist. I think most of us have seen that movie, but for those who haven’t I want to give you some information about it. And although this is the one I would like to share with you, there are definitely loads of other Horror/Thriller movies to choose from.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist is an American horror movie that was released in 1973.

The scenario is based on a book written by William Peter Blatty and was directed by William Friedkin. The novel is inspired by a true story, thought by some to be an authentic possesion. The film went on to become one of the most succesful movies of all times, with worldwide revenues of 440.000.000 dollars

When twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil (played by Linda Blair) begins to engage in bizarre behavior, her mother (Ellen Burstyn) turns to the medical community for help. After many possibilities have been exhausted, only one solution remains: an exorcism.

A possessed twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil

I will not tell you more about the content of this film, but what i can say is that this film has made quite an impression on me and I think it is still very creepy these days. What is striking is the thoughtful increase of tension. The ominous prologue suggests extensive mythology that was never explored further throughout the film.

Yet it provides The Exorcist with authenticity, which makes the viewer almost believe in it. It didn’t just impress me. Even before the movie was released, seeing the original trailer, (which was immediately banned) made a huge impact on me.

Her mother turns to the medical community for help.
The doctors, thinking that Regan’s aberrations are mostly psychological in origin, recommend an exorcism be performed.

About The Trailer

After about 30 seconds, the trailer features bright, flashy images of, among other things, a close-up of the face of the demon and the possessed Regan, simultaneously with ominous music. This led some to immediately leave the cinemas in panic. Some people even had to throw up through the trailer. And others were reported to having had a stroke or passed out due to a heart attack, among other incidents.

Lalo Schifrin, who wrote the ominous music, told to a magazine that it was one of his most unpleasant experiences in his life. Nowadays, there are a lot of horror movies, that I think can’t compare to The Exorcist….especially for a movie from that era.

Regan speaks backward, in different voices.

Original And Follow-Ups

There are also a lot movies with several parts where the story is being continued. Unfortunately that does not always add to the original film. For example the series SAW: the first 3 parts were good, after these I felt that the tension was really gone.

Some of you know that i’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, and From Dusk Till Dawn is also one of my favorites.

So, Are You Scared Yet????

Now it is up to you to show your inner horror thoughts which are movie related.

Are you joining our month’s theme? Use the hashtags: #SiPgoesTT_horror and #Sipgoestt to share your ideas with us.

I’m looking forward to your creations!

Hugs, Natasja

Hello September and Film Noir

The Golden Age of Film Noir

Last weekend the crew, along with old and new friends. we hung out together on our virtual toy photography safari. While the heat was on to make the deadlines, we sadly missed the scheduled post for our movie theme. So, here we are, one week the late introduction to this month’s theme, Film Noir.

This genre was prevalent in mostly American crime drama’s and regarded as the “classic Period” of film Noir between 1945 and the 1950s. However, the Noir style still continues to date with one particular movie that comes to mind. Typically known as Neo-Noir is Sin City. The style of filmmaking was characterised by such elements as stark lighting, cynical heroes, frequent use of flashbacks, intricate plots, and an underlying philosophy.

Some examples of the classic noir style to name but a few include, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), The Maltese Falcon (1941) with Humphrey Bogart, Kiss Me Deadly (1955) a novel by Mickey Spillane, or Orson Welles’s baroquely styled Touch of Evil (1958). Even though it is hard to classify some movies into this genre, the turn of the decade brought about the Neo-Noir. You are probably more familiar with films such as Brad Pitt immensely successful Seven in 1995 or Quentin Tarantino’s popular movie, Pulp Fiction.

How you interpret this theme is completely up to you, perhaps you might want to create your own plot and play around with artificial lighting.

Continue reading “Hello September and Film Noir”

Tell a story

Huston, July we had a problem

And what happened to our sense of humour? We do have one , saying that as a team with the exception of @herrSM, we are guilty for not joining in last month, so please accept our apologies for our absence. As a result we did not have many entries either and choosing a winner was an easier task than normal. Thank you so much to everyone else who entered. So drum role please…

Continue reading “Tell a story”

Laughing desired

But Wait

Oh my, this isn’t what we had in mind when we greeted the new year roughly six months ago, right? I guess it’s safe to say that we all had different plans for twenty-twenty. Plans of travelling, of meeting old friends and new ones. Instead life threw some event cards our ways. Here, take Covid-19. Here, deal with a lockdown. And hey, let’s not forget about the climate either, let’s change that, too.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who helped dealing with this year so far and making it a little easier for all of us. Thank you to those who stayed at home in order to decrease the risk of spreading the virus. Thank you to all those who worked to their limits- and beyond- to keep society going. I’m not going to applaud because that won’t pay the rent or buy any food but I do bow before every one of you. You people rule.

SiPgoesTT and July

The more serious the times, the bigger the necessity to laugh. You may (or may not) disagree on that sentence but it pretty much sums up my feelings these days. All that required discipline needs a counterpart where one can let go off tension and remember that there´s more to life than this. Maybe a good moment to talk about comedy.

Comedy as in…

I have to admit that it took some time for me to remember some movie titles from that genre. Movies like The Hangover, There’s Something About Mary or the brilliant Snatch.

Seasonal comedies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf.

Comedies mostly known in their country of origin like The Art Of Negative Thinking (Norway), Kopps (Sweden), Bang Boom Bang (Germany) or In China They Eat Dogs (Denmark).

A tribute to Tati’s Jour de fête

And thinking a little longer I came across great actors like Charlie Chaplin, Louis de Funès, Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, Jacques Tati, Peter Sellers and the Monty Python troupe. This list could hardly ever be complete. I’m sure every one has their own favourites here.

A bowler, maybe left there by The Tramp?

Mission? What mission?

As this genre is meant to give the audience a happy, carefree time we`ll keep it simple this month: Think of comedies you’ve seen and enjoyed. Pick just one or as many funny scenes that still crack you up every time you see them. Get out your camera and favourite building system (or any other toy) and recreate this scene and shoot it. Then post it on IG using the hashtags #sipgoesTT and #sipgoesTT_comedy. At the end of the month yours truly crew will browse all these entries and select their favourite image. This one will then be rewarded with a little LEGO gift of our choice.

Until then please share with us in the comments below your favourite comedy(ies) that you think everyone should see. Or maybe some memories you have of a certain comedy?

Ready? Set! Go building and shooting, stay safe and have some well deserved fun.

One of my favourite movies ever! Chicken Teriyaki And Piggie Man On The Loose– ok, I may have made this up…

P.s.:

When thinking of the importance of laughing I remember going to the cinema with a friend to see Four Lions several years ago. The moment we met my friend told me that his father had just died the day before. I was shocked and said we’d better not go and see a comedy then but he insisted. We ended up laughing tears of joy. After the show he told me that he felt relieved and soothed at the same time. Laughing may not always be able to wipe away pain or sorrow, but to me it is an essential ingredient in life. Don’t you agree?

Our favorite Adventure/Action photo is…

It’s already July, and we’re running a week late. Soon, we’ll announce the theme for this month. First, let’s take a look at last month‘s entries, and before announcing the winning picture, here are some of the images that also caught our attention.

Runners-up

A Raptor in the Kitchen by stories_in_bricks

The Temple of Doom by ozzhead

Lady Galadriel by minifiguresadventures

And the winner is…

Last month’s winner for #SIPgoestt_adventure … it’s sir_legoade‘s twist on the Dark knight photo that took our heart. Thank you and congratulations to him and everyone who participated last month! Stay tuned with the soon upcoming announcement for this month’s movie challenge!

And the Oscar for the Best Romantic Movie goes to…

May is already over, and so is last month’s challenge about romantic movies.

The runners-up

Thank you to everyone who embraced the romantic movie theme, there were some great movies captured. So before announcing the winner, let’s have a look at some of the other entries that caught our eyes.

Continue reading “And the Oscar for the Best Romantic Movie goes to…”

Don’t forget the giveaway and to be romantic!

A nice giveaway

At the beginning of the month, we’ve announced a challenge with a chance to win the amazing LEGO Bookshop 10270.

Nice picture of the bookshop from Me2

Your challenge

You have a few days left (till Sunday 31st of May) to enter the challenge.
Your mission?
Take one of your favorite romantic movies and recreate a scene from it.
Don’t find any movie to recreate a scene?
Create a romantic story with at least three images. You chose the place, the characters, the story.

Be sure to tag your photos with #SiPgoesTT and #SiPgoesTT_romanticmovie on social media so we can find out your picture.

My romantic challenge

After recreating a scene from Dirty Dancing, now let’s go for a little story, in a bookshop.

A romantic picture #SiPgoesTT #SiPgoesTT_romanticmovie
One day, in the bookshop of a small city…
Continue reading “Don’t forget the giveaway and to be romantic!”