Raiders: homage or ripoff?

Boingboing has a good discussion. (YouTube has a typically terrible discussion.)

Good comment by Ryan_T_H on BoingBoing:

Dear everybody that is shocked by this… what you see above is not odd. It’s so normal that is has a name. Many names actually, depending on the medium, but in this case your Film Appreciation 101 professor would probably refer to it as The Language of Film (a good film prof can even say it with the capital letters).Scroll down the BoingBoing main page a little and read part of the comments on all the  copyrighted works that should have come into the public domain this year. There is a lot of talk about shared culture.

What you see above is shared culture.

A director trying to evoke a specific look and feel for a particular shot duplicating parts of a previous work that successfully managed the feat? That’s the job. And it’s hard. Just look at the little clip above. In order to craft one of the finest opening sequences in the history of film Speilberg had to call upon dozens of prior works spanning over a half century of film. Then he had to pick out the tricks that he needs to sell each moment, most of which last only a couple of seconds.

Certain shots work. Some work because we have been trained to respond to them. Some work because they play on ancient visual tricks and queues that were old when the Renaissance artists were using them. These get noted and used again… and again… and again. They form a language. If you want to create this feeling, use this type of shot. It you want to get the audience ready for upcoming action use that. To hint or indicate that a particular character is a villain or hero or not to be trusted, frame them like this or that.

A language. And Spielberg (for all his other faults) is one of the best speakers that has ever worked the industry. Another director who speaks Film impressively well is Michael Bay. It’s one of the reasons that his films are so damn watchable despite being so damn bad.