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Slow motion is killing the movies. I enjoyed all three of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, but one of my pet peeves about his style is his over-reliance on slow motion. It was annoying here and there in Fellowship of the Ring, grating in the last hour of Two Towers, and had me ready to throw tomatoes at the screen by the climactic scene on Mount Doom in the last film.

Now, speaking as a professional video editor, I know there are places in a project or movie where a. you may have no choice but to slow down some footage (because there’s so little available) or b. the dramatic pace of the situation would benefit from it. But to my mind, changing the pace in the quicker direction is more effective than slowing it down (I always liked Laurence Olivier’s simple recommendation to one actor who was agonizing over a scene on stage: “Darling, try twice the pace.”).

But to use it as consistently and thoughtlessly as so many directors do in today’s market —whether for TV or cinema—is to vitiate the energy of the story on screen.

Mel Gibson falls prey to the same tendency (although not as badly as Jackson) in The Passion of the Christ.

Some day, I think moviegoers are going to look back on this tedious fashion the way we currently do about the tendency of old Hollywood movies to rely on montages.

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