Continuing with our epic series on AKIRA (see PART I of AKIRA if you missed out):
1. Flickering lights
Study the flickering lights (on and off) in AKIRA:
## 2. Blade runner
Blade Runner (and almost all dystopic film) probably got inspiration from AKIRA in one way or another:
Note how beautiful this urban landscape is. Great proportions and composition. Here are some of the major shapes I see: ## 3. The future and entertainment
Unfortunately in the future, we are all just distracted by mindless entertainment:
## 4. Layers and Depth
Great opening scene, note the layers and depth in this shot:
See the depth, and composition: Everything is perfectly sectioned-off. Note the couple on the left, the man in the top-right, the man on the top-left, the red pillar dividing the frame, the green foilage (juxtaposed against the red pillar), and our protagonist in the center-top of the frame.
5. Detail shot
I love this next detail shot— shot from up looking down. Note the simplicity of the shot, the colors, the lights, and the details on just the hands:
The old-school jukebox of the future: ## 6. TRON
See the inspiration that AKIRA (and the cool bikes) get from TRON.
Note the light trails:
Scenes from the old-school tron: Scenes from the new (2010) TRON: Learning point: there is no ‘originality’ in any cinema, film, or art. There are always borrowed ideas. It is just a matter of re-interpretation. Or how you can remix it in a novel way.
The famous motorcycle from AKIRA:
Now take a look at a TRON BIKE and see how similar they look:
7. The city
Vision of the city, juxtaposed against the classic film “METROPOLIS (1927)”
Here is the scene from AKIRA:
Here is the scene from 1927 Metropolis:
Consider the original Futuristic-Dystopia film: “Metropolis”, setting the stage for all futuristic film.
More beautiful scenes from AKIRA– note how sometimes you are confused, you don’t know which way is up:
My favorite scene, of them racing through the city– it looks like a reflection of the city (upside down):
Even these surreal post-apocolytic views. Note the ‘WASHINGTON’ tires advertisement:
8. Crimson/magenta mood
I love the color scheme in this scene:
Note the composition here. You have the kid looking at his own reflection in the mirror. But also note the color scheme: the crimson red on the left, juxtaposed against the pink magenta on the right:
With Gaussian blur:
Now with some colors.
Pretty sloppy, but you can see the crimson red tone in the left side of the frame. And the brown/red tones in the far left. But on the far right, you have a purple/magenta scheme– which glows:
9. Body healing pod
One of the best sci-fi visions, of a body being examined. Kanye West was really inspired by AKIRA, as you can see in his ‘STRONGER’ music video:
I remember when I recently saw this, it is the same from AKIRA:
Note the lovely jade-green color scheme, against the pale green: You think of other modern films, like ELYSIUM, with this future medical pod to heal all your sicknesses:
Or you can just get a fashionable pod to stay forever young:
Or in PASSENGERS (movie) with the ‘hibernation pods’:
Just a moral thing to consider: what if we lived in a world where we cured ourselves of all diseases in these little pods? We still die (at age 120) of natural causes. But no longer dying of diseases. How would that change humanity?
10. Dystopic school
What do we do when there is no longer any social order– and kids are just running amok in schools, with teachers who don’t care, or administrators who don’t care?
I like this shot, from the side, with the layers and depth:
Then note this next scene, shot from inside looking out:
A classroom of the future:
How do the administrators feel?
Essentially, the schools and administrators are indifferent.
Graffiti all over the place:
This next scene is phenomenal — see the composition here:
With the Gaussian blur, to better see the lines, geometry, and colors:
With even more blur, to better see the color combinations and composition:
Even more abstracted– you can use the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop to find the colors:
Lesson: try innovative color schemes. Here, I am drawn to the color-combination of the bright orange-red on the far right, against the purple. And in the foreground, that bronze color. And the top of the frame, a turquoise color.
As a photographer or film maker, you can use artificial ‘gel-colored’ lights to create this effect. Or if you make film, you can create your own sets, and color them however you’d like.
11. Dutch angle
Dutch angle is basically tilting the camera, to make a more dramatic, dynamic, uneasy, and edgy.
They use it a lot in film, but you can also do it in photography (just by tilting your camera/horizon).
Note this shot:
See all the diagonal lines, and also the lovely color palette: the watermelon-green walls, and the red on the right of the frame, and the blue of the doors.
See the leading lines here:
Then see the colors:
The next scene, with the green background, tilted horizon, and the purple door:
Lesson: Tilt your camera for more dramatic scenes (dutch angle).
When you watch an anime or hand-drawn, or 3d film, or anything not ‘real’ — just think of the camera angles.
Consider what lenses they will use for which scene. Consider how the scenes cut from one moment to the other.
And think these questions:
- When does the camera look down, versus looking up?
- When does the camera zoom in, or zoom out?
- What lens or perspective is the lens (wide, medium, telephoto)– or 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, or 200mm?
- Think of the light– how you can create depth through different shades of color.
- Also consider color-combinations.
Part III of our analysis of AKIRA to be continued…
See AKIRA PARTI if you missed out.
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