As mentioned in class, certain times one might want to use voice-over to communicate ideas that might not get across by implying them through the visuals. In Time Travel Analysis: An Exploration of Its Consequences in Movies, user Dubious Consumption uses voice-over to explain to the viewers the consequences of time travel. He offers a variety of examples to present his argument. He uses this argumentative method by showing the flaws of the first few examples and why they do not offer a great explanation to the film’s own logical system; however, he presents the film Primer as an example that works well. The way that the user emphasizes these examples’ positive and negative characteristics further underscores the voiceover.
Moreover, he begins the video by showing a scene from Primer. Here, the scene lacks a voiceover. Following this scene, he presents three different examples of time travel. In one shot, he places each three films side by side, Terminator, Back To The Future Part II, and the Time Bandits. By using this time of editing, the user wants to create a visual juxtaposition while asking using voiceover to guide the viewer. Here in this voiceover, he emphasizes each film’s confusing time travel system or lack thereof. By the time he finishes analyzing each system in these films, it becomes apparent that he uses visuals that may not show what he says in his voiceover. Here, a problem occurs. In paying too much attention to his own voiceover, the user has forgone the visual landscape. He then creates a chaotic juxtaposition of shots that say less about time travel and more about its own spontaneity.
Furthermore, although a confusing start to the video in terms of its visuals, the video picks up some sort of structure once the user talks about Looper. In this time travel film, a group of men order assassins to go back in the past to murder specific people; however, once they accomplish their jobs, they must also kill their older version. In these following scenes, the video portrays the voiceovers well. Each idea mentioned by the voiceover matches a scene. This structure helps the viewer understand not only the premise of the film but also the film’s system of time travel. In another following scene, the voice-over talks about Looper’s lack of time travel system. He does show a quote from the director who explains his motivation not to include an explanation of this system. Here, the user makes another mistake. Instead of showing the direct quotes, he could have explained them. This would have saved him the text-heavy quote.
Continuing, the user creates a shift in the following shots. After explaining the errors of Looper, he goes on to state his personal opinion about the film and the director. Although not prohibited, this type of shift in tone detracts from the film’s explanatory style. This was the only part of the video where he gives his opinion suggesting that Looper exemplified a mix of marks and errors in its time travel system. Once again, he changes films and goes on to talk about Primer. By now, after referencing the film one too many times, it would seem that this videographic criticism would have been centered around this film.
The user emphasizes voice-over to guide the viewer in what he considers a jarring film. Even though the elements of videographic editing and style work here, it further emphasizes the video’s chaotic structure. Perhaps, the biggest drawback from showcasing too many examples take time away from focusing on one strong example. Just as the viewer wants the video to go more in depth, a new example emerges. Understandably, this video essay focuses on the myriad types of films in this genre to further focus on one with a logical system. Here, the film’s lack of structure undermines its own attempt at comparison.
Moreover, it would have been interesting to see if the video could have shown all of the underwhelming films with a lack of time travel system in the beginning of the video. From here, the video could have further emphasized the qualities that these films do not explain. Then, the video could have talked about Primer as its main example. In this structure, the video would have managed to get its point across. Instead, the viewer has a difficult time following the video and its abundant examples.
In viewing this video, the use of voice-over further suggests the implications of overusing it: one may deter from having a fluid structure. In overusing the voice-over, one may end up straying away from the argument, the same way the Dubious Consumption does when talking about his own opinion and going off on a tangent about the directors of the film. Such explanations do more harm to the quality of the video than to give any sort of direction. Perhaps, finding a balance between visuals and voice-over will help this video’s structure. Maybe, adding a poetic element to the video would have underscored the implications of time travel. The video hints at such ideas but never explores them further.