Movie Montage: “a film editing technique in which a series of short shots are sequenced to condense space, time, and information,” says Wikipedia. And when have they ever been wrong?
The point that is lost in those cold, hard facts though, is the journey that we’re taken on through the use of montage, be it physical, emotional or intellectual. Years of toil, hardships and struggle can be condensed down into a short, sharp moment via a series of shots and the results on an audience can be immense. Notable montages include Magnolia‘s musical interlude, The Godfather‘s assassination-meets-baptism and Rocky‘s step-running training sequence. That being said, here is my favourite:
Team America: World Police
Say what you will about the divisive duo of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but as po-faced as we try to remain, they always find a way to make us break into a smile. In this case, they also sell the notion of the montage a whole lot better than we could.
2004’s Team America: World Police is written by the South Park pair and sees Broadway star Gary Johnston recruited into a crack counter-terrorism unit. Standard.
But when it comes down to the intensive training required for his mission to kill Kim Jong Il, like 24‘s Jack Bauer was fond of screaming; “there’s no time!” Cue the montage. Marksmanship, Stanislavski, wet shaving: the montage manages to cover it all.
And how’s about those lyrics?
“The hour’s approaching, just give it your best
You’ve got to reach your prime.
That’s when you need to put yourself to the test,
And show us a passage of time,
We’re gonna need a montage.”
All together now; “Montage!” Blunt though it may be, it’s on point, sharply satirical and ferociously funny to boot. By the time the sequence is through, you’re left in no uncertain terms that Gary is well prepared for his mission, and that you’ll never watch a montage in the same way again.
At this point, this paragraph is going to fade out. It seems like more time has passed if you fade out…
Have I missed a favourite movie montage of yours? Why not tell all in the comments below?