Essayist Patrick Willems would have you believe that action scenes are fundamental to the film medium. And well, he’s not wrong. Visual storytelling is complex in creation but intuitive in consumption – it just works well with our brains.
Action works the best because it speaks to the animal understanding of motion, continuity, and time that allows visual data to process realistically. Needing no dialogue, little sound, and a loose connection to realism, action scenes – particularly chases – break editing and framing down to their most basic levels. Sort of a tutorial for the concepts.
Using Wallace and Gromit’s The Wrong Trousers as an example, Willems analyzes a case study of one of the best pieces of fantastic, zany, childish, and ultimately universal visual storytelling in cinema history.