welcome to the long-awaited, fantabulous FanstRAvaganza 2013. For the coming week myself and countless A___ fans all over the world will be blogging on all aspects Armitageois in an effort to raise R___ A___ ‘s profile while providing lots of food for fun and thought for his devoted fans. You can follow the blogging event on the specially created hub fanstRAvaganza.com where all the posts will be collected in one spot. I myself am cross-posting my contributions here on my specially-created WordPress blog, as well as tumblr. Please show *all* participants a bit of love and leave a message – or click love, like, ❤ to show your appreciation.
Maybe FanstRA is the opportunity to do something slightly different with my *ooof*s for a change. Usually they are pretty dour: Analyses of A___ images, peppered with photographic jargon and only for the icing doused with a bit of objectifying and ogling. How about looking at some less-than-perfect A___ shots then, just for the fun of it? The duds and the flops, so to speak. Yes, there are those among the A___ photographic output. And for the fun of it, I’ll use FanstRA as the opportunity to actually look at the pictures that I *don’t* like… So for the next seven days you will be getting more of these from me. They are still *ooof* because they contain A___ – but they are to be taken with a
pinch spoon-ful of salt – therefore let’s call them *spoofs*
To start us off, I have chosen a still from Armitage’s first major outing into the world of film. (I’ll ignore his bit part in Phantom Menace just for the sake of the flow, here.) Not liking the images from Captain America is easy enough – how can you like representations of a nasty Nazi spy? Well – I usually have no problem in finding redeeming characteristics for any character that R___ plays. But the styling here doesn’t make it any easier, either. Horn-rimmed specs, anyone? Nah, didn’t think so. But let’s have a look first.
The image above is a promo still from the film and shows the moment before Heinz Krüger ignites a massive bomb with a flick of his little cigarette lighter. It is actually much to A___ ‘s credit that I never recognised him when I watched Captain America on the big screen with my son two years ago. Never mind the fact that he was playing a character who was made to be hated, and treated with disgust. Krüger is standing in the lab where the miraculous weapon of the Americans in their fight against the Nazis has been developed. With one fell swoop Krüger is just about to obliterate the good guys’ chances of fighting evil. He is standing on a metal staircase in the corner of the lab, overlooking the floor. Hence the perspective of the camera is from below.
Shooting from a lower level than your subject’s head easily adds extra nastiness to the shot: We have to look up to this character, we have been made to feel smaller than him. Smaller = less. This will already displease us. How could this nasty Nazi spy be bigger than us??? – But shooting from below head level *is* nasty. If you ever happen to be so lucky as to get your arch-enemy into a photograph you are taking, then heed my words: Take a picture from below. It does wonders to your own self-esteem by blowing his/her double chins out of proportion! This is the least flattering aspect *ever*. (Although I must admit that A___ does his best not to look double-chinned. Well, that’s because he has no double chin. *ahem*)
But there is another trick that the makers of the movie employed to characterise Krüger as the spawn of evil. Look at the lighting of the image. You will observe that from the background it is clear that there must be overhead lighting (> see the shadows underneath the pipes). Now look at Krüger. There is the light from above, as seen in the highlights on his shoulders and his hair. But much more importantly, there is light from *below*. It is directly trained onto him and leaves no further trace on other parts of the room. Clever! Because this is where the real, subtle characterisation tools come in. You could ask anyone you know – most people will tell you that they find an image with lighting from below eerie. Why? Because it reminds us of hell – this is the hellfire of the devil, it illuminates this evil spy from below and claims him for eternal damnation! – All a bit one-dimensional for you? Well, remember, this is a comic book dramatisation and hence relies on the age-old fight between good and evil. And boy did they use every trick in the book to make the villain look even more villainous. The image is a typical example of that.
I have to admit that this picture per se is not really a dud, though. It is perfectly made – the lighting is no coincidence, neither is the perspective. It is all part of the characterisation of Krüger – and it is using the available tricks to its advantage. You also have to bear that in mind when you look at the styling of Krüger. We are meant to dislike this character, therefore a handsome actor like A___ is not allowed to look any better than the lead of the film (in this case Capt America, played by Chris Evans). The stylists achieved that by giving A___ a slick side-parting – not his usual look and not one that makes his square-dy forehead look any better. They have also chosen to give him horn-rimmed specs – even in the 1940s not the epitome of a sexy look. (And, btw, my only niggle with the decisions of the costume department – horn-rimmed specs. As a spectacle-wearer myself, I am quite aware of eyefashion and I can tell that the shape of the glasses worn by Krüger is anachronistic. While horn-rimmed specs were in existence in the 1940s, most of the glasses worn were metal rimmed. If horn-rimmed at all, they were of a much rounder shape. The shape of Krüger’s rather rectangular glasses point more towards the 1960s than the 1940s.)
Back to the film for some concluding words. My heart breaks every time A___ is cast as a villainous character. Is it really true what he said in an interview for Captain America: “I suppose I’m a bit mean. My face on camera doesn’t lend itself to happy nice guys. I think it’s just that my bone structure looks menacing. I don’t smile that often.” Menacing bone structure? Oh R___, no! You just have an angular face but a wonderful propensity to smile. The occasional smoulder is quite effective, too, but remember: Smile often! It increases your face value!!