Montages in films and television shows are something that I always struggle with in terms of viewing them. At times I find them cheesy and too much and at other times I see them as a necessary tool to avoid relying on lazy, exposition heavy dialogue.
Watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on Sunday is what has got me thinking about the use of montages. There was the use of quite a long one to explain Abe’s training to become a vampire hunter. And it just didn’t sit right with me.
Then again, the lack of anything akin to montages really annoyed me when I went to see the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film last year. In that film was an over reliance on conveying exposition through dialogue. And so it is this need to get the balance between “showing, not telling” that is important in visual mediums.
But montages, to me, rarely feel like a legitimate way to portray events. And I get the feeling that montages are used in films when time and budget are limited… so the longer the length of a film, the less likely you’ll have numerous montages. In the case of TV, I feel montages have a bit more right to be used, as time is not on a writer’s side.
Though montages are also used to show the passage of time, and this is perhaps their most legitimate use: condensing time and giving a whiff of the events that transpired during its passage. Still, it feels kind of awkward, but I suppose fading to black and then fading back in to a later point in the story with the caption “five weeks later” isn’t any less awkward.
Anyway: how do you feel about montages?