Cinematic music Videos: Image of the Invisible/City of Lost Children

City of Lost Children directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. A dystopic urban fairy tale that owes much to Fellini and Gilliam. It tells the story of a circus strong man (Ron Perlman) in search of his brother who has been kidnapped by a scientist named Krank who uses children to steal their dreams. This premise is ripe with stunning imagery and the filmmakers certainly do not disappoint. City of Lost Children is a shining example of the great things that can be achieved using the medium of cinema. Which is why it's easy to believe that someone would use it as a jumping off point for a music video.

The band Thrice hopped on the band wagon using the visual style of Jeunet's film and key parts from the plot for their song, Image of the Invisible. The video's visuals are spot on (Sometimes) and the deep amber and green saturation of the scenes add to the homage. However...and this is the most important part of creating a music video, the song is frustratingly terrible and adds a grating counterpoint to the visuals. Perhaps they could have chosen a different song, or at least a different concept.

I am also inclined to think that the video's director may have been happier doing something else. The video looks like it was shot by two different people; one to assimilate scenes from the film and the other to shoot the lead singer yelling into a microphone while standing in front of a sub par green screen. Don't get me wrong, I think some of the images in this video are well done and the story has echoes of CoLC, without being a condensed version of the film. However it also has typical music video tropes, bad green screen, obligatory shots of the band playing and an ending that feels like it should be meaningful, but just isn't.

While the visuals are hit and miss, the song...wasn't...to...my...taste. Maybe I just don't get it. While discussing the band/video with a coworker, I was encouraged to check out some of their other songs/videos and was surprised at how much better their other songs are (I still think they sound like a Nickleback clone but whatryougonnado). Come all You Weary wasn't too bad and Digital Sea (Both the song and the video) is superior to what they do in Image of the Invisible. The fact that they also had Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) who, in my opinion is a visual genius when it comes to his comics and videos, help them with the video/story, makes this music video all the more inexcusable.

I hate to turn this article into a rant about the state of music and music videos, but please bear with me... The music video was created so that musicians would have a visual medium with which to associate themselves. The songs should stand on their own, but not everyone can make it to your concerts so a channel was developed to showcase you/your band's talent in the visual medium. At best we get visionaries in the medium like Michael Jackson and Eminem, at worst we get this...

It's understandable that not everyone knows how to pair their music with the visual medium. A band that is absolutely brilliant, might find themselves in a video that is total shit. Not to sound like a total curmudgeon, but it seems occasionally that the art has gone out of music videos. Often though, just as soon as I feel like all hope is lost, I see something like this and my faith is regained. Anyway... There are better videos than Image of the Invisible, but there are also worse ones. However, using City of Lost Children as an homage, the video fails. I may have to watch some of Jeunet's other films to wash the taste of this video out of my mouth. I suggest you do as well.

-Rob Out.