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[Movies] Favorite Cinematic Sorcery Battle Scene

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Scottish_Pride

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I honestly can't think of anything at the moment that could beat it without going into anime territory. When it comes to movies in general, though, I think "The House with the Clock in its Walls" was surprisingly good for something that was supposed to be a kids' movie.
 
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Can I honestly say that the sorcery in Doctor Strange was "meh"?

I'm trying to think of a positive example while writing this, but the comics of Doctor Strange are so wacky and distorted, and the spells so widely varied, but most of the movie's sorcery was very visually uninspired. It was like equal parts "lightsabers," Inception, and just slugging it out in the astral plane. For examples of better sorcery, look to Infinity War. I'm not sure if Ebony Maw's powers count, but he made telekinesis an art form. The Doc himself, on the other hand, really pulled out some neat magic to counter Thanos. A sort of Time Stone powered divination, creating multiple illusory copies of himself that could all cast real spells, turning a pseudo black hole into butterflies, all kinds of cool stuff.

I haven't watched a lot movies where I've particularly enjoyed the magic vs. magic battles. A lot of things these days devolve into sloppy Dragon Ball Z "inspired" tripe. Like the beam clash in Harry Potter that prompted everyone to start doing that. There had been beam clashes in other things before, including Godzilla games, but Harry Potter really sold that one (especially for spellcasters). A lot of Witchcraft in film also tends to be pretty Satanic, which I find irritating since there's such a broad scope of non-Satanic practitioners in real life. And Satanists themselves are not witches by default.

The title said "cinematic," but you know what I really liked? The battle between Lord Ainz and Shalltear in the first season of Overlord. Without going into extensive detail, it did a really good job of illustrating how a fight between high-tier D&D characters would play out in real time, even though the setting is actually supposed to have started as a VR game (in-canon). I'm not saying it represents realistic magic whatsoever (not that I think that was supposed to be the point of this thread), but in terms of displaying RPG magic in a cinematic way. Top-tier.
 

Mart

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The title said "cinematic,"
I just meant in cinema.
What I absolutely love about the Caradhras scene in LOTR is that it's probably the closest to a real life sorcery depiction that I've seen and it feels so powerful no matter how many times I've watched it. Anywhere else it's all flashy hollywood bullshit with "lightsabers" as you said.
 
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I just meant in cinema.
What I absolutely love about the Caradhras scene in LOTR is that it's probably the closest to a real life sorcery depiction that I've seen and it feels so powerful no matter how many times I've watched it. Anywhere else it's all flashy hollywood bullshit with "lightsabers" as you said.
Always bothers me when immense cosmic power is demonstrated as "sparky slashy sword." Or sparky slashy whip. Or sparky slashy shield. In different colors. It is not that hard to make a visual representation of what's happening, without "neon lights" as someone above put it.
 

SkullTraill

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The title said "cinematic," but you know what I really liked? The battle between Lord Ainz and Shalltear in the first season of Overlord. Without going into extensive detail, it did a really good job of illustrating how a fight between high-tier D&D characters would play out in real time, even though the setting is actually supposed to have started as a VR game (in-canon). I'm not saying it represents realistic magic whatsoever (not that I think that was supposed to be the point of this thread), but in terms of displaying RPG magic in a cinematic way. Top-tier.
Holy shit, I LOVE Overlord, it's in my top 5 anime of all time for sure, no doubt.

I agree that it's a good depiction of how "high-tier D&D characters would play out in real time" it's a great depiction of game (table-top or video) magick would work, and perhaps plays to our deep fantasies on how we would like magick to actually look and feel IRL.

But it's not, and honestly even the question "what would a wizard battle" look like is a bit silly because there is no basis in reality for a real-time "wizard battle". It's sadly a pit many newbie occultists fall into. Fantasy is always more romantic than reality.
 

Irish Bard

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Holy shit, I LOVE Overlord, it's in my top 5 anime of all time for sure, no doubt.

I agree that it's a good depiction of how "high-tier D&D characters would play out in real time" it's a great depiction of game (table-top or video) magick would work, and perhaps plays to our deep fantasies on how we would like magick to actually look and feel IRL.

But it's not, and honestly even the question "what would a wizard battle" look like is a bit silly because there is no basis in reality for a real-time "wizard battle". It's sadly a pit many newbie occultists fall into. Fantasy is always more romantic than reality.

I don't think that stuff is pointless though ESPECIALLY if you're into pathworking. On the rare occasions when you do encounter something truly nasty on the Astral plane (you should be engaging most beings in conversation) then summoning Captain America's shield may well do you more good than some obscure sigil that you don't really understand.

Just don't go poncing about like Neo with machine guns shooting EVERYTHING - most beings are aspects of self after all..
 

SkullTraill

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I don't think that stuff is pointless though ESPECIALLY if you're into pathworking. On the rare occasions when you do encounter something truly nasty on the Astral plane (you should be engaging most beings in conversation) then summoning Captain America's shield may well do you more good than some obscure sigil that you don't really understand.

Just don't go poncing about like Neo with machine guns shooting EVERYTHING - most beings are aspects of self after all..
I guess that's something that does not personally concern or worry me. It's not something I really experience or entertain so I can't comment on it... but if it applies to you or anyone else then that's grand!
 

Alfher

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The west needs more exposure to Xianxia, so here’s some cinematic magical combat involving daoist immortals, demons, and gods battling for…drama, as they often do. LOL

Both of these scenes come from the new Chinese TV Drama called Ancient Love Poetry, so…spoilers. But also, enjoy. Xianxia is quite different from western fantasy.

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SkullTraill

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The west needs more exposure to Xianxia, so here’s some cinematic magical combat involving daoist immortals, demons, and gods battling for…drama, as they often do. LOL

Both of these scenes come from the new Chinese TV Drama called Ancient Love Poetry, so…spoilers. But also, enjoy. Xianxia is quite different from western fantasy.

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IDK man, looks cringy af to me. 😂

disgusted not safe for work GIF


Personally I think while cinematography and VFX technology and skills have improved in the east (generally speaking the whole of asia), the actual nuance, subtlety and cinematic maturity haven't yet developed in asian cinema. Like, I see a lot of Chinese, Japanese and Korean TV shows and movies that look extremely high budget... but the plots and realism is just out of whack. They've got a lot more developing to do, especially when it comes to direction.
 

Alfher

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A lot of westerners I talk to dislike the “realism” of Xianxia, but the nature of realism is about context. And the context of this story and this level of combat is not mortal earth wizards like us, but rather literal immortals, gods, and demons in the Otherworld.

Like, what would realism look like if you wrote a story where King Paimon and Michael had a battle in a place where they could use their full strength?
 

SkullTraill

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A lot of westerners I talk to dislike the “realism” of Xianxia, but the nature of realism is about context. And the context of this story and this level of combat is not mortal earth wizards like us, but rather literal immortals, gods, and demons in the Otherworld.

Like, what would realism look like if you wrote a story where King Paimon and Michael had a battle in a place where they could use their full strength?
Not like this. That's the problem, they always try to depict some godlike powers with some anime-ass "flames" and "lightning". Not to mention the fuuuuuuuucking over the top hand movements lol.

It just ain't it. It's not about the actual realism in the sense that the CGI and effects are ... decent (in the videos you sent specifically, while still not at western standards, is better than most asian cinema)... It's so basic... it's geared towards audiences that have not yet developed the appreciation for non-visual power cues. Everything has be be flames, beams, kamehamehas, explosions etc, cause that's what gets them going. Western cinema has evolved to the point that things don't need to be too flashy to convey power.

This is actually something I've been noticing and thinking about for a while. Asian cinema often is so "exaggerated" (from facial expression to "powers" to sounds to a lot of things) because the average asian audience NEEDS those cues... needs that hard stimulation to get what is happening. The nuance is missing when compared to US or UK cinema.

Although, it is getting better. What you posted on this thread was certainly impressive by my previous impression of Chinese cinema. And obviously non-western cinema will envolve eventually to be as good as western cinema is today, and with their own cultural twists and takes as well, so thats good. It just isn't there yet, for me. It's just hard to watch.
 

Alfher

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I do not agree that western cinema is inherently superior. 😛 They are different for numerous reasons, including cultural differences that do not have to include some preconceived “lack of appreciation” for western cultural norms. China has its own cultural norms, mannerisms, mythologies, and other standards that deserve to be represented accurately on the world stage, regardless of your or other peoples lack of appreciation for it.

Xianxia in particular is an entire genre about immortals and gods, where “realism” is intentionally on another level, and usually literally in other dimensions or on other planets. The scenes I posted from Ancient Love Poetry, which is based on the Xianxia novel Ancient God by Ling Xing, aren’t even that extraordinary compared to other stories in the genre.

There’s a novel called Stellar Transformations where the main character cultivates from mortality up to immortality and godhood by slowly and literally turning his body into a walking small universe that he can teleport people and things into in order to store them on the planets that exist in the galaxies inside his body. ‘Twas some intense multiversal shit, besides all the other drama that happened in the story.

The visibility of energy is not unrealistic to characters and brings who can see energy, and the use of daoist mudras and gestures are normal for daoist characters. They are not being unnecessarily flashy or cringe, they are staying true to the traditions and mythologies the story is based on, as well as staying mostly true to the novel that the story is based on. Something Hollywood almost never does.

To presume that it is “less evolved” of Chinese creators to include accurate perspectives in their creative process is just ridiculous. It’s fine if you don’t like it, but don’t be an asshole and presume that what you are used to is superior to things you do not understand.
 

Irish Bard

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Mummy has a headache, don't fight or you both shall be sent to your rooms with no supper.

I would say that Opera is a genre that definitely proved the point that intelligence and quality don't necessarily rely on subtly and restraint. Not a thing wrong with intricately crafted and well executed bombast.
 

Irish Bard

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I do not agree that western cinema is inherently superior. 😛 They are different for numerous reasons, including cultural differences that do not have to include some preconceived “lack of appreciation” for western cultural norms. China has its own cultural norms, mannerisms, mythologies, and other standards that deserve to be represented accurately on the world stage, regardless of your or other peoples lack of appreciation for it.

Xianxia in particular is an entire genre about immortals and gods, where “realism” is intentionally on another level, and usually literally in other dimensions or on other planets. The scenes I posted from Ancient Love Poetry, which is based on the Xianxia novel Ancient God by Ling Xing, aren’t even that extraordinary compared to other stories in the genre.

There’s a novel called Stellar Transformations where the main character cultivates from mortality up to immortality and godhood by slowly and literally turning his body into a walking small universe that he can teleport people and things into in order to store them on the planets that exist in the galaxies inside his body. ‘Twas some intense multiversal shit, besides all the other drama that happened in the story.

The visibility of energy is not unrealistic to characters and brings who can see energy, and the use of daoist mudras and gestures are normal for daoist characters. They are not being unnecessarily flashy or cringe, they are staying true to the traditions and mythologies the story is based on, as well as staying mostly true to the novel that the story is based on. Something Hollywood almost never does.

To presume that it is “less evolved” of Chinese creators to include accurate perspectives in their creative process is just ridiculous. It’s fine if you don’t like it, but don’t be an asshole and presume that what you are used to is superior to things you do not understand.
Stellar Transformations actually sounds incredibly esoteric and fascinating from this description.

The implications of the self created universe should be a pretty big dog whistle (I mean that positively) to anyone here.

These are ideas that William Blake (amongst others) was very much into.

"See a world in a grain of sand,
Heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
 

Alfher

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Stellar Transformations actually sounds incredibly esoteric and fascinating from this description.

The implications of the self created universe should be a pretty big dog whistle (I mean that positively) to anyone here.

These are ideas that William Blake (amongst others) was very much into.

"See a world in a grain of sand,
Heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

Most Xianxia is deeply esoteric in numerous ways. Except for some stories that are lean more on a Sci-Fi style than Fantasy, Xianxia is often deeply and directly based on Daoist and Buddhist mythology in many creative ways depending on how a particular author or a particular story plays with those deep cultural motifs.

All of the internal alchemy, magical combat, and similar things based on real life magical praxis in Daoist and Buddhist traditions are obviously exaggerated as such things are in pretty much all Fantasy novels, and in many of the mythological stories as well.

But many of the philosophical points, political schemes, romantic tropes and dynamics, cultural idioms and proverbs, and other such things come directly from real Chinese history and mythology.

That’s why Xianxia is my favorite genre from world literature.
 

SkullTraill

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I do not agree that western cinema is inherently superior. 😛 They are different for numerous reasons, including cultural differences that do not have to include some preconceived “lack of appreciation” for western cultural norms. China has its own cultural norms, mannerisms, mythologies, and other standards that deserve to be represented accurately on the world stage, regardless of your or other peoples lack of appreciation for it.
Not inherently superior. I didn't say it was superior purely for bring from the west. Just that it has had more time to mature and gain nuance. Cultural differences are not an excuse for objectively worse direction.

Xianxia in particular is an entire genre about immortals and gods, where “realism” is intentionally on another level, and usually literally in other dimensions or on other planets. The scenes I posted from Ancient Love Poetry, which is based on the Xianxia novel Ancient God by Ling Xing, aren’t even that extraordinary compared to other stories in the genre.
It's not the powers that make it cringy, it's the acting, the way those powers are depicted. Western stories also have extreme power fantasies, but they are still depicted in a mature, nuanced way.

To presume that it is “less evolved” of Chinese creators to include accurate perspectives in their creative process is just ridiculous. It’s fine if you don’t like it, but don’t be an asshole and presume that what you are used to is superior to things you do not understand.
It's even more cringy for you, as some white boy from Oklahoma, to profess some great understanding of Chinese/Asian culture, that is somehow beyond my (an actual Asian) understanding. I live in an actual Buddhist country, and have gone to school here for over 10 years. Trust me, I know what the stories say, and I know that the stories are not that much more ridiculous in terms of realism than western folklore like nordic gods/stories.

If they depicted nordic power fantasies the way that these chinese shows depict daoist/buddhist power fantasies, then everyone would call them cringe.

You're the equivalent of a weeb who says One Piece is realistic because "in the story Luffy is made of rubber so everything makes sense guise".

Just because you perceive something to be accurate to some ancient, written/oral story, doesn't mean it's actually that good. It's more than just what powers they have that makes it cringy to me. As I said before, look at the overly-exaggerated hand movements. Those aren't part of the "original story". They're just visual cues intended for a less sophisticated audience. No amount of woke SJW, culturally coddling, butthurt whiteboi, virtue signalling is going to change that fact.

Chinese cinema being less evolved is not an opinion, it's a fact. They have objectively had less time to hone their craft and while you can quickly buy/learn modern cameras and modern VFX techniques, it takes time for directors/direction and the audience/viewing culture to evolve and gain nuance, subtlety, sophistication while still maintaining cultural uniqueness. You can see it with productions like "Parasite" which still maintains Korean culture and individuality, while still being mature and sophisticated with less overly-exaggerated cringy bullshit that you usually see in k-drama. It's happening slowly but surely in Korea, and it will happen slowly but surely in China as well. The only people who will be left behind are people like you who either out of your own lack of sophistication or some delusional "White protector" syndrome end up jacking off over some cringy sub-par cinema.

If you study global cinema (or entertainment culture in general) from an objective non-libtard whitecuck perspective, you can see that audiences increase in sophistication and maturity, the need for over-the-top, cringy, exaggerated visual cues dies down, regardless of the "actual powers" depicted in the stories.

If I can take a little more time for some nice ad hominem; from your recent postings it's clear to me that you're on some self-righteous, virtue-singnalling, savior complex, holier-than-thou, SJW trip. You think you know so much about other cultures, and you think you're doing something great by "defending" or "protecting" every aspect of foreign culture that you spent 30 minutes reading about online. Nobody wants that. Nobody needs that. It's almost as bad as the "racist colonizer" mindset you were bashing others for. Culture is fluid and ever changing. Come parts of cultures are meant to die out. Culture evolves. Some cultures have had more space to evolve than others. You have no right to "preserve" all aspects of foreign culture like some sort of righteous arbiter... that's just a different kind of colonizer mindset. That's some meddler shit.

Remember, pretext and lore is not a worthy excuse for poor direction, simplistic exaggeration, and nuanceless execution of "power cues". Young, educated Chinese people know this, and eventually Chinese cinema will grow to account for the change in audience (just like it already has in the west), regardless of you screaming "but muh culture, but muh storiezzz, it's diffurunt u dun getz it" all the way from the US. :)
 

SkullTraill

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But you know what, it was rude of me to go off on you for liking it. You're free to like and enjoy it, it's actually not that bad and if it wasn't for over-exaggeration, I would probably like the story as well. So yeah, my apologies for making your simple appreciation of a fight scene into some tirade about culture.

I will maintain though, that culture is ever-changing, and it is wrong to try and forcefully preserve or try to claim that all cultures (especially foreign ones that you're not a part of) are perfect as they are, and shouldn't change. There are things about Western culture that are great, and there are things about Western culture that aren't great and need to change, and in the same way, there are things about Eastern culture that are great, and there are things about Eastern culture that aren't great and need to change.

If you look at how Western cinema/entertainment has evolved over the decades, you'll see some trends that are reflected in all other cinema cultures around the world (mixed in with their own pace and their own cultural artifacts and struggles of course). It's just that cinema in the rest of the world has literally had less time to evolve compared to Hollywood or even European cinema. All cinema starts out blunt, exaggerated, and lacking nuance, but over time as the audience gets more educated and sophisticated, so does the cinema in those cultures. We've already seen it with South American and Nordic cinema, and we will see it with Asian cinema as well. This has nothing to do with the underlying story/lore or the abilities of the characters in fantasy.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the whole world is equally sophisticated, and equally culturally evolved in every aspect. Do not make the mistake of comparing some fat tard in a Florida Walmart to the cherry-picked, glorified and polished nuggets of Asian culture that you have been exposed to and then thinking "wow, chinese culture is just as good if not better than western culture in every way, I need to preserve that". That's a typical privileged yet uncultured and pseudo-intellectual behavior that Americans often succumb to. It's true that the world hosts a multitude of incredibly diverse and varied cultures that deserve respect and deserve to be remembered. But they aren't perfect, and there are parts that are rotten and should change, there are parts that are more and there are parts that are less evolved. And most importantly, they aren't immune to criticism. Failing to recognize that, and demanding others to blindly welcome/respect/praise a culture (especially when it's their own) is not just ignorant, but dangerously unwanted meddling.
 
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