Horizontal versus Vertical View

In this scene from the movie “Aquaman” (2018) Atlantis sinks into the ocean. Unlike in all other disaster movies I know, the scene is pictured from a horizontal view line, not from a vertical one. The camera levels with the sea and thus we see both parts of the city: the buildings above water and the buildings below the water line.

This perspective is appropriate for Atlantis, as the city does not perish with it’s submersion but becomes what it is known for through history – and what carries the whole plot of the movie too – a fabled underwater empire.

But the camera position is also noteworthy, as it puts the viewer on the same treshold between the two elements and in a very uncomfortable place. We see the city sink while we ourselves are in the water up to our necks. The change from bird’s eye view – actually it is “plane eye” – to level view is crucial because it means leaving a superhuman and very powerful perspective up in the sky and taking on a more human but also much more involved position. In fact, it’s what a deluge would look like for most people, aas opposed to this:

from Geostorm (2017)

USA; 21. Century; Christian; movie; City: Atlantis

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