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MovieBarcode makes art out of art

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Art or entertainment?

Christopher Nolan's "Inception" as a barcode. Photo via MovieBarcode

It’s one of the classic questions that comes with being a film fanatic. If you end up on the side of movies being entertainment, people think you’re shallow. On the other hand, if you champion the idea of film as art, you come off as pretentious. It’s a lose-lose.

I’m a hopeless romantic, and therefore, I wonder why movies can’t just be both artistically thought provoking, in addition to entertaining. My favorite movies of all time, such as “Children of Men” and “District 9,” are genuinely exciting and entertaining, but also get the mind working like any good piece of art. However, it’s hard to say that I’m a complete proponent of artistic filmmaking when I can’t stop recommending “Piranha 3D” to everyone I meet.

Yes, it’s a question that leads to a lot of debate in the cinematic world. However, there is one thing that cannot be questioned: the work done on MovieBarcode is frame-worthy art.

The Tumblr based website creates one or two awesome images everyday by taking an entire feature length film and compacting it into barcode of different color palates and notes. The movies range from Hollywood classics, like “Apocalypse Now” and “Vertigo,” to modern marvels, like “Inception” and “The Social Network.” Even dreck like “Speed Racer” got a barcode, and it looks just as seizure-inducing as the movie itself.

On a basic aesthetic level, most of the barcodes are just gorgeous to look at and can be just as gorgeous as the movies that compose them. The barcode for Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” is one of my personal favorites, with the rich purples and tans mixing together beautifully. One of the website’s latest entries, made up of the indie film “Enter the Void,” is also quite striking thanks to the random injections of bright blue. It’s eye-catching to say the least.

Minus the alluring visuals, the website’s creations are fascinating to follow a movie’s visual progression. One of the most distinct is a barcode based off of “Predators,” an action-horror sequel that no one would ever confuse for an artistic statement. However, for anyone who has seen the movie, it’s cool to see the barcode progress from the green jungles of the first half of the film into the dark caves and foliage in the second half.

The “Predator 2” barcode does something very similar, moving from light colors to bright blues and purples at the end. I have not seen, much less had any interest, in seeing that movie, but MovieBarcode almost makes it worth a watch. Almost.

That may perhaps be the best aspect of MovieBarcode, which is saying a lot. It takes something that I would never consider interesting and turns it into something visually fascinating. It’s a website that is truly finding the beauty in everything.

Except for “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.” Even MovieBarcode would have a struggle there.

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