Thursday, May 19, 2011

Run The World (Girls) - Video Review

I must have started this "Run The World (Girls)" video review at least 30 times. But every time I sit down to write it, I get the urge to watch Beyoncé's Francis Lawrence directed extravaganza one more time without having to analyse each and every frame. It goes without saying that my expectations were high. I agreed with Kanye when he called "Single Ladies" one of the best videos of all time and justifiably ruined Taylor's moment. That clip is already an important piece of modern history and I hoped lightning would strike twice. Because - to be brutally honest - another video phenomenon is about the only thing that can reverse the fortunes of "Run The World (Girls)". As it turns out, Bey doesn't quite pull it off but damn she comes close. There is so much to love about this epic clip. Brilliant photography, breathtaking choreography and a pair of fucking hyenas. It's completely demented in an America's Next Top Model meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome kind of way and shows why Mrs Carter is still the fiercest diva on the block even when she's pushing a single with no chorus that sounds like five songs thrown into a blender.

The opening of the clip is immaculate. I defy anyone to name a more impressive introduction. I get chills watching Beyoncé ride that horse through what appears to be a post-apocalyptic landscape like Xena if she wasn't a lesbian. The cinematography is eerily beautiful and there's a real sense of foreboding as the soldiers pile in, while warrior B stands on a burned-out car and her model friends, who prudently held on to their curling irons and couture after the apocalypse, writhe around in the desert. And then, at the 30 second mark, the queen of pop appears in that gorgeous red dress with a lion at her feet looking like something from a renaissance painting. By this point I had a semi and was about to faint from the sheer ferocity of my fave but it only got better. I live for the scene where she slowly lifts her face towards camera in that metallic headdress and her slinky walk towards the soldiers makes Rihanna's entire career instantly redundant.

And then the real magic happens. Bey starts shaking like she's having the most glamorous epileptic fit on record and breaks into the best dance routine featured in a music video since "Single Ladies". I love that Francis Lawrence keeps the camera still in a long shot so you can see that this all Beyoncé - my only gripe is the fact that you would need superhuman powers to duplicate these moves without breaking something. The influence of African tribal dance in the choreography is blindingly obvious and works brilliantly. Next are those hyenas. I just can't. It's the most fabulous thing I've ever seen! While the mirrored outfit and exploding car come a very close second. By the time the choreography returns at about 2:35 mins I thought Beyoncé had pulled a rabbit out of her House of Dereon wig and delivered another flawless masterpiece but unfortunately the final quarter of the clip is a bit of a let down.

Given the frenetic rhythm of the song and the breathtaking choreography that precedes it, the scene where Bey and her girls lie in the sand and deliver some Kylie-esque foot dancing doesn't quite cut it. The moves seem too slow for the music. Then there's the bizarre upside down sand twist. I honestly thought I was watching Kylie the first time I saw it. Beyoncé looks eerily like Ms Minogue circa "Body Language" and rolls around like she's re-making "Slow" in the desert. I actually love the scene visually but it's like they completely forgot the song. It just doesn't fit the aural mayhem that is "Run The World (Girls)". Happily, Bey pulls it together for a truly memorable finale, which again highlights the fact that she is the only big name in music that can sing and dance. The hair whipping is amazing and the choreography is nuts. Taken as a whole this is clearly the best video of 2011 and one of the best clips of the diva's entire career but a little bit of sloppiness stops it from being a flawless masterpiece. Nevertheless, your faves have been scalped and Bey is back on top. The end.

9.5/10

14 comments:

John said...

Okay...I picture an 8-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl writing the treatment of this.

"If you run the world, you need an army."

"Okay, but my army DANCES."

"That's lame."

"And I have these HUGE cute dogs to protect me."

"Cute dogs won't protect you, but huge HYENAS would scare EVERYONE off!"

Yeah...it's a whole lot of style, but it doesn't really connect.

Me said...

Are you watching the same video? It is another ego fuelled shitefest that tried (and FAILS) to be edgy and creative. Nowhere near as bad as CaCa's efforts but along the same lines. Still, it makes a change from the tired "wiggle cellulite infront of a green screen for 3 1/2 mins while doing a dance routine ripped straight from a 60's tv show while I pretend to be ingenious except unlike them I have to use clever editing and cuts to make it work while they did it in one go..."

2/10

Obey said...

Best video of all time!!

Bruce said...

She certainly employed a lot of fan operators and animal wranglers in the making of this! I can't wait for the future when lions and hyenas are our pets.

And seriously, raise a glass to the college grads!

13/10

tommie said...

Beyoncé is at her best when she's dancing to be honest and this video is no exception.

There's something that's still not quite connecting me to the song. I like noisy Beyoncé but I guess knowing the instrumental and other people already sampling it in mainstream releases ruined it for me.

Robpop said...

I love B. But i agree with Tommie here. The song (and video) doesnt quite connect or make sense.

I think it may be down to the fact that all i could think of when watching this was: JAAAAAAAAAANEEEEEEEEEEET! Janet Jackson has been here and done this. And much better.

This is a high voltage video. A brilliant video too, but something isn't addin' up.

Aaron said...

Looooooooove it. But what the hell has happened to mainstream culture that nobody can do anything any,ore that is even remotely experimental or edgy? I love the song, it blows anything Gaga and the other morons are doing out of the water. In fact, I think it is Beyonce who is most like Madonna for this reason, despite Gaga trying so hard to be. Madge came out with such different albums - remember Erotica dropping and everybody being like "what the fuck?" and this is pretty much in the same vein. I hope it doesn't affect B and send her back into shitty mainstream bubblegum vibe next time round. And The Little Monsters are doing their best to destroy it, of course (such creatures of love and respect, aren't they?!) the yotube coments is just pages and pages of them hating on it in the name of their Overlord™. Vile. Yay for B I say!

Diva Incarnate said...

She looks like Mel B! Speaking of train-wrecks, this song makes Mel's canned Liplock single sound like Bohemian Rhapsody. Just really awful, and I loved Halo and the early Destiny's Child singles so I'm not a complete hater. Why can't she come out with something classy and neo-camp like No No No instead of trying to bulk everything up into such nonevents like this? Her solo career is a complete mystery to me. LaTavia must be happy at least.

Guguito said...

I believe that the other album (I AM) was so stunning that prolly none from B will be better, and this video/song is the perfect example... so meaningless.
Defenitly the blogger is a HUUUUUUUGE fan of her xD, that makes sense!

killer_bey said...

Ok this video fucken slays! this is the best visual of 2011 so far! Period! and could ppl make up their minds about bey, either you want her to stay in R&B and remain predictable or let her experiment & call her boring, ck choose a side really, it becomes bitter at the 4th try! aint no bitch on her lane right now, the media knws it, the world knws it, i knw it and most importantly yall knw it! stop pretending like wigs were not snatched!!

Hasa81 said...

Made me like the song so I guess it works

Anonymous said...

Kelly Rowland quality.

Anonymous said...

I am stunned! Beyoncé copied this, look:
http://notesladykier.tumblr.com/post/5797688710/i-was-wrong-beyonce-stole-the-most-inspiring-part

Anonymous said...

Everybody go to Youtube. Theres a remix of this single produced by this guy name Fyuchur. Its Hot!!! Even her fans love it.