At this point, we are all aware that Thirty Seconds To Mars don’t make music videos — they make short films. So when the band began releasing teaser trailers for their latest foray into film, “Up In The Air,” well, visions of another epic, long player on par with their 13-minute “Hurricane” mini movie began dancing in everyone’s head.
Especially since said teasers featured burlesque dancers riding mechanical bulls, Olympic gymnasts, roaring lions, snarling wolves, world-famous artists, models, actors, authors and more partially-clad dancers than a Las Vegas revue (there was also an actual Las Vegas revue involved, for those keeping score at home).
Well, on Friday (April 19), after weeks of furious editing, Mars finally unveiled the short film for “Up in the Air,” and let the record state that, while it is most certainly epic, it also clocks in at a manageable eight-and-a-half minutes — and two of those are the ending credits. And given the bombast with which Jared Leto normally operates, that basically makes it his contribution to the 1 Second Film project.
That’s not meant to be a slight by any means. In a lot of ways, Leto’s grand visions only benefit from an ounce of constraint. Unlike “Hurricane,” “Up in the Air” is not weighed down by narrative, nor does it have its momentum slowed by unnecessary chapter breaks. Rather, it speeds along on striking visuals — bright colors, sinewy bodies, vast expanses, prowling beasts — and Leto’s deft directorial choices. Every frame is like a photograph, and, yet, they are all intrinsically linked, so when combined, these singular images form a powerfully cohesive unit. They tell a story, convey emotions (lust, loss, sadness, desire, anger, etc) without speaking a word.
You get the feeling that Leto left yards of footage on the cutting room floor (and not just because he seems like the kind of guy who would actually have a cutting room), and perhaps someday, he’ll unveil his true artistic vision. But maybe he shouldn’t, because thanks to his newfound restraint, “Up in the Air” works … in every way, it is about as close as this band will ever come to making a traditional music video. Even if it is eight-and-a-half minutes long. But, hey, it’s Thirty Seconds To Mars we’re talking about here; let’s just enjoy this small dose of humility.
What do you think of Thirty Seconds To Mars’ ’Up in the Air’ video?