Thursday, 26 April 2012

Film Opening Analysis 2 - Disaster Movie

Words cannot say how much I hate seeing the word "movie", but here goes. To sir, sorry this has taken so long to get up; I'm becoming famous for getting things done quickly in the same way that Stevie Wonder is famous for his target shooting skills.

Here goes; will comment on the individual shots used in the same way I did with the Marmaduke analysis. Given the nature of this film this post will probably do a fantastic job at presenting my hilariously non-existent pop culture knowledge. Fun.


These titles are the first thing shown to the viewer, presented above a starry background. Said starry background is moving the whole time. The titles fade in and out, and appear on the screen for about 3 seconds each. 

The bright blue light appears, and the Earth comes into the shot. The camera is constantly moving at a kind-of diagonal pan, showing more and more of the Earth's face, until... 

...we get to some kind of fiery void place, which is presented as a part of the Earth itself as there is no transition. 

This text appears on the screen, with even more fiery effects acting as the border. The letters actually appear on screen in time with Fire Earth's movement, which is quite a clean-looking touch.

The text smashes into pieces, which actually looks AWESOME. Yes. Works pretty well as the action of the writing being smashed up makes sense in the context of the "DISASTER" part of the written text. You can't have "disaster" written on screen without something dramatic happening, right?

After watching about 30 seconds of not much, something appears to be happening. The film cuts to a shot of a lake surrounded by tall grass.

"10,001 BC" text appears - I believe this to be a reference to the film "10,000 BC" - it does share its font with the title of that film.

This cuts to a wide shot of a man in the field, running with a scythe. Guess health and safety wasn't a concept in 10,001 BC. But yeah, we can see they've taken care to highlight the time period; the man is dressed in pre-historic caveman style attire, and is carrying a suitable prop.

This shows a moving point of view shot of the guy running through the long grass; this is pretty effective at showing the action.

Cuts back to another wide shot, this time showing him in another area which he has reached.

 Another cut, this time to a mid shot. The slightly closer shot lets us see his face properly for the first time, giving us an idea of his slightly worked-up facial expression.

Here is a sentence I've wanted an opportunity to use in my coursework for as long as I can remember: 'A giant furry foot lands out of nowhere and knocks him to the ground, leaving his face submerged in a heap of dung'.

This reaction is classic, and this is highlighted by having him shown in the middle of the wide shot.

This guy knocks guy #1 to the floor and starts talking; he is shown first in a wide shot and then a closer mid shot.

During the opening title sequence we can hear some non-diegetic BGM playing; this is some fittingly epic orchestrated music which is really effective at supporting the whole 'build-up' feel of the Earth to Fire Earth visuals. When the "Disaster Movie" title card smashes, we can hear a smashing explosion sound effect (as in, the sound of something being smashed not just that it's great - though the quality and timing of it is rather smashing!) which again supports the visuals.

During the scene with the guy running around the grasslands the intense BGM continues; though now we hear diegetic sounds in the form of him grunting to himself - which is appropriate to the scene as we have previously been shown that it takes place in pre-historic time. As the guy gets back up out of the dung, he makes a really high pitched girlish scream, obviously put in for humorous effect.

After this we hear the first proper lines of dialogue from the other guy in the blue; as he talks about having to get catchphrases registered on the internet. Such a blatant anachronism that it's hilarious, which is clearly the intended effect.

I think what they've done in regards to parodying 10,000 BC's atmosphere is pretty clever, though it takes a completely different approach to that of our coursework film. What the two do have in common, however, is that the first pieces of action shown are accompanied by non-diegetic music as opposed to dialogue - in this film we have the guy running around the grasslands; in The Lads we have Oliver, Luke and Samir leaving class and meeting up in the car park.

It's also worth mentioning that the use loud out-of-place feminine scream for humour is actually something we did in the prelim, where Stephen's character is shot by Luke's character. I thought this was pretty cool considering that in our case it was just a spur of the moment "wouldn't-it-be-cool-if" scenario...


1 comment:

  1. ..and how has all this helped shape your own production?