PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

In this film we have three actors in playing three types of roles.  First you have Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.  He is the Obvious Star as he brings to life that character so much no one else can possibly top the absurdly  entertaining manner of Captain Jack.  Before this movie in 2003, he has many acting credits to his name with quite few as the Star going all the way back to the 1990’s with movies such as CRY-BABY and Edward Scissorshands

Next up is Geoffrey Rush as the antagonistic Captian Barbossa.  In this role Mr. Rush is simply a great interpreter.  He doesn’t just play the villainous pirate, he plays as the villain in sadistically humorous ways which serves to keep the film’s mood light hearted.  In one scene he is Negotiating with Elizabeth Swann (played by Keira Knightley) about the pirates stopping the attack on Port Royale.  His mannerisms throughout this scene is one that is almost jovial and manipulative as he leads her on before he get what he wants including her as a captive.  This style is pretty unique as pirates go, because this lawless man could just have easily killed her and taken what he wanted.  Instead he is more devious and interesting when portrayed in Mr. Rush’s style.

Last we have our impersonator, Orlando Bloom, who portrays the typical goodie two shoes, save the damsel because he just has to be a hero character.  His performance is pretty standard and they really could have gotten any number of young actors to play this role.  He isn’t impersonating a specific person in this film but a specific role that needs to be filled.  Without there would be some missing plot and entertaining scenes such as the duel when he first meets Jack Sparrow.  This is not to say he couldn’t play other roles in other categories.  For example, some could say he is a star of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies for his role as Legolas.  I’m sure that is why we see him in the hobbit movies, because he was such a popular characters from the Lord of the rings trilogy, which Peter Jackson or whoever makes these decisions thought it would help generate interest for those hobbit movies to have him in there to do Legolas things.

Ref:

Anna N “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl Fandub-Negotiation”  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJwU-DMdz48

Depplover63 “Cry Baby (1990) Trailer” Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiRa7qrL5rY

John Vexxer “Edward Scissorhands (1990) – Trailer (HD/1080p)”  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M94yyfWy-KI

THE LAST STARFIGHTER

In movies you have three critical audio components that help the audience follow along with the story outside of the visual components of what the characters are doing or where they are doing it at.  These things are known as the dialogue, music, sound effects.  First of all the dialogue is what the characters are saying to each other as they interact.  Normally people aren’t mind readers and for anyone to work together with someone else they have to communicate.  This can be an effective way to describe what is going on to the audience without directly telling the audience.  We discover it right along with the characters in the film.  Secondly, the sound effects give the audience a better sense about whatever the characters seem to be doing.  For example, when one character says activate the device, we will hear someone flipping switches and pushing buttons as it is being done.  This helps us better suspend our disbelief and follow along with the story.  The third and final element is the Music.  This is what really helps build us up emotionally during certain scenes.  If it is supposed to be a tense situation we get music that can make us nervous about what is happening or excited as we see the god guys triumph over the bad guys.  It is ultimately what helps the audience into the right mood for the scene being played out.

Record Breaker

In the first scene with Alex playing the video game.  You have the sound effects one might expect from someone doing exactly what he is doing.  You hear it makes the appropriate bleeps and bloops in reaction to him playing it.  In reality it most likely is just a fancy light show but those sound effects tend one to believe he is actually playing the game.  Next you notice the dialogue flows and changes with how the scene is developing.  He starts to do really well and the people become excited calling out for others to come see.  Several groups have quick conversations and off they go to see Alex play the game.  You can hear their excitement and exclamations of “oh my god he is going break the record!”  Near the end, the game mentions the command ship and you can hear in the background two ladies discussing what that means as well as other encouraging Alex.  This gives us an idea that everyone is engaged in what is happening with Alex and the game.  The music adds even more by ramping up s the excitement builds and keeps that emotional high going throughout the scene.  When he beats the game you can hear the crescendo that signals the climax as everyone is cheering, and the game is still making game sounds that join in as well.  It all fits together really well.

Death Blossom

In the second scene, much like the first, it starts out low and quickly ascends.  You first hear the music as things are getting ready to become intense.  Then you hear the characters’ dialogue about getting ready for the upcoming battle while there are sound effects of them pushing buttons and flipping switches s they are talking about what they are doing.  Even the “Death Blossom” panels on the outside of the ship have sound effects of them opening.   This makes it very believable that all this is going on and not just being acted out. (Suspension of disbelief remember?)

Then one of the yells “Charge!” and the music instantly changes to something you would expect for the guns blazing, going all out, intense actions taking place.  Everything from lasers, explosions and missiles have some sort of sound as they happen.  Each shot gets a bleep or bloop and still we can hear the characters discussing what is going on even when they are taking fire and waiting for Death Blossom to be ready.  Everything is mixed well hear that no one element overrides the others like music too loud for dialogue and sound effects.  Even with the obviously bad computer graphics for the visuals we hve these three elements that take a mediocre at best scene and liven it up so that you probably don’t think about the visuals until afterwards.

References:

Movie Clips “The Last Starfighter (1/10) Movie CLIP – Record Breaker (1984) HD” Retrieved from                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJRmY9VXf1g

Movie Clips “The Last Starfighter (8/10) Movie CLIP – Death Blossom (1984) HD” Retrieved from                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLNvUsTBGyE

Guardians of the Galaxy

In guardians of the galaxy we have a combination of lighting used.  In the Groot fight scene you have some low key for the parts where Groot is doing the fighting, which is most of this scene.  At the end Groot turns to his companions and they switch to high key to clearly show the characters faces.  This is done to for comedic relief in the sense that one moment the good guys were fighting and then some more bad guys rush in.  Groot takes them out quick and the good guys crack a joke to lighten the mood.  Had it been low key the whole scene you would lose some of this exchange as the Groot character already has a limited vocabulary and would make as big of an impact.

In another scene, you have the bad guy standing in front of his crashed ship.  Here they used three key lighting because it is outdoors and the keeps the shadows from the smoke clouds from interfering with the scene.  This illuminated the area well and we got to see each character’s face and expressions really well.  Then the scene moves to inside of this purple cloud with lights.  At this point it switches to mostly high key with brief instances of low key.  This simulates what it might look like in there without being too bright or to dark.  We are still able to see really well even though the lighting has changed and there is no delay in our vision refocusing because of this.  It is like if you go inside from being out in the bright sun and you have to wait for your eyes to adjust, we don’t have this problem.

The lighting I think was well done to compliment the comedic nature of the film such s in the Groot fight scene while still providing necessary of function of giving us a constant view of what each scene should look like. If for example they did three point for the entire scene with the dance off and purple cloud it would most likely cause the audience to lose some immersion in the movie.  This would result in less enjoyment.  If you want to get a good visual for what bad lighting can do to a movie just adjust your TV settings to make it too bright or to dark and watch something that has outdoor daytime scenes and nighttime scenes such as this movie.  It really takes you out of enjoying it when all you can do is make out shadows and hear the audio.

References:
Ismail, Firas. “Star lord dance – Guardians of the galaxy scene | HD 720p” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Aug. 2015. 

Kush, Sparta. “Guardians of the Galaxy – Groot smile scene.” Online video clip. YouTube.  YouTube, 30 Nov. 2014.     Web. 20 Aug. 2015. 

Vanilla Sky

Writer(s):

Alejandro Amenábar (film “Abre Los Ojos”) and
Mateo Gil (film “Abre Los Ojos”)
Cameron Crowe (screenplay)

Director(s): Cameron Crowe

Major Actor(s):

Tom Cruise

 Penélope Cruz

 Cameron Diaz

 Kurt Russell

Jason Lee 

Year Released: 2001

This film is a remake of the 1997 Spanish original Abre Los Ojos aka Open Your Eyes.  It stars Tom Cruise as David Aames, who plays a rich playboy who is pals with author Brian Shelby (Jason Lee), in a friends with benefits relationship with Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz), and starting a romance with Sofia Serrano (Penelope Cruz).  The Film has a non linear style that switches back and forth between David’s Life before he was in prison for murdering Sofia and when he was just the rich Playboy who fought for control of his company from the shareholder board.  in prison he is talking about his life with police psychologist  McCabe (Kurt Russell).  While retelling his story he begins to doubt that what he remembers as real.  Certain details that he has forgotten or not paid attention to began to stick out in his mind as the inconsistencies in his memory and they start piling up.  the inconsistencies are well portrayed so that the audience gets a feel  for what David is experiencing.  it also adds to the suspense about trying to figure our what really is going on, similar to a paranoid person who’s actually right about the people out to get them.  The movie is wrapped up nicely with a full explanation to David about what has been going on, why he is in that situation and what he can do about it.

the storytelling though inconsistent and non linear does a good job of keeping you engaged.  it only shows you relevant details for that moment so that you aren’t given too much story too fast.  Everything is believable until David begins to doubt or realize the truth from those small details leaping out at him.     Some people may not care for this type of story telling.  Doing it a different way, say more linear, then you most likely would be bored with David rehashing things, you have already seen, in his talks with McCabe.

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