Bucky's Media

Friday, March 31, 2006

x-men 2 questions

X2 Questions

1. To what extent does X2 adhere to the conventions of a superhero narrative? Does it incorporate elements from other genres?

X-men two adheres to many of the usual superhero conventions including moral codes, the mutants being motivated to keep a mutual bond between humans and mutants and also to keep evil mutants under control. Some of the characters, but not all have flamboyant costumes; Jeans costume is the most flamboyant being a white jump suit. The characters all have there own superpowers which is the main convention that ties it in with the superhero narrative and with these powers come there weakness. Their weaknesses include wolverine not being able to control his savagery, Scott has to wear glasses to control his eyes, and Xavier is in a wheel chair and Magneto needs a small amount of iron to be able to manipulate otherwise he is defenseless. The also goes with the base story line of how they got their powers which isn’t shown by you learn of there powers in the prequel, X-men one. The story then goes to Xavier Clark meeting his arch-nemesis, Magneto and also meeting his antagonist Stryker. Then comes the final bout where Stryker is killed when the dam wall collapses. Another thing that establishes the movies Genre is the marvel page’s that flicker at the beginning of the movie.

2. Describe how multiple storylines are used in the film.

There are many storylines in the movie X-men 2 some more significant than others. The main storyline would be the attack on the president that then goes into Stryker with the help from the president trying to rid the world of all the mutants as he believe they are a disease. The other major storylines seen in the movie include the love triangle between Wolverine, Cyclops and Jean. Pyro turning evil which was kind of predicable because that set them up for a big fight between Pyro and bobby in the next instalment. There is also magneto fight for mutant supremacy.

3. Describe how Wolverine is established and developed as a character using sound, editing, dialogue, music and camera techniques.

At the end of the first scene Brian Singer uses a cross dissolve from a close up of wolverines face into a close up of a stuffed wolfs face this mixes in with the non-digetic music as wolverine enters the completely disserted dam which shows to the audience that there is something sinister and evil about the area and also wolverine is part human and part animal. When wolverine gets back to the school dialogue, editing and the use of various camera techniques help build the scene. Wolverine is portrayed to the audience as a character who has great respect amongst his students and also fellow teachers. The camera movement from wolverine to Jeans faces and the way that they talk to each other suggest that they might have a thing for each other. Also as Jean approaches romantic music plays in the background to give the scene an almost romantic feel. Various point of view shots from Jean looking at wolverine and visa versa complete the scene. The dream sequence in the middle of the movie where wolverine has nightmares about his past in alkaline lake is strong establishing point in the film dialogue of his thoughts are used to establish to the audience that he doesn’t understand his past properly ‘I need you to read my mind again.’

5. Describe how Stryker is established and developed as a character using lighting, dialogue and visual composition.

William Stryker is portrayed to the audience as the bad guy mainly by the way that he smirks reminiscently at the end of the scene when given the authorisation to attack the school. Later on in that seen he talks Senator Kelly where he demonstrates to him about his history ‘back when you were sucking on your momma’s tit at Woodstock I was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.’ Throughout the movie Stryker is developed with the use of lighting like by the way that he emerges from the helicopter during the raid at the school, Stryker is backlit and scary music is played later in the scene troops touches also light him from behind. Later on in the movie when Stryker is interviewing Xavier low light and various torture instruments are shown around the wall of his base of operations. Also in this scene Striker’s hatred of mutants is displayed to the audience with the use of dialogue ‘mutation is not a disease’ ‘your lying’ his some mutant 143 as he calls him caused his wife to take a power drill to the left temple in an attempt to bore the images (that Jason had placed in her head) out.

6. Describe how a variety of production and story elements are used to engage the audience in TWO scenes from X2.

7. Describe the chain of cause and effect in X2.

The attack on the president is the main scene, which gets the ball rolling in the movie ‘X-men 2’. Once Stryker sets up the attack he gains authorisation to attack ‘Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters’ also the attack sends Jean and Storm in search for answers from night crawler. The attack on the school lead by Stryker is the next major scene in the movie. This see causes Night Crawler to become friends with them and help them free the mutant children later on. This leads the survivors at the school lead by Wolverine and the other teachers at Xavier’s school to go and rescue the captured children with the help from there new friend Night Crawler.

9. What narrative possibilities exist at the beginning of the movie? Are they forgotten about or resolved as the film progresses?

There are few narrative possibilities that exist at the begging of the film including the main one the attack on the president. Which isn’t forgotten as the movie progresses as it leads Stryker into attacking the school and gaining the plans for Cerebro. This storyline gets followed right through the movie as it leads into Strikers death at the conclusion of the movie. Other narrative possibilities that exist in the movie include
10. Discuss how ideas of oppression and minority groups are developed in the film - refer to a range of production and story elements.
11. How can reception context affect audience engagement with X2?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Media Questions 1-13


3. Describe the conventions of a superhero narrative. To what extent does Unbreakable adhere to these conventions?

Superhero movies have certain conventions which are distinctive to their genre. The superhero genre is shown to the audience using unique steps and generally common to some exstent in all superhero movies. The movie starts with a little background knowledge of the superhero how they grew up etc and then moves onto how the superhero got his powers generally from some kind of freak accident or just a simple spider bite, in the case of Spiderman. The story then leads into the hero developing his powers either by working out or by fighting a number of everyday villains and finishing off with the all-important show down of good vs. evil. This involves the superhero fighting his ach-nemesis which is their exact opposite. The showdown generally has two parts, the first part involves the superhero getting almost defeated and the villain closely followed by the villain then going on with his outlandish plans to destroy or take over the world and the second part of the fight involves the hero going back into battle and defeating him with the use of his overwhelming powers or in the case of Unbreakable his strength. The arch-nemesis is usually someone who has killed someone the super hero has loved dearly, like in the case of batman his parents or in the case of Spiderman his dad or someone the Superhero is close to.
The superhero genre is defined to the audience in Unbreakable with a mix of all the typical conventions of a superhero genre from the use of his alliterate name David Dunne to his colourful costume which is green to match his colour theme for the movie the opposite to Elijah’s whose is purple, the movie has an archetypical arch-nemesis who in the case of Unbreakable is Elijah Price who also happens to be close friends with the hero, extreme strength and the ability to foresee acts of great barbarity like at the end of the movie when David brushes against the orange man and sees that he has kidnapped a family in their own house and also murdered the husband, Unbreakable also has a theme song which motivates David although the music is digetic the music and his son Joseph is Davids main motivation throughout the film. David has a weakness which is common with most superhero’s, David’s weakness is water and is shown to the audience at an early point in the film although not obvious at first viewing.

4. How is cause and effect an important part of the narrative? To what extent does character motivation have a bearing on this? Describe the relationship between scenes in the film, making reference to the four major storylines.

Cause and effect is one of the vital elements of the narrative if we didn’t have cause and effect the movie would be boring as nothing would happen it would be like seeing someone set off a bomb and nothing happen. Cause and effect is linked well through the four main storylines which include David’s search for his destiny, David and Audrey resolving their differences, David and Elijah journey to figure out there place in the world and David and his son, Joseph resolving their differences.

5. Whose point of view is the narrative primarily presented from? Does the director encourage us to see events through the eyes of multiple characters?

The narrative is set mostly from David Dunne’s point of view but the audience also sees the views through Elijah’s eyes. The director, Shyamalan allows the audience to see the story from Elijah’s point of view and the beginning of the narrative. Shyamalan shows us Elijah’s birth which is shot with a hand held camera and shown with poor lighting. This makes the audience have pity on Elijah’s character. Also the fact that Elijah suffers fractures while inside his mother’s uterus adds to the audiences feelings for Elijah. The majority of the film is set from David’s point of view showing the audience his path to becoming a superhero. Even though Shyamalan doesn’t present the movie from the other characters he encourages us to view there points of view.

6. What ideas and issues are established at the beginning of the film?

The ideas and issues that are established at the beginning of the film include the fact that David’s marriage is in turmoil this is shown by the way that he easily takes off his wedding ring and places it into his pocket when the opportunity to flirt with the opposite sex arises, in this case Kelly. When Kelly asks are you alone he replies ‘yes’ this helps show that he is either not married or in some kind of marriage turmoil. David says to Kelly ‘I’m afraid of water’. This although meaningless to the audience at the time later leads to the audience learning his weakness, water. The audience is also shown that it might be a little more than luck to the fact that David is the sole survivor of the train crash.

7. How does visual composition and mise-en-scene contribute to the ideas and issues in the narrative (focus particularly on the use of colour, inverted images and the frequent use of reflections in the film)?

Shyamalan uses visual composition and mise-en-scene to help highlight the ideas and issues in the narrative. The use of colour in David’s visions highlights to the audience who the bad guy is. When David has a vision everybody has a faint or faded colour and the criminal is in a bright colour which makes them stand out to the audience. Shyamalan also uses inverted images frequently throughout the movie to show to the audience that David and Elijah are opposites. Right from the beginning of the film where you are watching Elijah’s birth in a reflection of a reflection right through to when Elijah receives his first comic book off his mother it is shown upside down. When David and Elijah are seen shaking hands at the end of the film Shyamalan shows the hand in an almost silhouette this shows the audience that they are though with each other.
Shyamalan also associates the two main characters with the colours purple and green these colours are complementary colours on the colour wheel. This helps highlight to the audience that they exact opposites. This is shown commonly throughout the movie from the fact that David’s whole house is in shades of green, his clothes and even his security guard poncho is green. The colour purple is associated with Elijah this includes his car, his clothes even the wrapping paper on his first comic book.

8. How does setting contribute to the ideas and issues in the film?

The settings in the film include The Park, The victim’s house and most importantly the train station. The settings that Shyamalan uses in unbreakable reinforce the ideas in the narrative. The main setting in the movie the train station indicates to the audience the journey which faces David from normal civilian to superhero. The train station has many references throughout the movie these include when Elijah chases the man into the subway, the train tracks in one of the scenes and the train at the start of the movie. The train becomes a metaphor of travelling. Everybody has somewhere to go in the movie whether it is David seeking the path to become a superhero or Elijah looking for his meaning of life or even Audrey to get her marriage back together. The setting of the train station helps the audience help shown how far the characters have to go to fix their issues.

9. What narrative possibilities exist at the beginning of the film?

There are many narrative possibilities that could arise at the beginning of this movie from David getting with Kelly to David pursuing his chosen sport, football and Kelly becoming his agent.

10. How does the opening sequence help to establish the genre of the film?

The film begins with the following dialogue
There are 35 pages and 124 illustrations in the average comic book.
A single issue ranges in price from $1.00 to over $140,000.
172,000 comics are sold in the U.S. every day.
Over 62,780,000 each year.
The average comic collector owns 3,312 comics and will spend
approximately 1 year of his or her life reading them.
This establishes the film to have a comic book theme although quickly forgotten at first viewing. It isn’t until Shyamalan adds more references to it later in the movie that the audience is quickly reminded of the films genre.

11. How does Shyamalan encourage the audience to sympathise with David early in the film?

David gains sympathy from the audience early on in the film by the dialogue of ‘are you alone’ to this he replies ‘yes’ this although not clear to me at first but this quote conveys a great deal of meaning. David is alone breaking away from his family and unaware of his place in the world. He like Elijah is searching for a new beginning his life has fallen apart and Elijah’s has been crap from the beginning.

12. Describe how production elements are used to engage the audience during the train wreck at the beginning of the film.

Shyamalan uses a mixture of all the production elements to gain the audiences engagement at the beginning of the film. The camera movement gets the audience to see further in David’s character by the way that it tilts down to reveal David taking off his wedding ring and then putting it in his pocket how it pans across showing that David’s attention has been diverted to Kelly’s tattooed stomach and then tilts back up see David’s blank expression. Sound is used mostly in the form of dialogue to engage the audience. It also helps to establish David’s character. The Lighting in this scene is used mainly just give the audience the feeling that they are there eves dropping on their conversation from between the seats. Acting is used in obvious ways throughout this scene from the way that David puts the ring in his pocket with out attacking attention to it to give Kelly the feeling that he is single.

13. Describe how production elements are used to engage the audience when Elijah pursues the man in the camouflage jacket.

A range of production elements contribute to the audiences engagement when Elijah pursues the man in the camouflaged jacked, including sound, editing, lighting, camera techniques and point of view shots from Elijah’s perspective. The scene begins with Point of view shot of Elijah perspective of him looking in the rear view mirror of a car seeing a guy that David suspected of carrying a gun walking briskly away into the distance. Shyamalan cuts from a mid shot of Elijah watching the man to a full shot of him chasing the man. Hand held camera movement contributes to the realism of the scene. A series of point of view shots from Elijah’s perspective help show the audience that the guy with a gun is getting away. Shyamalan then hold the camera in a close up position which helps build suspense as the audience looses track of where the man is. The camera then dollies out to reveal the height of the stairs leading down to the train station. This shows the audience what troubles face Elijah in his search to catch up with the man from the stadium. The music also rises adding a sense of excitement to the scene. A close of Elijah’s face after his fall and then a cut to the mans hand gripping the rail which reveals to Elijah what he suspected, a gun with a silver barrel and a black grip.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The character development of Elijah Price

Write an extensive, articulate, coherent and detailed analysis of the character establishment and development of Elijah Price in Unbreakable. Use your notes in class to refresh your memory.

Your use of appropriate terminology is CRUCIAL – you have to appropriately refer to various production and story elements throughout your work.

M. Night. Shyamalan uses various cinematic elements to portray to his viewers his characters traits in his screen masterpiece ‘Unbreakable’. Elijah Price acted by Samuel. L. Jackson, the villain in the movie is established by the various uses of lighting, acting, sound, visual composition and editing. Elijah, who’s boyhood, was spent mostly inside because of his rare disease Type one ‘Osteogenesis imperfecta’ which caused him to spend most of his life with’ his arms and legs broken’. Throughout Elijah’s life he has broken fifty-four bones.
Throughout the movie Elijah price is associated with the colour purple and dark rainy day type colours. Purple is Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite colour. Elijah owns a purple car. Shyamalan uses this to blend the movie in the theme of good vs. evil. As opposed to David who is seen wearing warm colours like green, these colours are seen opposite on the colour wheel that signifies that they are each other’s arch-nemesis.
At Elijah’s birth the audience is shown the first example that Elijah might be different from other human being. When the police officer looks down at Elijah, he notices that he has broken bones and he asks Elijah’s mother if she or anyone else had dropped him they reply in outrage. Well then, it “appears your baby has sustained some fractures while in your uterus.” Shyamalan uses a diegetic sound of Elijah crying in the background to suggest to the audience that he is in pain. Shyamalan also uses a lot of reflections like camera shots in mirrors.
Shyamalan uses a mix of editing and titles along with a subtle fades to and from black to signify the passing of time he mixes this with heading which appear after the fade from black ‘West Philadelphia 1974’.
The second example of Elijah being different is when he is thirteen; the scene shows him sitting
in his bedroom when his mother comes in ‘No more sitting in this room. I've let it go on long enough.’ to this Elijah replies ‘I'm not going out anymore. I’m not getting hurt again.’ ‘They call me Cornelius glass at school because I break like glass.’ ’54 breaks in my life’ in the end Elijah’s mum bribes Elijah to go outside by putting a present on the park bench. Elijah’s comic book obsession is set in motion when his mother says there will be one of these ‘waiting’ every time you want to go outside.
Shyamalan uses a cross dissolve from Elijah’s first comic book to a pencil rendering of a cover in his art gallery to signify the next structuring of time. Shyamalan uses dialogue to further develop Elijah ‘I’ve studied the from of comics intimately’ as I’ve ‘spent a third of my life on a hospital bed’
Later when Elijah and David are talking, Shyamalan continues to develop Elijah’s character with dialogue. ‘If there is someone like me in this world… and I’m at one end of the spectrum couldn’t there be someone at the other end?’ ‘The kind of person these stories are about, a person put here to protect the rest of us.’
Shyamalan ends the movie by allowing Elijah to reveal everyone of his courageous plans to David. This helps the audience to understand what went on in the movie.
‘It has begun’
‘I think this where we shake hands’
When they shake hands there is a sharp non-diegetic sound and a cut to the airport lounge this allows Elijah to show David what he has accomplished. After the vision Shyamalan uses a point of view, shot to suggest to the audience that David know fully understands what they have set in motion.
A mix of visual composition, sound and acting signify that Elijah blew up the plane. Lighting and mix of the camera panning around the walls at all of the books, blue prints and newspaper articles on the walls give the scene an evil feel to it. Shyamalan also adds inverted colours into David’s vision to give them the arch-nemesis feel to them. Just like a true villain, Elijah shows no remorse for what he has started all of these ‘sacrifices to find you.’ Another way Shyamalan shows that David and Elijah are linked is when Elijah says ‘now I know who you are, I know who I am.’

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blog 2

Explain the importance of genre to narrative construction.

The various genres seen throughout the movie industries have different narrative possibilities. Genres have distinct ways they are developed. If a director picks the genre of a love story, he more often than not sticks by the guidelines of; a boy meets a girl then the boy does something stupid. In the case of ‘Not another teen movie’ a bet made by the jocks for the main character to go out with the ugliest girl in the school. When the ugly girl finds out it causes them to break up and winding up with them getting back together by the boy saying something smart. This differs from a superhero genre, which generally starts with a little background knowledge of the hero. Usually some form of scientist. The movie will go into how the superhero gets his powers generally from some kind of freak accident or just a simple spider bite, the story then leads into the hero developing his powers on a number of everyday villains and finishing off with the all-important show down of good vs. evil. This involves the superhero fighting his ach-nemesis (exact opposite). The showdown has two parts. The first part involves the superhero getting almost defeated and the villain going on with his catastrophic plan to destroy the world and the second part the hero goes in and defeats him with the use of his overwhelming strength or crazy powers. The arch-nemesis is usually someone who has killed someone the super hero has loved dearly, like in the case of batman his parents or in the case of Spiderman his dad.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The character development of David Dunne

Write an extensive, articulate, coherent and detailed analysis of the character establishment and development of David Dunne in Unbreakable. Use your notes in class to refresh your memory.

Your use of appropriate terminology is CRUCIAL – you have to appropriately refer to various production and story elements throughout your work.

Shyamalan’s ‘Unbreakable’ establishes David Dunne as the good person with the use of a combination of various story and production elements. Although there is minimal speech throughout the movie Shyamalan still managers to keep his audience in there seats although however hard with the lack of action in the movie.

In the opening scene, David is betrayed not as a super hero but as an ordinary human and by the way that he un-reluctantly takes off his wedding when Kelly approaches shows that his marriage is in turmoil.

Kelly asks, “Are you alone”

To this David replies “yes” When he is really is married this makes the audience think that he is a bit of a sleaze or that his marriage is in turmoil and he does not care.

He goes onto saying; “I’m afraid of water” this is a good character building quote because later in the movie we find out that he has the same problem as Elijah when he drinks he swallows to quickly.

At the end of the scene, David puts his ring back on.

Shyamalan uses this technique character development throughout the movie putting subtle little quotes like “perhaps you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing” and “this parts not like a comic book.

The audience’s first clue to David’s powers at the E.R. room after the train crash “David you didn’t break a bone, you didn’t have a scratch on you.” On the way out Shyamalan uses a close up of Joseph linking Audrey and David’s hands. This shows to the audience that David is only staying with Audrey for the sake of the family. After a few steps, David and Audrey’s hands fall apart.

Back at their house, Shyamalan shoots David and Audrey talking to each other in different frames this shows that they are distant. Latter in the film the couples shot in the same frame this shows to the audience that they are no longer distant.

At the football stadium Shyamalan uses a mix of editing and acting mixed with a series of point of view shots of some footballers to further develop David’s character is shown using a close up of David’s face showing that David may be regretting marring Audrey instead of pursuing a promising football career.

After receiving a note from his Arch-nemesis (Elijah) he begins to realizes that, he is unique “five years, no sick day”

Audrey “I want to start over”

David still unsure he is doing the right thing closes the door wordless. This follows on with most super hero movies they do not have wives and families they are only seeking evil.

In one of David and Elijah’s conversations, Elijah asks David “Do you have instincts for this kind of stuff?” referring to the fact that David can spot trouble from a mile away.

Back at David’s house, David is lifting weights and says to Joseph “how much did I lift” to that, Joseph replies “all of it.” The seen cuts to David lifting a bar packed with weights and two paint tins also tied on. This shows to the audience that he can lift exceptional amounts.

“I’ve never been injured what should I do?” “Do what you are supposed to be doing. Save the world.

One of the most important powers that David has is his visions. David’s visions allow him to see what evil atrocities that other people have committed. David gets theses visions when he brushes past someone. Shyamalan uses sound, editing and mise-en-scene to display these visions to the audience. In David’s visions, the vision is in black and white with the crime perpetrator in colour. This mixes with a sharp pause and blurred sound and a brief use of fast motion portrays to the audience that David is having a vision.

David’s decision to rescue the Kids is conveyed with acting, camera movement, music and editing. Shyamalan uses a long shot of the orange man entering the house. This combined with David standing in the street with the music of Newtons heroic theme playing signifies to the audience that David has decided to bite fate on the knee and follow his destiny of a crime fighter. David first attempt of taking on the orange guy fails when he finds himself throw into a pool, his only weakness. The kids that he had just rescued help him by putting a pole in the water, which shows him the way to the surface when he arises from the water Shyamalan uses a low camera angle to signify to the audience that David is serious about doing what is right.

When David returns to finish off what he had started a few minutes ago Shyamalan uses music, visual composition, acting and camera techniques to contribute to the moment.

Later at the restaurant David’s relation with Audrey is resolved by dialogue, music, acting and the use of putting both of the characters in the same shot.

A close up of Audrey’s face when David is carrying her up there stairs shows that she is happy.

David’s relationship with Joseph is resolved a mix of editing, excellent shot selection and acting. The scene is done that well that very minimal dialogue is used this is amazing because it is one of the most important scenes of the hole movie. David says to Joseph “you were right”

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Favourite movie scene


My all time favorite movie scene occurs at the beginning of Super Troopers. It starts off in ‘M’s cozy corner’ a small diner mostly occupied by cops from the Highway patrol and the state police. At the beginning of the scene Mac is commentating Rabbit( the Rookie) and Thorny sculling maple syrup. “One, two, three do it” “…Oh rabbit he’s killing you. I have thorny up by a lot. What’s the matter didn’t your mother ever teach you how to chug?”
And when Thorny finishes his bottle of maple syrup he bloats the words “I am all that is man!” then looks towards the rookie and says “come on rabbit finish it up” and then to show his authority burps and says “There you have it your doing it all wrong you have to open your throat and relax the jaw.”
Mac “don’t forget to cup your balls, your never going to win with those thin little bird lips see this guy has these big old powerful lips am I right.”
“... So much of my authority is derived from the power right here.” Thorny then goes on to make a kissing action with his lips.
The next thing you know is Rabbit and thorny have approached the table of the local police and before long begin to fight with them because Mac throws the empty maple syrup bottles at Rando. After the first bottle Rando being a push over just gets told “…sit down rando” he does so even though he saw what happens it isn’t until a few seconds latter when Mac throws another bottle at him that a fight breaks out.
The fight is broken up when Bruce and Captain O’Hagen enter and sort them out. Captain O’Hagen is put on the back foot being made to apologize “I’m sorry Bruce, these boys get that syrup in them they get all ansy in their pansy.”
Bruce retaliates with “You should keep these boys on a lease.”

I just love this scene because of the originality of sculling maple syrup and the thought of how sick it would make you feel. And how every scene throughout the movie end in a fight with the other police department.