Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A quick look into the approches used in two opening sequences

Both directors are quite similar in their approach in utilizing the opening sequence in presenting clues as to the overall narrative of the film. However while the The Island of Dr Moreau uses the opening sequence to introduce, hint at and promote the movie through the story content; The Good the Bad and the Ugly predominantly promotes the film through production values of the actors, director and other crew and people involved in the making of.
Although their approaches differ to some extent their use of techniques do converge on certain familiar ground. For instance both sequences have adopted a montage convention of cutting - more so in the case of The island of Dr Moreau. The use of cutting between images with the purposes of trying to create a relationship between them while utilizing the musical score to further support this is prevalent in both pieces. However while The island of Dr Moreau uses this form directly – the use of motion graphics and animation in The Good the bad and the Ugly also does this in a round about – but no less successful way.
The Good Bad and the Ugly obviously pointing at a western with a gritty storyline – and it tries to use cutting, score and motion graphics which are appropriate to expressing this idea. The use of a score that is light in nature but nevertheless fast paced leads one to think of it as a adventure. This coupled with the use of font which is specific to the western style and the use of motion graphics – the silhouette of a horse and rider only give further support to this theme. The monochromatic use of graphic filters over single frames of the movie which represent violence and all things western only give further support to this theme. This piece is more akin to contemporary motion graphics sequences which use color and contrast and design language in presenting their ideas. However there is a distinct difference in that this opener gives more weight to production values and less to introducing elements of the story narrative.
The Island of Dr Moreau points to a story about nature on a macroscopic and microscopic level – by showing images of cells mutating and contrasting that against clouds and images of animals. The fierce images of the animals combined with the fast score also points to a violent story. As does the change in the movement and content of the clouds and cellular images as the teaser progresses – they move from quite dormant and calm to violent and striking. Immediately the audience can begin to question what the movie is about before its even began – its a story about science and nature and possible manipulation of the one by the other that leads to violent results.
To an extent The Island of Dr Moreau also promotes production values - this is evident at the start but as the score of the teaser speeds up – the font used becomes cluttered and jittery – hence sacrificing the names of the people involved for introducing the style and content of the story through visual metaphor.
Both sequences have used similar techniques in editing convention – that of montage. And although they may differ in overall content and construction – they are nevertheless successful in their attempts at introducing the film to the audience. Yet it is their approach to how they were marketing and introducing this film and its overall content that has had the final say in how these opening sequences were constructed and what techniques were utilized.

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