A Textual Analysis of the Opening Sequence of Gladiator
In this essay, I will explain the opening sequence of Gladiator in
detail. I will describe the effects it has on the audience, and look
at the way it makes them feel and the way in which events are
portrayed. I will look at in depth: The themes and atmosphere, the
camera techniques and how audience emotions are manipulated. At the
end, I will include a conclusion giving my opinion of how the
sequences used are effective for the audience.
The opening sequence to Gladiator has numerous purposes. It has to
inform the audience of many things, in such a short period of time.
The place and time (Germania, 180AD) needs to be established so that
the scene can be set quickly. The main character (Maximus,) has to be
identified, so that the audience knows which side they are on before
the battle starts. It is important that the audience can relate to a
certain character from the beginning, so that they can really begin to
experience events with the character and show emotions for them.
Narrative is used at the beginning to explain important details that
can help the audience to understand certain proceedings properly. For
example; 'a battle is about to commence.' It also introduces
particular themes, such as strength, freedom and loyalty.
For the first few scenes, I will look at and explain how the
atmosphere, themes and pieces of information are expressed. The film
starts with the logos for DreamWorks and Universal studios. The usual
vibrant colours are substituted for different shades of grey and
brown. These cold colours prepare the audience for the film. They
imply that the film will be set in the past and set the scene for
sadness, death and violence. They don't give the impression of
happiness or enjoyment, which is what Ridley Scott would have
intended, so that the audience is prepared for the fight and know they
are back in time. The music is also different to its normal bright
tune and is instead a softer and more legato composition.
Before any filming or acting is shown, there are blocks of writing. It
shows historical evidence that some research has been done. It also
explains important facts about the battle and puts things into
context. The writing is in short blocks to make the audience read it.
If it was just one continual piece of writing, then many people
One of the first shots is a close up of Maximus' hand. It has a ring
on it, which means he is married. In the background there are children
laughing, which could show that he is also a family man. The woodwind
instruments create a calming atmosphere that match the autumn colours
used in the shot. When the shot changes severely to cold and dark