Sound, Camera Shots And Mise En Scene; How They Convey The Narrative To The Audience In The Opening Sequence Of "Star Wars Episode Iv, A New Hope"

1597 words - 7 pages

"Star Wars" was arguably the first in a new breed of high concept, high budget sci-fi action films. It was directed by George Lucas and originally released in only a few cinemas in 1977. However, the buzz around the film grew, and it is now one of the highest grossing films of all time, and along with its sequels, prequels and re-mastered re-releases, has a large cult following. I feel this is because of Lucas` ability to engage the audience through careful use of sound and camera technique;The use of the scrolling story in space sets up many audience expectations, that the action will be set in space, and that it will base around a struggle between the rebels and the Empire. Narration is a ...view middle of the document...

This contrasts sharply with the slick, cold battle cruiser, with a blue tint used to show the coldness of the empire. Because of the obvious superiority of the empires ship, we feel that it is a mismatch of power and begin to resent the empire for persecuting the rebels.The non-diagetic sound of firing used throughout is cold and artificial, making it sound like they are using some unknown technology. This sound is heard almost constantly though the section and so only becomes conspicuous through its absence, and reinforces the relentlessness of the battle.The parallel editing from a shot of the ship sustaining damage to the people inside reacting to it help to link the outside battle with the following scenes in the rebel ship. Throughout this section, almost all shots of the rebels involve movement, conveying panic and inciting it in the audience as we realize that this is building up to something big.The walls of the rebel ship are bright white, and are fairly spacious. This contrast with the dark black interior of the empire ship we see later as the droids try to escape. The whiteness has almost heavenly connotations, making the audience feel like they are in a "good" place, and relatively secure. The black walls of the empire ship give a claustrophobic feel, and make the audience uncomfortable and want to escape.The constant non-diagetic background music is a march, based around horns, a traditionally powerful instrument, typically used to provide music for war films. It also mimics the raised, panicked heartbeat of the rebels. It subconsciously raises our own heartbeat, making the audience feel like they are part of the rebel "team"The CU's on the rebel's faces allow the audience to recognize the rebel's terror, increasing their own anticipation. By seeing their faces, it humanizes the rebels and prepares the audience to be on their side, instead of the cold, expressionless masks of the empire.During these rebel shots, there are MCU's on the two robots, a technique used throughout the sequence and indeed the film to distinguish the central characters. We also realize they are important because their bright metallic colouring makes them stand out from the background of uniformed rebels. Their voices are quite comical; C3P0's English accent is so camp and inappropriate to the action packed setting that the audience find themselves laughing. R2D2's language is not easily decipherable, and so many laughs are gained by inferring what he has said by C3P0's response. This section introduces the audience to the idea that these characters will provide the comic relief for the film, and indeed, their presence in this section allows the audience to relieve a little of their tension by laughing, this is important because of the family based nature of the film, parents do not want their young children to be too scared.The camera moves to a tight shot of the door, framing it within the screen, showing that all attention is now diverted to it. The sparks...

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