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Steven Spielberg's Jaws And Ridley Scott's Gladiator

1860 words - 7 pages

Steven Spielberg's Jaws and Ridley Scott's Gladiator

The two films being examined are the thriller Jaws, directed by Steven
Spielberg, and the action film Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott.
Both directors create epic films; the films are momentous and are
designed to manipulate the emotions. A thriller is intended to appeal
to basic human instinct to the need of feeling fear and survival.
Action movies are designed to appeal to our sense of danger: pace and
experience is something we want but don't have in our everyday lives
to this extent. Both films are examples of media, which manage to
induce you into a certain way of thinking: Jaws into being scared and
Gladiator into sympathising and rooting for Russell Crowe in his fight
against evil.

In the opening shots of Gladiator, Maximus is seen walking through a
cornfield. There is an orange soft focus on the scene; this, along
with the music, adds to the feeling he is dreaming of his homeland
where it is warm, safe and pleasant. Here the director is trying to
show the feeling of wanting to be back home through the evocative
colour and sounds of Maximus's dream. When the scene shifts to the
battle, the opening shot centres of his face, there is now a blue haze
on the scene. It appears to be early daylight or evening. The weather
is bad and the area is covered in decimated forest. The overall scene
is very misty and dirty. A contrast is set between the previous
scenes; the sharp difference between the two extreme emphasises the
reality of the two positions. A close up shot of a robin creates a
disparity between the lifeless settings of the battlefield and is
symbolic of Maximus's feelings. The highly disciplined organisation of
the troops compels the viewer into believing their superiority and
effectiveness. When the Barbarians enter the scene they all appear
uncivilised and disorganizes in comparison: the fact they behead the
messenger reinforces this. When the battle begins, the camera flicks
around at a frenetic pace, showing the chaos of battle. As Maximus
enters on a horse, the light is streaming through the trees making him
appear a hero, a ray of hope in the dark. As he begins mercilessly
killing Germanians the director manipulates the audience into
condoning the slaughter, and what is more, willing him to kill further
lending credibility to his role.

In Jaws, the shot opens on the beach with the campfire at night. It's
a familiar setting; the teenagers are all stereotypically middle class
'college kids', very warm and relaxed. The director designed the scene
to provoke a recognizable combination to the audience, to convey how
normal and plausible it is. When the female and male leave the group
the group, the colours change; the scene becomes dark and the
characters become silhouetted against the moonlight. The silence is...

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