The Use of Techniques in The Mummy
In the extract from ‘The Mummy’, a wide range of techniques are
employed in order to convey certain aspects to the audience.
The ways in which the camera is used have great effect on the
impression given; for example the minimal movement, including slow
pans, in order to not detract from the impressive nature of the exotic
location – a staple for films of the action/adventure genre. The
vastness of the desert is also emphasized by the use of wide shots, in
which the screen is filled by the sandstorm and the heroes’ plane
appears greatly vulnerable; this also makes use of another genre
convention – the powerful odds which must be overcome. Another use of
the wide shot is to provide a backdrop for the film’s spectacular
special effects. Medium close-ups and close-ups (CUs) are used to
focus on the expressions of the actors, such as when the female lead
kisses the Mummy, and on the building psychological tension, for
example the female lead’s concern for the occupants of the damaged
aeroplane. The use of POV (point of view) shots, such as the view from
the plane as it turns over, increases the audience’s involvement in
the action and their empathy for the characters, and the use of low
angles when the Mummy appears gives the impression of great power.
The most obvious example of computer generated images (CGI) is that of
the sandstorm itself and the devastation it creates. This is the main
focus of this extract, and while the large amount of screen time
devoted to it does not further the plot particularly, this is not its
purpose – instead, it amazes the audience. Another slightly less
spectacular, although no less effective, use of CGI is that of the
arrival of the Mummy, his sidekick and the female lead – their
materialisation from the sand adds to the supernatural image the
audience has of the Mummy.
One of the few genre conventions the film does break is that of the
pace of editing, which is relatively slow to emphasise the location.
The use of direct cuts between the Mummy and his sand-monster shows
that they are one being, and again emphasises his power. Cuts are also
used to build tension – as there are relatively few, the camera
lingers on characters for a greater amount of time in order to
reinforce impending dangers. The editing of the film’s soundtrack also
has great effect, as the sound levels are mixed differently at certain
times in order to focus on important...