Opening Sequences

To start with, we were asked to watch several opening sequences of our choice to help us get a feel for what they are all about and to inspire us for when it was our turn to “get creative”.

Natural Born Killers;

  • The first opening sequence I studied was the film ‘Natural Born Killers’ written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Oliver Stone. In the sequence, we are introduced to a remote country diner set in what looks like a desert. The film is set in America, we can tell this by the accents of the characters, the background music, jukebox in the diner and the diner itself. Also to me the ‘key lime pie’ is something I would associate as American.

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  • In the shot, we see our two main characters Mickey and Mallory Knox in the diner with the stereotypical waitress Mabel (costume slightly revealing, seems dumb). We see that everything is going fine until the Rednecks turn up.
  • As Mallory is portrayed as a young free spirit that grabs the male attention, one of the Rednecks take a shining to her. A minute later and a whole lot of inappropriate dancing to awful music, the scene starts to get interesting.
  • We are introduced to some unexpected violence as Mallory starts beating her admirer. Due to the sexist comment coming from the other Redneck, referring to Mallory as “PUSSY”, it becomes obvious that Mickey and Mallory are an item, and that they terrorize people together.
  • In total, five characters are killed in the opening sequence, with one remaining that the Knox’s left to tell the world who committed such an awful crime, that they considered to be a buzz.

This film is classed as a ‘super genre film’,as throughout, there are a mixture of genres explored, which are;

  • Crime action-the violence/fighting
  • Romance-Mickey and Mallory show us their undying love for each other
  • Thriller-the Knox’s killing spree
  • Dark comedy-the fact that the Knox’s find it funny killing people

Mise en scene, is used to set the scene and characters for the audience(the audience for this film are 18+).

  • The cleavage on the waitress is showing from her tight top, and later on in the scene, her skirt becomes visible to the audience, and we see that it only just covers her bottom. This is done to attract attention from men that come into the diner and make her more of a seductive character.

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  • Mallory’s choice of costume is very revealing, even though she has full length trousers on, they sit low on her hips to insinuate she is sexual. Her long hair to me is perceived almost in a ‘hippie’ style, meaning peace and free will, but we soon see she’s not so much about the peace.  She also wears a bikini top/bralet, to reveal her assets to other men, maybe to get attention that will then cause a reaction out of Mickey.

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  • The newspaper is a prop used in the opening sequence, the title reads “Mickey and Mallory kiss six teens during slumber party” and obviously we read that title subconsciously, without knowing that the man actually reading the newspaper is a partner in the killings.

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  • The tattoo on Mallory’s stomach just above the trousers, is of a scorpion, this is significant as at the start of the sequence a scorpion is in the road and is run over and squashed, this shows the audience that Mallory is inevitably going to die at some point in the film.

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This whole scene involves some edited features…

  • Whilst the camera follows Mallory to the Jukebox, a man appears and we watch his eyes follow Mallory, the image is the faded into Mallory dancing. This represents to the audience that the man is going to be killed by one of the Knox’s.

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  • Also when offended, at quick glance we can see Mickey covered in blood, this shows the audience that mickey has obviously murdered someone. This gives the audience hints as to what type of person he is before we actually get to the killing part of the sequence.

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  • The sequence switches from colour to black and white throughout, I think this is to show that the black and white shots, are the perspective of the characters, so the audience can distinguish between the characters point of view and the actual scene itself. for example, when Mabel the waitress is serving Mickey she enters black and white and becomes seductive. This is to show hoe Mickey views Mabel and probably most women.
  • The sequence overall is fast paced to keep up with the action of the killings and how quick the killings actually happened.

In the sequence, a range of camera shots are shown;

  • Over the shoulder shot
  • A close-up of Mickey is used of him smiling when he looks at Mallory dancing, this is to show his affection towards his partner and that he is proud of her.
  • A mid-shot is used to show Mallory’s whole body when she is dancing, this is to show how appealing she is to the male audience members, and show what little clothing she has on while she dances provocatively.
  • Off-killer shots are used to disorient the audience.
  • Point of view shots are used to show the audience some of the sequence through the character’s perspective so the audience can almost experience it for themselves. For example when Mickey spots the redneck outside, we see the redneck’s reaction through Mickey’s eyes.
  • The camera movement is significant in the sequence as the camera moves almost from side to side to give it the feel that the film was shot almost by someone in the scene just by a little hand-held camera, it also confuses the audience slightly.

Monsters;

  • The film ‘Monsters’ written and directed by Gareth Edwards. In the sequence we are placed in the setting of Mexico. We know this because it is captioned at the start of the sequence and when one of the main characters names Andrew tries to speak to someone for directions, the reply was in Mexican/Spanish.
  • With helicopters, guns and literal “Monsters” just in the opening sequence, we know that this film as a whole is going to be action packed.

This film has a series of genres (hybrid film);

  • action due to the battle with the monsters
  • sci-fi the fact that the film involves monsters
  • Romance the couple stereotypically fall in love
  • Road movie the journey the two characters take

Mise en scene and editing;

  • At the beginning of the sequence, a series of captions are edited in to provide information to the audience, as if the sequence just went straight into the bit with the army men fighting the monster, the audience would be confused. It also helps set the scene for the audience as the place and situation is all given to us via the captions.
  • The monsters are placed into the film through Computer Generated Imagery(CGI) which allows the monsters to be added in without actually having to spend a lot of money on props and costumes of monsters. CGI is a cheap way of making really good effects in a film, and Gareth Edwards used this as the film only had $15,000 as a budget to make the film.
  • One of the main characters, and the only one we are actually introduced to in the sequence is Andrew. His character is very good-looking which was purposely done to give the female audience that may have seen the film a little bit of eye candy. His dirty rough cut facial hair, muscles and tight tops (purposely done to show his physique) make him sexy, and give him that sort of mysterious personality.
  • The set of destroyed buildings is also the work of CGI as it is a quick and easy way to have a specific set without building one.

Camera shots;

  • We see hand-held camera work in this sequence, especially in the fight sequence with the monsters, this gives the audience an in site into the sequence and allows them to feel a sense of fear and panic as they see the event through the characters point of view.
  • Close-ups are used several times to show various different things that the camera wants you to focus on when watching the sequence, for example, at first there is a close up of the soldiers to draw attention to their facial expressions and how they seem happy, to show that the monster attack was a surprise. The tv in the hospital is also shown by a close-up to allow the audience to see what is being reported on the attack we just witnessed.
  • The monster attack is shown through a point of view, as the audience are under the impression that the filming of the attack was done by a hand held camera

Iron Sky;

  • The film ‘Iron Sky’ was directed by Timo Vuorensola, and written by Johanna Sinisalo.
  • In the sequence we are introduced to two main characters one a white male, and one a black male. These two men are on a intergalactic space mission when they come across a Nazi space programme that has been secretly hidden on the dark side of the moon for many years.

This film only has one genre which is Sci-Fi. This is because of the space landscape and moon-base.

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