Creative verision of Film Poster

I did this by putting in all my information into a powerpoint presentation and taking screenshots of each slide. I felt that this was the best way to present this information clearly as it is a means of collecting all my information and condensing it into several slides. This also allowed me to organize my points so that each heading was a point that I was making rather than having large blocks of information to read through. As well as this when the PowerPoint was being played this would mean that I can read through as each slide progressed, allowing me to see each page quickly and efficiently. I designed the points with a creative but simplistic design because the slides are so text heavy it would make it more difficult to read as the PowerPoint progressed. I enjoy using PowerPoint as a creative and educational tool as it allows me to quickly and easily put together my information. I added the pictures of the posters on each slide in order to make it easy to reference back to the images I was referring to as I read it

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Film Poster analysis

The-Hunger-Games-Catching-Fire

The Hunger Games Catching Fire is a Thriller. The genre is most commonly known for creating suspense and excitement in the audience, the hero often being an outsider, but usually very knowledgeable/moral. We see this in the poster through the connotations and signifiers it presents to us, the poster shows a single protagonist, denoting that she is alone and seemingly very comfortable with this. The hero in the typical thriller is usually being the one who reveals the truth or solves the issue in the plot, we are also shown this in the poster with her hostile stance and her grasp on the arrow, we see that she is the hero and will be the one who will ‘save the day’. Often times in a Thriller the hero and the villain have something in common and can be seen as similar, we don’t see a villain in the poster in person but we do see how the protagonist can have traits similar to one through the fire imagery, as well as the statement at the top “Remember who the enemy is”, suggesting that perhaps there is some controversy regarding who the true villain is. Thrillers normally depict a battle between the protagonist and the antagonist, normally the battle is for justice. The poster here doesn’t give much away in terms of justice, but defiantly connotes to a battle, the stance Jenifer Lawrence (portraying Katniss, the ‘hero’ of The Hunger Games) is defiant and aggressive, she is in a fighting stance with her arrow aimed directly at the viewer, as if even the audience is a part of this battle.

The most obvious signifier in the poster is the use of blacks, golds and reds and the image of fire. Fire being mostly symbolic of danger it is also a symbol of passion, destruction and power. All of these are key themes in The Hunger Games, as a thriller film these are common key themes in thriller films and young adult literature. The institution who is producing this needs to know how to attract young adult literature fans to a thriller film and perhaps the use of color is a way to portray that this is both a thriller film, but it also represents the anger, passion and romance dynamic from the novel that the film was adapted from. The way the fire is behind the actress and bringing light from behind her is one way to depict a saviour as the light from behind is symbolic of the hero being the bringer of light, which has some religious context but it has made its way into contemporary media. The fact that this isn’t just light its fire has more of a dangerous, maybe rebellious twist to it and maybe even suggests the heroes rage and her desire to destroy. The fire is mostly framing the image and emphasizing the black, red and gold in the background and text. Gold being a colour of wealth, fame and beauty. Gold as well as wealth is also linked with being a feminine colour, especially next to the red that can be considered a very ‘sexy’ and passionate colour when associated with women. This amplifies the protagonists femininity in the poster, maybe hinting that this is some sort of plot point in the movie.

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We see in this still taken from the movie that the imagery does not change in the film itself, Lawrence is still portrayed in black costume and continues to wield an arrow. We also see how in the film she is different to how she is portrayed in the poster, with her face giving the appearance of being free from makeup, her hair tied back rather than free flowing and her facial expression shows that she is scared in this image, whereas in the poster she looks calm and collected. This is because the poster is designed to show her in the best possible light in order for the audience to look up to her and view her as a hero, but in the film we are led as an audience to want to sympathize and identify with her. This is why a poster may portray her as being strong, confident, sexy and defiant, with bold colors and powerful imagery, as an audience who hasn’t seen the film but has read the books will want to see her in this light in the movies. The institution that created this film (Lionsgate) wants to make sure that the image of Katniss on the poster is striking and bold in order for it to be interesting to the audience and for it to become a talking point, however in the film they want her to appear true to the novels that she was adapted from in order for the audience to be pleased. This is why the connotations of Katniss in the films is different from that of the poster.

The clothes the actress is wearing are skin tight and all black. Black often connotes to depression and death but in this photo, next to the passionate reds and golds signifying wealth and danger, and that the clothes are skin tight on the model (relating maybe to fashionable clothing and femininity, again.) the colour black takes on a new image. It is elegant and symbolic of maturity, rage and control, signifying a cool and collected hero despite the rage and passion she feels for her cause. It is also very powerful as a feminist image and gives the ultimate image of ‘girl power’. The close up shot of the protagonist alone gives the viewer the idea of there only being a single protagonist (which is true to the movie) and their feeling of isolation. This links to the black imagery of the model, being alone may be considered to be a signifier that she is weak, however the way that Jenifer Lawrence is portrayed in this poster makes her appear completely in control and is above all, independent. In the Hunger Games the protagonist feels alone in her cause as nobody else seems to understand who the enemy is (or is dead) and her being the only figure in the poster seems to be a direct reference to that. The protagonists stance in the image (bow raised, looking directly at where its aimed) denotes power and confidence in her cause. The bow alone is an ancient symbol of war, dating back to Roman times, which the film has many references to. Her long, flowing hair relating to femininity and beauty but it blowing out of her face showing her focus on the item she is aiming at, communicating to the audience how she is a fighter, a leader and is determined to fight for her cause. How the actresses face has been made up to look gives her the effect of sharp high cheekbones and a high nose, all the contours of her face have been made sharper and more angled, intensifying how powerful, defiant and feminine she appears in the poster.

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Here is a screencap from the movie, we see how even in Katniss’ more ‘glamorous’ moments she is still associated with the color red for anger, passion and femininity. She scowls at the audience in this picture (there is an audience in front of her in the movie, as well as a camera crew broadcasting this onto television) as if she is already angry. Even in her most feminine moments we see that she still retains her passion and her dominance, she wears red as a signifier of anger, her face is showing that although she is dressed for the audiences benefit of seeing her as beautiful or feminine, she hasn’t lost her own defiance. This picture from the movie almost perfectly creates the same sense of heroism and passion that the poster did, we see here how the poster is expressing to the audience the same tone of the films, there is a lot of bleakness throughout the film, and in the poster through the use of dark colours, but the red, the gold, and the image of Katniss glaring at the audience with contempt all suggest the build up of a battle.

A Similar poster is this one for Batman The Dark Knight. Both have common uses of having the protagonist a solitary figure in the center. Both have used fire in their image but in the second it is more likely to be linked with destruction and power than passion and femininity as the fire is burning up a building. The solitary character in this poster is more of an ambiguous figure as he is dressed in all black which is more commonly associated with the villain. However having the camera angled upwards means we are literally “looking up at him” which indicates a hero.  This is different to the first poster because having him in the centre looking directly at the camera would take away from the ambiguity of the movie. Also in The Hunger Games poster we are at eye level with the actress, signifying we are equal to her, rather than below her. In the first poster the fire is very bright and glowing, defining and lighting her face to give the viewer a good clear view of her expression and facial features. In this one you can’t see his face at all, the fire is used to completely cast with shadows and the parts of his face you can see are obscured by a mask. The different uses of fire in both photos really tells the difference between the two movies as The Hunger Games one paints the actress as an obvious hero, filled with rage and power of destruction. However, in The Dark Night poster he looks very dark, almost melancholy, and completely detached from the fire. His stance, like the first one denotes rage and power, but his a more concealed kind.

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Film Openings

Wall-E

Wall-E is an animated adventure/comedy movie which is aimed towards children. Animated childrens movies often have conventions such as a protagonist in a good vs evil battle and musical numbers. Musical numbers are very common in Disney movies especially as they appeal to younger audiences who can sing along with the lyrics. Other animated children’s movies that have themes like musical numbers and a good vs evil battle includes Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. This is often a typical narrative that can be seen in a number of films. Children’s movies are animated as they keep kids interested with the vivid colours and imaginative creations that cannot be made out of a live action movie. The visual appeal is incredibly important for children’s films as without these vivid colours the film would not hold their attention. The titles above demonstrate the vivid colours that are used in Wall-E and how they draw in the audience.

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The 2D and almost child like drawing of some of the scenes in the movie are attractive to children as it looks more creative to them and like something themselves could draw. 2D effects work well in the end credits to this animated movie as it contrasts against the high tech high budget animating they had the whole way through the movie. It makes the viewer more interested in the artistic elements of the scenes, which is what the designers were looking for as the mimicking of art movements is key to the theme of the credits. The below screen shot is taken from later on in the credits and shows how well the credits have recreated ancient and more modern artistic movements. The different techniques that are employed in Wall-E demonstrate how there are a number of different styles that can be used in animation. However unfortunately 3D animation seems to have monopolised the market and is currently the most popular at the cinema.

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The whole ending sequence is animated and depicts a childlike and cartoony history of human life, starting at the discovery of fire. The only difference between the title sequence of Wall. E and the true history of humanity is that there are robots present. This possibly implies that humans are re building the earth from scratch and the robots are helping them this time around. As these are ending credits it is mostly acting as a continuation of the movie, as it is giving a full insight of what happens after the movie. As the sequence goes on the form of art becomes advanced in sophistication; the first images being cave drawings, next there are mosaics, then charcoal and pencil drawings that depict humans becoming more and more agriculturally developed (farming fish and plants), the art then continues to develop through different art movements. This is signifying a rebuilding of society and going back through the motions that earth first went through.

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Using this as the end scene brings closure to the movie. The reason for this is it gives the audience some insight as to what happens beyond the movie.  You can tell that this movie is targeted towards children from its end credits as how happy and colourfully animated they are, as well as how simplistically everything has been drawn and shown so not to confuse kids who might not understand as well as an older person might. The extension beyond what has happened in the move might also lay the groundwork for a sequel. This is a common technique as it helps generate money from the previous audience who watched the first film. A good example of this is Toy Story which currently has 3 films in the franchise as well as a number of short movies which have been produced. I would predict that in the future Wall-E might get a sequel which would pick up after the events of this.

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The use of the art becoming more and more sophisticated throughout the video and then taking on an 8-bit type of theme during the actual credits makes the credits seem more modern as it brings to mind the current technologies in computers and gaming. Andrew Stanton (the co-creator of the ending credits) said ” There was a reference to Pong in the film, so we figured this would be the next step in the development of that gaming technology for them.”. The use of gaming characters in films was taken further in the Disney animated film ‘Wreck it Ralph’. This included a number of characters from video games and help draw upon the nostalgia factor. This would mainly appeal to parents but since parents are taking their children to see these films it would again help the film be more successful.

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The Last of Us

Like the end credits of Wall-E the opening titles for The Last of Us is used to show the viewer what happens over a long period of time. The Last of  Us is a thriller game aimed mostly towards those over 18 years old so the conventions are very different to those in a children’s animation, and are normally very different to that of a film as game and film have completely different audiences, narratives, conventions and purposes. However this opening scene is a great example of an opening scene that uses simple imagery and symbols in order to entice the audience. Thriller title sequences are normally used to get emotions running high before the scenes finally begin, this was used as a means of creating a ‘buffer’ between the true opening scene (which was all gameplay) and the rest of the game. This was because in trials it was found that game testers found the opening scene so emotional that they needed a break from playing, and this opening scene was thus created. This shows how the opening scenes have different purposes depending on the media that is being produced, however, they all seem to have the same conventions.

In this opening the technical effect of black and white gives an effect of ambiguity as the audience doesn’t really understand what they are looking at. This thus creates tensions as well as curiosity that makes the audience want to find out more by playing the rest of the game. The news reports being read over a quiet and melancholy guitar track has the functional purpose of expressing that what we are hearing in the minute of the opening credits is actually news sound clips from the past 20 years, allowing the audience to understand that a large passage of time has happened while updating them on the story before they continue playing. It is possible that the creators decided that these opening credits needed to have simple imagery in monochrome would allow for the audience to be undistracted from the large amount of auditory information that they are receiving, allowing the audience to focus on the voiceover instead of the images on screen.

The co creator of the game stated that he wanted opening credits to allow the player to recover from the death of the playable character the scene before, though normally games do not have opening credits, this is because as games are much more interactive than film, players would prefer to get on with playing rather than watch a film-like opening, although some games will include cut scenes mid game in order to give information, which happens to be the same purpose (or one of the many purposes) for this games opening scene. The melancholy guitar track works well after following this scene as though the cut scene into the credits is to allow the gamer to have a break after the emotional scene that they just encountered. The soothing guitar track helps for the audience who are playing the game to take a break from the gameplay and become observers for a moment. However the effect would be completely different without the background music as it creates a sense of peace, without it the news report would sound intimidating or demanding, however it doesn’t distract from the important sound (the news report) but rather compliments it so that the audience can listen to what they need to without being distracted by the background music.

Edward Scissorhands

The opening credits of Edward Scissorhands has all an all out creepy vibe. From the use of dimmed out blue lighting and the panning camera up the stairs. Theres lots of use of the camera panning close up to random steampunk type trinkets that brings a sense of disorientation as instead of seeing the overall image of the room or places these things are in we just get little snippets of information. The scene where the camera pans up a flight of rickety old stairs gives a sense of direction but this is broken up after the random cut scenes of trinkets and other abstract items come into the scene. Theres a real sense of abstractness throughout the who scene, the iron gates being followed by the blue lit human hands is one and it just gives a really unsettling vibe to the audience.

The snow over the opening title for 20th Century Fox (the institution that produced this) has connotations of winter, a fairly dismal time in terms of the weather conditions and how winter time is usually darker than the rest of the year. This links in with the ‘creepiness’ created by the music and the blue lights that create a ‘cold’ feeling. However, the snow is also used to connote to Christmas, a more festive time of year that is also signified by snow, we see this continued throughout the opening with the Christmas cookies being shown also. The contrast in the signifiers gives the audience a clue that the film may not be as creepy as the opening may suggest. As well as this we also get a sense that this might be a ‘Christmas film’, however unconventional it may be, Edward Scissorhands has been considered a Christmas movie since it has came out.

The music also adds to this effect, although at the start it is completely downbeat in minor, as the trailer goes on it picks up some more enthusiastic aspects while maintaining a creepy feel. It begins to sound more like a church hymn than an unsettling piece as it begins to include the singing voices and the delicate piano undertones which adds to the unsettling theme throughout the opening scene while also adding to the Christmas imagery, such as the snow and the sugar cookies I mentioned earlier.

The technical use of blue lighting gives the whole opening a creepy sort of vibe and puts the audience in a more disorientated state of mind for when the movie starts. This fits with the genre of the movie as it is a dark fantasy movie with undertones of romance its title scene should represent this. This also leaves the audience feeling confused and solemn which allows the movie to continue to influence the viewers emotions. As blue connotes to calmness and sadness, this being used along with the melancholy music in the background makes the whole opening credits very downbeat and dismal.

The use of close ups on random inanimate objects gives them a sense of importance and makes each item that has been seen in close up in the scene a personal closeness that couldn’t be achieved with a further out shot. When each item is in close up they are also either perfectly on centre and fit the framing or slightly off centre and a little out of frame. The mix of the two makes for a perfect variation and keeps the opening scenes interesting to watch. the use of bringing items on and off centre while still keeping them the item of focus using the rule of thirds further builds on the sense of disorientation these credits are creating. Having the items of focus switch over seamlessly gives the audience lots of things to focus on at once, one after the other and means they will not get bored while watching. The transition of focus items is always interesting, such as the transition from the off centre, out of frame stairs to the door. How the camera is canted and gradually turns to put the door perfectly in centre and in frame is the start of the opening credits and gives the audience a sense of confusion from the very start as the stairs are shot at a very awkward angle it means that the audience are trying to figure out what they’re looking at from the very start.

REFERENCES

Websites:

www.artofthetitle.com –  ‘The Last Of Us’ (The Art of the Title – The Last of Us) – accessed 1/12/15

www.makeuseof.com/tag/x-of-the-best-video-game-opening-scenes-of-all-time (Make Use of) – accessed  1/12/15

http://uk.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/06/12-best-video-game-openings (The 12 Best Video Game Openings Of All Time) – accessed 1/12/15

www.writing-world.com/fiction/opening.shtmlWriting-World.com (Components Of A Good Opening Scene) – accessed 1/12/15

Filmography:

2008 – Wall-e (Director)

2013 – The Last of Us (Director)

2002 – Lilo and Stitch (Director)

1990 – Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton)