In this essay I will be comparing the opening sequences of ‘The Italian Job (1969) and its modern-day remake ‘The Italian Job’ (2003). The original was directed by Peter Collinson and starred famous actors such as Michael Caine. It was a huge success and gained a massive cult following. The remake in 2003 was directed by Gary Gray and stared Mark Wahlberg and Seth Green. Again this was a huge success and introduced the film to a new generation. The opening sequence is a very important one as it gives the viewer a feel for the movie and what’s to be expected from the film. Keep in mind that the remake did not follow the original storyline but brought the original more into the twenty-first century. Both films rest in the Action/Crime Genre and both films manage to keep a sense of humour.Order now
In the 1969 version the first thing you see is a red sports car gracefully cruising around mountain top roads with Frank Sinatra style music playing in the background. All seems to be well as the car enters a tunnel. Before it comes out the other end it’s blown up by some explosives at the other end which is an unexpected turn of events. The next thing you see is a group of people watching the car get pushed down the mountain side into the river with the driver inside. They look very sinister and you can tell that they had an involvement with the tunnel incident. There is a strong indication that they are the Mafia with their dark suits. As it rolls down the cliff the film is put in slow motion so you can observe the damage which has been done to the car. This is good use of special effects as it creates an almost dreamy effect. It ends up in a fast flowing river and is swept away. One minor flaw is the amount of damage actually done to the car, all the paint work seems to be in immaculate condition with some light body damage- not what you would expect from a massive explosion. You then see Charlie Crocker getting released from prison. This immediately gives you ideas on this person’s personality as he has been in jail.
In the 2003 version the action is quite different; as the credits are rolling, fast paced orchestral music is playing in the back ground with shots of plans of what you presume are for some type of crime. The music builds up to a climax before stopping and going into the movie. A man in his mid sixties walks out of the shop on the phone to his daughter as they talk about where he is and if his Parole Officer knows about it. Within the first few sentences you can tell that the man has something to do with the plot as he talks about breaking out of prison which makes the viewer feel suspicious about his past. He informs you that he’s in Venice and the cameras pan towards the trademark features such as the gondolas and Rialto Bridge. He meets up with work colleagues and they begin to initiate their plan. All of this creates a sense of anticipation, you are expecting something to happen shortly. During the boat chase scene, there is a dramatic difference in the music. Loud and fast paced music is being played as they go through the streets and when it flashes to the two underwater it goes very quiet and dramatic. It makes the audience feel anxious as they don’t know whether they’ll escape.
In the first film there is little dialogue in the first five minutes, whereas in the ’03 version they get you to know the characters earlier on. I personally prefer the ’03 way of doing it as you feel more involved in the plot. At the start of the ’69 version you feel that the man driving the car is going to be an influential figure in the film and will hold an important role, but when the car blows up you realize he has no more active involvement in the film. This is similar to the 03′ version as the first character you see and you presume will be the Protagonist does not the last the whole duration of the film. Audiences enjoy this type of genre as there is action but it’s not constantly in your face and there is quite an intricate story line which I think when combined appeals to a large audience. After watching the first five minutes or so it gives you an outline of what to expect from the rest of the film and I think both films give an accurate outline of what’s to come.
The characterisation was carried out successfully in both films with strong identities given to the main characters. In the ’03 version John Bridger comes across as a very kind and caring father and you would not suspect that he would be involved in a mass crime. This helps get the audience on their side because if they can portray him as a good guy and a caring family man it will make the actions later on in the film more effective because they have taken a liking to him. Charlie Crocker in ’69 was given a James Bond style role, very slick and a charmer with the women. He seems to take everything in his stride, is very confident but yet remains polite and well-mannered.
The way he casually strolls out of prison and says goodbye to the police officers shows a bit of cheek but is said in such a way that no offence was really taken. The Charlie Crocker in ’03 was slightly more developed. To me he seemed more quiet and shy no longer the over over-confident ego he was in ’69. The character was joined by a group of around five this time who played an equal part in the crimes so he wasn’t seen as the only good guy but the controller of a formidable group. All of the other members of the group had their own distinctive personalities and weren’t simply extra characters as they had their own contributions to the plot. This lessened the role of Charlie Crocker but added new dimensions to the film because otherwise if there was only one good guy it could have been seen as a copy of James Bond.
Women were also portrayed differently in this film compared to the ’69 version. This time around they were important features in the plot not just there to pleasure men. Within the first twenty minutes of the ’69 version Charlie had already had two if not more sexual encounters under his belt. The women have had no active involvement in the plot accept giving Charlie a lift and showing him a video. On the contrary there is no female involvement in the first twenty minutes of the ’03 version but there is no sex and the brief dialogue right at the start indicated that the woman could have some future involvement in the plot. The difference in Gender Representation shows how the roles of women have changed. No longer are they ‘props’ but hold important roles in the story.
Including more women in the story gives more females the chance to watch the film as they can see its not just a boys film but more of a family film which appeals to a wider audience. After watching the first twenty minutes you can see the difference in gender representation quite clearly. The first twenty minutes of the ’03 version are a lot more action packed than the ’69 film possibly because today’s audiences want more action in less time so if they can start the film off with high speed chases they should be able to get their attention for the rest of the film. In ’69 the first 20minutes was filled with dialogue which would have been more suited to the audience of its time as they did not expect full on action right from the word go.
Obviously, re-making an old classic is going to bring in a lot of money, regardless of whether the film is good or not. There is a certain degree of risk that comes with it as there is such a large fan base for the original. Like doing a sequel to a film the directors have to keep in mind what made the original so special and try to recreate it. Whilst not upsetting old die-hard fans they had to bring it into the twenty-first century so that modern audiences could appreciate it. It did happen to tie in quite coincidently with the release of the new Minis which must have been great for publicity for both parties involved. Some of the points that the directors of the 03′ had to take into consideration when making the new one include-it has to appeal to a large audience, from teenagers (12-17), young adults (18-35) and the fans of the old one. It’s important in this day and age to make sure everyone can view a film as modern-day blockbusters such as The LOTR Trilogy and the Harry Potter series can be enjoyed by all the family.
They had to develop the role of women, as times have changed since 69′. Women have more freedom than ever before and to reach out to more people the inclusion of an attractive female in the story is bound to boost sales. The third point would be to not stick too closely to the original story as it would be too easy to draw comparisons from both versions. Having an original storyline will not upset the old audiences, meaning they can have more independence on the plot instead of having to make sure everything is the same as it was thirty years ago and a final thing to keep in mind-make sure it still has a sense of humour as that was one of key factors all from all those years ago. The film was rated as a “12” in Britain. As they were targeting teenagers and young adults of both sexes they didn’t want to appeal to anyone under the age of twelve. In my opinion there is large difference in peoples reactions towards the age certificates. I am more drawn to a film with a “12”certificate than a “PG” for example because I know there is a larger chance of action, violence and bad language. If it was rated a “PG” they could loose some of the younger teen audience and would have to censor some of the action and violence.
In conclusion I thought the remake was successfully done, incorporating elements of action, crime, light comedy and suspense all into one to make an enjoyable film which shouldn’t have offended too many of the old fans. Personally, I preferred the soundtrack in the ’03 version as it added more to the feel of the film. The mise-en-scene was very effective, the settings in both were believable and the plots fitted well. The acting was of a high standard in both and Charlie Crocker seemed to mature over the gap from a womanising, cocky individual into a team leader who had gained everyone’s respect.