Comment on in detail how genre and narrative are established in the opening scenes of ‘the Lord of the Rings’ and Gladiator I am going to comment on the genre and narrative of two films, the lord of the rings and gladiator. The genre is a type of film, for example- horror, action or science fiction. The narrative of a film is simply the story. People who create the film make the storylines (the director for instance). Also I am going to look for signifiers. Signifiers are the physical aspects we see and hear in the film, furthermore, they can be classed as codes and conventions.
Codes are visual and audio aids used in the film, conventions are rules. An example of this is a horror film rule would be someone dying. Another media term is representation. The way a film portrays people is how they are representing them to be to the viewer. I am going to use all of these terms in my essay. As ‘The Lord of the Rings’ begins, the voiceover starts. It is a calm female voice, informing the viewer about the quest for the rings. She is one of the only female stereotypes in the film, so she is represented as omniscient (all knowing) and powerful. Her voice sounds mythical, which is a convention of a fantasy film.
The music is sad and sombre. It gives the feeling of a tragedy. Organs and violins are used which represent evil. We are then introduced to the history of the rings and how they are distributed. Straight away I can recognise that it is a fantasy genres/Nine rings gifted to the race of men,” who represent power and dominance, three are given to the Elves and seven are ‘gifted’ to the Dwarfs however there will be ‘one ring to rule them all”. Twenty rings are made in total and one of them is evil. I can therefore conclude that this is a battle of good versus evil, which is another convention of a fantasy genre.
Old, yellow parchment maps are shown in the film. The names are unusual and hint at a tragedy. For example “Mount Doom” is not an everyday name for a mountain. This is another factor, which I can establish the genre of the film is a fantasy. Furthermore different races are represented in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, which I can apply to determine the genre of the film is a fantasy. Dwarfs are represented as ‘craftsmen of the mountain halls’. They also have out of the ordinary names that also establish the genre. Elves are ‘immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings’.
In addition to this there is an opportunity for a hero to be established as this is quite clearly a battle of good versus evil, nine good rings versus one powerful evil ring, another aspect of a fantasy genre. ‘Land of middle earth fell to the power of the ring. The mis-en-scene of’The Lord of the Rings’ conveys that it is a fantasy genre. It is set in a dark and scary place and the costumes are not ordinary. The characters wear armour and carry swords, which symbolised the potential battle of good versus evil. The effect of the narrative in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is extremely clever.
The opening scene is a flashback with the narrative dubbed over the action (voiceover). The images represent to the viewer what the storyteller is conveying. The deep, calm voice compliments the fictional action on the screen. The manner in which the opening scene is profiled intrigues the viewer and suits the fantasy genre. The events are relayed in a chronological order and it is almost like a child being told a story by a parent. It is relatively easy to follow and that makes it easier for the viewer to digest the strange things that take place.
There are many signifiers in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ that make it clear that it is a fantasy genre. The background is dark when the storyteller (voiceover) sets the scene. This makes it very mysterious and exciting and compliments the story behind Sauem’s ring. When the storyteller relates to the danger of the evil ring her voice is more powerful, moreover music is introduced to attract the viewers attention. Organs and violins are used to make the music and these instruments represent evil. This helps establish the genre and narrative of The Lord of the Rings.
The opening scene of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is an effective way of filling in the viewer about the history of the ring. The flashback allows the viewer to establish that the genre of the film is a fantasy. Conversely, the genre of ‘Gladiator’ is slightly different to ‘The Lord of the Rings’. “The Lord of the Rings’ is a fantasy, action, whereas ‘Gladiator’ is an action movie. – Straight away in ‘Gladiator’ we are introduced to a potential hero. He is Russell Crowe and he is stereotyped to be brave, courageous and a great leader. This is a key aspect of an action movie and helps to determine the genre.
The opening subtitles are extremely moving and hint at unrest. The background is dark with smoke rising in the foreground, possibly representing a battle. A robin represents winter, which is the darker side. The viewer knows there will be consequences to follow this scene and helps establish the genre. The inevitable then happens. There is a violent battle, which is a feature of an action movie. It is very graphic and realistic. Armies arrive in woodland on horseback. This is stereotypical of an action movie. There are no women represented in the opening scene.
This shows that the movie was set hundreds of years ago where emperors ruled and males were represented as rich, strong and powerful beings. The sound effects are dramatic, exaggerated and symbolize a battle, which helps to establish the genre. An overhead camera angle shows large armies and the camera moves rapidly to show the intensity of the battle. The language the emperor uses also helps to define the genre. ‘On my signal, unleash hell’. This also depicts the intensity and sheer will to win a battle; moreover it also helps to establish the genre to be action.