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Examine the ways in which the horrors of war are presented in the opening scenes of 'Saving Private Ryan'.

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Examine the ways in which the horrors of war are presented in the opening scenes of 'Saving Private Ryan'. The Second World War was a terrible landmark in the history of mankind millions of people were killed and injured. Frightening atrocities revealed a part of the human nature never seen before. The classic clash of the good allies and the evil axis occurred on a scale and a way never seen before. No wonder films about the Second World War are so popular. Since the last world war there have been many films produced on the subject and there will be many more to come. However many of them depict a honourable, patriotic, righteous crusade against the evil twisted Nazis where boys were made into men and men made into heroes. The true horror of war is never really revealed to its fullest extent. This is where 'Saving Private Ryan' comes into play. Its opening scenes show the gritty terrifying reality of the Second World War in a way never done before. It reveals the war not to be a righteous crusade, but a struggle for survival and victory that was carried out by normal men driven into being soldiers, and driven into killing, brought together and for a cause that was common and just, freedom. However for the soldiers this was only secondary to the longing for their homes and families and peace. The opening is cut into two very different sections with very different scenes and pictures resulting in a powerful contrast between the peace and quiet, and the turmoil, pain, and despair. ...read more.


The second scene is very much different to the first it is filled with loud noises and terrified screams. It gives us an accurate picture of what happened at Omaha beach and the picture given is not pleasant. It is not quiet and peaceful like the first scene. The first view we see is a slightly slanted camera view of a beach defence it is a harsh object and is made of metal. This like the first picture in the first scene of the flag gives us a view of what is about to happen. We can hear the sea loudly as it rushes against the metal. Then the picture flicks to scenes of the landing craft that are being bombarded by spray from the waves. This is a harsh picture as we see the bent ducked down to avoid the spray and what is happening to them. The camera jerks up and down like we are viewing the other boats from a boat. This type of camera view makes us feel in the action and relate more to what the soldiers are seeing. We then get a camera view going through the boat and the soldier's faces and actions are shown. Each soldier is clearly worried about what is about to come and each are dealing with it in different ways. One man is drinking, another is eating, another man is breathing is deeply and slowly, and another man is crouching down and tensing his face. This brings us down to the level of the men and we relate to them a little more. It also reminds us these are just people like ourselves who do everyday things and are afraid. ...read more.


The emphasis by the commanders is not so much on human life but on victory, this is a depressing view on things for us but for them it was normal. The camera usually chooses to look at the soldier's faces as they are dead or dying. This is because this is what shows the emotion and shows us the emotion. This look at the soldier's faces shows us the horror and pain they are experiencing. The two scenes are very different. The first is peaceful as we follow the old man and his family about the graves, and the second is a hell on earth as people being mown down and massacred. The quick change between the two makes us feel even more horrified to see the beach landing events because we have been given a peaceful scene beforehand. I think its hard to say what Spielberg wanted make from 'Saving Private Ryan' he may have wanted to make lots of money, in which case he decided to make a very shocking gritty realistic film because this is what interests many audiences. He choose one of the most well known tragedies of the war where thousands of people died and turned it into a form of moneymaking entertainment. He also could of being trying to warn people about war. Educating them about the horrors of war and the pain and suffering many people endured to keep parts of the world free from tyranny and repression. In either case he did rather well creating an extremely shocking opening scene and a good opening to lead up to it. I expect he was trying to achieve both money through making people's pain into entertainment and education through shocking people. Nevertheless Spielberg has done an excellent job of recreating the horrors of war. ...read more.

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