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For my media unit, I have chosen to study the opening sequence of 'Tomorrow Never Dies' a James Bond film. I will describe and evaluate the dramatic techniques used in the sequence

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Introduction

Media Unit (Bond) By Zac Southwood For my media unit, I have chosen to study the opening sequence of 'Tomorrow Never Dies' a James Bond film. I will describe and evaluate the dramatic techniques used in the sequence. I have studied the social and cinematic background to the James Bond movies as spy films and as the originators of their own genre - The action spy adventure. I have watched the video of 'Tomorrow Never Dies', paying particular attention to the timings. I have also watched the video of 'Mission Impossible Two' also paying attention timings. Hereinafter 'Mission Impossible Two' will be referred to as 'MI2' and 'Tomorrow Never Dies' as 'TND'. I have studied the shooting script for 'TND' and the original screenplay for Bond 18 later named 'TND'. The opening scene of TND was set in a terrorist arms bazaar on the Russian border. James Bond has been sent there to identify terrorist suspects, a camera had been concealed with a satellite link to Headquarters in London where the mission was being controlled by British military officers alongside British intelligence controllers. ...read more.

Middle

The interaction between the characters creates dramatic tension with M being cautious and Roebuck 'gung-ho' the resultant mistake confirms M's fears. The conversation between Tanner and Bond, which leads to the revealing of the torpedoes and realisation dawning on, a now equally worried Roebuck ensures and enhances our realisation that there now really is a problem and great danger exists. Admiral Roebucks attempt to recall the missile and the failure of the missile to respond dramatically exposes the deadline of 4 minutes 8 seconds and Bonds reaction as now being crucial. Spottiswoode now emphasises the scene by having long shots tracking the missile as screen time runs in real time. Bonds time and our time as the audience are the same, this emphasises that Bond has an apparently impossible mission to accomplish in less than 4 minutes with a real countdown going on. Spottiswoodes techniques are in direct contrast to MI2 where there are also three time sequences and countdowns. Firstly a scene where Hunt has 40 seconds to penetrate the Atrium in fact runs to over two minutes of screen time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some of the shots used which are in extreme close-up for example a fist punching, a hand throwing, a hand planting a magnetic grenade, a face thinking, eyes narrowing created with rapid cuts and editing help to give pace to the sequence. We are therefore able to identify with Bond and the real time task that confronts him because it is in real time and the director has used virtually everything at his disposal, our tension is heightened by the impossibility of the task and increasing hope that Bond and we are going to pull it off. To conclude we know from the script that 'Real time' is director's choice as there were originally only 2 minutes to impact. In fact the original script and shooting script was cut back by 10 pages and more to focus on this sequence. We can observe how the effect is heightened by techniques of rapid editing between scenes along with contrasting the action between explosive and silent and all running in real time, the audience is left spellbound. I found that this approach as opposed to type of slow motion sequences in MI2 to be more effective and enjoyable. ...read more.

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