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Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of Saving Private Ryan(TM) both shocking and realistic, and see how effective you find it as an introduction to the film.

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Introduction

Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of 'Saving Private Ryan' both shocking and realistic, and see how effective you find it as an introduction to the film. The majority of war films do not contain many realistic characteristics; this is due to the fact that they are aimed at promoting heroism, not dissuading people from it. War is seen as a heroic gesture towards your country because of these propaganda type films. However, Spielberg's rendition of 'Saving Private Ryan' conveys a different outlook on the matter. As a director, Spielberg has highlighted various aspects to conjure the reactions of shock and realism. The opening scenes set the tone of the film excellently. Through the conventional uses of camera techniques, lighting and even sounds, Spielberg is able to help us explore the emotions of characters, we shall later get to know a little better. 'Saving Private Ryan' is an account of the D- Day landings at Omaha beach, which is remembered for the immense amount of casualties created. As we know now, the American's never really had all that much of a chance, the Germans had fantastic defence trenches, and the warfare was so brutal, most of them forgot what they were supposed to be doing. What also didn't help were the dragons teeth, sprawled sporadically all over the beach, as shown in the film. This meant the ships carrying the troopers could not approach the top of the beach, and the soldiers had to disembark in the middle of the sea. ...read more.

Middle

Another realistic nature linked to this point, is that in the water you can also hear the sound of the bullets zipping through the water, and even killing people, this gives the impression that nowhere is safe, and anything can happen. The use of camera techniques is the most common use to create a mood both shocking and realistic, and Spielberg utilizes these spectacularly. Handheld cameras are used intentionally to make the pictures unstable, as if it was through a soldier's point of view, and this gives us a more personal and intimate view of the soldiers. The camera cuts quickly to different scenes, which makes the viewer, believe there is a lot of chaos and activity going on. In the present day sequence, cameras are used for emotive and symbolic purposes, where as the battle sequence is just filled with a shocking amount of gore. When we first see James Ryan in his old age, we see both close up and tracking shots of him, as if he is leading us along with his family, to his destination, which shall introduce the film. When he comes into the graveyard, he first stops to look at the French and American flags, to show us why he was their, and the historical background behind it, and then wanders off to find Captain Miller's grave. As James walks along the camera zooms out and slowly pans round to shock us with seeing the sheer amount of graves that are standing in front of him. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is shown in the film when the soldiers find a Hitler youth knife, and what settles in on them is the reality of how young people can be when they come to see the destruction going on their. Yet, through this destruction, there are still those who call upon their religions, to comfort them and give them something to believe in, and those who know they are going to die, ask for help, or at least a good chance at getting into heaven. As the ending to the opening sequence the camera's finally home in on the starting part of the story to come, Private Sean Ryan, one of James' brothers who died. I think the sequence is an excellent start to the film, as it lets us get to meet the characters we shall follow, it sets the tone of the film, and it gives us a little bit of history of what they have already been through, and what they need to do to get a ticket home. The present day scene also urges us on to the rest of the film, to see who survived and who the old man is, as we are deceived to believe it is Captain Miller through the transition. The D-Day landings were not all that long ago, however they may seem. And Spielberg has emulated the perfect film to show us, unlike many war films, all the shock and realism that takes form in a real live war, and what those who have fought in wars, have been through. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Carter ...read more.

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