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English-Media Coursework

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Introduction

MEDIA COURSEWORK How successful are the creators of 'The Empire Strikes Back' in showing the conflict between good and evil? The factions of good and evil are effectively shown in 'The Empire Strikes Back'. The creators use a variety of techniques, such as symbols (signifiers), camera angles, props, costumes, lighting (including colours and shadows), music (and sound effects), and even the expressions and movement of the actors themselves. These features of film language all contribute to the aims of the film, and showing the conflict between good and evil. The film is based on different worlds, in a 'galaxy far, far away'. It is quite an early epic into the science fiction genre, when the technology of films were still quite fresh, and yet the creators still managed to produce such an exciting and good-looking film as this. This was the second film in the 'Star Wars' series, but is now the fifth due to the inclusion of a 'trilogy of prologues'. The main characters for good are: Luke Skywalker, a freedom fighter and trainee jedi knight; Han Solo, Luke's close friend and fellow Rebel; Princess Leia, friendly to both Luke and Han Solo, also a Rebel. They are part of the 'Light Side' and are against the ruling and domination of the 'Dark Side'. ...read more.

Middle

This mask makes Vader emotionless; i.e. we can never see any of his physical emotions. This helps to keep his distanced from us 'regular' people, as are most evil characters. It enhances the mysteries of evil surrounding him. When he is first shown in this scene, all we can see of him is the silhouette of his black cloak and the evil features of his mask. The effect of all this 'blackness' and his 'samurai-style' mask and his silhouette is more or less the same - to make him seem more threatening. And it is very effective, especially in this scene, because he steps forward and is bathed in the mysterious red glow. If there are any two colours perfect as signifiers for evil, they are red and black. In contrast, Luke is dressed in brighter colours, which signify good and happiness. His costume is lively and orange. This is a polar difference compared to Vader's darkness. It is effective in conveying the difference between Vader's evil black and Luke's good, bright orange. However, the red glow on Luke does affect his orange uniform, and this may be proof of Vader's evil influence onto Luke's good soul - and as we know Vader will try later on to convert Luke to the Dark Side. ...read more.

Conclusion

The costumes are also bright - Leia wears white, Luke and Solo in cream, etc. This emphasises the 'lightness'. The expression of 'fake smiling shock' is effectively used by Leia to further lighten the mood and help show the nature of good. Luke's body language when Leia kisses him is also significant in emphasising this 'joky' atmosphere - he puts his hand behind his head and half lies back, to mock Solo. This is totally different to the costumes, emotions (or lack of) and body language in the evil fight scene, where the costumes are affected by the smoke and 'blackness', with the eerie red glows and blue lights; which on the other hand conveys sinister evil. In conclusion, we can see from this analysis of two scenes, that the makers of 'The Empire Strikes Back' have effectively used signifiers (black Vader costume and smoke), camera angles (mid angle socialising of Leia and Han), costumes (totally black cloak and mask of Vader), lighting (red glow from beneath Vader and Luke), music (sharp and exciting music when we see Vader or the Imperial Cruiser), and expression (Luke's determined grim expression when fighting Vader) to convey the conflict between good and evil. In my opinion it has been cleverly done and the movie quite clearly depicts the themes of good and evil, which helps to make this great film. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Hamza Mahmud ...read more.

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