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English - What Are the Intended Effects of the Opening of Ridley Scott(TM)s Gladiator(TM) and How Effective Are They?

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What Are the Intended Effects of the Opening of Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' and How Effective Are They? Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' was released in 2000 and won five Oscars (Academy Awards); including "Best Film," "Best Visual Effects" and "Best Director." Scott cast some well known actors such as Russel Crowe and Richard Harris. Some reports suggest it cost an amazing �145 million. The casting of Crowe as Maximus was significant because he is able to portray a very well built, physically strong, battle-hardened leader. The character of Maximus contrasts with the casting of Harris as the ageing Emperor with his gaunt and tired looking features. From the very outset of the film, the director employs a sepia effect coupled with a dark, overcast almost monochrome effect. These combine to give the impression of imminent tragedy as well as conveying that the events are set in the distant past. The director has even asked the production companies 'Universal' and 'DreamWorks' to make their logos' sepia to show continuity. The historical information provided helps the audience to place the film in a historical context. The use of old Roman font for the text further reinforces the context and genre. The information is factual, gives names and information of real people. It is clear that this is going a historical, action film but with a central theme about power, control and one man's fight for his freedom from the killing and slaughter. ...read more.


As the shot moves to Marcus Aurelius, the audience can see that he is an important character. He is wearing gold along with a purple cape. The purple cape shows he is royalty because to make the colour purple a tiny sea creature called a Murex Mollusc was required. This creature was very rare and large quantities were required to make a small amount of dye. Therefore, purple garments were highly prized status symbols. Whilst zooming inward the camera shot used is a low angle which makes Marcus Aurelius seem very high on his horse. He is also just watching the war not doing anything and he has got a stern looking bodyguard. The director emphasises General Maximus' authority by using a medium close up as he walks along all of his troops. Everyone is focused on him; they move out of the way, bow down and are always calling him sir to show complete respect. The costume he wears defines his authority, he wears more armour than the rest of his army and he is also wearing wolf-skin. The director stresses Maximus' authority and respect by making his word final, the director shows this in the following quote, "The range is good" this is the sentence where Maximus cuts off the other soldier, also "...is acceptable", then, "agreed", Maximus speaks in a very low, quiet, considered tone of voice but the soldiers still listen with no question which shows their respect for him. ...read more.


It is almost as if the director is trying to communicate the futility of the death and destruction. As the last of the Germans are being slaughtered and fires are raging in the background the only human sound is the sound of heavy tired exhalation of breath, Even blood splattered, exhausted Maximus' triumphant cry, "Roma Victor!" and his soldiers' cheers are almost lost in the adagio. Then in a scene that seals the futility of war, the camera focuses a tired, old, weary Emperor as he takes a deep breath and closes his eyes in an expression that reveals his sad resignation that another battle has been won. At first glance, I just thought "Gladiator" was simply going to be a "blood and guts film," But having watched it with greater attention, I believe it is a truly great film. Ridley Scott has carefully constructed an opening scene that brings out the futility of war and one mans struggle to be free. Scott had used many different effects such as; slow motion photography, quick change in atmosphere and an almost monochrome set with the orange of burning fires and sepia tones. The musical score has switched between triumphant martial music and a slow adagio hinting of imminent tragedy and sadness. Even the minimal dialogue between the characters complements the director's intended effect. Overall this is a magnificent opening scene. Abu-Hurairah Dadabhai Gladiator Essay Candidate No. 3030 Page 1 of 4 10 A1 ...read more.

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