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"Explain how Spielberg presents the horrors of war in the opening sequence of 'Saving Private Ryan'. What do you believe his purpose is and to what extent does he achieve his purpose?"

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Introduction

"Explain how Spielberg presents the horrors of war in the opening sequence of 'Saving Private Ryan'. What do you believe his purpose is and to what extent does he achieve his purpose?" Steven Spielberg uses different camera shots, the use of sound and silence, colour and light, and the contrasting pace between the two scenes to display the horrors of war and the impact it has on the lives of the soldiers' families and themselves. I think the purpose of the opening sequence is to get the audience emotionally involved. It shows the brutality and pain the soldiers experienced during and after battle for their country's pride. The opening sequence shocks you and creates a sense of terror in the battle and a fear of what will happen next. 'Saving Private Ryan' has some central camera angles throughout the battle sequence; these include the shot of the Captain Miller's hand shaking vigorously just as he is about to go onto the beach and fight for his country, and also a close up of Captain Miller's face, showing the anxiety that he is feeling about the next ten minutes or so, which could put his life in jeopardy. ...read more.

Middle

A shot of Captain Miller's hand is shown focusing on a small area and then expanding outwards revealing the other soldiers on board. Using this technique creates a tense atmosphere and a sense of fear, which helps the audience to appreciate the pain the soldiers must be going through at this point. During the battle sequence there is a camera shot from the German-shooting tower showing the soldiers down below struggling to escape the continuous fire. Spielberg uses several camera angles and tracking shots, which involve the audience. In 'Saving Private Ryan' Steven Spielberg deliberately chooses to use dark and gloomy colours to represent an atmosphere of great sadness and terror. Also in the first scene, at the graveyard, the colours used are peaceful and tranquil and there are blue skies all round, whereas as soon as the battle scene started the colours are all gloomy and it begins to rain to add to the dramatic effect. Throughout the battle scene it looks as though a blue tint is used on the camera lens to make the colours appear a lot more dull and drab. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, you can hear a slight whirr of the bullets as they protrude through the water. In the battle scene of 'Saving Private Ryan' there is no music but lifelike sounds of battles such as screams and bombs going off, whereas in the graveyard scene there is backing movement, which has a steady beat. When Captain Miller looks around the beach in slow motion to observe the goings on around him, every sound is blocked out apart from his heavy breathing and the tunnelling noise as if he can't believe what is going on. All of these sound effects accurately represent the chaos that is going on in the battle and in the soldiers' minds. 'Saving Private Ryan' wanted to point out that war is a horrible and ruthless thing and has the odds against survival. It also engages the audience in the movie to show the real feelings and the general fear that the soldiers have of going to war and the inexcusable amount of deaths of so many men, and the insanity of the war that they died for. ...read more.

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