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Explain the opening sequence of Gladiator.

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Gladiator coursework In this essay, I will explain the opening sequence of Gladiator in detail. I will describe the effects it has on the audience, and look at the way it makes them feel and the way in which events are portrayed. I will look at in depth: The themes and atmosphere, the camera techniques and how audience emotions are manipulated. At the end, I will include a conclusion giving my opinion of how the sequences used are effective for the audience. The opening sequence to Gladiator has numerous purposes. It has to inform the audience of many things, in such a short period of time. The place and time (Germania, 180AD) needs to be established so that the scene can be set quickly. The main character (Maximus,) has to be identified, so that the audience knows which side they are on before the battle starts. It is important that the audience can relate to a certain character from the beginning, so that they can really begin to experience events with the character and show emotions for them. Narrative is used at the beginning to explain important details that can help the audience to understand certain proceedings properly. For example; 'a battle is about to commence.' It also introduces particular themes, such as strength, freedom and loyalty. For the first few scenes, I will look at and explain how the atmosphere, themes and pieces of information are expressed. ...read more.


The scene of Maximus and the robin is used to indicate that there is hope of survival, because the dark colours are brightened up by the robin. A robin is territorial which again can illustrate that Maximus is superior. Also, a robin symbolises death in the family and at the end of the film, Maximus' family are killed. This could mean that it is used as some sort of warning for the audience. For the next couple of shots, I will focus on camera techniques and why they are used. It will include how the camera moves and how the shots are composed. The first shot is a close up of Maximus, but then it quickly changes to a long shot. It shows what he is responsible for and also that he is powerful and respected. The long shot also establishes what is going on. It gives the impression of what the atmosphere is like straight away. It sets the scene of being cold and muddy. It also has a caption saying 'Germania' so that the audience knows where the story is taking place. The camera slowly zooms out to a crane shot, gradually revealing a larger view of what is happening. It concentrates on different points, whilst still staying within the same shot. This is so that the audience can have a better understanding of what is going on. ...read more.


The Romans are also physically more attractive than the Germans who have beards! One of the main themes in this film is loyalty. This is demonstrated perfectly by the dog's loyalty for Maximus. It shows companionship and is protective towards Maximus. The dog is used, because people show more sympathy towards animals than they do towards people. This is because of the amount of violence that goes on in real life becomes tedious and isn't sympathised with as much. There could also be another reason for the dog. The quote "At my signal...unleash hell" is a line from Julius Caesar. It establishes Maximus with the true house of Caesar, or an ally of Caesar. This is reflected in the film because Maximus is the leader of the Roman army. I think that the sequence used is effective for the audience because a variety of techniques are used. I think that setting the scene by using blocks of writing is good, because the people who want to know background information can find out. The music is effective, because it can capture the audiences' attention before the film has even started. All of the vital information is explained at the beginning which I think is really important as well. The audience need to know the time, place and characters within the first 10 minutes, otherwise everything can become confusing. I consider the sequence used to be highly effective and a great way to put across information to the audience and to set the scene. James Whitehurst 10X2 ...read more.

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