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How do the directors of 'The Matrix' and 'The Terminator' portray women in the opening scenes.

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Introduction

How do the directors of the films, 'The Terminator' and 'The Matrix' portray women in the opening scenes of these productions? In this essay I will comment on how the directors of 'The Matrix', the Wachowski brothers, and the director of 'The Terminator', James Cameron, portray women in the opening scenes. The key actors and actress in 'The Terminator' are: Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays The Terminator, Michael Biehn who plays Kyle Reese, and Linda Hamilton who plays Sarah Connor. Likewise, the key actors and actress in 'The Matrix' are: Keanu Reeves who plays 'Neo', Laurence Fishburne who plays Morpheus, and Carrie-Anne Moss who plays Trinity. Both films are classified as sci-fi thrillers, and 'The Terminator' was released in January 1985, a pre-feminist era, and 'The Matrix' was released in June 1999, a post-feminist era. They are also renowned for high-octane shootouts and super-realistic special effects, which relate well to the sci-fi genres of the films. Although they are both sci-fi/action films, their conventions in relation to women are drastically different, due to 'The Terminator' being released just before feminism's thrust in media in the 80's, where women were stereotypically considered less strong and powerful than men, and 'The Matrix' being released after this therefore being 'post-feminist', where women were getting increasingly treated equally to men. ...read more.

Middle

The film stresses more of the stereotypical aspects as it is typical in a sci-fi/action film to depict a tough man as the antagonist, rather than a 'feeble' woman. Secondly, Cameron portrays women in his stereotypical style directly for the first time in 'The Terminator', in the scene where the audience initially encounter the leading female character in the film, Sarah Connor. As soon as the film switches to this scene, the atmosphere entirely changes, and the non-diegetic, cruel, dramatic sounds of the Terminator's presence is replaced by more feminine, softer non-diegetic sounds, and this is complimented by the pink clothes she is wearing. She is shown riding a small motorbike, and the non-diegetic sounds deliberately overpower the more masculine diegetic sound of the motorbike engine, as Cameron wants to provide the connotation from this to the audience that Sarah Connor is a typical 'soft' female character in a sci-fi/action film. Here, the audience are intended to feel happier because Cameron is trying to contrastingly make Sarah Connor's presence much more comforting to the audience than the Terminator's presence. Furthermore, Cameron sustains his stereotypical portrayal of women in the film's opening scenes when 'The Terminator', the antagonist of the film, shoots a different Sarah Connor seven times. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Bullet Time' is accompanied with faint diegetic 'whooshing' sounds when the subject moves. This special effect is one of the main reasons why 'The Matrix' won four Oscars and numerous nominations. Moreover, the Wachowski brothers depict Trinity different to 'The Terminator' when she is being chased on the rooftops by three 'agents'. Whilst she is being chased non-diegetic fast paced chase music is being played to show hurried suspense and put the audience into the unknown about what is going to happen. There are also diegetic sirens and shouts which are typical in chase scenes. Here she successfully runs away from them which further provides exposes the connotation that she is stronger, and faster, than men. In conclusion, it is obvious that these movies have completely different portrayals of women, despite their other somewhat similar conventions. Cameron is portraying women in reflection to the typical views of women before feminisms thrust in the media. However, the Wachowski brothers have changed the typical portrayals of women and have created a new era in the film industry, where we, the audience, are made to challenge stereotypes. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed both films, but I particularly liked the fight scenes in 'The Matrix' where 'Bullet Time' is used because it makes the audience feel like they are part of the action. ?? ?? ?? ?? Marc Hardwick 10R GCSE English Media Coursework ...read more.

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