saving private ryan

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Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ both shocking and realistic, and say how effective you find it as an introduction to the film

Saving Private Ryan was a war movie; it won five academy awards including best director.  Steven Spielberg has directed many fantastic and exciting films in the past, including ‘Jaws’ and ‘Jurassic Park,’ each of which have a cast full of famous actors and actresses. Saving Private Ryan is no different, with its lead actors including Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore and Matt Damon. Spielberg once said about the film “I was looking for realism all the time,” and he uses this realism he mentioned to make the film so gripping and realistic to the audience.  You would expect the film to build up to the war from the beginning, but Spielberg sets the film off with an exciting battle scene.  The battle scene is very realistic, as well as the rest of the film, because of the use of desaturated colour, which makes it seem like you are at the battle scene and makes it look dull and add to the atmosphere, and your sight has been blurred by blood or rain, and the variety of camera shots used like the handheld shot which makes the film come to life and makes the audience feel like their experiencing it first hand. Steven Spielberg didn’t want this film to be glamorous, but honest. Steven Spielberg didn’t hold back he went all out to make this film what is a truly shocking and realistic and a brilliant portrayal of war. Finally, the realistic nature of the film shows the audience what war is like first hand. The scene opens with a 24 minute amazing battle sequence that is without a doubt one of the finest half-hours ever committed to film.

The opening scene is 24 minutes long. I have spilt it up into four main parts; the first of those parts is an immediate transaction from present to past. In the opening scene, the camera zooms in on an American flag waving about in the wind and in the background there is some calming and peaceful music. This makes the audience feel a sense of pride and patriotism for their country. The color of the flag is desaturated to give more effect to the atmosphere and to make the flag stand out more. After that there is a slow zoom of an elderly man walking in front of his family, this tells the audience that the elderly man is one of the main characters in the film. The man walks further along the path, then the camera changes and focuses on an American flag then a French flag. Both of these flags are above an entrance leading to a vast grave yard. A long camera shot is used to show the thousands of graves of the soldiers who died in battle, this makes the audience realize how many people actually died in the war. The elderly man then walks up to one specific grave and he falls to his knees and emotianlly breaks down. This makes the audience feel and realize that war can still make you cry and make you feel pain after so many years. The camera slowly zooms into his face until it is an extreme close up, then the transition form present to past is made. This makes the audience feel like they travelled back in time with him into his memory on the 6th of June 1944 when the Americans had to defeat the Germans and take over Omaha beach. The camera then cuts to a shot of iron hedgehogs scattered around the beach in every direction, this shows the audience how big the task is going to be to defeat the Germans, and then the camera cuts to a shot of a boat and in there are some soldiers who are waiting nervously in it. You can hear the sound of the waves crashing against the boat and the engine propelling them towards the shores of Omaha beach. A long shot is used to show how many boats there are, and then it cuts to a close up of Captain Miller’s hand shaking uncontrollably this shows the audience just how nerve racking it must have been for them knowing that they might die that day. It is silent on the boat and that silence is broken when soldiers start to vomit. The close up shot is used to show the fear on the soldiers faces. This creates an atmosphere filled with fear, anxiety and this scene also introduces us to the main characters in the film.            

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In the second section of the opening scene it is calm in the fist scene, but then all hell breaks lose on the second scene. It is silent on the boat and that silence is broken when soldiers start to vomit. The close up shot is used to show the fear on the soldiers faces. Then suddenly the driver’s voice can be heard over the waves and engine and the doors open. Soldiers are killed instantly, a bloody onslaught as the Germans fire at the helpless Americans mercilessly. An over the shoulder shot is used to show the Germans ...

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