Analysis of a film opening:Blades of Glory<br />Perry Allen<br />
Film basics<br />- The film I’ve chosen to analyse is Blades of Glory.<br />- The film was directed by Josh Gordon and Will speck.<br />- It was released in the UK on 6th April 2007<br />- It’s a comedy starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, depicting the ups and downs of two passionate male figure skaters joining forces with two completely different genres and styles in order to make a come back in the skating world once again.<br />
Opening Summary<br /> - The scene opens up to display a young boy (Jimmy Macelroy) ice skating on an icy plain with grace and style. It’s clear that his skating will play a big part from the start. The scene goes on to demonstrate in a rather quick- paced fashion, how the young boy comes to be adopted by ‘super-child, adopting billionaire’ Darren Macelroy. <br />- This skater’s life is the main focus of the opening scene, and so he is often central shot. A brief, up to date, history of how he came about to be the ‘world’s greatest skater’ is shown, as to clue the audience up in the rather fitting style of a sports life journey. Almost like an interview. This is what the actual viewers of the skating regime would see whilst watching, and so makes the audience feel a bigger part of things.<br />- The audience follow Jimmy through a fast paced journey of his life and achievements to immediately make an impression of this skater in their mind, and justify his importance to the skating world, and the plot.<br />
Locations used<br />- Throughout the opening, very few locations are used. Only those essential to character that has the current focus are used. These are:<br />- An orphanage in which his obvious skill and potential are shown and at which point he is adopted<br />- An ice rink, in which he gracefully ‘skates his heart out’. Both in and out of the stands to show the massive audience and to illustrate the massive focus on the character. <br />- And various other locations that are used during the scene of flashbacks. A dressing room, and a horse race track are those that are memorable, and give an impression of both the father, and Jimmy himself.<br />
Characters<br /> - Important characters that are essential to the plot are established as soon as possible during the opening. However, minority characters are also shown in places to demonstrate a place, and the atmosphere surrounding it.<br /> - These characters are:<br />- Jimmy Macelroy. (Both young and old. First seen at the nunnery, and later at the championship men’s figure skating. Being the focus of the scene, his importance and up-bringing are the main subject at hand.)<br />- Darren Macelroy. (Jimmy’s somewhat questionable father. His methods of raising a child, and attitude towards competitive sports are highlighted, and a successful, tycoon of a figure is established.)<br />- Nuns. (Used just to show the location, and to add a purely humorous element.)<br />- Audience (demonstrates how much of a world loved figure Jimmy is, also aided by their reaction to him.)<br />- Commentators (Help majorly to establish the genre, with their one liners and inappropriate descriptions. They also voice over the flash back, and so tell Jimmy’s story from rags to riches.)<br />- Every character involved helps to demonstrate the genre, and the situation at hand. It’s clear, if not from the film title then the opening, that this is a comical film based around the sport of men’s championship figure skating.<br />
Enigma Codes<br /><ul><li>Various clips and scenarios clue the audience in that this is a comedy. For a start, the child’s clothing for an outdoor winter period is ridiculous, and the special effects of a spin are completely out of contrast to the location and age of the child.
When it later cuts to hid future, he’s just as emphatic. A peacock suit shows this, and his camp skating style
The commentators, and the dove in his costume also lend the scene some humour.</li></li></ul><li>Camera work<br /><ul><li>Whilst filming, the camera is constantly panning to follow the skaters, as to give the impression of the smooth movement on the ice. This works so well that I missed it first time round.
In the opening a long shot of several skaters is shown on the ice in the distance, then pans down to show a child skating alone on the ice. This gives the scene a feel of separation and individuality.
When the shot is taken from the audience’s point of view it helps to establish how much of a superstar Jimmy is.</li></li></ul><li>Editing<br /><ul><li>Special effects were used to aid the skaters in doing spins and other tricks. This helped the scene to look more believable, and also adds comedy.
The other single movement of effects I noticed was the Birdseye shot of the spinning child, which fades to a fully grown Jimmy skating on the ice. The fade represents the time passing, and also demonstrates his love for skating hasn’t died.</li></li></ul><li>Use of sound<br />- The music that the child skates to at the start, continues to the skating arena as the actual song he is skating to. This ties the scenes together very nicely, and a definite division is brought across, as the commentator’s entry establishes. ‘Jimmy Macelroy. Skating’s little orphan, awesome.’ the cheering of the crowd after a stunt also puts more emphasis on the character, and makes the trick more of a moment.<br />
Titles and credits<br />- All of the titles and credits are used before the adult Jimmy is displayed. Usually whilst the camera is panning through the snow, to fit in the empty spots nicely. A very slim, tall font is used, and usually fades in and out, almost like the snow. I like this technique, as it’s less in your face, and forces the eye to wander and find the credits, rather than just blasting you with the directors name.<br />
What we could use<br />- We agreed that we very much like the idea of the x-factor based shots and the quick whip pans explaining the past history of the competitors, and this is something we can definitely make use of. Also the voiceovers that fit into the scenes make the situation more dynamic and is also a good technique to bear in mind.<br />
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.