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back to the future

back to the future

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back to the future

  1. 1. The Art of the Title Textual Analysis of the Back to the Future Opening (1985, Robert Zemicks)
  2. 2. juuGENRE The genre of the film is comedy, due to the extensive clock collection in the room and how there are some clocks, which are humorous, like the cat and owl clock. All the clocks, have the same time, which is 5 minutes to 8:00. The clocks makes clear sense considering the title and context of the film, which is time travel. Not knowing who’s clock collection this is and what purpose they serve. However, we do know that the character who owns them has a novelty for clocks and time, which references to the owner’s obsession of time travel (Doc). We are given some background information from the telecaster and the presenter about plutonium theft from Libyans, which becomes key info in the film. This gives the audience knowledge that this is important. When the teenage boy plays the guitar and the speakers blow him away, it gives a comedic effect .
  3. 3. juuTITLES The writer and director’s names are the first credit seen on the screen, which are Robert Zemecks and Steven Spielberg. When these credits are shown, the ticking of a clock is in the background. They are credited as ‘Steven Spielberg presents’ and ‘A Robert Zemecks film’ The main title with the film’s name, Back to the Future is shown in its creative font. The main title slides on to the screen. There suddenly begins two ticking noises, which indicates that there is more than one clock. The opening mainly consists of the extensive clock collection. The credits are shown in all caps and white to make it clear to read. As well, the first people credited after the main title are the lead actors and supporting roles. Then songs used in the film are credited. Editors, photographers, producers and executive producers are mentioned after the actors.
  4. 4. juuPRODUCTION COMPANIES The production company shown in Back to the Future is Universal Pictures. It is the sole production company with an ident that is featured in the film.
  5. 5. juuMISE-EN- SCENE The colour scheme used in the opening of the film is a mixture, since some of the clocks featured have vibrant colours. Whereas the wallpaper of the room is plain brown and looks dull, which makes some the clocks stand out. Besides, the colour choice the clocks which are brown and tan are still the centre of the audience’s attention. The period of the film is in the 1980s, as we can see from the way the teenage boy is dressed, the technology appliances and the newscasters reporter. The way these 1980’s appliances are shown in the film, shows to the audience the comedic side of the film. The main prop used set the opening scene of Back to the Future, is the use of the extensive clock collection. This makes the audience feel submerged in the mind of the film. Another prop used is the teenage boy and the speaker explosion which
  6. 6. juuEDITING At the beginning there is a slow swooping camera shot which displays the collection of clocks, slowly moving to the right, to show to the audience all the clocks in the room. As well, other objects shown in the slow swooping shot are appliances and key information to the film, such as the news reporter on the television. The camera focuses on the television and zooms in, which gives the audience the hint that this is important. The camera then focuses on the teenage boy’s feet as he moves around the room. This gives the effect commonly used in Spielberg’s films where in the opening scene we don’t see the main character’s face. This makes the audience wonder the teenage boy looks like. When the teenage boy kicks his skateboard, the camera follows the it with a tracking shot. When he is adjusting the amps on the speaker, the camera is very zoomed in on his hands. When he lifts the guitar pick to the air, there is a close-up shot as it
  7. 7. juuNARRATIVE & CHARACTERS In the opening scene of Back to the Future, a lot of key information is shown to the audience that will be important later in the film. For example, the theft of plutonium by the Libyans is crucial information in the film. The clocks makes clear sense considering the title and context of the film, which is time travel. As well, the teenage boy who walks in and begins to play the guitar is the film’s main protagonist. His guitar skills shown in the opening are used throughout the film’s narrative.

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