The wolverine

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The wolverine

  1. 1. International Trailer Analysis
  2. 2. As well as looking at horror films, I looked at the advertising campaign for the new Wolverine film, which is set for release later this month (26th July for the US and 24th July for other international markets). This campaign is extensive, using a variety of social media websites such as Vine and twitter to display several different trailers. I will be looking at the international trailer, and analysing its features, as well as exploring the background to the film and by looking at this, it will enable me to discover components that may inspire me when producing my own work.
  3. 3. ’The Wolverine' is the next film in the 'X-Men' series, following on from X-Men: The Last Stand which was released in 2006, and acting as a sequel to XMen Origins: Wolverine. The film focuses on the character of Logan (played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman) and his fight after he is turned mortal - he is now more vulnerable than he has ever been before, and the film follows his journey to overcome this. With a budget of over $100 million dollars, the film has several exotic locations, including New South Wales in Australian and Tokyo. Hugh Jackman also played an active role in the production of Wolverine, with his company Seed Productions (started by Jackman and Deborrah Lee Furness and their business partner John Palermo).
  4. 4. With around 116 cuts over the 2 and a half minutes, this trailer clearly illustrates the development of trailers since the early 20th century which contained considerably less cuts (King Kong released in 1935 had only 9 cuts per minute). As well as the increased pace, the trailer also demonstrates the developments that have been made in film technology, with the large amount of CGI that has been used.
  5. 5. As with most trailers, this trailer is divided into 3 acts. The first act of the trailer introduces the main protagonist to the audience. This ends at 0:33 where the ident is placed, and act two begins. This act gives the audience an idea of the beginning of the plot of the film, and builds up to act three which starts at 1:20 and here, a twist is introduced without giving away too much detail of the plot. The build up of tension would leave the audience’s minds open, and would entice them into wanting to see the film to see how the characters deal with the problems established in the trailer (by paying to see it in the cinema).
  6. 6. Sound Sound is an important component of this trailer. At the beginning, a voice over is heard saying, "Eternity can be a curse... The losses you have had to suffer... A man can run out of things to live for..." and this dialogue directly links to the character of Logan who is seen on the screen. He is immortal, and has lost everyone he loves, which in his case means that his gift of living for eternity has become a ’curse’. This establishes the scene for the rest of the trailer for the audience.
  7. 7. In the background, a low, deep soundtrack is played which creates an almost uneasy and unnatural feel. The music is slow, but the deep sound creates tension for the audience which builds up to the bar scene at 0:21. The diagetic sound of the bottle smashing over his head and the guns being taken out also creates tension and even though we know that Logan is immortal, the sound of guns being taken out and the smash of the bottle have connotations of danger. The audience is reminded of Logan’s power when he removes the glass from his cheek and says "That hurt". We can tell that this comment was sarcastic due to his tone, which has a slight humorous effect for the audience, and it is soon followed by the metallic noise of his claws. This diagetic sound is almost like a replacement for a leitmotif for Logan’s character, as the metallic noise would not be associated with any other Xmen character. This makes it clear to the audience that the character of Logan at the beginning of the trailer is still his Xmen character of Wolverine (the sound may indicate this to audience members who have never seen any other films in the Xmen series).
  8. 8. The next sound that we hear is the Japanese woman’s dialogue. At this point of time it is diagetic, as we see her say "I wouldn’t bother with them if I were you". This allows her next set of dialogue to be non diagetic. As she says "I’ve been trying to find you for over a year", we recognise her voice again, and so the clip of her saying this is not necessary for the audience to know it is her speaking. Her dialogue after this helps set the plot for the audience, “My employer is dying, he wants to thank you for saving his life." This, paired with the clip of the plane, shows the audience where the two are going (to visit her employer).
  9. 9. Soon after this, an explosion is seen on screen which accompanies the sound of an explosion. Again, the diagetic sound lets the audience know of the force at which it exploded. The woman speaks again, saying "It’s an honour to meet The Wolverine", which again labels Logan as the famous character of Wolverine to the audience. Straight after this however, Logan is seen saying "That’s not who I am any more", which allows the audience to link back to the beginning of the trailer, where he is not seen as a ’super hero’ as he is when he is Wolverine. More dialogue is heard after this, "I didn’t send you only to thank you, Logan. I wanted to repay you", and this would allow the audience to immediately link to the fact that this must be the employer that the woman was talking about earlier. After a few further lines of dialogue, the employer is seen, saying "I can make you mortal." This is very important, as earlier on in the trailer, we were made aware of the fact that Logan has suffered due to his immortality (through the dialogue). Again, this thickens the plot to the audience, which would make them interested to know what happens through the rest of the film.
  10. 10. Over the next few seconds, we hear guns being fired, and on screen we see Logan falling to the ground. This indicates to the audience that Logan might actually be hurt by the wound, which is unusual: his immortality must have been removed or limited. The background music builds to a crescendo with the gun shot, which in turn builds the tension, and soon after an ambient silence is briefly heard which allows the audience to indicate that something is wrong. Again, the strange, warped and low noises are heard, this time much louder, which builds on this uneasy feeling to the trailer. Logan’s dialogue "I’m not healing like before... What the hell’s happening?" and Logan’s pained scream reassures the audience’s assumptions. The volume of the music increases in time with a large fight scene. Diagetic sounds of weapons being yielded and explosions taking place simply allow the audience to identify with the danger that is posed against Logan.
  11. 11. He speaks again saying, "What they did to me, what I have, can’t be undone", which allows the audience to make implications that he is talking directly about his powers. This is followed by a long silence again. The employer then says, "Don’t be so sure" in a very menacing tone. This small sequence is enough to indicate to the audience that Logan’s powers will be reversed, and the danger that this poses to him is very real. The tension built by this entices the audience, and many questions are left unanswered by this last statement, which would make the viewer want to see the rest of the film. This statement acts as the 'Button' of the trailer, leaving a lasting impression in the audience's mind. The title 'The Wolverine' is shown, and a low almost heartbeat like beat is made. Again, this sound effect would create intensify the impact of the trailer, and imply that the film is exciting (the sound of a heart beat has connotations of adrenaline and excitement).
  12. 12. Mise en scene is also an important element in all film trailers. The first shot we see is of mountains, which establishes the scene for the first act of the trailer. We then see a dark figure, with long hair and a beard, putting on a coat. This figure is mysterious, and his face is kept in the shadows so the audience are still unsure of who the figure is (until the bar scene) which keeps their attention focused on the trailer. Low key lighting is used here which keeps with the theme of mystery.
  13. 13. A hand reaches out to a photograph of a woman, and this paired with the dialogue "The losses you have had to suffer" implies that this woman might be dead, and that the woman once meant something to the figure. For any of those familiar with the Xmen series, the woman could be recognised as ’Jean Grey’, who Logan once loved (but had to kill on account of her turning evil). The small detail of the photograph could be considered very important here to those who are maybe more unfamiliar with Xmen as this would inform them of the past events of the series. We see the figure putting his head in his hands, again, reinforcing the fact that he has lost something that was important to him.
  14. 14. At 0:24 it is revealed that the mysterious figure is Logan, however, he is not how he usually looks: his long hair, thick beard and strange clothing are not the typical characteristics of Wolverine, and we see (from the fact that he has enemies even in a small bar) that he is not his usual heroic self, however at 0:29 we see his claws, reassuring the audience that he is still Wolverine. A close up of Logan’s face initiates a flashback sequence, indicated by Logan’s hair being shown to be short again, with his iconic side burns. We see several more establishing shots show the change of scene, as the location has now changed and so has the time in history. Logan has had a flashback to Japan in WW2, and we can tell this by the military uniforms and barbed wire etc. The audience is being shown how he saved the life of the Japanese woman’s employer (the flashback links directly to the dialogue, which thickens the plot of the trailer and gives the audience an insight into the plot of the film). After the flashback, we see a car driving through a city, with many neon lights which sets the scene for modern day Japan for the audience, and the golden temple scene again reinforces the setting in Japan. The seemingly expensive cars and gated house that belongs to the employer connotates his wealth.
  15. 15. As an audience, we also see a lot of computer generated images which add to the action impact of the trailer. Several explosions are created using CGI as is a scene in which a woman seems to tear away her own face, and a scene which takes place on a train. Without the effect of CGI, this trailer may not be as effective, and this shows the development of technology to date. At 1:35 we see the first line of text on a black background saying “This year”, again at 1:44 where it says ”When he’s most vulnerable” and at 1:52 when it says ”He’s most dangerous”. This type of text is typical of a film trailer, and it is used to let the audience know of small details of the plot, in order of them to make sense of the trailer.
  16. 16. As well as this, the actors themselves play a great part of the trailer: the emotions of pain, fear and anger that Hugh Jackman expresses makes the whole thing seem more realistic, and makes the character of Logan easier to sympathise with. When the audience can feel an emotional connection with characters on screen, it usually means that they feel more likely to keep their attention focused on the film. After a shot of Logan looking particularly emotional, the title ’The Wolverine’ is shown. This links Logan with the label of the Wolverine, and the clear emotion on his face would leave the audience wondering what had happened to make him feel like that. The only way to answer this would be to see the film in the cinema. The suspense that is built up throughout this trailer through it’s mise en scene is very effective in this way.
  17. 17. Cinematography is a big feature throughout this trailer too. The first shot that we see of this trailer is an establishing shot of the vast, snow covered mountain range which sets the scene for the first part of the trailer. The close up of Logan’s hand reaching to the photograph and his face as he puts his head in his hands at 0:08, when matched with the voice over ("The losses you have had to suffer"), makes the audience aware of the distress that he has been through, and accentuates his emotions at this point. At 0:11, a long shot of him against the backdrop of the mountains shows the scale of the scene, and the isolation of Logan’s character (which is a contrast to the atmosphere in the previous Xmen films where Logan is surrounded by other mutants).
  18. 18. A shallow focus of someone filming Logan is seen at 0:14, which creates tension as we know he is being watched, and again at 0:18, a pulled focus gives the same effect. In the bar scene later on, we see a mid shot of a man pulling out a gun: this shot allows the audience to focus on the object of the gun, which is a clear connotation of danger, and through this, it creates tension. A medium close up of Logan’s face as he pulls the glass out of his face allows the small details of the CGI to be shown, which makes the scene more realistic to viewers. With current technology, a mid close up could be used in this way.
  19. 19. When the Japanese woman is introduced, we see an over the shoulder shot, over Logan’s shoulder, as we see her when she says her dialogue, which runs into a two shot as she walks away. This shows the interaction between the two characters. After the ident, we see the two characters walking across towards an aeroplane, and then, an establishing shot of the plane flying is shown. The audience could then link these two shots together, and assume that the two actually got on the plane and were travelling. This is an important effect of cinematography: if a shot is filmed in a certain way, it can be used to actually influence the way that the audience thinks about certain scenes.
  20. 20. When on the plane, Logan has a flashback, and a close up of his bearded face is used to show the transition between the present day and the past. The next shot we see is a close up of his face, with shorter hair and his signature side burns which shows the passing of time. An establishing shot of a military base and a Japanese soldier allows the audience to identify this as Japan, and a shot of a huge explosion creates an assumption that this scene must be set in WW2. Again, Logan’s mutant power is made clear here (as he is the same age in this scene, and also as he protects the Japanese man from the nuclear blast, Logan heals himself. We see this in a mid close up, where he seems to be in pain).
  21. 21. At 0:52, we can clearly see that the scene has definitely shifted to the present day, as a tracking shot of a car through a neon lit city. The neon lights and Japanese lettering on the signs make it clear to the audience that this is modern day Japan (as there would have been no neon lighting in the days of WW2). 6 seconds later, when we see Logan get out of the car with short hair and sideburns, a two shot with the Japanese woman from earlier on assures us that we are still in the present day. At 1:03, we see an over the shoulder shot, where Logan is seen over the shoulder of a figure which is out of focus. This creates mystery for the viewer: who is the mystery figure? We can recognise his voice from earlier on in the advert as being the woman’s boss, but we are still unsure of what he looks like. At 0:16 we finally see the man as he says "I can make you mortal", and this is the turning point for the advert.
  22. 22. After this, we see a shot of Logan get shot, and several cantered angles follows. This creates the illusion of the disorientation that Logan is suffering for the viewers, as the unusual angle indicates that something is very wrong with the situation (we can see this from the fact that he is being beaten and hurt, and he doesn’t seem to be healing as efficiently as before). At 1:34, a close up of Logan’s face in pain gives across the extremity of his injuries to the audience. From the close up we can see the details of his emotion and this makes a very strong shot. After this shot, a lot of medium long shots are shown of Logan in fighting scenes, which show the audience how action packed the film is. From the medium long shots, we see the extent of how many enemies Logan has, which builds tension as we see him fight them all off, and several medium close ups reveal the anger in his face.
  23. 23. A close up of Logan’s face is the last shot of the trailer. He is hanging off the side of a building, with a look of pain, sadness and anger in his face, and making this the last shot of the trailer creates a lasting impression for the audience of the trailer. The tension created in these last few seconds would leave the audience shocked and curious as to how he got in that situation, which would entice them to go and see the film.
  24. 24. Editing accompanies cinematography to create a better trailer, visually. At the beginning of the trailer, we see the first several shots fade into each other. These transitions allow the shots to flow more fluidly, rather than simple cuts which may make the trailer seem less like one whole product. At 0:16, we see the shot fade to black, which then cuts to a night scene. These are more effective here, as the fades to black indicate a darker tone to the trailer. Throughout the trailer, most cuts are very quick, which allows the audience to feel the build up of tension - the fast pace of the trailer reflects the action components that the film contains.
  25. 25. At 0:41, when Logan’s flashback begins, we notice a change in the tones of the film itself: more golden light is seen here, and this is to indicate the shift in time. The first part of the trailer is darker, and has more blue tones, however here, we see a sepia filter to the shots (as sepia tones in photography were common in the earlier 20th century). At 1:07, we see another flashback of Logan’s, this time, with a woman. There is another, more golden filter to this shot, and a glow like filter on top of this creates a soft feel to it. The golden tint, shows that this must again be a memory from the past, and a the soft feel to it shows that this must be a more nostalgic and happier memory for Logan (it shows it must be a literal ’Golden memory’ for him). The immediate shot after this shows the character of Logan crouching in the dark, in the rain. A blue filter to this shows the binary opposites of the happiness of his past when compared to the dark and glumness of his present life.
  26. 26. When Logan is shot at 1:19, a slow motion effect is put across in the trailer. We see this slowing down of time as the indication that the trailer has taken a new direction, as after the fast cuts of the first half, the slowing down of the shots is seen as unusual to the audience. We can tell that something is wrong. Again at 1:21, the close up, cantered angle of Logan’s face has a strange blurred filter to it. This shows to the audience that he is suffering pain, as the blurred effect could connote Logan’s blurred vision from the pain he has experienced from being shot. This effect is seen again at 1:27-1:29 to produce the same effect.
  27. 27. At 1:36, the speed of the cuts quicken once again, and this allows the audience to experience the fast pace of the action based scenes of the film. For the ’button’ of the trailer, after the Japanese man says "Don’t be so sure", the trailer slows down once again. This creates tension, as the audience really feel the impact of the entire trailer: after all the action and fast cuts, the last slow shot gives us time to reflect upon the whole trailer and creates an atmosphere of suspense.

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