In the essay I will compare and analyse the two film trailers I have been studying, ‘Mission Impossible 2’ and ‘Gladiator’. I will analyse and compare the different techniques used. These techniques are; Use of characters, lighting and colour, camera shots and angles, sound and music and editing and framing. In doing this I will be able to show how effective each trailer is in attracting an audience.
Film trailers are an important form of advertising for a film. They should convey the genre of the film and most importantly, include enough visual information to allow us to recognise what the film’s story line is. However, a film trailer should not include too much information about it, or show any scenes that are not suitable for younger viewers. It should also try to attract a certain target audience by almost making the film seem better than it actually is, but not lead the viewer to false pretences, and making them think it is about something it is not.
To begin, in ‘Mission Impossible 2’, there are lots of different angled shots when Tom Cruise is climbing up the canyon. There is a close up to begin with, and you are able to see that he is not wearing a harness or any safety equipment. This makes his character seem fearless and the type of person who laughs in the face of danger. The moment Tom Cruise slips, the camera moves to a high-angle mid shot so that you are able to see him dangling off the edge, holding on with on hand. You can also see the vast drop that he may face if he loses his grip. This excites the audience and you are on the edge of your seat in anticipation as you expect him to fall. He manages to pull himself back up and climbs to the top of the mountain. The is then a close up of him when he put on a pair of sunglasses, and the famous Mission Impossible theme tune begins to play.
This really livens up the atmosphere and the viewer is now very entertained. Then a voice over begins. The voice is a serious one, and you can immediately tell that Tom Cruise is under strict instructions from this man. Now this has all happened, the audience can recognise what genre of film this is, a typical ‘Mission Impossible’ or ‘James Bond’ film.
In the trailer for ‘Gladiator’, there are lots of good techniques used. To start with, there is a close up of Russel Crowe dressed in Roman clothing, then it fades out to a plain black screen that has, “The General” written on it. It then super-imposes back to a camera shot of Crowe walking through a line of slaves. It then fades back out to, “The Slave”. It does this several times with various messages on the screen. This gives the audience a hint about what might happen in the film. These few opening sequences show that the film Is set in the ancient Roman era. This differs from ‘Mission Impossible 2’ as that is set nowadays, or at least in modern times.
The trailer then moves into showing action scenes, which make the viewer suddenly more alert and excited, as the first few scenes are dramatic but rather dull. The action scenes begin, and the audience immediately begins to watch the trailer more carefully as it is more eye-catching, as it flicks from one exciting scene to another.
One of the best scenes in the trailer is when Russel Crowe is in a chariot and the horse is running very fast, then the camera angle changes from a mid shot to a long shot. The horse then leaps into the air above a mass of flames on the ground. At first glance, it seems to be a film that will attract a lot of different audiences. This is due to the various genres the film contains. It is dramatic is some places, action-packed, thrilling and romantic.
The use of sound in ‘Mission Impossible 2’ is extremely effective. There are lots of different types of sounds and music in the trailer. It starts with the sound of birds screeching, this sets a lonely and desolate scene. Then you can begin to hear Tom Cruise hitting the rocks with his hands and feet to grip onto them. These sounds are manufactured for this part of the trailer. The natural sounds that appear in this part of the trailer are tired heavy breathing and the sound of Cruise straining to pull himself up.
Once he has reached the summit of the canyon, the Mission Impossible theme tune plays. This creates an energetic mood and the audience really get into the spirit of this type of film. Once, the action-packed scenes begin, there are hundreds of different sounds, such as; explosions, tyres screeching and gunfire. These types of manufactured sounds are all typical of ‘Mission Impossible’, and audiences familiar with the television series will be reminded of it, and if they enjoyed that, will enjoy the film.
On the other hand, in ‘Gladiator’, the use of sound is much different. At the beginning of the trailer there is light, tension building drumming. This builds up and finally, they cut into the action scenes and the music softens to gentle and deep-rooted music. The main sound effects are swords being drawn, crowd cheering and horses running. This gives the audience the impression that the film will have a serious tone to it and be quite tense.
The voice over in ‘Mission Impossible 2’ is very effective. It begins at just the right time, and the voice itself sounds faintly computerised. This is good because it is a pre-recorded message. It creates an effect of seriousness and this serious tone is elaborated when the voice over man uses emotive words such as ‘mission’, and then says, “This message will destruct in five seconds’. The effect of this on the audience is that they can immediately identify the genre of the film, as most ‘Mission Impossible’ type films contain missions and serious voices in the voice-overs.
Yet, ‘Gladiator’ does not use this technique. The only sort of voice over it has, is Russel Crowe’s deep and rugged voice, when he is talking about revenge. This also gives the film a serious tone. You get to learn about Crowe’s character by the way he speaks.
However, the choice of using captions instead of a voice over is effective because silence is a good way of conveying a message. It sets the tone of the film, but still gets across what messages it has to, to the audience.
‘Mission Impossible 2’ uses bright lighting to begin with. It has bright sunlight and light brown colours in the scene on the canyon. All the clips after this one are varied in brightness and contrast. The lights are mostly natural, but there are some flashing lights when explosions and gunfire occur. The director has chosen to do it this way because, the light at the beginning shows a calm and desolate environment that most people do not get to see. The light also helps you concentrate on Tom Cruise’s character. The action scenes are darker and have flashing lights because they are just clips of the film and the director does not want to give the plot away.
‘Gladiator’ is completely different however. It uses mainly dark colours such as browns, blacks and greens. The lighting is just naturally dark and dull. The director has done this so that it helps the film seem as it is actually in ancient Roman times. This does work, and the audience can sense that it is set in an older era.
The camera angles and shots used in the beginning of ‘Mission Impossible 2’ are quite varied. When the trailer first begins, there are lots of close ups and mid shots of Tom Cruise climbing the canyon face. It starts with a high angle shot of him and then interchanges with close ups and mid shots. When he falls and is just hanging onto the cliff face with one hand it quickly moves to a high angle shot. It shows the audience the sheer drop he could be about to face. Once he gets to the top of the canyon, there is a close up on his face, and you can see him sweating and breathing heavily. This has a great effect on the audience because they can see that he is exhausted and that the film will energetic, just like Tom Cruise’s character. This also demonstrates that Cruise’s character is brave and that he is fearless.
However, in ‘Gladiator’ the camera angles and shots in the first few frames are in a certain sequence. They superimpose from writing on a black screen to short clips of the main characters in the film. This has a dramatic effect and is very popular with movie trailers. This is because silence is a great way of building up tension. And sometimes, it is more appropriate to show writing rather than having a voice over when you want to show small clips of trailer to introduce a character or location. All of the shots of Russel Crowe at the beginning of the trailer are close ups, so u can see his glaring eyes and gripping facial expressions. There are also quite a few long shots so that you can see vast crowds and lines of slaves. This shows the audience that there are a lot of slaves, and you called call them an army. This is a good technique because the you get the impression that the slaves will rebel, and there are lots of them to do this.
The minor devices used in ‘Mission Impossible 2’ really make the trailer exciting. The fact that Tom Cruise’s character is on a remote canyon shows that he is a traveller and has been to a lot of different places in his time. This impacts on the audience because they would question why he was in that sort of place. The emotive language used in the trailer is used by the voice over person. He uses words such as ‘mission’ and ‘agent’. This immediately lets the audience know that Tom Cruise’s character is an important secret agent with an important task or set of tasks to complete.
‘Gladiator’ is set in ancient Roman times and you can recognise immediately by the way the actors are dressed and by the fact that the colours used are all dull. Russel Crowe himself speaks the emotive language used. He says that one day he will get his revenge. This intrigues the audience as they want to know what he wants revenge for.
After al of my analysing, I have decided that u prefer the ‘Mission Impossible 2’ trailer. It is a lot more exciting and I think that it advertises the film a lot better than the ‘Gladiator’ trailer. It makes the film look more action-packed and enthralling. The action scenes are more convincing then ‘Gladiator’s’ and would attract a wider audience due to al of the different types of clips featured in it.
If I was to say which film looked better having just seen the trailers for each, I would definitely say ‘Mission Impossible 2’.
I have been able to analyse and compare the two film trailers and decide which one I think is more effective and advertises the film best.