Edward, The Man With Scissors For Hands

This week, I want to discuss an important movie in my life. Edward Scissorhands. Edward Scissorhands Pic for BlogIt was actually the movie that got me hooked on Tim Burton movies, due to it’s highlight on a character that scared others simply because he was a little different. I mean, what teenager doesn’t feel a little scared at the prospect of being labeled as different in junior high, and even through high school?

The beauty of Tim Burton movies, is that he chooses to highlight characters that one would be sympathetic to. He strives to teach us a lesson about not judging a person by their abilities or disabilities. He also strives to teach his audiences not to judge someone by how they look, act, or speak. The character of Edward cannot help who he is, and what he cannot do (due to his not having flesh and blood hands). This movie was the first time I realized what a genius Tim Burton is. He seems to love to carry this theme through all of his works.

 

Here I include a few videos of what makes you love the character of Edward. If there are others I should include, please feel free to let me know.


 

However, the purpose of this post is not meant to be a walking advertisement for the Auteur that Tim Burton is. I mean to highlight a few of the brilliant actors that Burton chose to bring his characters, and by association his wonderful story, alive.

 

The first actor I wish to highlight, is Johnny Depp, who Tim Burton likes to use in many of his films. According to the author of our text, Goodykoontz, Johnny Depp can be considered to be a Wild Card actor. I’m more likely to agree, not just because I think Johnny Depp is a crazy guy who picks crazy characters to play.

Oh no. It’s because of the wide range of characters that he can play. You have some characters he has created who are the hopelessly dreary who you just want to strangle (Victor Van Dort from Corpse Bride) for being so obtuse to the Corpse Bride, and some wild and fun characters (Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) you wish you could meet in person and instantly engage in an epic pun-off. If you ever need a full-out description of a Wild Card actor, you have it here in Johnny Depp.

 

The second actor (actress, if you will) I wish to highlight, is Winona Ryder. She is what Goodykoontz would term to be a Character Actress. All of the characters she has chosen to take on over the course of her career have been a wide array of individuals who have an important contribution to make to the storyline of the movie. Winona has been known to adopt her way of acting to suit what the director needs out of her character. For example, she has been a Black Swan character with a mean streak. She has also been a “basket case” in Girl, Interrupted. She has also played the part of a teenager who thinks that she is smarter than everyone around her because she has sympathy toward her fellow man. Such was the case with her role in Beetlejuice. Winona can also be the romantic interest to a character who cannot even hold her to show her how he feels, in the case of Edward Scissorhands.

 

The third actor I wish to highlight, is Anthony Michael Hall. During the first part of his career, he was typecast as the nerd who didn’t quite get the nuances of most social situations (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science). It did take me awhile into his career that I realized how genius breaking free from that typecast was for him. When Anthony did that, we started to realize how much of a Character Actor he really is. Like Winona, Anthony has the ability to adapt his acting styles to match what the Director requires of him. It is actually during his role of the cruel jock in Edward Scissorhands, that we begin to see that there was more to this young (at the time) actor.  We start to see that he has more tricks up his sleeves, if you will.

 

I hope you like my analysis of this film and the actors in it.  .  -Silver-

 

References:

Burton, T. “Edward Scissorhands Ice Dance.” Retrieved From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mg8SyAJfaw

Burton, T. “Edward Scissorhands Funny Scene.” Retrieved From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9TD6dJUubE

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

IMDB.com. “Edward Scissorhands.” Retrieved From IMDB.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099487/?ref_=nv_sr_1

IMDB.com. “Johnny Depp.” Retrieved From IMDB.com. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000136/?ref_=tt_cl_t1

IMDB.com. “Winona Rider” Retrieved From IMDB.com. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000213/?ref_=tt_cl_t2

IMDB.com. “Anthony Michael Hall.” Retrieved From IMDB.com.

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Re-SOUND-ing The Gate

Stargate Pic for Blog 12.12

Last time we discussed the effect of lighting in the movie Stargate.  This week, I want to discuss the effect that sound has on the movie as a whole.  We do not always realize how much we rely on sound to help us piece together a story.  In fact, there are three basic categories of sound in every movie we’ve ever gone to.

 

The first category is that of the movie’s Dialogue track.  Put simply, this category is the words that the actor spoke while the movie was being shot.  The dialogue is considered to be diegetic, or part of the world of the film.  In the case of Stargate, the dialogue track plays an important part in telling the story and shows us the emotion that we are meant to feel throughout the course of the movie.  The writers and actors mesh their talents together in such an awesome way that the viewers believe in the world that has been created.  Tell me what you think about the dialogue in this clip.  It’s the perfect example of how the character of Jack O’Neil is portrayed from this point in the series on.

 

The second category is that of the movie’s Sound Effects track.  Put simply, this category is the sounds you would normally have if you were in that particular situation.  The sound effects are considered to also be diegetic to the environment that has been created for this movie.  Some sound effects that are included are completely natural to the real world.  However, since Stargate is part of the Science Fiction genre, there are some foreign sounds that had to be created.  The three biggest that the Sound Creators had to worry about, is the sound of the gate’s inner track moving, the chevrons locking, and the whooshing sound the gate makes as it connects to another gate.  When the sound editors put the natural and alien together, that’s when the Sound Effects magic happens.  Each sound effect meshes so well together that you can’t always tell the difference between the natural an the alien, if you will.  But don’t just take my word for it.  See for yourself!

 

The third category is that of the movie’s Music track (or Soundtrack, as it has become affectionately known).  Put simply, this category is the sounds you hear that are not natural to the world that has been created when they are shooting a movie.  It is completely non-diegetic, if you will.  In this case, the music is added after the whole movie is mixed together.  with Stargate, the Sound Editors thought they needed to flush out the movie with what ended up being a killer opening theme that carried through the three series and two full-length films that followed it.  The theme set the tone and helped create a brand that was easily recognizable from Movie to Series and back.  You knew that you were watching a Stargate show (or movie) when you heard this theme.  You expected to be taken on an action-packed adventure, just by listening to the original Stargate Movie’s main theme.  Just listen for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean!

 

It is my belief that if any of these three categories were changed at all, that the whole franchise would not have been as popular as it was.  If the movie’s creators had not had the foresight to not take themselves too seriously and put in dialogue that wasn’t as entertaining, then the series Stargate SG-1 wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did.  Nevermind the two spin-offs or two following movies.  If the sound effects didn’t mesh as well as they did, the audience wouldn’t have believed in the world that was created.  The same  goes for the main theme song that was created.  By meshing all three of these categories as well as they did, the Sound Editors certainly did their best to help create the expectation of an adventure-packed and very entertaining experience!

Well done Sirs, Well Done!

 

 

The Entire Sound Crew:

Bill Baldwin first assistant sound editor
Noah Blough sound editor
Terry Burke foley artist
Jeff Courtie adr mixer
Shelley Croft foley assistant
Patrick Cyccone Jr. re-recording mixer
Michael Dandy sound editor
Terrance Emerson boom operator
John P. Fasal special processed sound effects (as John Paul Fasal)
Roger Fearing sound apprentice
Tammy Fearing sound assistant
Ann Fisher sound assistant
Cameron Frankley sound editor
Sandy Gendler supervising sound editor
Mike Goodman sound editor
James A. Gore foley assistant
Scott G.G. Haller sound assistant (as ‘Krispy’ G.G.)
Harry Harris sound editor
Kevin Hearst sound editor (as ‘Raoul’)
Evelyn Hokanson adr recordist
Ethan Holzman sound apprentice (as Ethan R. Holzman)
Andrea Horta sound editor
Alan Howarth processed sound effects
Lenny Jennings sound editor (as Lenny Jenning)
Jon Johnson processed sound effects
Ken J. Johnson processed sound effects (as Ken Johnson)
Tim Song Jones sound intern (as Tim Jones)
Richard Kelly sound assistant
James Ketcham consultant: DTS
Val Kuklowsky supervising sound editor
Mark R. La Pointe sound editor (as Mark La Pointe)
Jeff Levison consultant: DTS
Andy Malcolm foley artist
Barbara McCart adr recordist
Peggy Names cable person
Scott Purdy additional re-recording mixer
Gary Raymond cable person
David M. Ronne production sound mixer (as David Ronne)
Greg P. Russell re-recording mixer
Lou Solakofski foley recordist
Mike Szakmeister sound editor
Cherie Tamai sound assistant
Chrys Theodorou sound assistant
Bill Van Daalen sound editor
Tony Van den Akker foley recordist (as Tony Van Den Akker)
Robert S. Warren stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Don White additional re-recording mixer
Ben Wilkins sound editor
Chris Winter sound assistant
Daniel Yale sound editor

 

References:

IMDB.com “Stargate (1994).”  Retrieved From: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111282/?ref_=nv_sr_3

IMDB.com “Stargate (1994).  Full Cast & Crew.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111282/fullcredits/

Youtube.com.  “Movie quotes – Stargate.” Retrieved From: youtube.com.  Aminalable.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M3mawWNcnE

Youtube.com. “Stargate: First Activation.” Retrieved From: youtube.com.  Stargate Loop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vShFK0rIGV4

Youtube.com. “Stargate SG-1 Theme Song.” Retrieved From: youtube.com.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnFQlVT2UBo

Youtube.com.  “Stargate SG-1 Final Dialing Sequence.” Retrieved From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NKRQtjxLB8

Lighting Up The Temple

This week, I wish to discuss the importance of lighting in a movie, as well as the Mise en scene (general scenes) created by a Cinematographer in the movies.  As an Example for scenes and how their lighting and placement changes the course of movies, I will be using the original Stargate movie:

Stargate Pic for Blog 12.12

 

This first clip shows us the scene in which Dr. Jackson explains to us how the Go’uld (MAJOR bad guys in the Stargate universe) came to look like humans.  The specific Goa’uld mentioned has named himself Ra, after the Egyptian sun god.  In this first clip, the characters of Dr. Jackson, Sha’uri  (pronounced Sha’re in the later Stargate SG-1 TV series), and Jack O’Neil  are treated with a traditional low key style of lighting.  With this technique, we are meant to believe that these three are inside a temple reading the story of Ra on it’s walls.  It is not merely the light coming off the props (the torches) the characters are carrying that creates the illusion of darker shadows than would normally appear in an indoor studio.  Even the first time I saw this movie, I couldn’t believe what a wonderful job Karl Walter did on this particular scene.  It’s pure genius!

Karl Walter helped continue this theme of firelight throughout the movie, as most of it is spent following the characters as they learn about the nature of the Goa’uld, the peoples of Abydos and the Stargate.  They are always inside and in hiding from Ra and his forces (the Jaffa).  We also start to see shifts in lighting as the story progresses, even through the 3 following Stargate TV series (SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe).  As the characters learn how to use the Stargate and other alien devices, the better lighted the characters become.    They become more enlightened (please pardon the pun) as we delve further into the Stargate Universe as a whole.

This second clip shows the demise of the bad guy (the Goa’uld formerly known as Ra) in this movie.  Before we even get to see the great ending to that character, we see 3 excellent examples of low key lighting in this scene.  When Dr. Jackson and Jack O’Neil are talking about a way to diffuse or use the bomb, we see the shadows that fall upon their face.  Once again, once the rings activate onboard the ship we see the character of Ra being highlighted with low  key lighting once again.  When Ra realizes the bomb will kill him, we see him being light up from within.  I know this was mostly done with CG, but the audience can clearly see that Karl Walter had the final say with his quick flash of high key lighting at the very end that washes the actor’s face out.  This made it easier for the guys doing the CG in the scene to do their jobs even better.

 

I firmly believe that if Karl Walter had not made the choices he had with the lighting in this movie, the audience would not have believed the scene as a whole.  If he had chosen to wash the actors out with light when they are supposed to be sharing dinner around a campfire, and downplay the lighting when they are fighting outside, then we would not have believed that the actors were in the place the director says they were.  The illusion, therefore, would have been destroyed.  Illusion of reality in films makes them worth watching 6 times in a year (and YES, I have watched it that many times so far this year).

 

References:

“Stargate” Movie Clips.  Retrieved From YouTube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh6EYbcBv5Y and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfDMP2T5d0A

Stargate Movie Credits.  (1994) IMDB.com.  Retrieved From: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111282/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

Snapfactory. “High Key & Low Key Lighting: Ep 42: Digital Photography 1 on 1.”  Retrieved From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze7JzH_lKN

Ode to A Great Friendship

This is the first of many blogs for my Introduction To Film Class.  I’m taking.  For this week’s discussion into great films, I would like to discuss the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  More specifically, I would like to discuss “The Two Towers.”  This movie was released on December 18th, 2002.   It is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel of the same name.  Fran Walsh has been the top credit of the screenplay (according to IMDB).  Peter Jackson also has a credit for writing the screenplay, but he has been wildly celebrated a success with his work as the director in the franchise.

The Key Players are As Follows:

Sean Astin Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee
Orlando Bloom Legolas Greenleaf
Bernard Hill Theoden
Christopher Lee Saruman the White
Ian McKellen Gandalf
Viggo Mortensen Aragorn
John Rhys-Davies Gimli / Voice of Treebeard
Andy Serkis Gollum
Liv Tyler Arwen
Karl Urban Eomer
Hugo Weaving Elrond
David Wenham Faramir
Elijah Wood Frodo Baggins

 

The Two Towers follows two hobbits as they have left the company of men, dwarves,  and elves as they are on their way to Mount Doom to destroy the main villain’s source of power, The One Ring.  We see lots of battles for Middle Earth.  Then there are many slower scenes where we get to know the two hobbits better.  One of the most favorite scene between the two is this scene between Sam and Frodo about not giving up in the face of great adversity.  Which is a great theme, if you ask me!

 

 

 

 

This movie does not always present itself chronologically.  There are times where we see flashback s to Gollum’s transformation into what he is.  We get to see shadows of how Frodo may become under the ring’s influence,  through the eyes of Gollum’s memories of what he did once he possessed it. 

Then there are times where we shift from those battle scenes to the more serious scenes between Frodo and Sam.  This aesthetic choice does leave an audience wondering what part of the classic story will be told next.  We are let to wonder whatever happened with the other part of the storyline.  The general setting Jackson chose made an interesting contrast between what is going on in his scenes,  and the world that Tolkien has created for us to read about (and further for Jackson to help portray on the screen).

If the film had not followed this non-linear style, it would have been completely against what the audience would have expected from this classic Tolkien story.  Those that had been strict fans would have rebelled, and then Jackson and Tolkien’s wonderful storylines, plots, and twists and turns would have gotten lost.  This movie franchise would also not have done as well as it did.

 

References:

The Two Towers Movie Quotes.  Retrieved From: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167261/quotes

The Two Towers Movie Stats.  Retrieved From: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167261/?ref_=ttqt_qt_tt

Movie Footage (Courtesy of MagicalGirlGaming on youtube and) New Line Home Entertainment.  Retrieved From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEMdXhfO-Wk

New Class, Right Up My Alley! :)

Hey everyone! If you notice a few more articles here discussing movies over the next few weeks, don’t be alarmed! I have a new class called Intro To Film that requires us to write a few blog entries about movies, etc. I’d say that fits in with what I do here, huh? Anyway, I’ll still be trying to update my normally scheduled program, as well as those class assignments as well. Wish me Luck! 🙂