The Pen Is Mightier Than The Phone: A Case For Writing Things Out
Gladiator movie review essay example The following portion of the film is composed of two sections that summarize the film and allegorize cinematic spectatorship. The main sequence (shots 3 through 31) shows Commodus challenging Maximus and preparing to fight in the Colosseum. The main shots are book-ended by an exterior Colosseum sequence (shots 1, 2, and 32 through 41) showing the crowds awaiting the show as the fighters' platform ascends to the arena floor. Part Two: Shot Description & Annotation. Shot Description. The essay topics John Lydon slams turgid Green Day chant "Maximus!" repeatedly. Non-diegetic orchestral music, composed mainly of string instruments, plays at a low volume. The camera starts in a high-angle medium shot of the crowd, pans right, and then tilts left for a long shot of the extended Colosseum crowd echoing the chant. Cut to an eye-level medium shot of the aristocratic group sitting on a balcony and talking. The camera pans left and tracks backward to show the crowds in the background on the opposite side of the stadium. The music continues in the same style through the entire scene. The chanting continues, at a decreased volume until shot 7. Cut to an overhead medium tracking shot of Maximus in chains, viewed through the rafters that seem to lead up to the stadium, the source of the crowds that chant his name. Cut to a medium shot of Commodus, who enters through the gates as the camera zooms out slowly to accomodate him in the frame. Cut to the other gladiators, with which Maximus has shared battles, shot in close-up behind bars. Their eyes follow Commodus as he walks by them. The camera pans right, and stops on Juba, the man that was partnered with Maximus since he became a gladiator. Cut to Gracchus, who also looks at Commodus, as the camera Sept. 7-13 to slowly pan right. Cut to Commodus, who glances up at the "Maximus" chants and looks at him, still chained to the walls. The camera tilts up and frames Commodus over his left shoulder. Commodus repeats the crowd's chant in a near-whisper. Commodus's entrance and identification with the "Maximus" chants recalls a previous scene where Maximus succeeds in the arena as a gladiator and is able to reveal his identity to the emperor. The combination of these two key scenes is a distinct re-writing of the famous scene in Ben Hur where Judah walks out from an obscuring darkness. Both films generate this turning point to reveal to the antagonist that his friend-turned-enemy is alive and seeking vengeance. Maximus picks up an arrow tip in the sand as Commodus first approaches him, subtly alluding to Judah's presentation of a knife to Messala. Cut to Maximus, framed over the shoulder of Commodus. This is a standard reverse shot maintaining the rules of continuity filmmaking. The following 14 shots cut back and forth like the previous two with respect to the character positioning, with Maximus always on the right side of the shot in close-up. Commodus tells him "They call for you." The previous chanting is significantly lower in volume, presumably because they are closed off or further from the crowd. Reverse shot of Commodus. He calls Maximus "the general who became a slave, the slave who became a gladiator, the gladiation who defied an emperor; a striking story." The crowd chants are almost completely obscured by the background music and talking. This script recalls the popular rhetoric of epic cinema. Hyperbole and exaggeration are generally the dominant literary techniques used in epic films. The all-encompassing and glorifying titles and taglines of epics have included The Greatest Story Ever Told"His passion captivated a woman. His courage inspired a nation. His heart defied a king," and "The splendor and savagery of the world's wickedest empire! Three hours of spectacle you'll remember for a lifetime!" His comment that it makes for a striking story hints at the self-reflexivity presented in Roman epic film, that the gladiatorial combat and political processions are historical analogs of the epic film. The decadence and excitement sustain the "striking story" to draw modern crowds. Not coincidentally, this dialogue was Gladiator 's main tagline The Pen Is Mightier Than The Phone: A Case For Writing Things Out featured prominently in trailers and teaser previews. Reverse shot of Maximus. Commodus continues, saying ". Features | Craft/Work | What Are You Looking At: Lucian Freud As Seen By Daphne Wright now the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do." Continuing with the assumption from the previous shot, Commodus is negotiating the terrain of the historian and critic. The diegetic referrent is the same as the director's concerns: to essay topics Eden Hazard contract: Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri working to convince Belgium internati a captivating story within the epic formula. He also echoes The Pen Is Mightier Than The Phone: A Case For Writing Things Out desires of the viewer, who historically recognizes epics in chronicle form (a series of chronological events connected by a common thread [i.e. the hero's life]) and yearns for a decisive conclusion. Reverse shot of Commodus. Commodus says ". than to challenge the emperor himself in the great arena." Reverse shot of Commodus, who retorts "Unlike Maximus the invincible, who knows no fear?" Again, the dialogue is playing off of similar tropes in other epic films. The epic protagonist is generally elevated to mythic or superhuman level through the legend and lore that accompanies their stories. For example, William Wallace and Alexander the Great occupy immense historical positions in the image of Jesus Christ, perhaps Real-World School-Based Interventions May Ease Homework Challenges for Children with ADHD ultimate epic figure due to the connotations his name carries. Reverse shot of Maximus, who smirks at his remark and replies "I knew a man who once said 'Death smiles at us all; all a man can do is smile back.'" Reverse shot of Commodus, who says "I wonder, did your friend smile at his own death?" Reverse shot of Commodus, who grimaces and says "You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn't it?" This shot is the exact halfway The Pen Is Mightier Than The Phone: A Case For Writing Things Out of the scene. For the attentive and knowledgeable viewer, it recalls the myth of Rome's founding. Historical legend tells of two brothers who were abandoned at birth and raised by a wolf. Romulus slays his brother Remus to become the first king of Rome. This is the second foreshadowing of Maximus's death. Commodus's embrace is the third foreshadowing of Maximus's death. His similar affection to his father early in the film leads to essay examples Trump drops 138 spots on Forbes wealthiest Americans list after losing over a $1 bill smothering death. This is the only other time in the film that Commodus is this close to another man. Maximus's relationship with Lucilla threatens Commodus earlier in the film, and this scene is just after he learns of her alliance with him. This shot disrupts the rhythmic harmony that is set up in the previous 16 cuts. The repetitive continuity that places Commodus on the left side of the shot is reversed when he crosses Maximus. This dystopic change in orientation, by intentionally breaking the stringent layout, is the fourth foreshadowing of Maximus's death. The decision to have Commodus come to the right side is a calculated movement that heightens the tension and adds to the disorientation of the next 4 cuts, which are all 1 second apart. An extreme close-up shot, Commodus bring his hand around and stabs Maximus in the back. The music continues, with an added effect of deep and loud wind that highlights the stabbing. An exaggerated squishing / metallic sound is audible. Cut back to the stab wound. Commodus removes the knife and blood drips from the wound. Reverse shot of Commodus in close-up. He turns around to face away from Maximus and looks towards a space that has not yet been identified by the camera and says "Strap on his armor." Cut to Quintus, who is clearly receiving Commodus's command. Commodus says "Conceal the wound." Cut back to Commodus from behind. The shot is in slow motion, running at approximately 8 frames per second. Commodus turns around and looks at Maximus. Cut back to the external shot, composed with the crowd of fans, apparently still cheering "Maximus," in long shot filling up frame's background. The camera pans left to show Lucilla and Lucius close-up in the foreground. Cut to a medium shot of the gates from directly below. They open up to the ground-level of the Colosseum. As they open, the sunlight flares the image from dark essay on Happy Birthday Trey Anastasio: Fall 1994 Interview With Steve Silberman to white. Cut to the platform under the gates in medium shot. The camera remains stationary as the platform rises vertically. Maximus tilts his head down and Commodus gazes upwards. Deep operatic chanting is audible in the music. Cut back to the gates from below. Flower petals fall down onto the platform as the gates slide open. Cut back to the platform, where Quintus, Maximus, and Commodus stand surrounded by Roman guards. The same slow upward motion is consistent through the end of the scene. Cut to a close-up of Commodus, standing in an ornate white armor and looking up. Cut back to the platform in medium shot. The camera zooms out to a long shot of the platform slowly raising. Cut back to an extreme long shot of the Colosseum crowd. The camera begins on the right side and pans left to the center of the arena, where the platform is just breaking ground level. The guards are in a formation around Quintus, Maximus, and Commodus. The same music continues, but the crowd is no longer cheering anything. Part Three: Film Clip Analysis. The standard epic film usually operates around several major key scenes, without which it would be very difficult to exceed a two hour running-time. These scenes compose the major elements of the epic struggle (political, religious, social, or some combination therein) and guarantee the protagonist's evolution. It is difficult to imagine Ben Hur without the galley sequence and the chariot race, but even more importantly, this type of film operates in a manner that concentrates narrative progression into a few palatable sequences of heightened imagery and myth. It is important to note, however, that the driving force of the story is not centralized in the grand moments of splendor, but in the creative transitions which bide the viewer's time and whet the audience's expectations with the promise of fulfillment. A close analysis of this scene in Gladiator shows hom the shots prior to the final battle sustain dramatic potential and transition the viewer into the protagonist's success in the Colosseum. Introduction (Shots 1-2) The two introductory shots of this sequence set the surroundings and motivate the viewer's focus on the story's remaining hermeneutic enigma, the resolution of his relationship with Commodus. The crowds are set up in parallel with the cinematic viewer, whose spectatorship necessitates the action. Were the Colosseum not filled, or the epic audience not willing, the story could not be enacted. Main Sequence (Shots 3-31) The aural cues transition from the mass crowds to the prison chains that hold Maximus and the other prisoners under the arena. Through his dialogue with Commodus, the battle is planned. Through the considerable references to other films and the potential assumptions that can be drawn from these allusions, the viewer is able to anticipate the sword fight that later delivers resolution. Although Gladiator is to a certain degree a re-creation of Mann's The Fall of the Roman Empireit operates on the same filmic language as some other epic films. The christ allusions, which are made accessible to the viewer by Maximus's positioning, forecast his eventual sacrifice for Rome's future. Conclusion (Shots 32-41) Upon creating the terms of the final confrontation in the film, the camera returns to the crowd in advance of the characters. In a modernist consideration, the viewer is positioned with the crowd and the characters are brought into view by a platform beneath the Colosseum. The platform's movement exhibits a function typically reserved for the camera in order for the camera to remain immersed in the decadence and grandeur of the historical setting. The camera pans the crowd in the final preparatory shot, and meets the rising platform at the center of the Colosseum to allign the setting for the remainder of the film. Return to the previous page or Return to my Homepage Copyright © 2004-2006 by Eric Lachs. All Rights Reserved.