After examining the opening sequences, compare the ways the director s use film techniques to influence our responses to the main characters in “Forrest Gump” and “Of Mice and Men” The titles in “Forrest Gump” are very simple white letters. Such layout suggests that the director wants the viewer to be relaxed as it’s very innocent and calm. The ‘heaven’ like titles are projected on top of a town background. This gives a relaxed theme as it’s a quiet town where nothing dramatic could occur.
It also gives the impression that the film will have a positive ending as a pose to a depressing ending. The director also adds to this effect by using tranquil music which gets louder as the camera tracks the feather as it makes its journey to land on Forrest’s trainers. The titles in the film ‘Of Mice and Men’ are an extreme contrast. The titles are white starting with a dark background. This suggests to the viewer this film is going to be very dramatic and sincere because of the opposites in colour.
The titles are timed in with the light shining in on the train as it travels. This is scary as the audience is oblivious to the settings adding mystery to the start whereas in Forrest Gump we are given a background. I think the director used this structure to make the titles daunting and drastic to get the attention of the viewers which is very effectively done.
In the opening shots of the main characters the viewer is introduced to Forrest, George and Lennie. They are portrayed in different ways to hint about their personalities. In the opening shots of ‘Forrest Gump’ the feather that the camera has been tracking finally lands on Forrest’s feet. This seems as though Forrest has chosen to tell his story to the audience. You also see a close up of his trainers which are extremely filthy suggest he has been many places and keeps the viewer’s interest in Forrest’s story. As he picks up the feather, the camera tracks his hand to reveal the rest of his body to finally reach his face with a slight tilt. The director’s purpose for this was to let the audience to get a full view of what Forrest looks like.
This does not happen suddenly at all which makes it easier for the audience to take in at a gradual process. He puts the feather in a children’s picture book which was in his suitcase, which I think represents his character as childlike. The director’s purpose for this was to give again a relaxing film as there is not much to take in at any one time making it much easier for the viewers. ‘Of Mice and Men’ on the other hand is a totally contrast as the whole way though the opening shots we are constantly guessing on what has happen as Sinise felt the need to give the film and ‘edgy’ mysteriousness to it.
He achieves this well by introducing George on a train, in the dark. George looks very serious and unhappy. The audience assumes when the flashback occurs that something negative happen to put him in such a maze of emotions. We firstly see Lennie with George running. Sinise uses a mid-shot of them from their backs indicating them running away from a place. Its also done quite suddenly as they run past the camera. I think the director wants the audience to only see the back of them to leave the audience with the mystery of George and Lennie’s front appearances which adds to the mystery. The opening shots of the main characters are very different as Zeneckis’s ‘Forest Gump’ is very open and giving the audience as much detail as possible whereas Sinise’s is very minimalist in giving clues to what the main characters are like.
The sound effects and music are very uplifting in ‘Forrest Gump’. The music is largely in a major key and so gives a happy atmosphere to set the story to. It is gentle and light at the beginning of the film to show that its not going to be a film of mystery or danger, but of happiness. The music then crescendos when the feather almost hits the car and diminuendos when the feather lands by Forrest’s foot. The director’s purpose by using that effect is to tell the audience to focus their attention on him.
Overall, the music was nothing dramatic do to give a ‘homely’ environment. However, the music from ‘Of Mice and Men’ is a total opposite as the music through out the opening scenes is in a minor key, therefore giving a sense of danger and unhappiness. We can see that it is not going to be a light hearted film. As we start to see the inside of the train where George is sitting, the music dies down by the time the camera has moved to show a close-up of his face drawing the audience’s attention directly to George. Once the scene cuts to the flashback, the music all of a sudden starts again and it is much louder which creates a dramatic atmosphere giving the viewer a sense of danger.
As the girl comes running towards the camera, we start to hear disturbing noises of the girl screaming and crying. Suddenly we see a close-up of dogs barking fiercely with strong music in the background giving a climaxing danger. This is a lot louder than when George and Lennie are running right at the beginning of the flashback. As soon as George and Lennie jump into the little river, the music cuts to get rid of the tension that was rising to give the audience the impression that they are safe.
This is very effective as there is such a contrast between the layering of the music, dogs barking and men shouting to just Lennie and George panting as they sit in the river gives the audience a shock even though it is of relief. In the climax, I think Sinise wants you to panic for Lennie and George’s safety even though you are yet to find out about their personalities or the crime they have committed. My response to this particular part was to feel sympathy for the both of them. Even though the two films have very different sound effects and music they have been appropriately placed I feel to create very exciting atmospheres leading the audience to carry on watching.
The dialogue in ‘Forrest Gump’ starts when Forrest is accompanied by a nurse who sits on the bus stop bench where he is waiting. Forrest takes this opportunity to start to talk to her. He talks to her with a friendly tone about her shoes which are very clean. He says to her about how, ‘mamma said that you can tell a lot from someone’s shoes. This draws the audience to see Forrest’s shoes which are extremely dirty looking.
The viewer learns that by looking at his trainers he has an interesting story to tell and listen more intently to discover Forrest’s travels. From his accent and language and the fact he refers to his mother’s explanations to life shows that Forrest isn’t used to think for himself giving the impression he’s slightly mentally challenged. He is projected as a sweet and caring person. Even though the nurse ignores Forrest, he keeps on trying to talk to her and get a response. This symbolises him being so childlike in a way that he will not persist until he is given attention. I think Zeneckis wants to give the audience as fuller projection of Forrest as possible as it may lead on and answer questions on why things happened later on in the film. My response is that you are given an insight to a very interesting character and gives you the urge to carry on watching to see what he’s done with his life.
The dialogue in ‘Of Mice and Men’ differs drastically to ‘Forrest Gump’ as it lacks in details about the characters and tends to be very short lines. The short lines give the affect of drama and mystery. Even though the lines are not as full as Zeneckis’s film they still give you clues that tend to be a little less obvious. When we see George and Lennie running away from the lynch mob, we hear their first interaction of the film. George orders Lennie to run faster and has to push him forward to help. This immediately portrays George as the stronger of the two as he is the one asking Lennie to run faster, giving him a master figure.
Lennie is also given the role of the follower. George as he speaks has an anxious tone in his voice which indicates that they have done something wrong. Lennie on the other hand seems oblivious and doesn’t know why they are running away or why George seems so anxious. This indicates that like Forrest Gump, he may be mentally challenged as it seems he is in another world.