This sample paper on Back To The Future Time Travel Scene offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.
The director of ‘back to the future’, Robert zemeckis creates the feeling of tension and excitement brilliantly, especially as it is of the science fiction genre. Such things as camera angles, lighting, music, diagetic sound and setting are the wide range of media effects used to build up tension and excitement.
Zemeckis’s purpose throughout the film, but especially in the scene where the time travel takes place, is to capture the audience’s attention by controlling their emotions and feelings towards both characters and what is happening in the film.
The film ‘Back to the Future’ is of a science fiction genre. The genre of a film is what type or sort of film it is, there are plenty of different type of genres ranging from horror and thriller to comedy and romance.
A film genre is defined by what it is about, like a comedy would be a film that has plenty of jokes and makes you laugh. A horror would be a film that may involve a thickening plot, gory scenes and mystery. A film that has a science fiction genre tends to follow a certain trend, they all involve a hero (Doc), villain/bully (Biff), helper/assistant (Marty), a scientific idea (the car/ taking people to the future), quest (taking Marty back to the future), twists (Marty and his ‘mum’) and suspense (lightning striking and car engine failure).
Throughout the film a number of different camera angles are used, this enables the director to portray the scene, characters emotions both physically and mentally and create excitement and suspense brilliantly.
The ‘time travel scene/final scene’ starts off with a low-angle establishing shot towards the clock this shows how powerful the clock is to the storyline and sets the scene. During this scene the camera often shifts upwards to show the storm, this creates even more excitement. High angled shots are used these make the characters look diminutive and that nature is more powerful than man.
Close ups are used very often, when Marty can’t start the car a close up is used on Marty’s face because it is trying to make the viewer think what is going on inside Marty’s mind. When the car does finally start you get an objective shot from the windscreen to show the relief on Marty’s face.
When Doc slips a low angle shot looks up at him showing his vulnerability, then a close up is seen as it enables you to see that he is just hanging in mid-air and that you can see that the Doc is thinking.
The director also cuts form one shot to the next very quickly this creates the atmosphere and shows the panic on the docs face and in his actions. The surrounding is also set better this way I feel.
Every time the clock strikes another minute you get a shot of the clock as it makes you more aware that time is running out for them. The scene ends with a pan shot of what is left, the Doc and small blaze from where the car tyres were, this signifies by having a pan shot that the commotion is over.
During the scene the lighting is very gloomy this is to portray the fact that a storm is brewing and it creates more excitement and suspense if there is dark lighting and occasional flashes of bright light. You can also sense a moody feeling being created by the lighting this shows the pressure and nervousness the characters must be feeling.
When the Doc is in front of the clock, when he has just slipped the lighting is used to show a silhouette of him on the clock face this is a piece of lighting brilliance. A contrast of light/dark is seen throughout, this adds to the atmosphere.
When the lightning strikes the whole scene becomes bright and still has big bursts of light. The bursts of light are when the lightning hits the clock, when the Doc pushes the two cables together and when the pole hits the cable and Marty goes back.
Music plays an important role in catching the audience’s attention and in the building and making of suspense. The music can be used to change a person’s mood, either making them more excited or calming them down with a dramatic or a suspense moment.
All the way through the film there is some sort of background noise. This varies from orchestral to the clock ticking. The orchestral music has many a different types of instruments involved. All these instruments together create a fuller sound, adding to the excitement already built.
The music in this scene is very tense and scurrying like and in some parts very fast, and also tends to speed up when something dramatic has happened thus emphasising that time is running out.
At the very end of the scene once Marty has been sent “Back to the Future”, there is immediate silence, this acts as a complete contrast between the previous frantic ambiences. The silence is then followed by a single brass instrument playing the same military tune as before. The fact that there is now only one solitary instrument playing emphasises that Doc is now on his own. As the camera pans out the empty scene, a radio plays a tune current to the time, this shows that normality has returned.
The sounds used in the film are the clock ticking, clock bell ringing and both human voices of Marty and Doc can also be heard. The diagetic sounds create added excitement and worry, when the bell rings it interrupts a crucial moment and worries the audience.
The ticking of the clock is significant because its shows that time is passing by, therefore they don’t have much time left, this makes the audience uncomfortable as they are worried.
The two main characters of Marty and Doc are used brilliantly to get the audience excited and also maintain the audiences enthusiasm in the film, as it is never a dull moment in the film because you don’t know what each character is going to do next. The two characters are very different from each other.
The Doc is a desperate yet brave, eccentric, quick-thinking, persistent character. He will do anything to make his invention work. Marty however is powerless, very trusting towards the mad Doc and also a typical teenager as he has bad time keeping and bad luck through out.
The Doc is dressed smartly and like a typical scientist this makes you take him seriously, but you soon find out he’s as mad as a hatter. Marty is dressed like a typical teenager, jeans etc… as he is a teenager the things he does are normal.
The setting of this scene is in and around the clock tower, this is important as it signifies the importance of the clock in the film because it makes the clock the main attraction/centre piece. By having the clock in this scene it shows that time has been a major effect on the outcome of the film, their lives and others around them. It shows the film to be about past/present and future.
As this scene also evolves around lightning (it being struck at a particular moment), it’s a dangerous thing to happen because they are trying to control it, this makes it even more unpredictable. The atmosphere is created even more as at every minute you get a shot of the clock this symbolises that time is running out.
During the scene there is a lot of bad luck, as nothing seems to go right, Marty’s late, tree falling, car not starting and Doc slipping are examples of the misfortunes that occur.
Marty is wearing 1980’s style ‘cool’ clothes i.e. body warmer, the audience now identifies that Marty is a helpless and typical unknowing teenager. The lighting during the scene is dismal very bleak and mainly dark, this helps the scene to become more unpredictable and filled with panic and excitement.
The high angle shots show throughout that nature is the over-powering effect in this scene.
The mise-en-scene is the overall style of an extract, film in this case. It is what the director is trying to achieve and the ways he achieves these things. The variety of media effects used throughout this film by Zemeckis make’s the film more exciting and creates more tension. The constant orchestral sounds in the background speed up when a scene is getting more exciting or when something has gone wrong, this adds to the audience’s emotions. Likewise when a frantic bit has finished a bang or quick flash of light signifies that this bit of commotion is over. The ranges of camera angles enable us to see the surroundings, the clock, the actions of each character and the emotions of each character. Close ups are used to show emotions on faces, pan shots are sued to show surroundings and high-angle, low-angle and long shots show what the characters are up to. Without all these different and brilliantly planed media effects ‘Back To The Future’ would not of been the success that it was.