The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Saving Private Ryan Protagonist. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
Before the films Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator have begun the audience already has an expectation of the film based on the actors and directors of the two movies. Both films have Auteurs as directors and have famous actors playing the protagonist of the movies. This will give the audience expectations of the film based on the status of the actors and directors.
Both directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott have directed impressive films in all types of genre.
Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe play the protagonists in the two films (Tom Hanks-Saving Private Ryan Russell Crowe-Gladiator) which are shown in the posters advertising the two films; these also show the genre of the two movies. The opening sequence of the two movies features montages with very little background sound. Gladiator’s opening shots show a close up of a hand being run through a field.
The hand has a ring on showing that the man is married. The field is bathed in golden light; strong contrast to the first shot of the protagonist, which is lit with chiaroscuro.
The successions of these two shots give us the impression that the hand belonged to the protagonist, Russell Crowe. Russell Crowe plays the general Maximus Deridius. The opening shots of Saving Private Ryan feature an Old man walking down a path in bright light on a sunny day.
While the man is walking a group of people follow him down the path, telling the audience that this man is quite important. The man is walking in a graveyard and after walking to a particular grave he collapses crying. His sadness gives the impression that someone he knew and loved had died and was buried in that graveyard.
The shot then switches to a group of men in a boat which again uses chiaroscuro. There is then a series of montages featuring close ups of the men in the boat. The emotions of the men are shown in the expressions on their faces and the dark shadowy light the scene is bathed in. The protagonist of the film Tom Hanks is then shown in a close up shot but it is different to the way that we are first shown Russell Crowe in Gladiator. The first time that we see Russell Crowe in Gladiator he looks deep in thought and with very little fear on his face.
His clothes depict what class of man he is (wealthy, powerful,) and also show the genre of the film to be war as he is holding a sword and wearing armor. The first time that Tom Hanks is introduced his clothes show the genre of the movie in the same way as gladiator, but he is not instantly recognizable as the protagonist of the film; he looks just as scared as the other people on the boat and has no instant sign of authority. As the men approach the shore, the sound of gunfire can be heard, which tells the audience that a battle is happening and that these men’s fear is the onslaught of battle.
The opening sequence of both texts show the genre of the movie by using strong battle scenes and sounds and both introduce why Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe are the protagonists of the films. Russell Crowe walks through the ranks of his army and is referred to as General by many. The director uses this to show the authority of the character. The director of S. P. R shows Tom Hanks to be powerful by having take control of the disbanded army around him and he seems to be the least distressed by the battle going on around him.
Both texts feature strong battle sequences in their opening scenes. The scenes are seen in a different way by the audience because inter-textuality will tell people that the Roman Army in Gladiator was unbeatable and the most powerful fighting force the world had ever seen. We know that the protagonist is a Roman general and we know that the opposing army is not strong enough to beat them from what has been said by the characters already so the audience has a basic idea of what to expect from the battle: the Romans are going to win.
In S. P. R Tom Hanks and his army are put in an impossible position from the off set. When they hit the shore the sound of gunfire fills the air and immediately pushes them back towards the sea and in a seemingly impossible position. Tom Hanks role as the protagonist is emphasized by the way that the people around him all turn to him for orders when they first hit the shore and begin fighting. The fighting scenes in both films are shot with a hand held camera allowing the audience to feel as if they are in the battle themselves.
In S. P. R a hand held camera is used from behind the German stationery guns on the bank to show how easily the Americans are being picked off from the beach. Close up shots in Gladiator show the expressions of the Roman army and none of them look scared or worried about the battle. During the battle they use close ups of the fighting to show the Roman army defeating the German army with ease. A close up of Russell Crowe is used when he turns around and almost kills one of his own men, only to stop and smile at him.
This shows he is used to fighting dangerous battles and how undeterred by the fighting and the sounds around him he appears to be. The music in the two opening sequences is similar and is used to create the same affect on the audience. The slow first scenes of the two movies have very little sound as the directors want you to focus on the messages on the screen. The flag at the start of S. P. R symbolizes what the Americans were fighting for: the love of their country.
Gladiator features a hand being run through a field which tells you little apart from that the hand belongs to someone who is married. The battle scenes in the two films have very little music but you can hear the sounds of the battle distinctly. In S. P. R the sounds of gunfire is very loud and the cries of the men screaming and yelling are quite disturbing. In Gladiator the sounds of clashing swords fills the air with cries coming only from the German army. Music is absent as it is normally used to project the emotions of the characters on screen onto the audience.
In a scene with a strong battle there are so many emotions of so many people fighting that there wouldn’t be enough music to symbolize what they were all feeling. I think that Gladiator raises the audience’s expectations more in the opening sequences as they show the Roman army to be brutal and unmerciful which is shown more and more in the rest of the film. Saving Private Ryan has a brilliantly directed opening and gives the audience a real insight into what war is like. Yet the rest of the film goes downhill and doesn’t give you what you would expect from the dazzling opening sequences.