This sample of an academic paper on Saving Private Ryan Opening Scene reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
Saving Private Ryan is a film that was made in 1998. It has an impressive line-up that includes people such as, Stephen Spielberg as director, who has since directed other hugely successful films like ‘King Kong’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’. Also there is Tom Hanks a very popular American who plays ‘Captain John H.
Miller’ the main character, in this Historical Drama, he has also taken part in some other hugely successful movies.
Stephen Spielberg has decided that in this film he would go against the traditional conventions of other war film genres, and to use some other very effective techniques to create the atmosphere of war. He used techniques such as using a desaturated colour in the film to create the effect that you weren’t just simply looking back on History, but as if you were actually there and as if you were at threat of being shot! Back in those days all televisions were black and white therefore the news on the television would also have been in black and white, this shows us that the film is not just a made up story, but that these thing actually happened.
The threat of you feeling as though you are really there fighting the war, and being scared of the opposition shooting you is also exaggerated by the use of hand-held cameras.
This helps as it can show how the camera is shaking with being so scared aswell as the physical shaking of the ground from explosions. Plus, the camera is violently moving to show the chaos and how everybody is constantly on guard.
Stephen Spielberg also creates a realistic nature during the battle scenes, he does this by showing the battles from both the German’s point of view, who are simply mowing down row after row of Americans, and the American’s point of view who are just desperate to avoid the constant shower of bullets. Showing this helps the audience to see how small the soldier’s chances of survival are in such a big battle.
There are four scenes in the opening battle sequence of the film. The first is ‘The transition from present to past’. In this scene realism is achieved by created an emphasis on the music, this is exaggerated further by using a military style of music. The music used for waking the men in the battle fields. The emphasis is created on the music by not using any dialogue. There are long shots of the massive number of graves that are in lines, this shows that there was huge numbers of deaths. This all happens as the family are walking towards the grave, but then as they reach the graves and the man kneels down the music continues but the camera gradually zooms in from a Medium shot on the man to an extreme close-up on his face. It ends up with just the man’s watering eyes.
From the watering eyes you can tells that obviously something horrific happened or his may have remembered something that is sad. Then as the camera stays focused on the eyes the music stops and you hear the thundering noise of crashing waves. This crashing leads us to think that there is going to be a build up to something. After this the camera changes to a close-up of a shaking hand. This shows how the person is very scared of what is coming. Also there are people throwing up showing us that they are extremely nervous and scared and are therefore getting sea sick. There is still no dialogue to emphasis watching what is being shown, how scared people are and that isn’t going to be a pleasant memory, also the use of no sound creates tension.
The second scene is ‘the instant chaos as the soldiers arrive at the beach’. This is shown by a sudden burst of guns being shot and bombs exploding, as the first soldiers jump off the boats. Also the soldiers are jumping of the boats and being shot before they hit the water, this shows how small a chance of survival there is. The German perspective is also shown, it shows the rows after row of Americans being shot down with machine guns, this shows how vulnerable the Americans were. Colour also plays a big role in this scene; grey skies are used to show the depressive feelings, and the camera colour is very much black and white, with the brightest colour being red, this is an effective way of showing the large amounts of blood. Throughout this scene there is a constant flood of bullets everywhere even underwater, this shows us how nowhere is safe at battle.
The third scene is ‘the initial reaction of Captain Miller’. Initially Captain Miller becomes completely confused, this is shown in lots of different ways throughout the scene. Slow motion and muted sound is used to show how he doesn’t really have a clue about what is going on around him, as well as the muted sound shows how he has almost gone deaf from the loud racket of firing guns. Shots of him looking in lots of different directions explains to us that he is confused, and is looking for help or for someone to tell him what to do. Miller’s point of view shots are also shown, they can tended to be blurred with some shots of horror, showing he is scared. There is a lot of screaming and shouting, but most of it you can not understand, this shows that his thoughts are just a big blur.
The fourth scene is ‘the end of the battle’. Everything becomes more clear. You can hear the waves; this exaggerates that the noise of the battle has gone. The music slows down, this shows us that the chaos has ended. There is another extreme close-up on Millers eyes. This helps us see that he is in deep thought. The sea is also shown as being really red this shows how there is a lot of blood. There is a long shot of all of the bodies as the camera moves up the beach showing the huge numbers of killings. Then there is a close-up on an individual dead American, this helps us to see that there weren’t just huge numbers of mass killings but that there were huge numbers of individual killings.
In conclusion I believe that Stephen Spielberg definitely succeeded in creating a shocking and realistic atmosphere. I believe that the most effective way that he did this was by using handheld cameras to create the feeing that you were there, this was extremely shocking as you could easily feel how scared the soldiers were. Also there was a high rate of death shown throughout, which helped the audience to see that there was a very small chance of survival. This really makes you think about scary it would be to have to go to war. It also is effective in making you want to watch more! I think Stephen Spielberg does a really good job with this film.