All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front

Novel Study

Regarding Visual Essays

by on May.05, 2011, under English, Novel Study, School

It wasn’t easy to come up with an idea, but one did manifest itself in the end. That was after a bit of frustration, some help, and some borrowing. Nevertheless, I do have one, and it runs along the lines of this:

The idea I want to focus on, is the fact that in Jaws, Spielberg as director, played on our idea of the unknown, and our fear of the unknown, to generate irrational fear of something, that may be scary, but not nearly as scary as it is played out to be. An example would be the shark; no matter how big, how viscous, or how scary it really is, it is still just one single shark.  I agree that the shark is definitely something to be afraid of, but not enough so that every time the shark remotely comes into the scene whether by attacking someone, or appearing physically, you jump out of your skin with fright. The world’s not going to end, and it’s just one shark, not a whole swarm of them. Not enough to make you feel crazy scared after each sequence.

But, when viewing the movie you are so sucked into the movie, and it plays on that fear of the shark, and the unknown whether it be a great oak tree, or just a seed, and turns into into the Yggdrasil.

So for my essay, I’m going to dim the room, and turn it as pitch black as possible, while playing some sort of discomforting music, so that it can set an atmosphere of blindness, and that there are things out there, things you can’t see, can’t feel, and can’t control. In the pitch black I will proceed to give my talk about this manipulation to incite irrational phobia, and end by possibly throwing something at an individual to try to make them scream, or at least be frightened, while simultaneously flicking the lights back on.

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Why Amity?

by on May.04, 2011, under 365 Things Learned, English, Novel Study, School

I didn’t originally plan to write a blog post on this, but I was actually thinking about the setting, and wondering. When you think of shark attacks, the first think that you think of for a location, is usually someplace exotic like the Caribbean, or maybe Australia. If that is common perception, and opinion, then why? Why? Why, is the setting of this movie, on Amity Island, on the East Coast, of the good old U.S. of A.?

I think that this is for a variety of reasons and the main reason I believe is that by setting the film in Amity, USA, it suddenly becomes something that you can imagine, something that you can relate to, something that you can see yourself doing, and something that you can see yourself in this situation.

I know that I have been to these exotic locations, where shark attacks are stereotyped to happen, but I can never imagine myself swimming in the Australian Waters. I can’t relate to that, because it is so far away, so distant from where I am on this world. These places are worlds apart from where I am, and where I probably will be for the rest of my life, in the cities, working in an office. It is almost as if these locations are in a different reality, and you can’t seem to place yourself right there, with the sharks, with the waters, and with the environment, and the apartment buildings just right across the street from the beach.

But, I can definitely imagine myself swimming English Bay, or Third Beach, or other similar locations in and around my area. So as I assume with the general audience, with the setting maybe at a beach not so far away, popular in the summer with locals, and tourists from not far away, this audience can suddenly connect to this setting, and can suddenly imagine themselves in that situation, with the shark.

The reality factor, which makes you believe that this could happen to you, makes you believe that this isn’t just fantasy, this is potential reality. Just this factor in which you can imagine yourself getting chased by the shark, makes it just the perfect setting, and just so much more scary than setting it say in the Bahamas.

You may say that this is a worldwide movie, and therefore this isn’t true, but back then, and even now most of the movie’s revenue generally is domestic (USA&Canada), so it has to cater more so towards the domestic audiences, so it has to be generally most relatable to the domestic viewer.

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All is Not What it Seems

by on Apr.22, 2011, under English, Novel Study, School

I finally got to enjoy the movie last night, and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I saw the movie, still amazing with its suspense, manipulation, and fear.

Relating to our class discussion on Monday, I think that there was one scene that really stuck in my mind as showing the manipulation of suspense, the your fear of the unknown, and also of the shark itself.

When Hooper and Brody find Gardner’s wrecked boat, floating in the ocean, and Hooper goes under the boat to take a look at the hull, he finds the shark tooth, but also Gardner’s Corpse.

Because of the way that Gardner’s Corpse was introduced, it really manipulated our minds, because with the sight, and sound, as the object floated towards Hooper, it was really alluding our minds towards something big and scary. It gets you kind of anticipating something, and when the corpse comes somewhat into focus, the first reaction I had was that it was the shark, the angle of the shot, just seemed to make the corpse undeniably like a shark, which gives you a jump, because even if you were expecting something, that fact that the movie is centered on the shark gives it an almost transcending fright value, which goes beyond any anticipation of the shark.

Then afterwards the body comes into focus, and it is just a corpse you seem to almost be surprised and startled that it isn’t the shark, but immediately after give out a sigh of relief.

This in my opinion is one of the most memorable scenes in the whole movie, simply because of how everything what you saw, and heard played on your mind.

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On Sound Stage

by on Apr.17, 2011, under English, Novel Study, School

I haven’t quite found the time yet to see the movie, being preoccupied with other activities. However when viewing the trailer, it gave me all sorts of different messages, some of them not quite on the mark for a movie like Jaws, while some are.

With the opening sequence from the Beginning to 0:23 the tone was not quite what I thought would absolutely strike the bulls-eye in terms of a trailer for the movie. When those sea-bushes(?) came up with the darkness around them, along with that voice, and the music, of course it was a bit eerie, and scary, but not terrifying, nor is it something that totally turns your mind in the way you would to the whole movie. To me, the opening sequence of the trailer seemed almost like a documentary that they wanted to sell to the audience too badly, because you have the voice almost egging you to go see it, along with the music, and the words [ There is a creature alive today...; Without change...; Without logic...; It lives to kill......; and devour] seems so scientific, really like the movie was about documenting the lives of sharks, attacking, and etc.

Then around 0:24 the girl appears, and it seems almost confusing because it’s a documentary like set-up but then there is this girl floating, I would’ve expected it as it seemed in the first part to almost have divers with cameras, and search equipment, to document the process of the research for this documentary.

Then a short while later, the monologue begins to say: [It was as if God had created the devil and game him (pause) Jaws.], I think that this is the point in which it turns and it becomes a trailer for Jaws, not a documentary, as the women proceeds to trash, and the pause seems to be very effective in this transition, because all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so scientific, so documentarish anymore, and more of a scary, action movie, with the women getting attacked.

Then it transitions into a happy scene almost, with the background music and atmosphere, that was a bit too sudden for me, I’m fine with a happy or at least not tense atmosphere suddenly just snapping into a terrifying or tense atmosphere, but not the other way around it seems to unnatural. After that scene however with another kid getting attacked and such, the scenes give a really good almost once-over of the story, without giving too much, but also giving enough to be interested, enough background, enough action, enough drama, to make you want to see it, not too much so that it spoils the story, but also not too little that you don’t feel attracted to seeing it in theaters.

One cool piece of foreshadowing was the point where the little boy’s boat capsizes, and then you are on a bigger boat, and someone says [You'll be needing a  bigger boat...] which seems to foreshadow that the boat they are on right now will capsize, which makes you want to see that boat capsize, having seen the little boy’s boat do the same. Then later on the boat appears to be almost sinking, but you never see it break apart.

The shark catching sequence in the trailer is good because it gives you enough of the tension that you want to see it in full, and the other similar sequence in full, but doesn’t give anything that would spoil the story,  but it still without the spoilers built the tension up really nicely with the music in the background. There was a conversation also between two men about approximately how large the shark was which was informational, because it gave you an estimate of the sheer size of this monster, and because you never see the shark in the trailer you want to see the shark itself.

I love the last panic sequence because even though it is similar to the one in the beginning of the trailer this one seems to have so much more panic, and so much more fear because the events leading up to this panic; the incident on the boat, seems to entail to you that this is much more serious, than it really may be.

The closing I didn’t like, because it went to a still image, when the panic and tension was still high, so I was thinking that it ruined the moment, but if instead they just faded to a black background with the read JAWS word on it, right at the climax of the ending, and said [See it, before you swim] that would’ve been so much more dramatic, and better, while the trailer instead, opted for the movie poster still while introducing the actors as the end of the trailer.

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SHARK ATTACK!!!

by on Apr.14, 2011, under English, Novel Study, School

Who doesn’t know about that movie? You know, that movie with the shark, that eats people, on that beach, with the political bickering, with the hunting, and that carcass????

If you don’t please excuse yourself from this post, to watch this movie, before coming back here to civilization.

Long story short on how I came to jaws, basically, I knew I most wanted to do a movie, and the options were Citizen Kane, Jaws, and the Matrix. Knowing that these were my options, I knew which one I wanted to do, which was Citizen Kane, sadly, I was the only one interested. On a side note, this does make me wonder about the company I keep, questionable. I mean how can you not enjoy Citizen Kane? I do admit that the acting wasn’t the best, but the script, the storyline, the cinematography, the effects? Simply one of the best, if not the best ever created. The greatest piece of Hollywood’s Golden Age still endures with its revolutionary cinematography, and ushering with it a new era of film-making. Through the times, it still stands in my eyes as the best film of all time, with no modern film made after the Golden Age, comparable, with the exception of perhaps the Godfather(and Sophie’s Choice but I’ll deny that vehemently). Charles Foster Kane, Xanadu.., it’s truly amazing what the film gave with its limited budget even in its days.

Enough of that, I was really disappointed that the only two choices were between Jaws, and the Matrix, but after some consideration, the films I had to choose between are still great, so it wasn’t all too bad. The Matrix, of course is just the more technologically advanced movie, with the most visually spectacular effects and experience of the three, but it Pales infinitely when compared to even Jaws, a cinematic wonder of the recent times. It’s kinda obvious that I chose Jaws now right? I’m gonna get this straight I’m not disappointed with Jaws, it’s still an amazing movie, but just not the best. However, I personally love it, I love the effects, and especially the shark, now that I did a bit of research and realized that it was a mechanical shark. I think that by choosing Jaws I made the better choice, with no offence intended to the Matrix fanatics. I hope that by watching and studying this film I can get a better understanding of English beyond the normal realms of just writing in the style of books, essays, speeches, and etc. and understand how the English used in the scripts and scriptments of movies which also rely on visual, and audio to guide the journey on, differ from the style we are taught at school.

So, beware of Shark Attacks!

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