Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Initial Analysis of a Film Opening.

Highschool Musical 2 (2007, Directed by Kenny Ortega)
- The premiere was seen by a total of 17.3 million viewers in the United States—almost 10 million more than its predecessor — making it, at the time of its airing, the highest-rated Disney Channel Movie.
- attracted 16 million viewers, the most-watched made-for-cable movie ever (the previous record was held by TNT's January 21, 2001 airing of Crossfire Trail, which brought in 12.5 million viewers)
- Sequel, has a large fan base from the first film. There are links to the first film in the settings shown, the music played and the basketball in the gym, linking to a major theme from it.
- Close up of school clock with over-exaggerated ticking sound. Time says 3.05 to signify the end of school.
- Music links in with genre of film and links to the finale song from the first film so is familiar to the fan base already established.
- Title of film gives anchorage to genre “musical”. Also provides anchorage that it’s a sequel.
- Titles shown in shape and colour of a beach, to signify the beach and the summer. This reflects that the film is set over summer vacation.
- No titles appear over the opening sequence, other than the actors names. This is because the youth audience it’s based at would be impatient and eager to get to the action.
- Set in the day time. Using the commutation test, if it had been set at night, it would appear much more sinister.
- Names of actors come up in white serif font to not distract attention from the action.
- Pans slowly through various locations in the school, all settings of songs from the first film (e.g. the gym “Getcha Head in the Game”, the stage “Breaking Free” and the cafeteria “Stick to the Status Quo”)
- In obtrusive editing.
- Not much exposition to story of film yet.
- The accent of the teacher provides anchorage for setting [set in America].
- Further anchorage to the time of year, the teacher talks about the “shimmering lights of summer”
- Skull in school classroom is inter-textual reference to ‘Hamlet’.
- Over sized clock emphasizes students are more interested in the time than there teacher.
- Student fidgeting connotes excitement and anticipation (for the end of the school year).
- Clock gets bigger shows time is important.
- Reluctantly moves from the clock to the teacher, signifies that the students should be listening to her but are more interested in the time.
- The basketball reflects a major theme of both films 1 & 2. Also connotes racial stereotype, African-American character holding the ball.
- High angle shot to enforce that the students aren’t in control of the situation.
- The ticking of the clock get louder as it gets bigger, the noise drowning out what the teacher is saying. Also builds suspense, we don’t know what will happen when the ticking stops.
- The students start to chant the word summer over and over again, to signify the eagerness for the year to finish.
- Sudden release of tension as the chanting and ticking stops (and the bell goes off) in contrast with the calm opening of the film.

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