In this essay I will be explaining how the use of film language establishes the genre and narrative in the opening sequence of Gladiator. The narrative is what happens in the story line and the genre is a type of film. The genre of this film is an action spectacle. The story tells of a man called Maximus who is well loved and is a trusted general in the roman army as well as a close friend to the wicked emperor Marcus Aurielius. After the emperors jealous sons orders Maximus and his family killed, maximus escapes death only to be sold in to slavery.
He becomes a fierce gladiator and seeks revenge… The director Ridily Scott, who is famously known for directing other successful films directed gladiator, which made a major success and won many awards. Such as best picture, best actor, best sound, best costume design, best visual effects, and best screen play. The opening sequence is important because it establishes the background to the film, the narrative introduces the audience to the main characters. The sequence is divided into four main sections. The first section is the legend.
This short section is important. This short section shows the audience the historical background to the film. The mood of this section is calm and peaceful. This mood is created by the use of non-digetic sound. The instruments harp and strings were used to create this mood, it is enhanced by the soothing female vocals. The lighting and colours represent the calm mood. This creates an end of battle effect. The colours used in this section are very strong and are rich such as gold, and orange smoke. These colours represent the power + the destruction of Rome.
In this section there isn’t a variety of camera angles. In this section the camera angle is in a fixed position this is because the director wants the audience to pay attention to the narrative, as this is very important because it tells the story. This section ends in a fade to section two, hand through the wheat. The second section shows the audience a man walking slowly with his hand feeding through wheat in an open wheat field. This place is unknown and also where this man is trying to go is unknown. The audience is only being shown a mans hand.
In this section the lighting used is very natural and warm, the colours are very pale and very nature like. Such as pale greens and pale yellows these colours create a feeling of warmth and calmness. The mood of this section is calm and peaceful as to section one. This mood is created by the use of non-digetic sound. This was the sound of children laughing; this sound creates this mood because the audience might feel that wherever this place is it is obviously a friendly fun place. The main camera angle used in this section was tracking and the camera was only focusing on the hand.
Tracking was used so the audience can follow the character moving. Just showing a mans hand automatically creates a mystery to the audience and makes the audience feel that they have to watch the film further in order to unravel this mystery man. Together these elements create a peaceful warm atmosphere. The audience might feel that the mystery man is good because the sound, lighting and colour all blended together to create the calmness. But the audience could also ask certain questions such as: who is he? Where is he? Why are we being shown just the hand?
Where is he going? This section ends in a…………… to section three. The third section introduces the audience to the size of the two armies. This section is very different to the first and second section because the elements have changed from a calm peaceful atmosphere to a cold atmosphere. The colours used in this section create the atmosphere by using dull and strong colours. The colours pale dark blues, Smokey greys represent a very morbid atmosphere. In this section there is a wide range of camera angles used.
For example: long shot was used to show the audience the two armies. Medium shots were used to show important characters for example: Maximus. When Maximus is established as the important character the director focuses less of him as the action starts to take place. The sound in this section is similar to section one and two because the tempo in the beginning starts off slow but the tempo gradually speeds up when there is a lot of movement and action taking place. But when the camera shots are focussed on maximus the tempo slows down creating a calm peaceful atmosphere.
When this happens the audience might link this sound to section two because the sounds tempo used matched. The audience might think that the man in this section could be the mystery man in section two. As the tempo progresses it gives the audience a feeling of excitement and a feeling that something is going to happen. In this section there was a lot of straight cuts used. As the editing increases the tempo increases. The instruments used in this section are very sharp and loud. Drums and brass. These instruments are normally associated with war music.