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Trailer Analysis

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Trailers are a major part of the film industry as they give a brief insight into the mood and setting of the film being advertised. Owing to this pivotal role in the film’s sales and viewing, the trailers must be clear, concise and effective, drawing in as many audiences as possible. The trailer I have chosen to analyse is ‘Casino Royale’, one of the ‘James Bond’ films. It is an action film including scenes of action, romance and violence. All of the recent ‘James Bond’ trailers appear to follow a similar format with a script extract in the first half and an action sequence in the second half.

Another, less obvious, trend is the way in which there is always a reference to time, or a major an event that differentiates between the two halves of the trailer. In ‘Quantum of Solace’ there is a script extract saying “How long have we got? ” with the reply being ” Thirty seconds” when the trailer is thirty seconds from completion. In ‘Casino Royale’ a similar concept is applied in the form of a violent action distinguishing between the two halves of the trailer. The trailer shows effective use of sounds and like most Bond trailers, uses script extracts for the first half and the theme tune playing for the rest of the trailer.

The theme tune encourages people who may not have been paying full attention to the television to look up. This particular soundtrack is distinguishable from their competitors’ because it delivers a strong brand identity as the music accompanies a “hero” to whom a number of men aspire. After the Metro Goldwyn Mayer shot a soft drone begins to reverberate, building up tension. Along with this drone, a very high, very soft, spine-tingling note is played as a car rolls up to a building. The atmospheric combination of sounds is partnered with an establishing shot of a building.

This combinatination allows for the audience to be captivated and absorbed into the world of double O . The eerie background music is then punctuated by one of six script extracts: “This may be too much for a blunt instrument to understand. ” This script extract is a simple statement and the ‘blunt instrument’ may be referring to James Bond’s reluctance to accept this particular mission and the complexitiy of the task envolved. It is read by Dame Judy Dench who plays the character “M”, one of Bond’s accomplicases, based in head quarters.

This simple line is spoken in a slightly menacing way, underlining the film’s danger and sincerity. This perception is later added to, when the action sequence commences. A further three script extracts are read by M, but the final two are spoken by Daniel Craig in a similar tone. The use of script extracts is far more effective than the potential use of a voice over as the latter would ruin the atmosphere and disrupt the audience’s attention drawing the focus away from the mood.

Between each of these extracts, there are a number of digetic bangs which change according to the flashback shown. The flashbacks show an excellent contrast between light and dark as they have a bright, white background compared with the dark, gloomy scene shown before it. The flashbacks also link ‘Casino Royale’ to the other James Bond films, as scenes are lifted from previous films to be used in this trailer, effectivly attracting prior fans. The bangs are made digetic because they coincide with the number of punches or kicks which hit their target in the fighting scene shown.

At this point everything is still in black or white as it is less offensive to show violence in this form. The use of black and white may also signify the fight was in the past and that James Bond has moved on from this time. In the first half of the trailer the lighting is artificial as the characters are situated inside. There are few editing techniques used, two of them being frame cuts and fading. The frame cuts are used when the scene turns from the dark room to the flashback, and the fading is used from the flashback to the dark room.

The use of fading when returning to the original scene allows for a moment of blackness in which the audience can reflect on the scene they have just witnessed. Without this slight pause the trailer would seem too condensed meaning the audience would take in less of the flashback, so they would be less likely to remember this effective sequence. At exactly half way, Bond is depicted standing in the same bathroom shown in the first flashback. At this point everything is still in black and white until he shoots the screen.

This is the decisive moment that differentiates between the two halves. Once Bond has shot the screen, a spiral begins to appear around him as red drips down from the top of the screen engulfing it in a red film, like blood in a computer game. The red is the first colour we see and once it has overpowered the screen it flashes before progressing to the main action sequence. Although the use of red is understandable as it is commonly associated with blood, death and misfortune, I still think it looks out of place, making the trailer less appealing and therefore less effective.

The first shot in the main action sequence is of a Daniel Craig in a digger determinedly driving towards a building. It then jumps to him destroying the building. The use of a jump cut is very effective because it means the scene is only viewed for two seconds showing how life moves on without waiting for anything or anyone. The use of a jump cut is then repeated as we visit the next shot of Bond when at his home in casual dress. The use of jump cuts cleverly portrays the likelihood of unexpected happenings in the film as the two shots I have described are not clearly linked although they follow in sequence.

Casino Royale’ uses a large number of different and exciting camera angles to emphasise the action or to intensify the mood. The first shot we see (after the opening legal shots) is an establishing shot. This low angle, establishing shot portrays a dark, private street with a block of flats just the other side of the road. There is one single lamp post which illuminates just one small circle in the street. The circle of light draws your attention to it because outside the circle, the street is cast into shadow.

The low angle also makes the building seem superior both in size and power. A great number of shots in the first half are low angle shots. This applies to the scenery and the characters displayed making the audience feel inferior thus implying they should look up to James Bond and aspire to be like him. We later meet the softer side of our superspy as there are several shots of him with women. They do this because stereotypically women like romance and by including this, it is widening their target audience, something that is imperative for an effective film.

The use of romance is not in one continuous stream, but is crammed in between Bond jumping across buildings and crashing cars, proving that his love life has to fit arround his job, making it less of a priority to him. Throughout the trailer, characters are shown wearing a number of different items of clothing. Daniel Craig is depicted wearing a suit for much of the first half, as he is inside receiving his mission and he is not actually carrying it out. The suit is typical spy clothing due to their cool heads and professionalism.

In the second half 007 wears a combination of casual clothing, swim wear, army combat clothes and in the final shot, he is back in his suit tearing up the five of spades. James Bond also uses a number of props typically linked to the spy genre. These include guns, knives, cars, speedboats, sunglasses, bombs and state of the art scanning devices. The use of a gun as a prop is especially important and effective as the gun not only links James Bond to the spy genre but it is also used in the decisive moment seperating the two halves of the trailer.

The gun has a recognised association with the word spy, as well as the connotations secret, dangerous and intelligence. In conclusion I think the trailer is very effective because it uses a variety of atmospheric sounds to reflect moods, has good contrast between lighting and colour and a variety of editing techniques. The combination of all these thigns makes the trailer exclusive in it’s presentation meaning you may wish to view it or stray from your sofa to visit your local store in order to purchase the film and place under your possetion.

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