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Titanic – The Opening Scenes

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 995
  • Category: Titanic

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A Film is a live active manufactured model of World. The manufacturer is figuratively the Director of the film and the model of the world symbolically being the views that the director is trying to show the audience. The director has to use many tools and techniques to create his model and these have to be used in such a way that the audience can comprehend his outlook on life, which has inspired him to create this model.

If the Director’s model becomes misconstrued by the audience the Director has failed in skilfully creating his living model of how he pictures the World. There are ways in which the Director can prevent the model becoming perplexing. These include the correct use of actors, lighting, sound effects, music and dialogue. These issues must be addressed to make a good film. I believe James Cameron has used all these tools correctly in his film ‘Titanic’. The film begins with a sepia tone sequence of movie clips taken on the day of Titanic’s maiden voyage.

The use of sepia is to create the effect of age and integrity of the footage in the mind of the audience. It is used to set the day and era of Titanic in the audiences mind; this helps the audience to see what the day was actually like. The music being used is the soundtrack from Celine Deon’s – My Heart Will Go On, which has, since the film was released been associated with the film. The music is deep an emotive and the audience knows of the Titanic’s fate and the depressive music contrasts the optimism in the video.

This is a deliberate effect used by the director to set up the assured loss of the Titanic but to confuse the viewer with the optimistic images into wanting to believe the characters and occupants of the ship will survive. As Titanic departs, the gigantic titles are displayed boldly and forwardly the Letters spelling ‘TITANIC’ are rippled onto the screen over rough water, symbolising the current location of the Titanic, at the bottom of the Atlantic. The titles then slowing fade and we begin to submerge into the water, again symbolising the sinking of the great ship.

Then some dim lights begin to fade in and this is the inviting of the modern symbols of discovery, submarines used to investigate the ruins of titanic sink deep to the ocean floor and the film really opens here. For around the next ten minutes the director uses modern day characters to set up a scenario in which Rose, the lead character, can tell her story. This chapter of the movie is specifically intended to supply a background of Titanic. Using the submarines in quest of the ‘Heart of the Ocean’ closely connects us to Rose and presents us with an opportunity to invite her into the film.

Use of sound effects such as rippling water, bleeps of radar and sonar and radio communication set up the atmosphere of a military style operation or mission. When ‘The Safe’ is recovered and a fanfare of triumphant music is played, this livens the atmosphere and confuses the audiences’ minds. The soundtrack changes again and again, creating a feeling of success and then changing when the success is shattered. This gives us interlinking clues in the mystery that is being sewn. Rose is quickly established when her sketch is shown over a TV broadcast and she recognises it.

She is then quickly flown to the site where in 1912 the tragedy occurred. When she arrives on the ship she is thrust into the spotlight and instigates the story telling. However she only began talking about how she came to be on the Titanic, she quickly jumps to Jack and the story depicts how he came to be a passenger on the Grand Ship. This quickly establishes the two characters that exist in two different worlds. These worlds will connect when the perhaps could be said to be the biggest tragedy of the 20th Century that was caused by War.

This then establishes the romantic and mischievous relationship the two young characters in the film have together. The main strength of the opening scenes of Titanic is the mixture of old and new. Using scenes of the wreckage and remains of Titanic and using graphical reconstruction to send us back in time to the day of Titanic and its maiden voyage. The main weakness that I notice when watching the opening scenes is the abruptness of the modern scientists. How they are inconsiderate about the major tragedy that they are researching.

The high interest in financial gain that pushes them to find ‘The Safe’ is one of the only chapters in the story that I believe to be a badly used tool in communication with the audience. However I find it the only way to tie rose into the story. The tone of the film is established quickly and it set as a romantic clashing of two worlds separated by the material classes of the era. This tone is ensued by emotive music and quickly we see booms and busts of the tale. As one discovery is made, the previous one fails and the cycle repeats.

The overall films is intertwined with lots of less significant ventures that come together to form a musical and exciting motion picture tragedy. I would rate Titanic against almost any other film I have seen in my time. Its opening scenes are extra-ordinary and use a complex causal chain of events to depict and invite an opportunity for the story of the sinking of Titanic. I believe the Director has succeeded in creating his and not only his perception of the World in his motion picture Titanic, but he has succeeded in making the epic tale of Rose a reconstructed master piece of story telling.

Read also:

American Beauty is a film that has many theatrical qualities
`Blade Runner` and `Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
How Does Hitchcock Engage his Audience in the Opening sequence of ‘Psycho’

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