How effective are the opening sequences of 全aving Private Ryan and 賎ladiator in their presentation of war?

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The opening sequences for both films are in many ways completely different, but in other ways quite similar. The most obvious is that both are war scenes. The different time settings make the two differ considerably; the costume in 賎ladiator is Roman armour accompanied by animal skins draped over shoulders, indicating authority and wealth. We know that Maximus is important as he is dressed in elaborate armour with furs draped around his shoulders.


This is completely opposed in 全aving Private Ryan as Miller wears the same as the regular soldiers so he does not make himself a target for the Germans. All the soldiers wear simple khaki- green clothes and black boots, indicating no importance to any one particular person.


The sequences start similarly as they begin with very personal moments in which one feels evasive, and very intrusive of their privacy. This is worst in 全PR as we watch from behind a white gravestone as if we are spying on Private James Ryan. The enormity of the deaths in the following scenes is shown as the camera pans down the rows of white gravestones. They are set out in ordered rows representing the uniformed, tidy idea of the army. It is almost unbearable as the camera zooms in on Private Ryan痴 eye痴 as one finds it uncomfortable watching a grown man crumble, with tears in his eyes. The personal moment in 賎ladiator is Maximus hand brushing through the barley of his farm, showing the viewer that this is his place of sanctuary. The wedding ring on his finger indicates why his comfort is thinking of home; to be with his family. The calm but haunting music together with the autumnal colours reflect his collected state of mind. The second shot is of Maximus rugged face. This and the wintry colours of the snowy trees blowing around in the wind behind him depict the long time away from home, at battle. Through- out the sequence, Maximus is linked with earthy, natural things and his dog, representing Animalism. The visions of the loyal dog, jumping through flames to go and save his master again link Maximus to the natural world, and make his personality seem more attractive as we tend to feel stronger towards something if there is an animal involved. This is a very effective device used by the director.


These scenes bring the personal opinion or view of a significant figure in the war. It enables us to identify with the happenings of one individual as, opposed to a large group of people. I think these scenes are important parts of the films because they make the characters seem more like real humans similar to our selves, not just fairy- tail characters.


After these scenes, the films change quite dramatically by going straight into war scenes. The music changes as well. In 賎ladiator the sound track is strong and victorious, where- as in 全PR the music comes to a halt and the sound of bombs and guns begins. This makes us feel like we are fighting in the war along- side the soldiers, instead of watching it, giving one a bigger impact of the terrible war. In 全PR the first shot pans along rows of petrified soldiers on a boat. Two men vomiting shows us the extent of their fear and vulnerability. As the camera passes each face, their emotions become very clear; some plead for their lives or turn to their Gods, others try to appear strong. This is similar to the scenes in 賎ladiator as the camera follows Maximus walking along a line of soldiers. Each face again displaying their inner feelings, most of which in this case happen to appear confident. Maximus character becomes clearer as he walks, as all the soldiers seem to admire him and have great faith in him, patting him on the back or similar actions. Maximus is made the centre of attention by being in the centre of the screen. This device is also used in 全PR as Miller gets to shore, and makes his way up the beach. Both characters seem to \'amazingly\' escape from situations impossible to do so from