Steven Spielberg's Jaws and Ridley Scott's Gladiator Essay

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Steven Spielberg's Jaws and Ridley Scott's Gladiator

The two films being examined are the thriller Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, and the action film Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott. Both directors create epic films; the films are momentous and are designed to manipulate the emotions. A thriller is intended to appeal to basic human instinct to the need of feeling fear and survival. Action movies are designed to appeal to our sense of danger: pace and experience is something we want but don't have in our everyday lives to this extent. Both films are examples of media, which manage to induce you into a certain way of thinking: Jaws into being scared and Gladiator into sympathising and rooting
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When the Barbarians enter the scene they all appear uncivilised and disorganizes in comparison: the fact they behead the messenger reinforces this. When the battle begins, the camera flicks around at a frenetic pace, showing the chaos of battle. As Maximus enters on a horse, the light is streaming through the trees making him appear a hero, a ray of hope in the dark. As he begins mercilessly killing Germanians the director manipulates the audience into condoning the slaughter, and what is more, willing him to kill further lending credibility to his role.

In Jaws, the shot opens on the beach with the campfire at night. It's a familiar setting; the teenagers are all stereotypically middle class 'college kids', very warm and relaxed. The director designed the scene to provoke a recognizable combination to the audience, to convey how normal and plausible it is. When the female and male leave the group the group, the colours change; the scene becomes dark and the characters become silhouetted against the moonlight. The silence is emphasised by the sound of the waves and the bell. The atmosphere is eerie and indefinite: the sea is calm. The female actress is silhouetted as she swims. Her friend has passed out at this point, obviously beyond giving any help, which increases the sense of her isolation and vulnerability. As the camera closes in for a close up
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