Film reviews are essential for the reader to find out the plot of a film and what techniques were used to create particular effects on the audience. They also help the reader to decide whether or not they want to watch the film that the review is about. In this review I will be analysing two films- Dead Again, a mysterious dramatic thriller that uses the techniques of film noir by Kenneth Branagh and Godzilla an action, sci-fi thriller by Ronald Emmerich. I have decided to choose these two films because they are very contrasting and are both interesting in their own ways.As a result of this they use different techniques.
The plot of Dead Again very much differs from the plot of Godzilla. Dead Again is about a woman called Grace who has no memories of her own as she suffers from amnesia. She keeps having nightmares about the murder of a pianist Margaret, by her husband Roman Strauss.
Mike Church, a private investigator, attempts to solve the mystery. I think that anyone who likes romantic mysteries would adore this film. On the other hand Godzilla is the story of a giant, irradiated lizard, which was created by the French atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific Ocean.The question is though.
.. can a human destroy it before it destroys all humans? I think that people who like sci-fi films, like Jurassic Park, would love this film as they both contain surreal creatures. The two films Dead Again and Godzilla use very different lighting and colour techniques.
Dead Again’s director very cleverly uses film noir effects when the memories are shown. I know this because he uses mainly low-key lighting, which creates very distinctive shadows and makes that part of the film very mysterious and scary.I particularly like chiaroscuro being used when Strauss is talking to Mike Church, because in this bit we can only see Strauss’s face and his surrounding is in shadow. This makes the film look even more dark and spooky. Also, the memories part was in black and white while the actual film was in colour. This creates a great effect because it emphasises the fact that that part of the film is a memory and makes the audience want to know why it’s black and white even though it is made in 1991 when most films are made in colour.On the other hand the creators of Godzilla used high key lighting to create a very realistic effect and to make you think that any ordinary person could potentially go fishing and fish a great monster out of the sea-, which helps the audience relate with the man who was fishing. It is quite dark, dull and it is raining though so it makes the audience think, “Why on earth is this man fishing in such terrible weather”.
The monster, Godzilla, looks very realistic. I think this is because people normally associate green with nature, so the monster looks natural.The sound in the opening of Dead Again is mainly non-diegetic because there is background music going all the way though. The background music is quiet at the beginning and them builds up to the bit where Strauss is walking down the hall. This builds up the tension and adds a bit more dramatic effect to it. There are just a few diegetic sounds in this, which are very sharp, loud and dynamic.
An example of this is the sound of the scissors when Strauss’s hair is being cut. This emphasises the importance of the scissors in this scene, because Strauss takes the scissors and murders his wife using them.There is a sound bridge in this opening going from when Margaret screams to when Grace wakes up which creates a smooth transition from one scene to the next.
The sound in the opening of Godzilla is mainly non-diegetic because, as in Godzilla, there is background music going all the time so they are similar in that way. This is again quite at the beginning and gets loud towards the end of the scene, which is done to build up tension. There is very little diagetic sound in this opening, only the conversation of the men. But the most effective is the crushing of the car by Godzilla’s foot.This sound is very loud and sharp in contrast to the few seconds of silence before that. There is a big variety of different camera shots in Dead Again and Godzilla. In Dead Again there are a lot of close up shots. This makes the audience unaware of what’s going on around the main characters so it is even more mysterious.
The fact that the scissors are there isn’t only emphasised by the sound but also by the camera shot, because an extreme close-up is used. This is used to really draw the audience’s attention to the scissors. But on the other hand there are a lot of long shots, in Godzilla, to show what is going on.There is also a viewpoint perspective at the end when Godzilla steps on the car that you seem to be in. This is very effective because it makes the audience feel involved in the film, and scared because they feel like Godzilla is stepping on their car. The mise en scene aspect of the opening of Dead Again is very interesting. This is because it is set in a prison cell, a very enclosed and small space, but there is a lot of space between the characters, which suggests that they are very distant from each other. Their face expressions are also very serious which makes the audience think that; maybe, they are not very happy to see each other.
A very important prop in this scene is the pair of scissors because Strauss steals them and kills his wife with them. The mise en scene aspect of the opening of Godzilla is interesting too. It is set outside, by a fishing port. The two men, who talk to the fisherman, are sitting together far away from the fisherman. This suggests that he probably doesn’t have many friends and a lot of people make fun of him.
The main prop in this scene is the fishing pole, which the fisherman is unable to retrieve back from the water. The face expression of the fisherman when he is running away from Godzilla is very scared.I think this was added to the film to make it a bit funny, so that the audience would laugh. The editing in both Dead Again and Godzilla is mainly straight cut. The jump cuts in Dead Again, when Strauss is walking down the corridor, are very effective because the audience’s focus is drawn to it and the audience wonders what’s going to happen next. So in conclusion I would like to say that, the two films I have analysed are very different because Dead Again has low-key lighting and black and white colour while Godzilla has high-key lighting and colour.The types of camera shots are also different in these two films because in Dead Again there are a lot of close up shots while in Godzilla there are mostly long shots.
These different techniques are used to create different sorts of atmospheres and effects of the audience. There are also some similarities in the two films, like that they both have background music, and that they are both quite dark and mysterious. Of the two films I would recommend Dead Again because it is very dramatic and has an extremely interesting plot. Also it uses more techniques to engage the audience into the film.