Thursday, August 30, 2012

Les Misérables

Even though Les Misérables is not out yet, it is highly anticipated. The Broadway musical Les Misérables, a musical based on a book of the same name, has been made into a movie before, but never with the original storyline as well as the original music incorporated into the film. The trailer gives a surprisingly little amount of information into the plotline of the movie unless the person already knows the story. Since there is very little plotline revealed, one of the intended audiences is most likely individuals who have read the book or seen the play before. In addition, the trailer does very well to pull in the general population by use of ethos and pathos.
One way the trailer catches the attention of those who already know what the movie will be about, is by the use of music. The song playing throughout the trailer is titled, “I Dreamed a Dream” and is one of the most popular and well-known songs from the musical. A large percentage of musical enthusiasts who heard about the casting choices were extremely worried that these well-known actors would not be able to perform to the vocal levels that they thought necessary. By previewing Anne Hathaway beautifully singing the beloved song, most of those fears were eliminated. Since the movie cannot do well if only musical lovers go see it, the movie production team also worked into the trailer reasons for others to come see their film. They used big name actors in the cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried. By showing their names and faces multiple times throughout the trailer, more people are likely to go see it just because of the specific actors in it. Louis Giannetti states in his book, Understanding Movies that, “Casting a movie is almost an art in itself” (279). One might think, “Well if it’s good enough for Wolverine and The Gladiator to act in, it has to be good enough for me to go see!” In addition to casting popular actors, the director of the film, Tom Hooper, is an Academy Award Winner for his previous work. Academy Awards are not handed out lightly and people will recognize that. Some will be persuaded to go see the film merely because the director has won prestigious awards for his work before.
But aside from the casting and production team choices, the trailer itself is intriguing enough to reel people in. The genre portrayed would be both drama and musical. The very first scene with a man walking alone during a brightly colored sunset references the fact that this movie will be about one man’s journey and how he will try to overcome all of the obstacles put in front of him. But even though the first two clips might feel hopeful, the rest of the trailer has a very dark, gloomy, and somber feel to it. Individuals know going in that it will obviously not be the happy go lucky film of the year. Based on the trailer, they can expect to see heartbreak and suffering throughout the film. Because no one likes to see children hurt, the scene where the little girl is crying and scared is sure to pull at the heartstrings of individuals. And in addition to the multiple scenes of people crying in the trailer, and the rain pouring down in numerous clips, the specific use of dulled out blacks and greys gives the trailer a mood of sadness and depression. Giannetti states that, “Color tends to be a subconscious element in film… they tend to accept color passively, permitting it to suggest moods rather than objects” (22). The dark colors that dominate the trailer are there predominantly to suggest that this movie is going to be intense and sad.
 But even with all of the evidence pointing toward the fact that this movie is about dreams being crushed, in the final seconds the words “The Dream Lives” flash across the screen leaving the audience filled with hope that just maybe this movie won’t be all gloom and doom, but about redemption and hope for the future. It tugs at people’s emotions saying that even if at first it feels like your dream has been lost, don’t give up. It convinces people to go see the movie to see how the characters achieved their dreams. Even though one might not know exactly what the movie is going to be about from the trailer, it still manages to get people’s attention and effectively convince them to go see the movie.

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