13 Going on 30 and the Use of Special Effects
13 Going on 30 is a whimsical movie about a girl who wishes on her thirteenth birthday to become “30 and flirty and thriving,” (13 Going on 30 Movie). She receives her wish and is immediately catapulted into adulthood. While the movie is known for its take on the inner child in all, what makes it unique is its subtle use of special effects that work well with the storyline without overwhelming the audience. Special effects are most certainly not the main focus of the movie but they are evident in one main part that helps the audience connect to the movie. Through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos director Gary Winick uses subtle special effects in the right places to enhance the overall message of the movie which the story of the underdog within.
The ethos of a movie helps an audience connect to the characters and make the movie resonate more in their minds after. Jennifer Garner plays a loveable thirteen year old girl who like every other girl her age, wishes to grow up and get to the good parts. While in the closet after suffering embarrassment she makes a wish to become thirty and by a twist of fate and some magic fairy dust her wish is granted. The fairy dust falls on her and the room slowly spins into a new image of a sleeping thirty year old woman. According to Giannetti, “Even realistic movies can benefit from special effects,” (Giannetti 33). While the plotline of 13 Going on 30 isn’t quite realistic, the movie isn’t special effects heavy and this scene illustrates a loveable character and her transformation through special effects. This ethos connection happens because the audience identifies with Jennifer Garner’s character and we want to see her get her wish. The movie must have a character that appeals to us, and Jennifer Garner does that. With the subtle special effects and the loveable character the ethos of the movie helps us find our inner struggle and helps us overcome it.
The special effects in the scene where thirteen year old Jennifer Garner turns into thirty year old Jennifer Garner appeal to the logos of the movie. 13 Going on 30 was never meant to wow people with state of the art special effects. This being said, they do a great job at using tasteful special effects when needed in order to enhance the aesthetic of the film. Andrea A. Lunsford says “we respect appeals to logos-arguments based on facts, evidence and reason,” (Lunsford 56). The special effects of slowly moving from 13 year old to 30 year old in a spinning motion really help the audience connect to the movie and understand what is going on. This was a very logical move on the directors part because it convinces the audience of the change without overdoing the overall affect of the special effects. This was a very logically thought out scene as far as special effects are concerned.
One of the strongest appeals in 13 Going on 30 is in the emotional side of the movie. Speaking as a once teenage girl, I remember how difficult those first years of high school were. While watching this scene, the director helps us Identify with a struggling teenager and we want to see her pull of the feat of becoming the 30 year old woman she strives to be. The special effects help connect us to her and use emotion to make us root for her triumph over her teenage self. By having us physically see her transform, we are able to identify with her emotional struggles and that makes them our emotional struggles. Lunsford says “emotional appeals are powerful tools, (Lunsford 30). She is very right, in this scene we emotionally identify with a struggling teenager and we become her. Through special effects we then witness her emerge as a new woman who has everything she’s every dreamed of. She appeals to the underdog in all of us and is everything we wish to see in ourselves.Special effects have an incredibly large affect on movies. 13 Going on 30 is no exception to this. While the special effects are not the sole reason to see the movie, they really aid in getting the message across throughout. Special effects are placed in pivotal scenes that help us connect to the character in the movie. Ethos, pathos and logos are all prevalent in the main scenes that use the most special effects. 13 Going on 30 helps us identify our own struggles within and uses special effects to aid in this process. I give it 2 out of 3 tickets for creative and tasteful special effects.