Special effects now make up a major importance in movies, trying to make a movie as exciting and mind enticing as possible, while attempting to still maintain the greatest level of being believable. Special effects not only give the movie the ability to become more exciting, but also give the actors the ability to preform more shots that did not used to be able to be preformed as a result of capability, dangerousness, and lack of special effect technology. “In the past, whole scenes often had to be reshot because of technical glitches” (Giannetti 33). The movie. Ladder 49, is an action packed and drama filled movie about a fire fighter, Jack, as he is stuck in a burning building trying to find his way out while he is constantly going in and out of consciousness, having flash backs from his earlier life of falling in love with his now wife. This movie uses many special effects in an attempt to make the action and fire scenes as believable as possible. Doing this, the director is trying to key on the use of ethos, pathos, and logos to try to make the most entertaining movie possible.
One special effect that is constantly used in the movie is the use of fire. This is particularly seen when Jack is stuck in the building at the end of the movie and the fire has progressively picked up. The director is using the special effect of fire to try to make the scene as believable as possible in order to make the audience feel as if they are actually in the burning building with Jack. Through the use of ethos, the director constantly makes Jack’s face dirty as if he really is in the fire and covered with ash. Jack is also in a full fire fighter protective uniform as if he really is going to put out the fire himself. This special effect makes the movie better with ethos because the audience is drawn to Jack because of his appearance because he looks so believable. The special effect of water constantly dripping to make it seem like hoses are trying to put out the fire affects the viewer’s logos by harping on the viewer’s rationality to comprehend how believable to scene really is.
The director also uses the special effect of the fire in the scene of Jack stuck in the building through the use of a strict light source. The scene is very dark and the only light that is being produced is from the fire inside the building. This keys on the viewer’s logos because it makes the scene more believable, but also takes away from the scene because it is very hard to see what is going on in the scene. The director is trying to “intensify given qualities and suppress others” through the use of he darkness and light from the fire (Giannetti 28). The scene is almost blinding in the viewer’s perspective because it is so hard to see what is actually going on in the scene. The movie also uses the special effect of debris falling to harp on the viewer’s logos by trying to make the scene more believable. The movie does a good job of making it believable, but at moments it seems very predictable and scripted, taking away from how realistic the scene truly is.
In one of the final scenes, Jack finally breaks through a wall to go into another room to safety, until he looks out the window and sees there is truly no escape as he grasps the inevitable reality that the entire building is fully engulfed in flames, produced by special effects, with no means of escape. The special effects really affect the viewer’s emotions as they connect with Jack as he sits on the ground, thinking about his wife and kids, knowing he will never see them again. Through the use of pathos, the special effects are really drawing on the viewers emotions as they feel the same way Jack is feeling, whether it is the pain from the flames or the sadness the special effects are causing as we watch as Jack comprehends that he is going to die, leaving a feeling of emptiness inside the audience.
As a result of the special effects using ethos, pathos, and logos to create better scenes and also taking away from scenes, I give the movie a four slurpee rating.