Thursday, February 20, 2014

Saving Private Ryan

           Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 World War II film directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie was nominated for eleven awards and was ranked 71st on the American Film Institute’s list of the best 100 movies. Saving Private Ryan is about Captain Miller trying to find Private Ryan, who has lost all three of his brothers. The movie is known for its portrayal of the storming of the beaches at Normandy during the first 27 minutes of the film. This is the scene that I am going to talk about. I am going to discuss three different types of special effects and rhetorical devices used in this scene.
            The first special effect used in this scene is makeup and fake gore. Dead bodies are strewn across the beach accompanied by lots of blood and gore. The scene is extremely graphic. The special effect of fake gore is an argument of pathos. The graphic way the scene is portrayed shocks the viewer into realizing the horrors of war. The pain the soldiers are forced to endure appalls the audience. The gore is also an ethos argument. The carnage provides credibility to the movie as it is more realistic to an actual war. The viewer feels like they are actually viewing a scene from a real war and not the glorified version of war that many other movies show.
            The scene also uses a bumpy and moving camera to make the viewer feel like they are moving up the beach along with the soldiers. The camera moves like a person running up the beach and is sometimes accompanied by silence and slow motion. This is a pathos argument that raises the excitement level of the audience. The scene becomes much more intense when the viewer feels like they are actually a part of it. This is also a logos argument. The viewer can logically assume that if they are so disturbed by the violence on the screen, it would be even worse if they were actually there.
            The scene is also marked by explosions and lots of gunfire. This is another form of special effect that brings excitement and realism to the movie. The explosions are another pathos argument; explosions are exciting to people. The loud noises caused by the explosions get the viewer’s heart racing. The gunfire serves as an ethos argument. The guns are authentic to the time period, and they lend credibility to the movie. The audience sees the old guns and believes that the scene is an authentic portrayal of storming the beaches at Normandy. Giannetti states that “computer-generated images have allowed filmmakers to create fantasy worlds of the utmost realism.” (Giannetti 35) While not computer generated, the explosions in Saving Private Ryan create a realistic world for the audience.
            People have argued that the scene is too over the top, that it is too violent. They believe that the extreme violence detracts from the rest of the movie. People only remember the first scene and forget about the rest of the movie. I believe that the violence actually adds to the movie. It provides a shock value that the movie needs to portray the horrors of war. The scene grabs the viewer’s attention, and they are hooked for the rest of the movie.
            Saving Private Ryan uses fake gore, a moving camera, and explosions to enhance the movie. The rhetorical arguments made by these special effects help to hook the viewer’s attention and raise excitement levels. Saving Private Ryan is a classic movie that accurately portrays the horror of war. I give this movie 5 slurpees for its use of special effects. It gives special effects that stand out in the audience’s mind while still being realistic. They blend into the movie seamlessly and enhance a great World War II film.


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