Monday, June 9, 2014

The Sound of Captain Phillips

Title: Captain Phillips
Genre: Biography | Drama | Thriller
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi

     With this entry, I chose to look at the film 'Captain Phillips', which actually won an award for best sound in 2013. It is based on a cargo ship known as the "Maersk Alabama" starring Tom Hanks as the captain that is based on a true story.
     In the attached video at minute 2:05 is when the pirates truly begin to pose a threat to the ship. It is at this moment that a clock-like ticking noise is put into play and adds to a subtle suspenseful feeling hinting to the viewer that something is about to happen. Then, at minute 2:30, a short but dominant drum addition occurs catching the viewer off guard and on the edge of their seats waiting for something to happen. At this point, the viewers are so full of anxiety, any change in sound can be enough to startle one. It is at 3:15 that it becomes extraordinarily intense, fast-paced, and suspenseful. This is added immediately as the pirates are shown closing ground on the ship and the situation begins to intensify. The viewer, knowing nothing can listen to the sound getting louder, quicker, and more up-beat and realize that a situation is becoming increasingly more serious by the moment. Thirty-five seconds later to minute 3:50 the music is cut off and the only sound heard is from the voices of the pit. I feel that this was to show the severity and seriousness of the situation; to show that the event happening was real. In our reading "Sound", I found it astonishing that "many critics felt that sound would deal a death blow to the art of movies" in 1927. Could you imagine Captain Phillips without sound and be completely silent the entire time? I sure couldn't. Yes, Tom Hanks is a miracle worker and I'm sure could still manage to make it good, but I believe that good sound can take a movie from good to great.
     Sound can also tell a viewer how to react to a certain scene. In comedies, we may find something within the film that we don't find to be all that funny. However, with the TV shows that have the live audience or the laughter from a live audience added into the show, we then know that we are supposed to find that particular line funny. The same is accurate with a horror or action movie. The music will often start slow and then gradually intensify as a particular event becomes closer to happening. When the music gets faster to the point that it cannot increase much further, the viewer has a pretty good idea that something is about to happen. I have rated this particular movie with 2 director cuts. This rating is based on my view that more could have been added without overdoing it and that I think a majority of the credit can be given to Tom Hanks and not necessarily the sound choice.


Link To Video:

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