Thursday, October 2, 2014

Special Effects: Into The Wild

Into the Wild recounts the life altering choices of Christopher McCandless, a once-elite athlete and graduate who wishes to free himself from the commitments and responsibilities of his middle class life after University. With a fascination to be one with nature, and a desire to find his true self, he sets off to Alaska in hopes of fulfilling these wishes. Along the way he meets many people with many different bearings that change his views of the world and help him find his true self. Once in Alaska, however, he realizes he is underprepared for the hardships of the wild, and the place he once dreamed would rescue him from his troubles, ultimately leads to his demise.
            When viewers watch Into the Wild, the use of visual effects that captured the wilderness of this tale may not be as noticeable. But without these effects, scenes are not as believable. A leader in visual effects for feature films, Entity FX, handled the job for Into The Wild. The digital visual effects support the overall cinematography in the film as well as adheres to the appeals of logos, pathos, and ethos.
            Director Sean Penn was committed to achieve full surrealism. One of the scenes that is an example of this is the car flash flood area scene. Christopher in his car at night and all of a sudden water rushes up and over the car. The car hits the rock and was shakes all around-- which was created digitally. This added logos to the scene. If the car was being hit with the flood of water, it would make sense that the car would be moving around and hitting the rock. The floodwater was produced with photography and computer-generated splashes. This effect appeals to ethos because the computer-generated water splashes made the scene look more real. It also applied to logos. As the water is rushing over the car, viewers feel a sense of thrill. As Lunsford says, “As technology makes it easier for people to create and transmit images, images become more compelling than ever,” (Lunsford 442).

                   Another scene that used special effects is the graduation scene. Christopher is at his universities' graduation and begins to invasion what his parents graduation was like. The camera then cuts to his parents and the whole look of the scene is reminiscent of a old video camera. The faded colors used and the flickering make the scene look this it is an actual real recording from when they graduated, which adds to ethos. This scene adds logos because the effects help the audience feel like they are in that time era as well. Since Christopher is imagining his parents graduating and they are now older, the special effects of making this scene look old fashioned is logical because technology was not as advanced then.
            Overall, the addition of special effects enhanced this film overall. This movie was not a movie that was over dramatic with the special effects but it utilized them in the correct ways. As said in Understanding Movies, "Even realistic films can benefit from this technology," (Giannetti 33). These effects clearly appeal to the appeals of logos, pathos, and ethos. Because of the use of these effects to amplitude the film for this type of movie, I would give this film four out of five pickles.

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