Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog 1 - The Prestige

    The Prestige Movie Trailer    

The Prestige 
Emily Hopkins

     They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but are you watching closely? As viewers, we can discern valuable information from a movie’s poster; it can tell us anything from who is acting in the movie, to revealing subtle information about a character. The movie poster for The Prestige is no different; if watching closely, we are able to detect information about the film. Through ethos, pathos, and logos, the movie poster draws us in enough to peak our viewing interest, yet it also leaves some questions unanswered. 

     At first glance, our eyes are drawn to the faces of the three main characters: Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and Christian Bale. Right away we are able to recognize them; even if you did not recognize them immediately, their names are at the top of the poster. In today’s culture, many people are familiar with these actors, have seen several of their movies, and have established a like or dislike for them. These actors have an ethos that is immediately discernible from first glance at a poster. By utilizing these three actors’ faces as the focal point, the creators of the poster are employing the positive ethos that the actors hold. Along with the ethos of the actors, we also see that the director of The Prestige is the same man who directed Batman Begins and Memento. This is no accident; the thoughtful placement of those words at the top of the poster allows us to assume the film will be just as good as those mentioned -you expect the same director to produce an equivalent quality of film. 

     After recognition of the actors, we notice a general lack of color. Black, white, and a slight hint of blue capture the personality of the poster and also the personality of the film. These colors clearly don’t suggest a comedy, so the viewer can conclude that The Prestige is probably something darker like a drama or a mystery. The expression on the actors’ faces also leads us to this conclusion; both Jackman and Bale display stern, serious expressions as they stare off in opposite directions. As onlookers, pathos peaks our curiosity about the nature of Scarlett Johansson character. The poster only depicts a portion of her face in a wisp of smoke; who is she? The positioning of her face is also essential to key information. She is placed in the center of the poster, in-between Jackman and Bale; what role does she have in the relationship between Jackman and Bale? This is no coincidence that she is placed in-between them. The thoughtful placement of her in between them makes sense after viewing the movie. 

     The film centers around two friends, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, who follow separate paths as they compete for the same goal. On their journeys, each discovers for himself his boundary of morality - this is reflected in the lighting of the poster. Once again, our pathos is triggered. Both Jackman and Bale’s faces are half lit and half dark, suggesting that they are neither good nor evil, but a combination of the two. This light against dark theme is also reflected in the text of the actor’s names and in the title of the movie. The first half of the title is slim and shrinks in comparison to the light, bolded second half. 

     When I first heard about this film, I did not know what it was about. I was given a one-word description of the film as my friends wanted me to view it with fresh eyes, not having any pre-conceived ideas of what to expect. Even if I knew the storyline before watching this movie, it would not have made much of a difference. There is so much that occurs, including several plot twists; you truly do need to watch closely in order to follow the story and comprehend it. The tagline “are you watching closely?” is shockingly true. I was paying attention throughout the whole movie, yet I was still left with many questions and the movie had to be explained to me. Without realizing it, the logos of the poster is strikingly accurate. Something that seems so obvious as paying attention to a movie can make the difference between understanding and enjoying a film and being incredibly confused after it is over. 

     Overall, the poster does a good job of capturing several aspects of the film; however, it is very illusive to what the movie is actually about. I do not want to say that it is misleading, but I would say that it is a marketing ploy. The disparity of props and setting adds to this. We have no reference for where the film takes place due to the absence of a setting. Along with this, there are no props and we are only able to see the actors’ faces. Clothing and props also allude to facts about characters as well as give us information regarding the time period of the movie. 
Setting, clothing, and props help us gather useful information and the lack of these things from the poster leaves us guessing. This movie poster peaks my interest enough to go see the movie without actually knowing anything about it beforehand except for the three main actors. 

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite movies. You really captured what the poster conveys. I agree that there is a sense of strategy that goes into the placement and tone of the poster.