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Skyfall – Sam Mendes

The trailer commences by showing 2 production companies; Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Columbia. As with all trailers this is done to give the audience a sense of how much
money has been spent on the film and is therefore an indicator of how good it will be. In this case both are well known- American based film companies (Columbia being a
subsidiary to Sony), which implies the film had a high-budget and is well-made. As Columbia fades into screen, non-diegetic sombre-toned orchestral music begins playing,
which sets up the ‘equilibrium’ part of the trailer as serious and reflective. The shot then transitions to black before fading into the establishing shot - the pause of a black screen
in between shots drags out the pause, causing a feeling of tension which the audience expects from a Bond movie. The establishing shot as shown above, uses mise-en-scene to
set the scene as England. There is a man standing off-centre, dressed in dark clothing, which contrasts the light background, making him stand out. The fact he is placed so close
to the GB flag and Big Ben, suggests he is of equal importance, thus we know this man is James Bond. His stance also tells us something about his character, because having his
feet spread further apart than one normally would, gives the impression he is bracing himself. In addition he is gazing into the horizon, which creates an enigma for the audience
because we associate this character with being impulsive, and so makes us curious and encourages you to keep watching. A J-cut voiceover plays alongside, “Country…” to which
we hear Bond reply “England”. Because the words are associated we assume Bond is being questioned, encouraging us to watch the film to know what it’s about (the fact they
are one-worded also heightens the drama, setting the genre as thriller).

The frame transitions to black, then fades into a long-shot of Bond jogging in a park. He is running in slow motion, which reflects how his life at this stage in the film is at a
slow pace, the weather in the shot also has negative connotations, with a clouded sky and wet surroundings suggesting Bond is sad – we are used to seeing this man as an
unbreakable character, and so to imply he is sad makes the audience question why and so spurs us on to keep watching. The J-cut voices continue over this; “Gun…”
“Shot.”, the tone has changed from the previous piece of dialogue from normal to implications of violence. The dissolving transitions continue, and we now see a mid-long
shot of Bond in a dimly lit room. By keeping the lighting low a sense of mystery is created, which is re-enforced by the bare mise-en-scene of bare bricks and uncovered
overhead lights. Also all we can see is the silhouette of a man, from which we can see the outline of muscles (indulging the female target audience) and a gun (we know
there will be trouble) – we know this is Bond because these are clichés of his character.

In this next shot we finally arrive at the source of the dialogue (meaning it is now diegetic); a bare, windowless interview room. The sparse mise-en-scene is similar to that
in the previous shot, re-affirming a sense of secrecy. The poignant use of lighting is also continued, with two silhouettes in the foreground, who frame Bond and the man
questioning him in the centre, reflecting the pressure put upon him and how he is being observed, which is encouraged through his costume of a blue top and trousers
because one relates such uniformity to prison. As this shot fades in he responds with “employment” to the word “murder” from the previous shot – the pace of the
transition from one shot to another is quickening, building to a crescendo. Also, a sense of irony is created by this piece of dialogue, which is confirmed by the casual tone
of Bond’s reply. Clever come-backs are a tradition in the Bond franchise, which appeals to an older generation of viewers because such a trait will make them feel nostalgic.
The shot cuts to a two person shot of Bond and the questioner and the camera has moved to inside the room next to the men, we are literally ‘drawing in’ on Bond, which
foreshadows that the next word-answer will be the most intense of them all. We cut to a close-up of him just as the other man states the word “Skyfall”, at which point we
see the spy twinge slightly, and there is a split second shot of him standing, gun poised, in a room with a man slumped dead in a chair and up-turned furnishings as though
there’s just been a fight. Editing such as this implies this quick shot is a flash-back, and makes the audience curious because it shows Bond was impacted by something, thus
suggesting he has feelings which surprises the audience as he is normally presented as an invincible character. As this has been happening the strings accompaniment
increases in key, to the point where a high note plays and then stops before Bond finally replies “done.” And walks out in silence. In this way changing keys tells the
audience the crescendo is about to happen, making them feel tense (this is the disruption in the narrative sequence). As he walks out a non-diegetic whoosh begins and gets
louder until the trailer cuts to the next shot.

The screen fades to black before smash-cutting into a crane shot. Here, the use of a smash cut surprises the audience by contrasting to the slow pace of the previous
sequence, and is emphasised by the quick flash of white light before fading into the shot above - which also reflects how there will be moments of surprise in the film.
At the same time loud thudding sounds begin to play in rhythm with the shot cuts, which is worth noting sound like computer edited gun-shots. Using a crane shot gives
the audience a sense of perspective, and is used here to create a sense of being over-whelmed, which also reflects how the trailer is about to get busy (like the city). Not
only is a crane shot used to show off how much money was spent on the film, but also in the James Bond context, to give a feeling of glamour which fits with his jet-set
lifestyle and so acts as escapism for the audience.

The crane shot fades to black before jump cutting to a longshot of a woman standing at a large open window with her hair blowing in the wind. Using a jump cut
pushes along the narrative and re-enforces the banging sound of the gun, whilst having the woman’s hair blowing in the wind reflects the sensual, seductive side
which characterises the Bond franchise (and adheres to the Male Gaze – Mulvey) A montage of jump cuts follow, the next of which is shown above and involves the
camera tracking Bond from a normal to low angle. Using a tracking shot emphasises how quickly he is moving and reflects the stylish swiftness of his character,
whilst the low angle makes him seem intimidating and powerful. In this shot the sound of the gun plays in sync with Bond’s action of shooting, heightening the
impact of both sound and image. The mise-en-scene is also important in this shot; the rich dark brown wood is associated with wealth and his suit re-enforces this
(the editor has taken care to include shots which glamourize being a spy because this is what the viewer expects from the film).
The rest of the montage features quick shots of which all bar one are mid-long shots. This is so as to include the background which constantly establishes his
dangerous surroundings and shows off the varying range of sets used within the film. As with most action film montages, the shots do not reflect the
chronological order of the film and the shots are brief in order to exaggerate the drama and quicken the pace, telling the audience this is an adrenaline packed
film. In this particular shot Bond falls into the water at a normal speed, which is then edited to slow him down and leaves the audience with yet another enigma
as to whether he’ll survive, but more so to amaze the audience at his indestructability.

At the end of the montage Bond walks up the camera and stops just as it beings to go into slow motion. Simultaneously another shot fades into the first. These particular
shots have been used because the positioning of the characters allows them to emerge/dissolve side by side, symbolising binary opposites (Strauss) of good vs evil. This
also suggests that the character stereotypes and storyline will be similar to those of previous Bond films, which fits with Propp’s theory that characters and narratives are
repeated and appeals to the audience because they know what to expect. Also, the silhouette of a figure is a semic code, with the black symbolising death and danger –
re-enforced by the fire in the background hinting at destruction which in turn heightens the drama. It also acts as a hermeneutic code, encouraging the viewer to watch
the film to find out who this character is. After Bond has completely faded out, an electronic whooshing sound commences at the same time as the camera quickly zooms
in on the darkened figure. Using this non-diegetic sound effect intensifies the zooming in of the camera, which makes the audience feel uncomfortable and so establishes
dislike towards this character.

The dramatic music stops completely as the whooshing sound merges into a synthesised version of the James Bond theme tune. Having the theme tune play
alongside ‘Skyfall’, heightens the impact of the title because of the prestige one associates with this world-famous piece of music. In addition, the way the title has
been edited to appear on screen symbolises a theme in the film – it fades in gradually, implying that secrets will be ‘uncovered’ which creates suspense for the
viewer, and is an element of ‘difference’ (Neale) in the film which is essential to include so the audience do not get bored. Having the title fade onto screen also
appeals to the audience because it is visually pleasing, and suggests the graphics in the film have been carefully thought over (Bond films are known for excellent
opening credits, and so using text in this way promises the viewer that this tradition has been continued).
Still in the title shot, Bond starts to speak over it as a J-cut; “Some men are coming to kill us”. The next sequence is a ‘tooling-up’ montage of Bond loading a
gun, a technological convention of action films, consisting of fast paced cuts and flashes of white – this builds tension and gears the audience up for the
trailer to become fast paced again. The trailer then cuts to a close up of Bond continuing “…We’re gonna kill them first”, immediately after this non-diegetic
music consisting of loud, powerful orchestral ‘booms’ erupts, in time with a fast-paced montage of extreme action shots from the film. The abrupt return to
action startles the viewer and re-submerges them into the film’s world of adrenaline, which places them in Bond’s shoes and thus creates excitement at the
feeling that they too could be a spy. The brief action sequence finishes and the music ceases in time with a shot of a title screen, similar in the style that
shown above, which says simply ‘007’ - having the trailer suddenly go quiet increases the dramatic effect of the numbers of screen and places more weight
on their meaning. The trailer finishes with a closing screen of the month the film is released, with production companies listed below and ‘#SKYFALL’
alongside. Creating a hashtag for the film encourages the audience to talk about it online, which acts as additional, and what is in effect free, advertising for
the film.

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