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ars IV Opening

ene Analysis

By Robert Tredgold

Star Wars episode IV is a sciencefiction film produced by Lucasfilm and
distributed by 20th Century Fox. The
director was George Lucas and the
lead actors/actresses were:
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Alec Guiness

Target Audience
Its target audience has a very
large demographic. It is more
focused at fans of sci-fi and young
adults. You can tell this from the
slightly exaggerated acting and
the visual spectacle, however it
was and still is successful because
it appeals to many different tastes.

Static shot of space for a few seconds. The

music pauses to show the transition to the

Cuts to a slightly panning

shot of the rebel ship flying
past, with the Star
Destroyer looming in the
distance. More laser

Shot pans down to reveal alien planets, showing

the audience that the movie is a sci-fi film. The
Static shot from a slightly
music resumes to be epic and fast paced.
high angle to show the
destruction of the ship, and
to make it seem weak. Non
diegetic sound of an
A large ship appears from the top of the screen,
but is then dwarfed by the huge star destroyer.
The shot is low angle to convey the huge size.

Cuts to a tracking shot of the robots. The

camera shakes to show that they are inside the
ship being attacked. The contrast between
space and the inside of the ship catches the
attention of the audience so the film can
introduce new characters. Music fades to the

Static shot of the soldiers running past.

Non-diegetic running sounds and

Another tracking shot of the robots.

Non-diegetic sound of whirring.

Camera cuts between the robots to show

who is speaking, as there is no clear
indicator otherwise. The talking could be
either diegetic or non-diegetic.

Static shot of the soldiers running past.

The music becomes louder and is the
same style as when the ship was being
chased. This shows that there is about to
be more action.

Static shot of the soldiers lining up in front

of the door. This shows the audience that
they are defending it, and this is where
the action will happen. Some non-diegetic

Low angle shot of the Star Destroyer

pulling the rebel ship in. The low angle
shows the power of the Star Destroyer and
its size compared to the rebel ship.

Non-diegetic creaking noises are

added in, and the music dies down

Music resumes and the camera

focuses on the door, again signifying
this is where the action will happen.

Long shot of R2-D2 and C3P0.

Close up shot of the mans face to

show fear and confusion.

Shot of the door again to show an

explosion. There is an explosion with
a loud sound and this tells the
audience that the action is about to

Tracking mid shot to show a slightly comical

scene of the robots walking through the chaos of
the battle and remaining unscathed. Lots of nondiegetic laser noises.

Long shot of Vader. His costume contrasts

with the light colours seen so far, and the
music becomes ominous, and points him
out as the antagonist.

Far shot of Leia putting something

into R2-D2. The low lighting and
smoke helps to add to the mysterious

Close up of Leia to introduce her as a


Mid shot of the captured prisoners that

pans across as they pass. Music quickens
to show danger.

Close up of Vader strangling a rebel.

This shot shows the terror on the
rebels face, compared to the
emotionless, unfeeling black mask of
Vader makes him scary to the

Mid shot of Vader lifting the rebel off

the ground. This shows Vaders size
compared to everyone else.

Another close up shot of the rebel

being lifted off the floor, just before
he is thrown away with relative ease.

Mid-shot of Leia to show that she is hiding,

and armed. Some non-diegetic laser
sounds play.

Far, high angle shot of Leia on the

floor to show that she has been

Mid shot of C3P0 and R2-D2 to show

C3P0s reluctance and R2-D2s
adventurous habits.

Mid shot of C3P0 being affected by an


High angle far shot to show the

escape pod against the blackness
of space.

Mid shot of the robots, also containing a

low angle far shot of the Star Destroyer,
the opposite of the previous shock.

Mid shot of the bridge of the Star

Destroyer. It also contains a far
shot of the escape pod to show
how far its gone.

Far shot of the escape pod heading

towards Tatooine. This shot ends the
beginning scene of the movie, and leads
into the rest of it. The music reaches a
climax to show the transition to the rest of
the film.

In terms of transitions, it is all jump cuts. There are none of the wipes that
Star Wars is famous for.

The set for the first scene was completely CGI, possibly with real life models overlaid on to it. In
the next setting, the set was very white, to show that the viewer is looking at the ship of the
good guys. The bright lighting reinforces this. When Leia is hiding and C3P0 and R2-D2 are
entering the escape pod the setting is very dark, to make the viewer uncertain and intrigued.
There is also very low lighting and smoke to give the scene an air of mysteriousness. The next
set is inside the Star Destroyer, which is black and almost devoid of light. This contrasts with the
rebel ship from earlier, and shows them as the bad guys. The penultimate set is inside the
escape pod, which is small and cramped compared to the robots, and has a hole with a viewing
port which is completely impractical, but good for viewing purposes, as it shows the scale of the
Star Destroyer compared to the escape pod. The final set is like the first one: a CGI background
with models/more CGI overlaid.
When the ships are in space, the light source appears to be the planet. The lighting in the rebel
ship is very bright and clean, to show that they are the good guys. The lighting changes when
Leia is with R2-D2, so that it is low key, and casts long shadows. This makes the scene
mysterious. The star destroyer is lowly light, to make everything seem darker and more sinister.
The costumes contrast very clearly between good and bad. Darth Vader is all black and very
imposing, whereas Leias costume is very white and innocent looking. The Rebels have a grey
costume without a mask, so you can see their faces, letting you sympathise with them, whereas
the Storm Troopers are simply black and white, with full head helmets, which alienate them to
the audience. However, both costumes are bland, and a bit dull, so that it is obvious that they
are not a huge part of the plot. The robots are the ones who the story is following for now, so
they are unique and have very bold, bright and contrasting colours as part of their costume. The
commanders on the Star Destroyer are dressed in all black like Darth Vader, so that they dont
ruin the dark effect of the set.

There is not very much make up in this scene at all, apart
from the faces of Leia and the rebel soldiers in close up shots,
but it is not noticeable enough to make a significant
The only props used in the opening sequence were:
The guns of the soldiers and Leia
The disk that Leia puts into R2-D2
For the most part, the dialogue is between R2-D2 beeping
and C3P0 providing some context as to whats going on with
his neutral voice and posh, British mannerisms. The dialogue
of the Storm Troopers is basic, and only there to inform the
audience of key plot developments. They also have a very
neutral, general American accent, not making them
memorable or unique. Darth Vader is very formal in his
language, and the deep, distorted voice gives him a
terrifying, unfeeling persona.

I think that the opening five minutes of
Star Wars: A New Hope was well
planned and designed. The contrast of
costumes and dialogue helped
younger audiences understand, and
the sci-fi aspect draws in young adults
and other fans of the genre. Overall it
was well executed, and the film
remains one of the most recognised of
all time.

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