Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ both shocking and realistic, and say how effective you find it as an introduction to the film. The film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ was released in September 11th 1998, a joint production from Paramount and DreamWorks pictures as it was directed by a popular director called Steven Spielberg. Steven Spielberg directed some great well-known films e. g E. T the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Jaws (1975) and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is a good example.
Some of the leading actors in the film are Tom Hanks (Captain Miller), Tom Sizemore (Sergeant Horvath), Edward Burns (Private Reiben), Barry Pepper (Private Upham) and Matt Damon (Private Ryan). The Film is about a war between Germany and USA as private Millar carries out a mission. The film is about approximately two hours and 50 minutes long overall but the first sequence is only twenty-four minutes long. The film won five academy Awards (Oscars) including the best director award in 1999.
Steven Spielberg wanted this film to be realistic as possible we know this because he said ”the last thing I wanted to do in this picture was use the war simply as a springboard for action-adventure. I was looking for realism all the time. ” Steven Spielberg also wanted the audience to fell as if they are the soldiers in the film, we know this because he said ”I wanted to put chaos up on the screen, I wanted the audience to feel the same as those green recruits that were just off those Higgins boats and had never seen combat before. Ninety-five percent of them hadn’t.
It was complete chaos. ” Steven Spielberg wanted the film to be so realistic that he wanted the cameras to look like as if there was a camera man following the solders in to the war and we know this because he says ”I wanted to hit the sets much like a newsreel cameraman following solders into war. ” The first scene starts as an elderly James Ryan visits the grave off all the U. S solders that died during the war at Colleville-Sur-Mer in Normandy, France. Then there is a flash back to June 6th 1994 as the U. S Army prepares to land at Omaha Beach.
Steven Spielberg does a great job with the camerawork in the first scene the camera slowly zooms in on Ryan’s face to a big close up of his eyes as then the camera cuts and takes us back to the past in a flash back as the camera cuts to a deep focus shot of the beach with iron hedgehogs both in the foreground and also stretching into the background. A long shot of the boats was taken as the audience saw the soldiers scared and terrified. Their was also a long shot of the boats as they approached the shore cuts to close up of captain Millar hand shaking.
Steven Spielberg made the sound quality very interesting in scene one as the sounds of the waves gradually increases as the scene develops. All the soldiers are silent in the boat as there is no dialogue at first and the audience can only hear the sounds of the boats engines. We all so hear clear sounds of some scared soldiers vomiting following the instruction been shouted out. This scene establishes a connection between the elderly man in the graveyard and the man in the flash back on D-Day and the audience know this because the camera zooms in to the elderly mans face to bring out his past experiences.
The mood of the fear and tension is created as the audience is given a cursory introduction to some of the main characters. The second scene starts as soon as the boats doors open as lots and lots of soldiers are shot and killed, this happens continuance as soldiers after soldiers are killed in all of a sudden with in seconds of leaving the boats. Steven Spielberg does a great job with the camera work in scene two as he takes medium and close up shots of the soldiers being killed. There are also shots over the Germans shoulders perspective as it gives them sense and advantage over the soldiers on the beach.
As soldiers plunge into the sea the camera follows them, giving the audience their perspective as the soldier’s struggle both below and above the sea. Steven Spielberg makes the sound effects really interesting as there are very loud gun fires which are the sound of bullets firing and spreading into their attended targets. Their also was instructions shouted out as there was muted sounds too when the bullets zipped through the water and killed many soldiers below the sea. The sound mutes every time the camera sinks below the water giving the soldiers perspective.
Various perspectives give overviews of the carnage as the camerawork brings the audience closer to the action most of the time. From the German’s perspective this scene suggests the Americans are fighting a lost cause which indicates the immense difficulty of the mission. Their was sense of confusion and hopelessness as the audience thick no one could ever survive in this madness of chaos. The third scene is when captain miller came out of the red blood filled sea which was made red from all the dead soldiers’ blood.
Captain Miller stumbles and fails as he witnesses and experiences a shock and confusion at the carnage all around him as the audience see events from Captain Miller’s perspective. Steven Spielberg does a great job with the camera work in this scene as he closes up on Captain Miller as he emerges from the red blood filled sea. Their was a jerky slow-motion with shots of Captain Millers shocked expressions editing alternately with horror and chaos taking place around him. Over the shoulder of Captain Miller gives the audience Captain Millers perspective as the audience can see the hell that he is going through as that moment.
Steven Spielberg makes the sound affects really interesting as he mutes the sounds that accompanies the slow-motions as the explosions can still be heard in the background on the sound track even when it’s muted. A young soldier shouts silently asking Captain Miller for instructions and orders but the sound returns nosily as the audience hears the soldiers words above the loudness if the audience in plunged into the horror of D-day alongside Captain Miller and the audience experience the senseless carnage through his eyes.
Finally to wards the end of the scene Captain Miller comes to his senses and resumes his responsibilities as the audience are given an insight into the true horrors in a war from this scene. In scene four Captain Miller stays forced as Sergeant Horvath comments and the audience is shown a vast number of dead soldiers as the red blood filled sea washes over them. In the fourth scene Steven Spielberg does an excellent job with the camera work as he shows a close up of Captain Miller’s hand shaking. The camera then suddenly zooms in to a big close up of his eyes and then cuts to show the audience his point of view.
Steven Spielberg also does a great job with the music and sounds as the music is very gentle as it quietly fades in and the wave sounds are peaceful as there is prolonged noise, chaos and destruction. The melancholy music adds to the solemnity of the image. The peace in this scene is a relief for the audience after the exhausting tension, chaos and horror of the battle. The final shot shows the name ‘Ryan’ on the backpack of one of the fallen soldiers as it establishes a link between the sequence we have just seen as well as both the title and the plot of the film.
I found this film really shocking as it was scary and horrifying to see all the soldiers getting killed in such horrific ways. I thick that Steven Spielberg certainly succeeded in making this film because this film is the most realistic film I ever seen and Steven Spielberg wanted it to be the most realistic film ever. I think overall I would give this film a 10/10 as this is one of the best films because this film is as realistic as it gets in reality as I found this film a superb and magnificent film to watch.