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Action Adventure Film
Aims and Learning Outcomes
Action Adventure Film
The first part of the exam will consist in analysing an extract from an action/adventure film. This will be between three to five minutes long and will be typical in some way of the action/adventure genre.The extract will be chosen because it not only fits the genre, but it clearly represents people in a certain way. You will be asked questions on: genre conventions (what you're doing for homework) media language (camera, editing, mise en scene and sound) and representation.
What makes it an action adventure film? You may have to concentrate on typical or atypical narratives (action), settings (city, night, jungle etc), themes (revenge, justice, good vs evil), icons (weapons)
Storyline and Plot:
Tease out the differences between these two terms. Think about the characteristics of Action Adventure films in having fast moving plots which provide plenty of excitement and tension.
All Action Adventure films have recognisable narrative structures which offer a way of examining how a story is organised and shaped in terms of time and events. It is interesting to explore the
of narrative structure with regard to Action Adventure. For example a defining feature of narrative is the high degree of narrative closure, with all problems resolved and/or our hero triumphant. So in addition to linear structure, narrative can often be seen in terms of oppositional structure too, as a fight between forces of good and evil.
All Action Adventure films have a recognisable heroic central character, a hero or heroine who is able to overcome incredible odds. Whilst some films feature brave heroines, most narratives are organised around traditional gender roles. Teachers might want to explore the extent to which modern films have challenged traditional female (and male) stereotyping.
Action Adventure films tend to feature characters that play opposite the key central character, for example either in the form of a relationship (hero/heroine) or in conflict (hero/villain).
Action Adventure films often involve central characters working towards a final goal (such as seeking treasure). These narratives take place against the backdrop of a variety of exotic and sometimes glamorous locations. These can range from desert landscapes to urban settings. Not only can their use provide the audience with visual pleasures, but the location itself can serve an important narrative function as central characters find themselves battling with the challenges presented by it e.g. surviving earthquakes, struggling, through jungles etc.
Chase, race against time, survival, revenge, love - why is the action taking place? What is driving our hero/es forward?
Moving image – Camerawork:
Low angle, high angle, canted angle or aerial shots
Elaborate camera movement such as tracks, steadicam or crane shots
Shallow focus and focus pulls.
Moving image – Editing:
Less common transitions: dissolve, wipe, fade
Moving image – Soundtrack:
Synchronous and asynchronous sound
Moving image – Mise en scène:
Lighting (especially low-key lighting)
Costume and make-up
Casting and performance style
Blocking (the composition of elements within the shot).
Q3) This is the representation question:
At it's simplest, representation is about how people are depicted in the extract. You can look at how other things are being represented such as places, events, aliens, monsters, ideas - but it is best to start with people. Stereotyping is such as big issue in representation that it I often the best place to start. What stereotypes of people do you often find in action/adventure films?
Candidates should be prepared to analyse and discuss the following:
Stereotyping of people, places/and or events
Why social groups and/or places are present or absent from the text
The construction of a world that makes sense to its audience
What is valued or celebrated by that world.
Candidates should be able to recognise common stereotypes based on factors such as age, gender,
ethnicity, body types, class, region and nationality. They may be able to identify groups that are excluded
from featuring in this genre of text by stereotyping. They might comment on deliberate anti-stereotyping.
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