Music and sound effects can make a film, if sound effects and music are not handled and used properly it can often ruin any chances of being a success. As technology has changed over the years music has dominated the major part of a film. You find that an action film such as speed relies on visuals and music rather than actual dialogue. In the 19th century there would be a live pianist who would play dramatic music when it was needed, this was because the technology was not advanced enough to be able to put music to films therefore a pianist was needed to create the suspense.
This shows the importance of music. The main effect of music is to involve the viewers in what is happening and increases the tension and excitement of the situation. The music tempo or beat increases when reaching a climax of suspense then quickly dies down to keep the viewers interested and keen. In the elevator scene of the film speed the music gets increasingly dramatic when the film credits appear at the start of the film. This creates suspense, as you know that something exciting is about to happen and builds up the anticipation of an enjoyable film.
The effect of suspense enhanced by music and sound affects can make peoples adrenalin rush causing sweating, increased breathing and fear which people find exhilarating. Silence is used to create suspense by allowing a moment in time, which the outcome is unknown or can even be used as a quick build up or release of tension. Sound effects are a modern way of transferring sounds in a film, which would take place in real life, they are ‘created’. Sound effects in this particular film include explosions that are very real, effective and exaggerated, increasing the thrill and excitement.
The dialogue is fast, concise sentences that have a very strict structure. It is mostly in the form of commands and the action hero tends to be the guy who relieves tension through comic relief. Voices in Speed communicate feelings of calmness or fear. Commands give a sense of control and calmness, but shouting a sense of fear and panic. Screaming is the showing of extreme fear often by women at times of panic. Dialogue is used to tell the story, but in action packed films, music and sound effects play an important part to a good film.
The villain talks in an aggressive, sharp manner, which makes you, dislike him. The hero dialogue is selected to depict a perfect image of a man who is capable of ‘saving the world’ The use of the camera to create tension is a specialist art. The camera work in the elevator scene of Speed depicts this. The camera effect when the lift is falling is called ’tilt’ giving a sense of speed of the descending lift. Faces of the lift hostages are shown in close-up using the zoom lens, which adds to the suspense.
The angle of the camera shot towards the actor can tell the audience more about the character. Sometimes fast rotating camera shots can disorientate the audience, giving a sense of travel sickness or vertigo, which could inhibit entertainment value. Foreshadowing, when scenes have information in them that may be part of the unfolding story line e. g……. These have an important role in increasing suspense and unpredictability and sometimes some ‘red herrings’. Colour has a role to play in setting the right scene, red means danger whereas cool colours symbolises safety and reassurance i.
e. blue. Interpretation of colour can depict mood and feelings of characters and their surroundings. Bright colours give a sense of happiness, dark colours sadness. The story line needs to be simple but effective with a few main strong characters. There will always be the good guy ‘the hero’ and the bad guy who is often ‘the villain’ with an evil and twisted background, who usually wants revenge. The theme often results in the good conquering evil. The story line needs to be simple to enable the audience to watch the film, following it without confusion and be entertained.
The film Speed has all the right ingredients for an action packed, highly entertaining experience. The plot has a hero who has a sidekick, a villain and a beautiful woman, also other characters that add interest to the film. Foreshadowing includes the hero’s friend, who is killed in an explosion, and the effect it has on him, anger and aggression, which is focused on finding who is responsible. At this time in the film little is said, silence shows thought and planning of how he will seek his revenge.
This allows the audience to try and think what he might do, to use their imagination, keeping their interest to see if the action matches their thoughts. It gives a sense of being part of the film. Jack is the typical hero, young, charming, handsome and single with an attractive personality. Someone willing to take risks appears fearless in the sight of danger, which makes him attractive to women and wins the heart of the beautiful lady in the film. This person seems to be unreal the way he survives everything, almost invincible.
The hero is the leading actor, someone who is popular in the film industry already, which acts as a guarantee for success. The success of the film is that you are transfixed by the action and excitement of the plot, which keeps you in suspense the duration of the film. The elevator scene is particularly exhilarating with the excellent camera work and resourceful use of suspense. Everything has been taken into consideration; the attention to detail makes this a well thought out film. I think that the use of explosives and other special effects enhance the film and kept me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The happy ending with the couple in each other’s arms was an appropriate ending to a dramatic and sometimes scary film, which was a calming influence after so much violence. It is a stereotypical story line, which I don’t particularly like, but is popular (especially for my Mum! ). The producer and director (Jan De Bont) created a marvellous suspense film, much appreciated by the public, who attended cinemas and made it a financial success. With high impact stunts that defied belief, the word soon got round that this film was not to be missed, assuring its success. This guaranteed a sequel of the film, which was made, called Speed 2.