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The success of Avatar has brought about many theories about the representation and meaning of the films plot and other aspects of the film from fans all over the world. Over time, the theories for the film have grown in numbers as the people behind these theories take a more deeper insight into the films plot and characters. In terms of the representations of the characters, the Na’vi seem to be very similar to Native Americans. This is due to the fact that they hunt for their food, wear very little clothing, speak in their own native tongue and follow their own religion. While this representation doesn’t seem to be negative, some minority groups believe that this is the case believing that that the film represents them as being victims who could not protect themselves. Furthermore, they believe this representation is also on the verge of racism as the film suggests that the Na’vi need the help of a white man, also known as The White Messiah in the form of the main character Jake Sulley, to be able to defeat the bad guys. These bad guys are represented in the form of the RDA, the American corporate mining company who are after a valuable mineral on the planet of Pandora. This has caused controversy due to the fact that a large corporation is being represented as the bad guys as they have no consideration for the environment or the people that live on these lands, which many environmentalists believe is correct. In addition, many American viewers believe there is an anti-American message in the form that the RDA soldiers represent the American soldiers of today. Russell D. Moore of The Christian Post stated that: “If you can get a theatre full of people in Kentucky to stand and applaud the defeat in their country in war, then you’ve got some amazing special effects.” However, Cameron defended himself in stating that the film is: “…definitely not anti-American…” whilst also mentioning that the good or bad guys could be America: “…depending on your perspective.” Another representation that received backlash from
audiences was the supposed reminiscence of 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre. Some audiences believed that the scene where the N’avi’s Hometree is destroyed by the RDA troops reminded them of the attack that took place on the World Trade Centre. Cameron was quick to calm those claims stating that it was not intended to represent the attack although he was: “…surprised at how much it did look like September 11.”
With regard to the possible meanings of the film, one of the most recognized meanings is the emphasis on the environment. This is due the fact that Cameron has spoken extensively with the media about his environmental message of how Avatar is a broad metaphor about how we treat the natural world. In an interview on National Public Radio, Cameron stated that the world would go through pain and suffering if the world did not acknowledge: “…our stewardship responsibilities towards nature.” Cameron further emphasizes this environmental message in another interview when he says that Pandora is a fictionalised version of: “…the world we used to have.” Another important meaning that the film gives off is about the use of imperialism. This is backed up by Cameron after he mentioned that he believed that people with more military or technological advances might: “…supplant or destroy people who are weaker, usually for their resources.” In some way, Avatar is very similar to the
construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad that started in 1863. The companies in charge of building the railroads fought with the Native Americans forcing them to leave their native land so that the companies could build the railroad on their land. This can be related to Avatar as the RDA tried to convince the N’avi to relocate so they could mine the valuable mineral that they had on their land. The Na’vi would not move leading the RDA to go into conflict with the Na’vi. Other theories around the film suggest that it is very religious, with specific links to Hinduism, and the militarism to help understand the impact the US military’s latest campaigns.
Overall, Avatar has affected many people across the world, by allowing them to try to understand the films much deeper meanings than what we may first initially see or simply parody the film in other entertainment brands, whilst also having a significant impact on how we have viewed movies since the release of Avatar and how we will watch movies in future years to come, due to the breakthrough in technology that the movie has bought with it.
Below is a questionnaire that I have constructed which will hopefully help give necessary feedback on how the producers of two major game products that have similarities through online multiplayer and campaign and how the products use the specific uses of layout of the two trailers and what effectiveness it has towards the target audience. The questionnaire will consist of different question types such as multiple choice, open and closed questions. The questionnaire will also feature questions which help get to know a bit about the audience such as their hobbies and how old they are.
1) Are you male or female?
2) What is your age?
3) What is your ethnic origin?
4) What are your hobbies?
5) What is your preferred choice of gaming device? Ps3, Xbox or PC? Why?
6) Do you use the internet for other entertainment besides gaming? If yes what is it?
7) How often do you use the console?
8) How many game devices do you posses?
9) Do you buy games for the storyline, online multiplayer or both?
10) How do you purchase the product? Internet or shop?
11) Which of the two trailers do you prefer? Why?
Links to the two trailers: Link to Battlefield 3 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khXzREHkLmY
Link to Modern Warfare 3 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7xL5Tz7VUk
The release of Avatar sparked a technological revolution in the movie industry. Even before the movie was released back in 2009, movie critics were eager with excitement at this movie, believing that it would spark the next generation of movie making, mostly due to the new digital 3D technology that would be used in James Cameron’s latest movie which would be a vast improvement on the conventional cardboard 3D glasses with the red and green lenses. However, a number
of new technological advances were also used in the making the film. One of which was the use of new motion capture technology to overcome the problems of uncanny valley, a hypothesis that suggests that a nonhuman object that is close to resembling a human being but is not perfect causes humans to repulse the nonhuman object, such as a robot for example. In an interview, James Cameron stated that: “…if you didn’t see a soul there – it would just be a big clanking machine.” Whilst further emphasizing that they: “…have to be real, they have to be alive.” To overcome this problem, a new performance capture technology was created where the actors wore individually made skullcaps that were fitted with a camera that was positioned inches away from their face. This type of technology allowed 100% of the actors detailed facial movements to be transferred over to their CGI counterpart thus allowing Cameron to overcome uncanny valley. Alongside this, the Stereotypic 3D Fusion Camera was created specifically for the movie to create 3D images whilst also being able to blend live action and CGI seamlessly. This was not its only use however. Yet again, new technology was created for the making of the movie in the form of a Virtual Camera System, which allowed the actor’s virtual counterpart and their digital surroundings to be seen in real time thus allowing the Cameron to adjust scenes just how he liked. In addition, a Simul-Cam, a mix between the Fusion Camera and the Virtual Camera System, was created to allow the camera operator to see the CGI characters and digital surroundings through the cameras eyepiece. This was extremely effective as it allowed Cameron to tell the actors how exactly to relate to their virtual surroundings.
Check out this video for the making of one of the movies sequences:
The release of Avatar in cinemas across the globe brought many changes to the film industry whilst also encouraging many to take their own spin on this new sci-fi epic. For starters, Avatar become the first film to be filmed entirely in stereotypic 3D, which was a great achievement at the time of the release of the film. With production companies realising the success Avatar had at the box office due to the increased price of cinema tickets that came with the use of 3D technology, more and more films that were being produced were now coming with the option of watching the film in 3D at the cinema. This allowed the production companies to raise more from their movies at the box office even if they were not as
successful as they first hoped for. Some of these films would just
have the 3D effect added over the top of the original footage in post production, instead of being filmed in 3D, as the companies knew that they could still charge extra for the privilege of watching the film in 3D. Up to this day, a high number of films are now being shown in 3D although audiences are now becoming less interested in 3D movies as some see it as more of a gimmick whilst the prices of tickets for 3D films are rising. The success of Avatar has also brought about many parodies about the film. At the 2010 Oscars, comedian Ben Stiller came out dressed as a N’avi whilst presenting the award for best makeup. In addition, famous animated cartoons such as The Simpsons and South Park started parodying Avatar whilst spoof films such as ‘The Greatest Movie of all Time’ and ‘Aliens vs Avatars’ were also created to make fun at sci-fi movie.
Selection of content:
Words and images: In the trailer the first image shown is the content rating of the game letting the audience know what age group the game is mainly aimed at and what sort of content will be involved, in this case blood, intense violence and strong language is shown and heard in the game. The words in this image are bold and coloured black standing out from the background. The next image shown is showing the audience how many awards the game has won this will help in selling the product better as it tells the audience how good the game will be overall. The colour of this image is coloured red making it stand out from the black background.
Sound: The trailer begins with a low sound of music heard underneath the game footage, as it continues the sound of characters and music starts to increase in pace and volume until it reaches a point where a character is heard shouting, the music then stops for a split second just before everything becomes fast paced and the increase of sound and music which adds to the intense footage of the game.
Sequences: The trailer has two main sequences. The first sequence is showing and telling the audience hints of what the game is about, who some of the main characters are and footage of some of the game features. E.g. showing short clips in first person view of using warfare machinery, the atmosphere of being in first person and how that is used to add realism by involving the audience more. It also shows short clips of piloting jets which let the audience know that this will be one of the in game features. The second sequence shows the audience how destructive and fast paced the game is, it also shows most of it in first person to give the game a more realistic feel and to involve the audience more in what is going on within the trailer. Compared to a game, which uses similar techniques and features the trailer for Call of Duty modern warfare 3 is a good example as it uses many different sequences, which show the audience the different layouts, warfare machinery, locations and gameplay within the game.
Colours: The colours of the trailer changes from the two sequences. The first sequence colours are very dark and showing very little light making the game look gritty and dark this also adds to the seriousness of the first sequence. As the second sequence starts the first thing shown is a bright light which is then followed by brightly coloured footage to fully show the detail of the games foreground and background.
Fonts: The trailer only shows two bits of font, which are at the beginning and at the end of the trailer. The font at the beginning is all capitalised and coloured white and gold making it standout from the red background. The font at the end of the trailer is capitalised, large and coloured white making it easy to read and stand out from the dark background.
Construction of content:
Narratives: The trailer has different narratives that are all connected to one main narrative. Each of the narratives are short giving little bits of the story away and are explained to the audience by different characters in the game and by doing this it shows and tells the audience each of the characters role in the game.
Layout: The layout of the trailer is split into two sections. The first section is story based and cinematic as if the audience was watching a short film; it also switches between first person and third person. The first person view involves the audience as if they were part of the story and seeing parts of it through the eyes of the protagonist. The third person view allows the audience to view parts of the game from a distance, which is used to show the surroundings of the game. E.g. there is a shot of war ships and an aircraft carrier in the ocean while a pair of fighter jets that fly at the game camera while showing the vastness of some of the games layouts.
Codes and conventions:
Linguistic: The linguistics of the trailer is all representations of everyday people and their goals. One of the characters is an Arabic leader who’s linguistics and characteristics are based around terrorism and world domination this is a representation of what is going on in the world today. The two other groups of characteristics are based on soldiers and their leaders/captains. The soldier’s linguistics is mainly following orders and nothing else. The linguistics of the leaders/captains is mainly revolved around authority and leadership, giving and shouting orders.
Visual: The visual side of the trailer is made to look realistic this is done by how realistic the textures look e.g. roughness or smoothness of metal on vehicles and weapons. Shadowing and lighting when running past windows, clothing and facial expressions. E.g. movement of mouths, eyes and reactions when spoken to. Also the movement of soldiers and how they crouch lie down and run, the creases in clothes and bags. They also add streams of light that show bits of dust floating around which also add to the realism of lighting and first person as this is what can bee seen through our eyes in real life.
Audio: The first part of the trailer the audio is very quite where the characters are clearly heard so the audience can hear and understand the different bits of the story. As the first part of the trailer ends a man is heard shouting which kick starts the start of the second part of trailer where the audio is greatly increased in volume and pace matching the speed of the footage and hype for the audience watching.
Symbolic: The end part of the trailer is symbolic as it is the producers own logo, picture and music that represent the games inviduality and making it unique from other games and ideas that have a similar theme or context. A good example of this is Call of duty modern warfare, where their logo is coloured green and they only use the initials of modern warfare (MW), which is placed against a black background. The image which tells the audience how many awards the game has won is coloured red which is a symbolic warning colour which we associate ourselves with blood or violence making us more aware of this colour therefore the audience will automatically fix themselves on this and read the bit of information the company wants to get across to their audience. The trailer also shows a American soldier walking towards the camera as bits of rubble fly past him at the screen, it then cuts to a shot of the soldier standing facing the audience with warfare machinery in the background giving him a lone wolf and invincible look. The background is coloured blue representing the American colours and a white title representing purity.
Technical: The technical side of the trailer are the camera movements of the trailer as it crosses between first person views and third person views showing the audience different parts of game footage from different angles, heights and different situations. Example for first person view: The first person camera involves the audience in important conversations with the game characters involving them more in the story line and showing first person views of using machinery or doing something dramatic keeping the audience interested. An example of for third person view is showing the audience the games vastness of backgrounds, locations and how detailed it is. It also shows some of the games features that the player will be able to control and be a part of. For example jets and warships. Another technical convention of the game is the quick editing showing snippets of gameplay which adds to the fast action pace theme of the game in the second part of the trailer which also helps keeps the audience interested and isn’t boring.
Modes of address: The games trailer’s modes of address consist of a lot of action packed footage that shows different fast paced action gameplay and situations that the game puts the player in such as running chasing a main target around taking out enemy targets while buildings are falling down creating large scale destruction, vehicles are exploding on the streets as the player is running past, civilians are running for there lives in all directions and constant battles take place throughout the street as the player tries o reach the target, all this is viewed through first person. Underneath the destructive footage that a fast paced up beat soundtrack is played to add to the suspension and adrenaline rush which helps keep the audience watching and pumped up. As all this is going on the camera remains in first person which helps keep the audience interested as it makes the audience feel they are the character they are playing adding to the realism of the game.From the information gathered the target audience for this product appeals more to a male audience between the ages of 18-30 as the game puts the player in a war zone environment for every stage of the game and has a consistent war theme throughout the game. The game is also a very male dominant game and only feature one female character that the player takes the role of but does not see her due to the constant first person view of the game.
The narrative structure of Avatar is in fact very simple than what we may realise. Avatar has a linear structure to the story, meaning that the film has a three-act structure of a beginning, middle and ending compared to a non-linear narrative that may go middle, beginning and ending. The film also has a closed structure as the film has a clear ending when Jake is permanently transported into the body of his avatar instead of an open structure when the film would end on a cliff-hanger. Furthermore, the narrative of the film is single stranded as the film solely concentrates on the story of Jake throughout the entire film. Avatar also has a state of equilibrium, which means a state of balance. The beginning of the film is where the state of equilibrium is defined, which in terms of Avatar means that the planet of Pandora is at first undiscovered by the humans. The middle is the disruption to the equilibrium meaning that Pandora is being slowly destroyed due to the humans mining for the valuable mineral that they are after. Finally the end, which is the reinstatement of the equilibrium, meaning that the state of balance has been restored and Pandora has been reclaimed by the N’avi.
Avatar was released in cinemas in December 2009 around the world earning billions at the box office whilst also breaking records along the way. However, this was not the only edition to be released in cinemas. In August 2010, an extended re-release of the film was shown in selected Imax 3D and normal 3D cinemas that included an extra nine minutes of footage. This, however, was four months after the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in April 2010 although this version only included the film and none of the special features. This was done so people would go out and buy the film again in order to see the special features thus increasing the profits made on the sales of the film. The three disc extended addition was in November 2010 while the 3D version was released globally in October 2012. The film was also released on other formats including on television where the film made its 3D world premiere on Sky on Christmas Eve 2010 before Channel 4 bought the rights to show the film on standard television which made its debut on 1st January 2012. Furthermore, Avatar was also released on the iTunes store, at the same time of the first DVD release, allowing the viewers to watch the film on their iPods or computers.
Directed by James Cameron, who has previously produced or directed many successful film franchises such as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Alien’, Avatar follows the story of Jake Sully who is assigned onto the Avatar program, on the planet of Pandora, after his brother is killed in action. With the use of his new avatar body, Jakes is instructed by the mining company RDA to convince the N’avi, the local natives of the planet, to move away so the RDA can extract the valuable minerals deep within the planets plants. However, as Jake gains the trust of the N’avi, his alliance for them becomes stronger eventually leading Jake to fighting against the group he works for.
As with any sci-fi movie, there are many specific codes and conventions that the viewer would most predominately notice during the movie. One of which is the fact that the film is set in the near future or thousands of years later with Avatar being set in the year 2154. In addition, most sci-fi films usually include far away planets, which are usually occupied by an alien species, thus usually resulting in conflict between the humans and the alien species, which in this case of Avatar involves the humans ending up in conflict with the N’avi on the planet Pandora. Imaginative settings also play a major part in any sci-fi film as it creates a wow factor for the audience whilst also emphasizing the major work that the production company have put into making the futuristic settings seem believable and that our world could become like it in the future. Whilst Avatar is mostly set on the unspoilt land of Pandora, one of the memorable areas of the planet is the floating mountains that hovers over the land.Furthermore, another convention that makes up any sci-fi film includes the use of futuristic technology such as spaceships, link beds, which transferred the human to their avatar body, interactive holographs and which are used within the film. This has become a major part of any sci-fi film as it allows the production company and the audience to become part of the franchise by imagining up futuristic equipment. In terms of the types of camera angles used, one of the most used camera angles in any sci-fi film is the use of establishing shots. These are very effective as it allows the audience to take in the futuristic settings, which are commonplace in sci-fi films, thus allowing them to become engulfed in this new and exciting setting, which in this case takes the form of the natural yet mystical world of Pandora. Other types of shots that are used include medium and full body shots that are mostly used during the
fight scenes in Avatar, close ups and extreme close ups that are used to emphasize thecharacters emotions and even highlight a major part of the plot that the characters may mention during the film. In addition, tracking shots also play a major part in sci-fi films as the camera follows a particular character. This in particular is used during the battle, fight and chase scenes during Avatar allowing the audience to become part of the action during the film.
Does violence in media create violence in society?
There are always on going battles whether or not violence should remain in many different media products, one of the biggest problems/battle is violence in video games and if it is if not one of the biggest problems that creates violence in society.
One of the biggest gaming titles that would mainly represent this problem is the Grand theft auto series. The series of games all feature the same repetitive content such as killing for money, revenge or even just to help someone out. The latest GTA (GTA 4) has relations to immigration of foreigners coming over to America and to find the ‘American dream’ which is then portrayed through means of violence. This video game reality takes the player and places them in a world where anything is possible and where the player can use behaviour they wouldn’t usually undergo or even consider doing in real life due to horrific consequences. The game also features mini games that are not revolved around violence such as hanging out with the in game characters which become friends with the main character. These are based around real life every day activities families and friends would enjoy such as playing pool, bowling and darts.
The hypodermic needle theory is a linear communication theory and suggests that a media message can be ‘injected’ directly into the brain of a homogenous audience (An audience that all think and react the same). The theory suggests that being surrounded by certain topics will change the mood, how the audience reacts, thinks and behaves. E.g. being surrounded by a topic that represents and features sadness or depression will change the audience to becoming upset in a sad or even an angry way. A lot of people think that this is what happens when violence is involved, the violence becomes embedded within the viewer’s brain and then they subconsciously think that violence is the way to act in order to achieve goals easily and quickly.
The producers of the GTA series have based some of their characters around some of the behaviours and characteristics of their target audience, two good examples of this are GTA 4’s game side stories that cross over with GTA 4 these are, The Ballad of gay Tony and The lost and damned show both sides of the different life styles of two different characters that chose two different paths. One is the night life of the game, the fame and glamour of being a wealthy night club owner. The second is the choice of a rebel and not caring for the expensive things in life but caring about respect, brotherhood and making a statement against others that oppose the characters way of life.
The Ballad of Gay Tony features content that involves the games night life and the people that are attracted to bright lights, heavy drinking, drugs, fast cars, expensive clothing, the lives of the rich and famous and the sleaziness of life.
The lost and damned features content that involves rebellion against all things that are out lawed such as drugs, alcohol and weapons and shows the gritty and poor side of life.
Aged under 18
Males under 18
Females under 18
Males Aged 18-29
Females Aged 18-29
Males Aged 30-44
Females Aged 30-44
Males Aged 45+
Females Aged 45+
Top 1000 voters
IMDb users 13634 9.4
This demographic graph from IMDB shows that the main audience for this specific content is aimed at a male audience as over ten thousand voted and is specifically aimed at 18-29 year old males which nearly reach eight thousand. Whereas votes from a female audience are massively lower at all age groups, this shows that the content within in the game does not appeal to a female audience. This could be due to the overall games character and its consistent violence which sometimes is inappropriate or senseless. The game is a more male dominant based game and shows characters that are unkind towards women and treat them with disrespect, the game also shows that women are not trust worthy and can manipulate men into giving information or secrets by means of a sexual behaviour.
In researching about violence in video games that affect society I found an article which suggests that violence in society isn’t always based on the game being violent but the competitiveness of the video game. This features players competing against each other to complete an objective such as online gameplay or two player gameplay. Games that are very popular and have a very popular online competitive gameplay are the Call of duty series, which puts players in teams where they must compete against each other to win the round/game. This is done by selecting a specific weapon class which the player can use in online gameplay to try and defeat the opponent. Not only is video game violence a specific and major concern that is usually blamed for right away and sometimes the cause of violence in society but it is not always the case, there are many other reasons why people act violent or have a violent nature/behaviour in society. Some of these are believed to be the way some people are brought up as a child and has affected them over time, mixing with the wrong group of people at a young age and enter a state of mind that they think is ok when in reality it is against the law and is therefore hard to break out of because it is a constant habit, such as smokers finding it hard to quit because they have been doing it for years.
Link to article about video game violence and it’s affects: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2013/05/08/yet-more-proof-that-violent-videogames-dont-cause-aggression/