Analysing revenge/thriller trailers: ‘V for Vendetta’…

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Media

And for my next choice in analysis of the ‘revenge’ trailer, I chose ‘V for Vendetta’ (poster above). I chose the trialer for this film as although it is revenge I feel that not all revenge films and trailers are necessarily similar, so therefore a wide range and variety of trailers needs to be researched before i can get an idea of what my own trailer will be like.

The trailer I analysed is below:

Genre…

Well the genre of the film, judging from the trailer, appears to be very mixed. I’d say the film is mainly of a Thriller/revenge genre with subgenres of crime, and action and ‘futuristic’. It seems like the film will be a thriller because it is very mysterious and the plot appears quite complex- which is usually associated with thriller films. The way the trailer features what appears to be regular flashbacks makes the actual film out to be very confusing and like it will have various twists and turns in the plot. The revenge genre is insinuated through the fact that the main character (V) seems to want revenge on the ‘government’ though his reasons and motives are left unclear. Also, the mask V wears is a ‘Guy Fawkes’ mask, which indicates rebellion and revenge against the very system that rules the country. I’d say crime is insinuated through various weapons, scenes of hostage takings and imprisonment, as well as one of the main characters being a detective. Action can be insinuated in the trailer as we see various weapons, fight scenes and also explosions which are conventions within this genre. And lastly, the ‘futuristic’ side of the film is indicated through the fact the film appears to be giving a picture of what the world could be like in the future and like most ‘futuristic’ films, things are not well (like in ‘I Robot’ or ‘I am Legend’).

Narrative…

I don’t think the trailer leaves the narrative of the film very clear. For starters, the trailer doesn’t appear to start with an equilibrium. It instead opens with a very fearful and dark mood- we are given the idea that people are scared and we don’t know why. We then understand that it is the government that is setting this fear into the people of Britain, and still are told no details or why this is. But the character speaking says that this is wrong and that the placing of fear should be the other way round- giving us the idea that this is our hero, and he will restore the equilibrium. Two of the main characters are then introduced (V and Evey)- V saves Evey from what appears to be an unjust punishment by those working for the government. We wonder how these character’s relationship will change, whether they’ll work together, be oppositional characters etc etc. We are then told a little more about our protagonist V, and that the government are labelling as a ‘terrorist’ and intend to get rid of him. We wonder why they’re so eager to get rid of V and whether they will eventually dispose of him or not. In turn we are then told more about our other protagonist, Evey. The government appear to want her too, and say that something back happened to her parents when she was younger, though no details about this event are given to us. Evey is then appeared to be captured and imprisoned, though how she was caught is left untold. Those keeping her want the whereabouts of V, and will let her go if she gives them the information. We then are intrigued to know whether she will sacrifice her freedom to save him, or spill the beans on where he is hiding to save her own life. The trailer then appears to focus on a different character- the copper( Finch). He talks about the government and his theories on the wicked things it has done in the past ‘death of thousands’ and speaks about his intrigue to know the truth. We begin to question now whether he is really a bad character and what terrible things he may unearth in his investigations about the very government he works for. Evey then appears to escape from prison, though we don’t know how or by what cost, and we wonder what she’ll do for her revenge on the government. This is when it starts to get confusing- the government begin to fight back, trying to stop the protagonists from restoring the equilibrium. They are seen attacking V, putting troops on the street etc which makes us wonder how our heroes will overcome them and reveal the truth. We are then left feeling we don’t really know who wins this battle for freedom- whether V, Evey, Finch and all those who oppose the government will get their freedom back at last, or whether the government will be able to stop them and further tighten their grip on the country.

USP…

Well personally I think the film is rather unique and looks like it will be, looking at the trailer, complex and exciting. I’d have to say though the biggest USP’s are probably the actors/actresses playing the leading roles and the makers behind the film. For example (although you don’t see his face his voice is equally recognizable) Hugo Weaving playing the role of V, who is  a very popular actor for his roles in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Matrix’ trilogy, therefore audiences who have enjoyed these films are more like to go see this one if they hear he is playing the leading role. Natalie Portman (Evey) is another USP, popular for being in films such as ‘Leon: the professional’ and ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’. And also Stephen Rea,(Finch) well known for his portrayals in many British TV series such as ‘Father & Son’ and ‘Minder’. And of course I have to add John Hurt’s appearance in the trailer, a  giant star for his iconic roles such as in ‘The Elephant Man’ and ‘Alien’ – and he is definetly a USP as he has contributed to so many films over years and has become a very popular star likely to attract fans to go and see the film. And lastly there is a brief mention in the trailer that the creator’s of this film were also behind the ‘Matrix’ trilogy- a very popular trilogy of films and well known world wide- therefore likely to get a lot of people into the cinemas to see the film.

Target Audience…

For some reason I’m going to say women and men are probably aimed at on the same level. I mean, the trailer clearly shows the film will have a lot of action, violence, and a lot of male characters for male audiences to relate to- V, Finch etc and therefore it seems likely a male audience will enjoy the film. But the reason I think women would enjoy it equally as well is because a lot of our attention is focused on Evey. Her story seems to be the backbone of the film and therefore female audiences will enjoy it as they will be able to relate and connect with her character. An insinuated romance between V and Evey also would attract female audiences as this is part of the film which they would enjoy watching more than male audiences- the love relationships between the characters. I think that personally, the plot appears very complex and could easily confuse younger audiences, so therefore I’d probably say it is aimed at young adults and up (about 20+). Because younger teenagers could get confused or bored by the confusing plot and not be able to properly understand what’s going on. But older audiences would not only understand what’s happening, but be able to connect with the characters more, as some of the characters are seen to be around middle aged or more.  Also, a lot of violence and upsetting scenes are indicated in the trailer and this means that a more mature audience is being aimed at as this may scare or upset younger audiences.

Music…

I don’t really view the music as the most important factor but it helps to build some tension. In fact I think the trailer has an interesting technique at the start by in fact having no music- the silence draws us in and makes us focus more on what the characters are saying. It sets a lonely and hollow mood. When the music does eventually begin it is fast paced and quick- heightening tension int he audience and expecting the film here to be a fast paced one with lots of action. There are uses of sound effects such as a ‘boom’ when bad things are seen happening- which makes the audience wonder what is going to happen and fear it is going to be something bad. After V, our protagonist, is properly introduced as the hero of the film, the music sets of at a much louder and faster pace- making us wonder who he is and why he is seeking his revenge on the government. At the moments where the trailer begins to reveal the darker sides of the film- which is mainly what Finch uncovers – the music begins to not slow, but change. It sounds more sorrowful and dramatic- making us feel that something terrible and horrific has happened and making us wonder just what this is. The music changes again as V and Evey appear to try and get their revenge and the government try to stop them- It gets faster and tension building- making us wonder how the government are going to react to what the pair are doing/planning. As we draw closer to the end, the music gets to it’s loudest- sounding of a dramatic and grand tone. This insinuates tragedies may happen and that what V is going to do is on a very big scale and will change all the character’s lives. We are eager to know just what is going to happen- who will win? Will an equilibrium finally be found?

Camera…

I honestly think the camera shots in the trailer are one of the most important factors in presenting the mood, narrative and genre of the film. For example, the trailer opens with a close up of one of our main characters: Evey- this immediately introduces and  establishes her character to the audience, and we see from her facial expressions that she is scared and insecure- giving the trailer already a very tense feel to it. Extreme close ups are then used, focusing on a character’s hands and feet- which keeps the identity of this character a mystery and makes us want to watch on to see who he/she is and what role they may play within the film itself.  A tracking shot is also used to follow Evey as she walks down a street, indicating that she is an important character to the story, and perhaps something significant or bad is going to happen to her, which makes us want to watch on to see what does happen.More Extreme close ups are then used, first for the badge in the patrollers hand (showing a symbol we therefore know to be important to the film and probably linked to the government), and the knife held by a character who is out of shot, indicating they, whoever they are, will save Evey, and we want to know who it is. A close up of V then finally introduces and establishes his character to us and is the character who we saw various extreme close ups of at the beginning of the trailer- so we know he is an important role within the film. There are also two useful techniques of a POV shot- one that puts us, the audience, in V’s shoes for just a moment, helping us to connect with the character and therefore understand his actions and views on the world a little better. There si then another which puts us in the place of Evey- helping us to connect with her and understand why she acts how she does. More extreme close ups are used, the most significant probably of a needle and what looks like blood- indicating perhaps the plot involves  a widespread virus or epidemic? And we wonder how this links to the information already portrayed in the trailer.Also, a two shot of the protagonists (Evey and V) together suggests that the characters relationship may change or grow and we want to know the details of this. It also insinuates they are working together to try and put down the government and we wonder whether this is in fact true. Lastly, the film ends with a lot more extreme close ups- such as the red graffiti being sprayed on the poster, suggesting rebellion and chaos in the nation and that they are being united in their fear towards the controlling government. And the dominoes being pushed over also suggests a large plan, probably created by V, is going to be set off, and there will be chaos and anarchy that will be unstoppable.

Pace…

Overall I think the trailer is quite diverse in pace, for example, the trailer opens at a very slow pace, which draws the audience in and allows them to be introduced to key characters, locations, plots and themes without having to pay too much attention. After the explosion the pace gets quicker as the trailer begins to give the audience more information on the film- by having it fast paced it heightens tension in the audience and means they pay more attention to the trailer itself.  The way the pace slows down in places also portrays the fact that the film will be complex and clever and that you will have to pay attention to it for it to make any sense. The most fast paced it is probably near the end, when Finch has his little ‘monologue’ . This helps to heighten tension in the viewer and make them eager to know what happens/what the outcome of the film will be. It also indicates the film will involve possible violence, action and have various twists and turns in the plot which will catch us off guard.

Dialogue…

I think that the dialogue os very important in the trailer for giving the audience some sense of the plot, characters and themes in store for them if they go to see the film. For example, Evey has the opening lines, which are:‘I wish I wasn’t afraid all the time but… I am.’- which not only establishes her character as vulnerable an innocent but also sets the tone of the trailer- that people are living in constant fear. And we wonder why this is so and whether it will change. V’s lines then speak the exact opposite of this, stating:‘People should not be afraid of their governments….the governments should be afraid of their people.’ – V here is instantly established as a strong and determined character, so probably the hero of the film. He sees what is happening in the world and hates the fact that it is wrong and unjust, so he is going to make it right, thus making us feel that he will be the hero of the film. It also introduces one of the main themes of the film: A capitalist government in power and the effects it has on their own people. This introduction of a controlling government is then backed up when we hear a powerful character state words like: ‘prosecuted’ and ‘curfew’ and we begin to see that the film deals with circumstances where people have little freedom and we wonder how it could have got ot this, and whether things will change. When Evey is set upon, her petrified screams of: ‘help me!’ further portray her as an innocent and vulnerable character and it makes us quite tense, wondering whether someone will in fact save her from being attacked when she did no wrong. When V intervenes and saves Evey, one of the attackers is heard saying: ‘have mercy…’ and he replies:‘Oh, not tonight!’ which tells us V is a strong character who is willing to go to extreme lengths to get his revenge on the government. When we are then introduced to Finch, who is quite an important character, he says he is ‘working on several leads…’ which insinuates that Finch is clever and does his job well. It also indicates the government is hot on the trail of Evey and V, heightening our tension and making us question whether the protagonists will really have the power to bring them down. When we learn a little more about Evey, mainly how her parents were killed, she says:‘Like those black bags erased them from the face of the Earth’ we get a sense that the government may have been responsible for this, and as she can so vividly recall the memory, it is clear she cannot forget what happened to her- so will she want revenge? Finch is also heard starting to doubt the government he is working for (a good character at heart?) ‘If our own government was responsible for the deaths of a hundred thousand people…wouldn’t you wanna know?’ this is probably the most intriguing piece of dialogue. It makes us wonder just what he is talking about, what horrors has he discovered about the government that have so quickly changed his mind about whether he is on the right side? And we want to know just what the government did and whether it links to V or Evey’s actions or thirst for revenge. When V says that they have the right to ‘live without fear’ it is clear he intends to get rid of the government, but we don’t know how or whether he is successful. A change of character is also evidently present in Evey as she coldly states:‘I’m ready’ suggesting she has changed or had some kind of realisation. It makes us wonder how she has changed, why and what the outcome of this dynamic change in character will be. When we hear the government leader shouting about being on the ‘edge of oblivion’ and saying ‘I want everyone to remember why they need us!’ gives us the sense he is angered by the actions made against him by the likes of V and Evey and we want to know how he will react and furthermore, how the nation will react to it all- will they join them or fight them?  And also, Finch has a very important ‘mini speech’ which tells us his character has, like Evey’s, changed because of what V has brought to light about the government. He says :‘I suddenly have this feeling…that everything’s connected…we’re all a part of it…but are we ready for it?” as well as being confusing, making us wonder how this all fits into the rest of the information we’ve already been given it gives a sense that V and Evey will change many character’s perception of the government they are ruled by. It gives a sense of a nation, united, coming together to destroy the very government that has been controlling them for years. But will they be successful? Will the people win against it’s governments? Or will they fall? We are left eager to know just who wins. Finally, V’s little snippet of dialogue, stating: ‘the only verdict is vengeance.’ gives the film a definte revenge feel, and we begin to wonder what happened to him, and why he is so hell bent on revenge of his Government (as he says, there’s no other way to but to get vengeance). And we are left wanting to know more about the character as we feel we are told so little.

Voice Over…

To be honest I don’t think there is one. Finch’s and V’s voice in parts could be argued as one, but, having seen the film, I know this is actually dialogue. I suppose it isn’t clear at points as they appear to be speaking directly to the audience about the film, but, it is actually dialogue cut from the film itself, so therefore it can’t be viewed as a real ‘voice over’.

Special Effects…

Well there are quite a few- the main ones I’ll mention are the various explosions featured within the trailer. I think this is featured within the trailer to attract audiences who prefer action films, and also this makes the audience ask questions like ‘who planted the explosives? Why? Will they be punished??’ etc etc and they’ll be longing to know the answers. Explosions also connote the theme of rebellion and revenge the film holds and tells the audience that V is willing to go to any extreme length to get his revenge on the government. There are also a lot of fight scenes featured within the trailer- involving various weapons such as knives, guns and clubs. This connotes the genre of action to the audience once again and lets them know that the film will involve quite a bit of violence- letting them therefore judge whether they would enjoy this kind of film. The fight scenes featured also lets us see various points where protagonists are set upon or attacked and we want to know if they win the battle or what will happen to them.

Credits and Intertitles…

Well, there isn’t a lot of them and I don’t think the trailer relies on them as such to help tell the story or even feature many USPs to help persuade audiences to see it. perhaps they banked on the actors/actresses to be recognized without any need of titles. Not counting the title of the film, there are only two titles- One which tells us a bit more about the film ‘an uncompromising vision of the future ‘ which tells the audience the film is ‘futuristic’ and giving us a very bleak look of a futuristic Britain, and we wonder what life will be like in this time in comparison to our own. ‘uncompromising’ also sounds threatening and violent- connoting that someone is controlling and seizing power over Britain through sheer force and having no mercy on it’s people. White on black allows the text to stand out, and a useful red still of one of the film’s protagonists, V, tells us he’s the main character and is an important feature to the story. Red also connotes bloodshed, danger and violence. The next title, also white on black, tells us a bit about those behind the film: ‘creators of Matrix trilogy’ which helps get a big USP over to the audience. The Matrix trilogy was a series of three iconic and popular films, and any who has enjoyed the trilogy would instantly be captivated by the trailer if they heard this film came from those certain creators. Also, like before, we have a red still of Evey, telling us she’s also important to the film and puts our attention on her character. Finally, there is the title ‘V for Vendetta’ which has fire burning around it and is written in red writing- this connotes revenge, like the raging fire that is out of control, and also connotes violence and bloodshed within the film, indicating V will go to any length to get his Vengeance. (And of course, we want to see whether he will really get his revenge in the end…)

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