Analysis of the opening scene to Kung Fury

The following is an analysis of the hit indie film “Kung Fury”, i will be using the media codes and conventions of an action film to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of said trailer.

As we draw in on the establishing shot of an apocolyptic Miami in the year 1985, we see various explosions going off in the background and the wail of police sirens echoes in the distance. This is an effective establishing shot as it establishes both year and location whilst also setting the scene for the audience. Following this is a medium shot of 3 youths walking down an alleyway and toward the camera. They are dressed head to toe in stereotypical gang clothing including tattoos, guns and headbands. As a police officer pulls up along side them to confront them about their illegal weapons he is swiftly kicked out of the scene as his car is catapulted into the air and shot at until it explodes. This i an effective way to further represent the lawless streets of Miami in 1985, as it was already touched upon in the establishing shot. This section of the opening scene makes it clear to the audience that the city is corrupt and has fallen prey to thugs and crime, the police force is out numbered and unable to control the lawlessness. After adjusting the audience to the rough environment, the film quickly cuts into a medium shot of man holding a very typical 80’s boom box with an equally as typical neon 80’s ‘arcade’ sign behind him, when suddenly another man enters the farm and shoots the man with the boom box in order to steal said boom box. This is also an effective way of establishing the theme of ‘survival of the fittest’.

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The ‘survival of the fittest’ lifestyle Kung Fury presents in its opening scenes

Following the scene demonstrated above, we draw in on the arcade in the background. inside are two teens, playing on a classic 80’s arcade games when suddenly after being a sore loser one of the teens kicks the machine and consequently prompts it to life to start its bloodthirsty rampage. After blowing up the head of the teen, the machine bursts through the roof in a big explosion. This particular scene presents a range of action codes, including futuristic machines, explosions, goodies and baddies and a mission waiting to be completed. Which is when our protagonist is introduced. Enter Kung Fury! the long shot/establishing shot of Kung Fury’s pent house temple reflects his name as these style of temples are typically associated with kung fu and other forms of asian fighting styles, whilst also being an apartment which reflects the second half of his name as a furious super american. The mise en scene used in the background suggests that the character we have been introduced to is some sort of super hero, the framed cover of time magazine with a big picture of Kung Fury on the front suggests that he is a national treasure. Other props used in this scene hint at the ridiculousness of this characters hybridity, for example he is a futuristic cop who has one foot in the traditional world of Kung Fu.

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Kung Fury on the cover of time magazine

Following this is a tracking shot as Kung Fury bursts through the paper wall and off the edge of the building, and straight into the Ferrari below.this is an effective scene as it establishes the extent of Kung Fury’s powers as he is able to free fall down what seems to be at least a 20 story building and into a car, to which he opened the door by shooting at it. This scene is also full of action codes, as it shows the futuristic car and also establishes Kung Fury’s motive, to fight injustice. This section follows a Todorovian style of story line, as the equilibrium is established as Kung Fury sits in his pent house apartment, when the phone rings i.e. the disruption, calling Kung Fury to duty. Kung Fury fights and destroys the deranged game machine and consequently saves the city, the new equilibrium. Following this is the origin story of how Kung Fury came to be.

In conclusion, i found that the opening scene to Kung Fury is effective as it uses a variety of action codes to establish particular things, it also uses a good range of camera angles, editing and mise en scene. It also clearly establishes location, character and genre allowing the audience to adjust them sleeves and relate to the coming film.

i have analysed the first 3 minutes of this clip below, but the rest of the film is available to watch including the trailer.

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Analysis of the opening scene to “the running man” 1987

I will be analysing the opening scene to the 1987 film the running man and evaluating its use of media codes and general effectiveness.

After the initial flash of the trade mark of tri-star entertainment, we quickly fade into a black screen when suddenly a white line splits the frame and presents the two different entertainment companies that are presenting the film, in large white letters which take up most of the frame. The white writing on the black background draws the audiences attention toward the writing and away form anything else. A variation of media codes are presented in this particular section of the introduction, as usually the most important part of said production is put at the beginning and the end, and by placing this at the start they are emphasising the companies importance in this film. After this the introduction swiftly moves on to the main character “Arnold Schwarzenegger” in bright red 80’s writing, another effective use of media codes as it brightly introduces the protagonist to the audience, plus a name like Arnold Schwarzenegger is hard to forget. Following this is the introduction to the films title “the running man”. The use of special effects/CGI to create the running man logo quickly establishes the film as part of the science fiction genre. Throughout this introduction of this production we see the level of importance increase from scene to scene, for example the initial writing is plain white with a fancy animation and as its the first thing we see we take notice of it, after that we move on to Arnie’s name, which is bright and colourful, this reflects his importance in the film and suggests that he is an important aspect of the film. And finally the films title and logo, a long, special effects driven scene suggests that this is the most important part of the introduction and will be a recurring theme throughout the duration of the film.

  
Following this, the film transitions into some rolling text, which explains to the audience what has happened between their (the audience) present and the year 2017. The text begins with “in the year 2017” this further emphasises the films genre as futuristic sci-fi, this is an effective use of establishing time through science fiction codes and conventions. Scrolling text is an effective way of telling the audience the story prior or post to the film with out making a long boring sequel/prequal, a similar scrolling text was used in all 7 Star Wars films and has now become an iconic piece of film. The cross dissolve into the next scene is swift, it shows an army helicopter, armed to the teeth flying by. It then cuts into a 3D map of the surrounding area, another use of science fiction conventions as new technology is introduced to the audience which further emphasises its futuristic theme. Up in the top left corner it says “Bakersfield”, this could technically be referred to as an establishing shot as we get a sense of the location and we get a view of it (although it’s 3D).


Alas, our protagonist is introduced, after a few shots of the gents in the back locking and loading their weapons we cut to a medium shot of Arnie fiddling with some switches, following this is a close up shot of the side of his face as he converses with the base the helicopter was sent from, this shot fills the frame with Arnie’s head, suggesting that he is the most important person on the helicopter as non of the other troops have had a close up. We can see from Arnie’s uniform that he is in the military, and his position in the helicopter and ability to converse with the base shows that he is of a high status. Similarly, Arnie is the first character to speak in the film, this shows both his significance and authority, whilst simultaneously establishing him as the main character/protagonist.

Suddenly Arnie decided a to go with his conscience instead of his orders and consequently going against the institutions regime, as a result we find our protagonist is attacked by his comrades. This is an effective use of media character codes as at allows the audience to sympathise and root for Arnie in his struggle against the sadistic institution, it also allows the audience to get an understanding of what Arnie did prior to his punishment which is revealed later on in the film.

In conclusion the effectiveness of the films opening scenes can be measured on its use of science fiction conventions. It uses a range of filming techniques for example, special effects play a big role in the way the film is presented like the title sequence with the game show theme, similarly the setting of the dystopian future/2017 in which the media controls the world, and it’s introduction of futuristic props such as the monitor that maps out Bakersfield and is able to identify that there are no weapons present (not that that stopped them from killing them anyway). However it’s also an effective opening as it explains a lot to the audience in a small amount of time, an effective use of an opening scene.

The link to the clip I have analysed has been placed below

Development of initial ideas 

And so it begins. After finally deciding on a concept for my media studies course work, I decided to further develop the idea. I sat down and began to draw out a story for my short film and a general outline of how my film was going to work. As my film heavily involves transitions between the years 1989 and 2019, I spent some trying getting my head about how I would represent both these years. For the year 2019, I aspired to go for a futuristic style from the perspective of the 80’s, so naturally lots of neon, flying cars and bad 80’s fashion will be employed I.e. People still wear shoulder pads but in the future they have LED’s in them. Similarly, the 80’s will be represented in the most cliche and stereotypical way possible, to make it clear to the audience that it’s the 80’s without making it too obvious, allow the audience to get involved with the short film. I also decided to make my film very effects driven, meaning elements such as a green screen will be employed for most of the film to create interesting and futuristic setting, the green screen will allow me to place my characters in environments that we wouldn’t be able to access, for example the neon streets of Miami. However, the film will also have physical props, things that can be used in particular scenes including baseball bats, chains, laser cannons etc. And so the journey continues 

Initial ideas for coursework

Prior to all the research, I decided to post some of my initial ideas for what my film could be about. It ranged from science fiction to drama, an example of one of the ideas I had was a film about a super hero who was hunted but never gave up his fight for justice. In my head this film would have been quite dark, and the super hero would have been more of an anti hero either than your clean cut superman or Spider-Man. Similarly I aimed to make the film in a similar way to how Chrostopher Nolan makes his films, as he focuses on the darker aspects of human nature and the good that they can produce when they are put under pressure such as in interstellar where coop is asked to save humanity, and does so but it means leaving his children behind. Another idea I had was to make an action film about a renegade solider who was drummed off the force, but when he is discharged he steals an important weapon with intentions to hold it for ransom, after sometime both forces of good and evil present themselves in disguise and try to take it from him, leading to action sequences, fighting, explosions and much more. After some consideration I have decided to go with a 3rd idea, let me set the scene. It’s 1989 and a young, tough ex-Vietnam veteran is taking a stroll home when he diverts and takes a shortcut down a back alley. Suddenly! His path is blocked either side by two men, dressed head to toe in gang clothing and armed to the teeth. Before he can call for help he is brutally beaten and left for dead after having his leg, eye and wallet taken from him. Moments later he is struck by lightning and blacks out. As its only the year 1989 the doctors don’t have the technology to help him and so they kryogenically store him until the technology has been invented. 40 years on in the year 2019 he is reawoken only to discover that the world has ended and technology has risen up! Even worse his eye and arm have been replaced with bionic limbs and the Lightning has given him super strength and agility ( which is technically a bonus) A well dressed man abruptly enters the scene claiming to be a government official, he debriefs our character and asks him to save the world! He agrees and the action ensues, with lasers, robots, guns and passion! This idea was inspired by films like the terminator and back to the future, I’ve tried to script the future to look like it would if it was made in the perspective of someone from the 80’s much alike the future in back to the future part 2.

Preliminary coursework task

The initial project of our media studies course was the task of creating a short film depicting an interrogation. A reasonably simple task but one that was ripe with possibility, it’s at this point that we agreed to make a film that gripped the audience and pulled them into a fiction world full of excitement and drama, a world were things the audience wouldn’t see very often come to life.

After gathering some friends who were interested in helping me make this film, we sat down and began to brainstorm ideas that revolved around the theme of interrogation, what genre the film was going to be categorised under, and what the audience of our film was going to be. After some discussion it was agreed that the film’s genre should be something that is easy for the audience to relate to, and as we had identified our audience as teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 this allowed us to identify the genre as either a teen film, drama or thriller etc. (We went with all three) Keeping this in mind we began to think of stereotypes that surround teens, these included being disrespectful towards others, anti establishment, drug fuelled and sex crazed. Of course these stereotypes are slightly extreme but nether the less I thought we should use this to our advantage and make a film that absorbed every stereotype that surrounds teens and produce something that reflects all of the above. Then we finally decided to make our short film about a gang in the greater cheddar area, and so Boyz n the estate was born.

After coming up with the idea, we then had to create a script and storyboard. This was a tasking section of the production process, the script less so as this film focuses more on what you could see rather than what you could hear. No it was the story board that gave us some trouble, this was because we had to make cheddar look like the drugged up, blood stained back streets of downtown LA (the hood for short). This meant lots of forced perspective and close up shots when the camera was shooting outside. Naturally, we couldn’t have low riders and gang members holding guns out in the streets because A. We haven’t got that much money and B. We would probably get arrested. So we decided that close up shots of the characters in the less desirable parts of cheddar would be fine. For the interior shots we decided to storyboard a bleak and miserable house, something that reflects the owner, who in my mind has spent all his money on drugs, guns and alcohol.

a few pages of script and storybaording of boyz n the estate

Now, after coming up with the genre audience and most importantly the idea, it was finally time to crack on. After holding some auditions with a few close and not so close friends I finally chose who was going to play who in our street fairytale. I cast Guy Locke in the role of “the dealer” and Ben Smith in the role of “the buyer” with other background roles being filled by Andy Martin and Ben Walker. This now allowed us to move on to the filming portion of the production and naturally my favourite part. For the filming of this production I used a canon rebel T3 with a 18-55mm lens. I also used other equipment to create specific camera movements, the most popular was my DSLR slider as illustrated below, this allowed me to slide the camera from left to right and vice versa which gave the film a bit more of a cinematic edge.

The DSLR slider with my canon rebel T3 attached

Finally, after all the commotion of the shoot we had made it to post production. To edit Boyz in the estate I used two editing systems, the first was iMovie and the second was final cut. I initially used iMovie to piece the clips from our film together and alter specific parts of it, after completing this, I then exported the film to a .mov file on my desktop, I them out this into final cut and edited the music into it and placed the jump cuts to the beat. And so finally the film was ready to be released and screened.

In conclusion, I feel that the entire production process of the instant classic Boyz n the estate was slick and easy, the final product was good at times but there was room for improvement and I will be sure to build on this in my next project.

Until we meet again, Big M