Media Studies: Action And Adventure Films


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Genres and Themes

Genres: Swashbucklers  - Pirates of the Caribbean: 2006 
Jungle and Desert Epics – King Kong: 1976
Treasure Hunts – Lord Of The Rings: 2001
Disaster Films – I Am Legend, Day After Tomorrow: 2007 and 2004
Quests – Journey To The Centre Of The Earth: 2008
Serialized – Narnia: 2008
Searches For Lost Continents – Jurassic Park:1993
Heroic Journey – League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 2003
Thrillers - James Bond: 1962
Fantasy – Harry Potter: 2001

Good vs Evil
Creation of Empires
Historical Figures

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Shot Types

Extreme Close Up - Basis on one feature, An eye
Close Up - Face
Medium Close Up - Shoulders upwards
Medium Shot - Waist upwards
Medium Long Shot - Knees upwards
Long Shot - Feet upwards
Very Long Shot - Object afar
Two Shot - Two people in the shot
Over the Shoulder Shot

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1. Hair make up and costume identify the charecters personality, lifestyle, status and job. Indicates a time period and can signify certain individuals through these aspects, Ie. The Dark Knight.
2. Setting and props play an iumportant p-art of film making as they can manipulate an audience by builing certain expectationss and twisting them. They are either built from scratch or a lot of time has gone into finding a location/
3. Facial expressions and body language show the emotion of the charecters or may reflect their relationship with another charecter.
4.Lighting and colour highlights important charecters, uses shading to make them look mysterious, reflects their mental state.
5. Positioning of the charecters and objects draw attention to a charecter determining importance and relationship.

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Narrative + Digetic sound + Non digetic sound + Dialouge
Establishing Shots
Transitions – Fade To Black
Slow motion for action sequences
Continuity editing
Close ups
Key Words
Camera Movements and Angles

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Centre of the poster – Main Protagonist, Confident, Strong body language.
Damsel in distress – **** but delicate.
Logo and actors names – Credits in black.
Main characters and actors on front cover are conventionally in triangles. Contrasting title underneath picture. Eg..

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Characters and The Representation

Vladimir Prop
The Hero/Heroine
The Villian
The Donor - Provides the hero with essentials
The Helper - Someone who will aid the hero
The Dispatcher - May set the hero a task
The False Hero - A deceptive charecter
The Princess/Love Interest - Prize for the hero and possibly captured by the villian
The Father of The Princess

Hero Archetypes
Chief - A Dynamic Leader
Bad Boy - Dangerous to know, On the Wild Side
Best Friend - Sweet and safe, Doesnt let you down
Lost Soul - A termented being living in solitude
Charmer - A smooth talker
Professor - Analytical, Knows the answer to everything
Swashbucker - Adventurer, mr.excitement
Warrior - A noble champion

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Women in Action Films

Women in Action Films – Sexually portrayed. Attractive. Needs to be protected.
portrayed as the “damsel in distress” or “princess” who needs rescuing.  Flirts to get her own way
e.g.. Sarah Connor in Terminator

“Laura Mulveys theory of the male gaze” explains that even though attitudes towards women in action films have changed as they are now often the main protagonist rather than always being the love interest is still incredibly over sexualised as they are still dressed provocatively and portrayed as **** rather than patriotic like a male would be. This is very obvious in Lara Croft with Angelina Jolie. On the other hand, in the film Salt 2010 Angelina Jolie is very much portrayed differently in scenes where she is seen using her physical abilities similarly to a man rather than looking provocative or conventionally flirting to get what they want.

James Bond had multiple lovers and ever since films have been more relaxed with sexual behaviour.

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Representation of the Villian and Hero

The Hero - Altruistic (Selfless), Patriotic, Fights for their beliefs, Brave, Overcomes justice, Attractive
Strong, eg. Sylvester Stallone(Rocky), Arnold Schwarzneggar(Terminator), Tom Cruise(Minority Report), Pierce Brosnan(James Bond)

The baddy-Intelligent, Cruel, Usually has high authority, Often British, Dominating, Scary, eg. Alan Rickman (Die Hard) , Robert Mitchum(Night of the Hunter)

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Ethnic Origins

The wise old Asian - Posseses all of the secrets and techniques. Usually trains the hero and possesses all knowledge and wisdom. ie.Star Wars, Karate Kid.

The cowardly incimpetent black sidekick - Provides comedy and contrast to the serious hard-as-nails hero. ie. Superman, Dungeons and Dragons, Shrek


Blaxploitation: The black gangster - Drug dealing hard as nails violent pimps. Seen as patronising and stereotyping all black people however also seen as positive because it made black people more prominently the main protagonists. Nowadays, there are many examples of this. ie. Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Samuel L Jackson.

Martial Art Films - Originating from Hong Kong. Popularity from th Bruce Lee films in th 70s.
Karate Kid
Fists Of Fury
Rush Hour

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Institution and America vs. Britain

Very expensive produce. They use expensive special effects. They are big budget films which involve risks. They always have very famous actors. Terminator 2 cost $102,000,000 to make and its gross was $519,843,345. 

However, British action films are viewed as less successful than American and this is because
1. Less budget
2. Less scale of available locations
3. Smaller availability of well-known actors.  

Eg. The Chronicles of Narnia 

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Social Networking Sites
Trailer, Posters
**Marketing Campaign**
Room Decorations
Cinema Tickets

Eg. Star Wars – Lazer toys, Costumes etc.
Indiana Jones- Lego games, Rides 

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The Uses and Gratifications theory, Blumler and Ka

Why we use media and how we can relate this to AA films
Be informed and educated with the world – See different exotic locations
Identify with characters and situations – Target audience idolises them and wants to be like them
Be entertained – Entertaining as it is not realistic and makes life seem more interesting
Use media for social interaction – Talk about new films with their friends
Escape from our daily routine – Be part of a life that isn’t your own and events that would never happen realistically.

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Reception Theory, David Marley, 1980

Preferred Reading – What they want you to think or react.
Negotional reading – Audience understanding but has their own choice
Oppositional reading – The opposite of the preferred reading.

How this relates to AA films
Violence – “That is such a good stunt!” “That was a bit much but I could watch it again” “That was disgusting, People should not be watching films like this”.
Representation of women – “She is so hot!” “Good body but she should put some clothes on”, “Women portraying themselves in a sexual manner is disgusting”
We can notice that the preferred reading usually tends to be young boys and the oppositional reading tends to be older women. This is because young boys are fascinated by weapons , fast cars, violence etc and older women would be more squeamish and aware of the effect that it could be having on society and are often mothers so would be worried for the welfare of their children.

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The Narrative Theory, Todorov and Strauss

He believes that all stories start at a state of equillibrium, the equillibrium is then disrupted setting in a  motion of events and then the resoloution of the story is a new and different equillibrium.

eg. Titanic
Rose is engaged
She falls in love with Jack and the he dies
She then continues life as an independent woman

Levi Strauss - Meaning of the story depends on binary oppositions. He focuses on themes rather than events. eg. Titanic

Rich & Poor
Artistic & Materialstic
Brave & Cowardly
Irish & English

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Violence, Sex and Nudity, Religion, Class, Language, Shock
Violence is the biggest concern for the BBFC because of the possible relationship between violence on screen and reality. Violence is portrayed in a way that seems as if it is a resolution to their problems. 

Agree that violence could be affected people today as it has start to become the norm and films have become more and more violent and brutal so those of a young ago are already seeing this violence and believing that it is normal and bringing into everyday life. They are also seeing inspirational and iconic heroes using violence as a solution to their problems.  I think this is mainly to do with games though because they are actually playing the person in the game acting violent towards other and it would seem cool at a young age.
Disagree because classifications are in place to stop people that are too young from being shown too much too early. If their parents choose not to abide by the classifications then it is their risk to take.

Other concerns being:
Heroic figures are using violence, Callousness towards victims, Encouraging aggressive attitude, Taking pleasure in inflicting pain 

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Editing and Transitions

Continuity editing is the system used to show the continuous stages rather than jumping from one scene to another.

Jump Cuts
Fade to Black
Extra Editing: Pixelisation, Animations, Recolourisation, Lighting effects.
Cross fade

How things have developed over the years
Women have become more and more recognised as more than a sex object: Salt (2010), Angelina Jolie is represented in a bad girl image.
Good vs Evil. Films can often be promoting the evil side nowadays ie.Fast and Furious 5: Us as viewers are against the police.

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Memorable Quotes and Scenes

The bus jump in Speed 2009
Rope jump and running on top of the barrel rolling down the hill in
 Pirates of the Carribean 2006 
Explosions in Forrest Gump: 1984
Pulling a massive safe along the road using a car in the Fast and the Furious 5: 2011
Tornado in the Day after Tomorrow :2004Helicopter Crash in the Matrix: 1999
War scenes in Saving private Ryan: 1998
Chase and Fighting scenes, Big jump across two huge buildings. District 13: 2004
Car chases: Fast and the Furious 4

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Camera Angles & Movement

High Angle Shot/BEV shot - Birds eye view
Low Angled Shot - Looking up at subject
Tilted Frame - Tilted
Panning - Scanning a scene horizontally
Tilting - Scanning a scene vertically
Hand Held Shots - Tilting the whole camera
Tracking Shots - Placed on a moving vehicle to follow the object
Crane Shots - Tracking shots vertically
Zoom Lenses - Zooming in or out
The Aerial Shot - Taken from a helicopter - Used for estabslishing shots

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This is great! Thank you so much.



very helpful thanks for taking the time to put together!!! :)

Thalia West


This is really helpful and exactly what I need to be revising, thank youu! :)



amazing. my media studies teacher was impressed ;D



Really helpful. Thanks! :)



Thank you so much!!! I understand a lot more now! :)

Rhiannon Britten


Really helpful thank you lovely! Feeling much more confident for my exam tomorrow!

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