“Skyfall” is the 23rd James Bond film released in 2012 by Eon Productions; the plot follows James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) mistake in his latest assignment, which cause undercover agents being exposed and MI6 being attacked…
The film poster below gives the impression that the film will be about the competition between good and evil as the lighting on his face shows half being light and the rest being in darkness with shadows; hinting at an aspect of a thriller. Also the film poster reveals the film in the action genre because the background is the shape of a bullet spiral, implying that the film contains conventions of the action genre due to the use of a prop (gun).
(Watch the trailer below to find out more information about the events that will be revealed in the film:)
After watching the film, I decided to do a textual analysis for the opening credits because I found the credits particularly interesting in the way the different shots, mise-en-scene, editing techniques and sound was used for a variety of effects.
Throughout the opening credits of “Skyfall”,powerful non-diegetic music is used, sung by the singer/songwriter Adele. Which the soundtrack increases in volume at the end to convey that the film becomes more intense as the James Bond’s journey continues.
So starting at the beginning, the dramatic music that plays as the downwards tilt of James Bond sinking in water, fades out to black, to metaphorically convey that he is falling into darkness/evilness. Which the fade in edit of the next close up shot of his hand being dragged even further underwater, suggests that he has no influence in what’s happening, someone else is controlling him. The audience then feel intrigued to find out in the film if he ends up being in trouble with the antagonist.
The small white typography against the dark blue background of water, reveals a contrast so that the audience can pay close attention to what’s happening in the background, whilst being alerted by the sudden pop ups of text appearing through a fade in edit.
The use of a cut to a point of view shot makes is seem like the audience are now in James Bonds’ position of being unconscious underwater, but can see what he is doing; looking down at his legs dangling. This emphasises how he is falling even further into the hole in the riverbed, possibly never returning back from the evilness he is about to endure.
The title of the film then appears, centre framed in bold white capital letters, giving a powerful look to the sequence along with the loud sounds of instruments in the music playing in time with the appearance. As well as, the background of the shot is in a low depth of focus, making the title stand out and grabs the audience’s attention; making the name of the film constantly in their head.
After, is a series of superimposition examples and evidence of continuity editing, finishing the idea of James Bond sinking underwater to set the audience up for the next setting.
Which is of a cardboard cut out of James Bond; hinting that he is seen as target to other characters, a potential fight between the two, a common code/association with the Action genre. So when the camera begins to zoom in slowly, the audience can see there’s a trail of blood coming out from behind him, it’s not until the the sudden cut reveals that he has a gunshot wound that’s caused the leakage of blood.
The opening credits then becomes more gory as the camera goes through the wound, demonstrating that this is how James Bond happened to be falling in deep water due to being shot and falling in a river. But the camera movement of travelling through the wound looks as if the audience are going through what he had before he was injured.
Then there’s a series of close up shots of a woman’s body, suggesting that film has a romantic aspect to it as well as being an action thriller; in particular, the over the shoulder shot of the woman adds mystery because she looks directly towards the audience, by breaking the forth wall.
The cut brings the audience onto seeing more close up shots, but this time of weaponry like guns and knives being dropped into the sand; presenting the theme and genre of crime/action in “Skyfall”, as the props are iconic signs used in these type of films. However, as the weapons disrupt the sand by making a mess that fills the screen, it metaphorically represents the idea of fighting or any type of conflict destroys nature. Therefore, making the audience believe that the whole world is affected in the film, not just certain people/characters.
Adding to this idea, as the camera continues to zoom in, the audience see the weapons turning into gravestones, implying that fighting leads to death and so the characters including James Bond may possibly die in this film.
When the camera begins to zoom much more faster, the tempo of music becomes more fast paced as well as, it demonstrates continuity editing as it’s easy to follow the different shots revealing different areas, difficult to pick out a cut edit. Therefore, reinforcing the idea of this title sequence being a reenactment of the character James Bond’s journey through time. Such as the medium shot of a what can be viewed as room with deer statues, perhaps a presentation of his house. But it’s hard to see as the screen is dominated by red smoke; both the colour and the symbol signifying danger, which James Bond is clearly in.
This leads to superimposition of close up shot of James bond looking through a hole, implying that he just looked through his life of being a MI6 secret agent, surrounded by fighting, death and blood. Again, reinforcing the genre as a action thriller due to the codes and conventions being expressed.
The birds eye view shot of him with a gun, anxiously pointing it at his own shadows hints at an aspect of the theme of insanity; as he is evidently restless at the fact that he sees himself as the person he is after (the antagonist), although it is only his shadow. Therefore, the representation of something evil and dark through the symbolism of shadows, implies that James Bond is in a serious problem with fighting someone who is much more stronger than him. As a result, the audience are left worried and fearful that he may or may not survive this task.
The symmetrical aspect at 1:410, conveys red coral reefs transforming into a skull shape, indicating that even in nature, death surrounds the characters; an example of an indexical sign (semiotics) as the audience links the skull sign to death.
As this disappears by the fade edit to black, there’s a medium shot of a woman pointing a gun at the camera (breaking the forth wall), the camera then zooms into the centre of the gun where the trigger would come out, leading onto a shot of several flames burning. Which the next cut reveals that James Bond’s face/body is burning on them; as if expressing that he’s in a dangerous situation, where the theme of hatred is presented by his face on fire giving the impression that someone wants to kill him. The audience then can link this to the point at the start where the shot of the cardboard cut out indicates James Bond being a target to the antagonist, who isn’t yet revealed…
The opening credits then change to having a black and white filter with symmetrical shots of a woman, knives, guns, religious cross coming out from centre frame; the audience connotes the significance of the last object being a skull as a reinforcement of the theme of death, running throughout the film.
Then there are several cuts of his shadow running through the gaps of buildings, to a sudden jump cut of his silhouette turning round; his figure changes from just being black to low key lighting on him pulling out his gun and pointing it at the audience. Here, the medium wide shot reveals the gun shot wound on his chest with stained blood on his suit; his clothing of a suit being an indication of his power and authority in the film, as he is the main character (protagonist). But due to him being injured, it implies that he has, or still is in a vulnerable position; resulting in the audience feeling apprehensive about whether James Bond is actually invincible. So, the audience are intrigued to find out more on this idea and want to watch the film “Skyfall”.
Moreover, the constant use of shadows throughout the opening credits of “Skyfall’ can be compared to the frequent use of shadows in the credits of “Se7en” (previously analysed), to exemplify that a common characteristic of a thriller film is the use of shadows/darkness.
Then the jump cut to the camera looking through a hole with the red filter of the setting that the film will take place in, a house with trees, and graveyard are all in black, (as noted this has been revealed briefly before). So the colour choice of red against black, gives a bold aspect to the opening titles, that stands out to the audience as the colours are engaging and have graphic/negative associations. Also, when the white typography fades in, it creates emphasis on the theme of good vs evil, shown through the colour juxtaposition of light and dark.
Furthermore, the fade in from black of the close up shot of James Bond’s eyes again, goes to the next level of the camera zooming in more to give an extreme close up shot of just one of his eyes. The audience can see the brightness of his blue eyes with the high key lighting suggesting that he is the protagonist (good character) of the film because the lightness on his face make it seem like he is superior and in control. As the white typography is large in the centre of his eye, it begins to get smaller as the camera gets closer to his eye, appearing fully zoomed in onscreen where nothing can be seen but the typography. This then fades to black after, finishing the opening credits on a powerful note as it’s quite fast paced, with the audience gaining a glimpse of James Bond’s blue eye which adds depth and emotion, setting up for the film’s beginning. The audience can infer that the film will be shot through James Bond’s eye, for the reason that the opening credits end on an extreme close up shot of his eye, meaning that all that was revealed, was through his point of view; making them extremely interested and excited to see the oncoming events…