Final Project Rough Draft

For my final project, I plan to create a video essay on one of the following topics:

1) Forced perspective techniques in film *first choice*

– possible films might include Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring; Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1993); Ben Hur (1925)

2) Stop motion techniques in film

– possible films might include: Nightmare Before Christmas; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Wallace and Gromit;

Ideally, I would include voice-overs and clips from the actual films I would be analyzing as well as behind-the-scenes footage of how the technique is executed.

Final Project Rough Draft

Her: Scene Analysis Script

0:07-0:12 [shower scene] “In this scene of Her, Samantha tells Theodore that he is NOT the only person she talks to. Taking a shower is a reflective process for Theodore, as he thinks back on his relationship with an OS.

0:20-30 [elevator] Then the color scheme changes. Instead of bright, vibrant colors, Theodore is wearing a plain white dress shirt and a bland jacket, showing how numb he is. As he walks out, we see that everything, including the color of the room, is washed out and pale.

0:30 –1:14 [book] There’s a sense of irony here as he receives the book of his love letters from Samantha. … It’s ironic because he thinks he knows what love is, being in a relationship with an OS, and yet, he writes artificial love letters for a living. … Another thing to note is that he’s flipping the pages from the rear of the book to the front. As a symbol of his life situation, he is going back to the beginning.

1:42-1:56 [elevator] Jonze tries to make the audience feel Theodore’s pain through his lack of communication and his presentation. As he goes up in the elevator, he looks up as if he’s hit rock bottom and the only direction he can go is up.”

Her: Scene Analysis Script

Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

Theodore looks out over a futuristic L.A.
Theodore looks out over a futuristic L.A.

One distinction that Spike Jonze’s “Her” has from other futuristic films is its color scheme. While other movies have a dark, gloomy, and often blue tint, “Her” is sunny and bright. I chose this specific shot because it summarizes the film’s vibe.

Like most of the scenes in this film, this shot has a yellow tint as the sun shines through the window and onto Theodore. Jonze’s decision to use bright, warm colors, like yellow and red, make Theodore’s world seem cheerful and welcoming.

This shot also shows how different “Her” is from other dystopian movies because of LA’s futuristic cityscape. It’s neat, clean, and architecturally innovative. Other dystopian films, such as “The Matrix,” “Blade Runner,” and “The Fifth Element,” depict cities as being crowded, dirty, and dreary.

These films also portray the future as being dark and rainy but Theodore’s world is bright and sunny. The shot above is a great example of this, as the sun pours in through the window.

This new take on the future is refreshing and it’s nice to see a positive depiction rather than a depressing one. Even as Theodore’s relationship with Samantha falls apart and the color scheme becomes bland, the cityscape remains the same.

Theodore’s body language adds to this scene’s mellow vibe as well. At this point in the movie, he and Samantha are beginning their relationship and the two are going on a “Sunday adventure” together. Theodore rests his head against the window while Samantha plays a song for him. His relaxed posture shows the comfort he feels being in Samantha’s company but it also contributes to the film’s easy-going vibe.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

Her: Scores and Soundscapes

If there is one thing that I enjoy most about watching a film, it’s listening to it’s soundtrack. A score makes or breaks a film because it either draws the audience into the world that the director is creating or it alienates them from what is unfolding before them. In Spike Jonze’s film “Her” the soundtrack succeeds at drawing its viewers into Theodore’s life. What is interesting to note is how the score does not compete with the film for the audience’s attention. In most cases, films have musical themes that are used during certain scenes or when a specific character is onscreen. These themes are often so distinct that anyone has can recognize them even when they’re taken out of the context of the film. With “Her,” the soundtrack doesn’t dominate the film, there are no themes meant for specific characters. It’s as though the music blends into the movie, making it easier for the viewer to become absorbed with Theodore and Samantha’s relationship.

While the soundtrack doesn’t have distinct themes or repetitive sounds, it does follow Theodore’s mood throughout the film. At first, it’s slow-paced and seems to drag along, much like Theodore does because he’s lonely. The tempo increases and the rhythm becomes more lively after he meets Samantha. As Theodore and Samantha’s relationship becomes more complicated, the music turns takes a depressing turn as well. After their relationship ends, the music picks up again with a faster tempo and upbeat rhythms to show that Theodore has nowhere to go but up  now that he’s hit rock bottom. In contrast to most futuristic films, whose scores are meant to leave the audience feeling gloomy and full of despair, the soundtrack in “Her” is full of the emotion that Theodore and Samantha experience throughout their relationship. Instead of sounding depressing and hopeless, the soundtrack sounds alive, like a relationship.

Her: Scores and Soundscapes