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Analysis of an Opening Title Sequence - Blade Runner

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Robert Cranham

on 7 October 2016

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Transcript of Analysis of an Opening Title Sequence - Blade Runner

Crew Credits
Production Credits
The audience are also introduced to a character in the first five minutes, although the scene juxtaposes that of the outside advanced future and more in keeping with the 'Film Noir' signified through the use of the genre conventions, such as low key lighting, smoking cigarettes and ceiling fans if it was not for the science-fiction props on the table. The high angle shot, reinforces the idea of 'the all seeing eye' and that it is watching what is going on in the scene, it also helps to establish a feeling within the scene of traditional corporate settings, however, the setting reflects that of iconic 'Film-Noir' scenes in which a femme fetal meets with a detective in the initial narrative starting point. This is so similar that it could almost be described as an intertextual reference. The reverse shot is used to establish the fact the character is looking out of the window towards the outside, allowing the transition between dystopia and this simple setting to be completed without the audience questioning the transition and therefore keeping the audience engaged.
The All Seeing Eye
Many films use the eye as a symbolic 'all seeing' eye, which can been seen in films such as 'The Lord of The Rings' to name one. Although this close up is used to establish an 'all seeing eye' and could give semiotic hints towards that of the 'illuminati', an oppositional reading could be a human looking over their domain, or alternatively of putting the audience in the position to reflect on what they world means to be viewed in its present form. Combined with other shots later in the opening sequence it is obvious that they director has used these to reinforce the image of s and them.
Analysis of an Opening Title Sequence -
Blade Runner

The Ladd Company was founded by by Allan Ladd Jr. who was the former President of 20th Century Fox. This American production company, was eventually bought by Warner Brothers, but produced features throughout its conception. It has worked in partnership with many other independent production companies, and big distributors such as Miramax. It is a convention of most opening title sequences to show the production company at the very start, via some form of graffiti representation, this intro is based on the old BBC computer generated graphics, establishing a time frame for production, however, although dated has never changed from the initial foundation of the company. The production of the film 'Blade Runner' was re-produced in conjunction with three different production companies, as the producers had more control than the director, and although its release in 1982, it would be 25 years before the directors cut would be release in 2007 truly reflecting the ideas of the director Ridley Scott. Hence the reason that the producers presented the film rather than traditionally through the the director.
Introduction to the Stars
The credits of the main stars of the production are the first to appear, after the introduction of the production company. The most important stars appear first, namely that of Harrison Ford, and then descending order of importance, acting as evidence for the presence of star appeal, where big name actors are used to draw in an audience to a film, and raise its profile, essentially acting as synergy to promote the film. The typography used to display the credits promotes genre themes associated with that of Sci-Fi, however, the film is also a Film Noir, and so it is conventional for a film of this 'sub-genre' to display a binary opposition, signified through the black and white.

The films credits, are cut with the non-digetic sound track, fading in and out to the beat. However the film does follow the conventions of an opening title sequence through the use of introducing the main stars.
The conventional title screen appears just after 'Harrison Ford's' name, reinforcing the fact that the production company have used him to draw in an audience given his success in other films such as the 'Star Wars Trilogy' & the 'Indiana Jones' trilogy. Again the title sequence fades edited with a non diegetic bang, to force the audience to sit up and listen.
The typography used stays the same, however, a theme of Red, White & Black is starting to be developed with both the production company, and the name of the film appearing in red. Red usually signifies that of blood, and is not usually assocaited with that of the genre of Science Fiction.
The fact that the production company have chose this way to highlight key aspects of the opening sequence, is not conventional, however, does add to this developing theme.
Although a Sci-Fi in genre, it is also classified as a Neo-Film Noir, which has conventions of low key lighting, and in their hay-day were shot in black and white, and so there are elements that are being built up to reflect that Noir feel.
The production credits are shown in the order of importance via an ascending order eventually culminating to the Director Ridley Scott, a convention of the opening title sequence. Ridley Scott as the Director is the most senior position on set, (the French call then le'relasature! The Visionary) Other scenior porsitions are also displayed such as the DoP & Music Compositor, which the score has been created by 'Vangelis' an award winning producer know for composing such scores as 'Chariots of Fire' & 'State of Independence' the fact that the producers chose a Film score composer of this nature acts as evidence of synergy.
Ridley Scott is an award winning director, although there were issues with the film as Scott felt that the Producers of the film were too engaged in the development of the style of the film as well as the final edit. As stated before, it would be several decades before Scott would manage to get his hand of the rushes enough to create his own vision.
The time and location is set through text fading, in the same typography as that of the credits, following the conventions of an opening title sequence. This then cross-fades into an establishing shot of LA, presenting the audience with ideas about a dystopian future, signified through the use of fire blasts coming out of the top of sky rise buildings, with nothing but darkness being seen reinforcing the dystopia feeling and sense of foreboding.
An expectational narrative is established through the used of text, rolling up on the screen, similar in feel to other Sci-Fi films of a similar ilk, such as Star Wars, (made around the same time, you can see why the director chose this as a method to establish the start of a narrative. This is evidence of the presence of intertextuality being draw between similar films of the same genre, namelt that of Star Wars. The typography is the same, but it does did homage to the fact the film is based on a short story, as it is written in a 'book' style font, and still continues to produce the 'brand' of the film, through the use of a red type font. It also acts as evidence to support a binary oppositional narrative theory with the use of
'Replicants'
Vs 'Humans'. It quickly establishes the narrative to be what Todorov would describe as a dis-equilibrium. Skipping his suggested first stafe of equilibrium.
To ensure that the audience identify with the genre, and the setting, a yellow taxi is used to familiarize the audience with the setting, as well as reinforcing the ideas surround that of the icon association and their for establishing a 'reality' in the audiences mind.
The 'illuminati' is continued to be signified through the use of the symbolic Pyramid, with the top missing signifying that the person in charge is not present, but yet could be read as an alternative that God is in charge. The fact that this building is in power, is signified through the use of beamed light coming from the top of the corporation itself, and the long shot establishing its place in the scheme of things. The yellow taxi appear once again in this slow paced establishing sequence, signifying that we are also on a journey with someone to this corporation.
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