Textual Analysis 3: ‘Skyfall’ Opening Title Sequence

The film ‘Skyfall’ (2012) is the 23rd instalment of the James Bond Film Franchise and is directed by Sam Mendes.

The story centres around Bond investigating an attack on MI6; the attack is carried out by former MI6 agent Raoul Silva as apart of his plot to humiliate, discredit and kill M as revenge against her for betraying him.

The film starts in a unusual manner, as in the prologue Bond is shot, and the audience is lead to believe he is dead, this leads on to an incredible title sequence.

 

 

Camera

A James Bond film’s title sequence often reflects the theme of the story, and the audience can see this first through the camera work. The first shot is an establishing shot of the protagonist, James Bond, drowning. At the start of the shot, the audience witness a low angle, which typically connotes power, however the audience is not shown Bond’s face until the shot is a high angle, which signifies a loss in power or control in Bond. Additionally a tracking long shot into a medium shot is used, suggesting that we are following Bond on a journey.

The audience also sees a long shot of a hand grasping a hold of Bond and dragging him down further, illustrating that the protagonist may have enemies pulling him in the film.

james-bond-skyfall-daniel-craig-opening-credits-hand

A high angle is used in the screen shot below from the opening title sequence as the protagonist plummets into a black hole. This camera angle is used here to reinforce that Bond is venerable and the fact he is plummeting into a black hole suggests that what happens next in his journey is unknown.

skyfall-opening-titleBelow is a mid shot of a cardboard cut-out of the protagonist, with blow flowing out of his right shoulder implying it is the sound he sustained from being shot in the prologue. The red blood has connotations with danger. The cardboard cut-out of Bond is in the form of a gun target, which suggests that the protagonist is the target in the film.  skyfall-card-board-cut-out

To end the opening sequence an extreme close up of the protagonists eye is used. The camera zooms into the Protagonists pupils, suggesting that the film is going to be portrayed from Bond’s perspective or point of view. skyfall-eye

 

Mise-en-scene

skyfall-grave

The shot to the left from the opening title sequence is of falling knives which turn into gravestones. This is significant as it foreshadows events that will happen in the film. For example, Raoul Silva is is killed in a graveyard by the use of a knife.

The use of mirrors and silhouettes give a good action shot of the protagonist. The fact that he essentially shoots himself indicates to the audience that the problems he faces in the film could be self inflicted.

skyfall-mirrors

The protagonist appears to be wearing a formal suit throughout the entirety of the title sequence. This indicates power, authority and professionalism. It also highlights his significance and illustrates that he could be a very important character.

 

Editing

A lot of the editing is faced paced cuts in the sequence, which keeps the audience focused and interested as they don’t want to miss anything. Black screens are also used to distinguish between different scenes. A lot of the shots in the sequence are made up of CGI and animation. However, one of the most iconic edits in the sequence wasn’t animation. This was the shot which zooms into Bonds eye and then the rest of the sequence continues through his eyes. This could symbolise the fact that Bond is a spy and he sees everything, or it could symbolise that in the film Bond is fighting himself in a mental battle, which is one of the main themes in the film. This links to the idea that all opening title sequences in Bond films link with the film itself. In the opening sequence mainly low key lighting is used to give a eerie and mysterious atmosphere, however occasionally high key lighting is used in the sequence.

Foreshadowing is again apparent in the title sequence through editing. This is through the title of the character ‘M’. In the background of the title for M (played by Judi Dench), there are graves, which symbolises death, foreshadowing what happens to this character in the film.

skyfall-m-grave

 

Sound

In the opening sequence, the only sound heard is the non-diegetic soundtrack for the film produced and performed by Adele. It begins with the lyrics “this is the end” which corresponds with the shot of the protagonist as he has just been shot. This creates an enigma that he could in fact be dead, however this is unlikely as the sequence has just began. This is the followed by “hold your breathe and count to ten” which runs parallel with the shot of Bond sinking into a black hole. The tune starts off quiet and slow, then gradually builds up as the audience follow the protagonist, thus also building up tension in the viewer. The power portrayed in Adele’s voice is a strong connective to the power in the protagonist.

 

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