A study of the representation of women in the action film genre and the social messages and values constructed and conveyed.
In this essay, I will be looking at the representation of women in the action film genre and studying the social messages that are constructed and conveyed by the medium. The two media texts I will be comparing from are ‘ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ (1984) and ‘Tomb Raider’ (2001). The female lead in ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ is Willie Scott who is played by Kate Capshaw and Harrison Ford plays the male lead, Indiana Jones. ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ is a prequel to the first Indiana Jones movie, which was ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981) in the Indiana Jones series and was directed by the world famous director, Steven Spielberg. In ‘Tomb Raider’ Angelina Jolie plays the female lead, Lara Croft based on a video game. The video game, Tomb Raider was developed by Core Design and it was one of the first videogames whose protagonist is an attractive female with appealing features, including the ability to carry out smooth moves such as flying, firing guns, picking things up, grabbing onto ledges and pulling switches. Another film which I will be comparing the two women in the action film genre is Marion Ravenwood played by Karen Allen in the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
Mise-en-scène is an expression used in media to describe the design aspects of a production. This includes set, props, costume, lighting, actors, sound and costume. This helps the arrangement of the scene. Willie Scott’s representation of Mise-en – scène depicts her in a polar contrast to Lara Croft. At the start of the movie, she is clothed in a figure hugging, sequined red dress whilst performing. This shows the audience about the glamorous lifestyle of Willie. During the movie, she is seen wearing Indiana’s baggy suits whenever she’s in the jungle. This conveys that she is trying to develop into the same adventurous character that Indiana and Short Round have throughout the movie. The bagginess of the clothes symbolises that despite her attempt at attaining a fearless character, it is as ineffective and as loose fitting as her costume upon her physique. The soundtrack used to compliment Willie is often a reflection of her moods. When we are first introduced to Willie, she is singing a musical style song that has cheery orchestral composition backed up by a multiplicity of wind instruments. The use of wind instruments carries an airy feel, which shows that Willie, at that point, was carefree, delicate and, like a typical woman, a daydreamer. This is proven by the dream sequence shown during the song. However, when in the jungle, low music is played to subtly indicate her bad mood as she tries to cope with wilderness. Willie is mainly shot in close ups, to emphasize on her attractive features and show her exaggerated reactions towards the jungle.
Willie Scott is Hollywood’s representation of stereotypical women. A trait that Willie maintains is the constant greed for money and diamonds. An example that supports this is in the club in Shanghai, whilst Indiana Jones and the villain, Lao Che are fighting, Willie is concerned with the pouch containing diamonds. She risks her mannerism and dress to determinedly crawl on the floor to obtain the diamonds. This can be directly linked with the conventional idea of women being superficial. This concept is carried on, when she enters Pankot palace and is flourished with glamorous dresses and wealth, and she tries to seal her future by enquiring about the Prince’s martial status. Linking on to this point is Willie’s reluctance to leaving behind her glamorous lifestyle. An example would be the fact that she carries her sequined dress from the beginning throughout the film and jungle. She doesn’t abandon her heels and uses it to climb onto an elephant. This shows that women do not like to explore any other situation out of their comfort zone. Once they have had...
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