Final Film Critique (Back to the Future 1985)

You will be completing this assignment in two stages. For the first stage (1500 to 1800 words), you will analyze an entire movie. In the second stage (300 to 600 words), you will reflect on how you analyzed the movie as well as how your ability to analyze film in general has evolved.You are encouraged to incorporate writing from your Week Two and Week Three assignments if (a) you have reflected on the instructor’s feedback, (b) you have revised the relevant parts of the essays accordingly, and (c) the essays discuss the same film that you discuss here.Stage 1: AnalysisFor this stage, you will be analyzing a movie selected from the AFI’s 10 Top 10 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. list. The film you choose can be one that you have previously analyzed in this course. While you are allowed to choose a film that does not come from the AFI lists, you are strongly encouraged to email your professor to receive approval before doing so.The analysis portion of your paper should be 1500 to 1800 words in length. You should analyze the film through the lens of one of the broad theories you have learned about in class (auteur theory, genre theory, formalist theory). Your analysis must address four main areas (contextual information, story/plot, aesthetic choices, and social/personal impact) and how these areas work together to develop the theme of the movie. As you construct your analysis, assume that your reader is not familiar with this film. Use your analysis to explain to your reader why they should watch this film.In addition to the film you are analyzing, you must use three scholarly sources to support your arguments. Refer to the ENG225 Research Guide in the Ashford University Library for guidance and to locate your sources. Cite your sources (including the feature-length film) within the text of your paper and on the reference page. Cite your sources according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..Your analysis must address the following components (noted in bold below):Contextual Information – In this area, you will provide some of the basic identifying information of the film. This includes:TitleDirector, cinematographer, major actors/actresses. Be sure to describe their roles in the overall design process.Year of releaseType of film (blockbuster, indie, documentary, etc.)GenreStory/Plot – In this area, you should offer a brief summary of the film, and then show how it was deployed in the narrative structure of the film. Explain the difference between the film’s story and its plot. This area can be addressed as a separate paragraph, or can be threaded throughout your analysis of the film.Aesthetic Choices – In this area, you will assess the efficacy of specific techniques and design elements employed in the film as they apply to the overarching narrative and theme of the film. These elements include:Mise en scène (e.g., lighting, sound, composition of frame, costuming, etc.)Editing (e.g., cuts and transitions, shots used, angles, etc.)Technology (i.e., analyze the impact of any notable technological effects: film stock, targeted release venue, special effects, etc.)Social/Personal Impact – In this area, you will critically address the following questions:What impact did this film have on society (i.e., politically or culturally, positive or negative)? The impact can be as major as inspiring political or social changes or as minor as inspiring the production of toys or lunchboxes.How did society affect this film (i.e., what currents in society led to the creation of the film)?If you are unable to find any information about the social impact of the film, explain the personal impact it has had on you.Note: Not every bullet point under the four listed components will necessarily apply to your movie. However, you will still need to discuss each of the four main components thoroughly, which means that you may need to explain a concept even if it can’t be directly applied to your movie.Your paper should be organized around a thesis statement that clarifies what you will attempt to accomplish in your paper, and how you will proceed. Additionally, you must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph. Review the Final Film Critique sample, which provides an example of a well-developed analysis as well as insight on composition.Stage 2: ReflectionAfter completing your movie analysis, you will reflect on the analysis process and how you have learned to more thoroughly analyze film as well as how rigorous study of film enhances your development as a student and thinker. In this 300- to 600-word reflection, review your initial post from the “Post Your Introduction” discussion in Week One, and consider how your ability to analyze movies has changed or grown. Append your reflection to the analysis portion of your paper and submit as one document. Your reflection should be personal and exploratory in nature.Address the following questions in your reflection:What can be gained through analyzing film?How has this changed the way you view movies?How are you able to use film theory and criticism to find and interpret meaning in movies?In what ways has this course changed your understanding of how movies are related to society?What skills have you developed during this course, and how might those skills be applied to your major, profession, and/or life?The Final Film CritiqueMust be one document that is 1800 to 2400 words in length, comprised of a 1500- to 1800-word film analysis and a 300- to 600-word reflection.Must include a separate title and reference page, and be formatted according to APA style as outlined in Ashford Writing Center (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..Must include a title page with the following:Title of paperStudent’s nameCourse name and numberInstructor’s nameDate submittedMust begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.Must use at least three scholarly sources (reviews, articles, or book chapters) other than the textbook to support your points. Refer to the ENG225 Research Guide (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for guidance.Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.Must include a separate reference page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.I have attached a sample of what the paper should look like.The film for discussing will be Back to the Future (1985)

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Purpose: Use this modeled example of the Week 5 Written Assignment to explore the
elements that make this an exemplary submission. Hover over the number or scroll to the end
of the text to read about what the student has done well in this assignment.
Final Film Critique: Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
A. Film Student
ENG225: Introduction to Film
Instructor: Dr. Director
April 1, 2099
Final Film Critique: Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace is a powerful story that showcases expert
use of narrative elements and cinematic techniques. In the following film critique the author will
analyze the Star Wars theatrical presentation through the lens of the formalist theory. The
formalist theory enables critics in analyzing how meaning is conveyed through study of a film’s
form. By aligning the theory with plot structure, editing style, sound elements, camera
techniques, and overall mise en scène it is clear that Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom
Menace is a must-watch action adventure learning experience for all science fiction aficionados.
I will also reflect upon how my personal film analysis capabilities have developed throughout
this course. Lastly, the author will conclude with an explanation of why Star Wars: The Phantom
Menace is an eloquent entertainment experience in excitement, thrill, achievement effect and
virtue familiarity.
The Phantom Menace has many different themes intertwined throughout the story. The
most influential and encompassing of the many themes is the ‘confrontation with evil’ unique
subject matter and the manner in which it is derived from and leads to subthemes (i.e. fulfilling
hope, honoring trust, respecting friendship, valuing honesty, controlling ambition, garnering
respect, etc.). The heritage, legacy, culture, and family dynamics of the theatrical presentation
enhance the central ‘conflict with evil’ theme for a first-rate, top-quality lesson in structuring
faith, developing compassionate understanding, and appreciating egalitarian esteem. The analysis
will address contextual information, story and plot anatomy, aesthetic choices and social affect.
Contextual information means basic identifying elements such as title, director, and
cinematographer. Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace is directed by George Lucas.
Mr. Lucas, as the director, guides technical teams and controls the creativity skills of actors in
script interpretation. The cinematographer, David Tattersall, is in charge of the camera crew and
carries team collaborative responsibility in technical artistry. Choreographer/stunt coordinator,
Nick Gillard, arranges and plans action sequences such as lightsaber battles. The editor, Paul
Martin Smith, is technically responsible for connecting shots into a consistently cogent sequence.
Major actors and actresses include: Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Natalie Portman, Ewan
McGregor, Oliver Ford Davies, Frank Oz, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Liam Neeson, Samuel L.
Jackson, Keira Knightly, Ahmed Best, Pernilla August, Silas Carson, Sofia Cappola, Ray Park,
Hugh Quarshie, and Dominic West, (Star Wars, 2015). Their roles in the overall design process
include creating a sense of culture and species diversity. The Phantom Menace’s concept design
relies upon a galactic community theme with subsequent political complexity subthemes. The
identifying information in the eighteen named major actors, from the author’s perspective, assist
in conceptualizing the blockbuster’s multi-theme sophistication. Released in 1999, the science
fiction, multi-million dollar, epic, space soap opera is rated PG and has an average runtime of
one hundred thirty-six minutes.
A brief summary of Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace will serve as an
overview of the plot and story, and orient the treatment of theme. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and
Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to distant planet Naboo to save its monarch, Queen
Padme Amidala, from an invasion by the evil Trade Federation. After escaping Naboo with
Queen Amidala, the Jedi’s spacecraft is damaged which causes an emergency landing on the
planet Tatooine. On Tatooine, Jedi Master Jinn discovers a child slave with tremendous force
powers. Named Anakin Skywalker, the child slave wins a Tatooine vehicle podrace, establishes
his freedom, and joins the Jedi in their trip to the planet Coruscant. After undergoing
unsuccessful political attempts to stop the Naboo invasion, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi,
Queen Amidala and Anakin Skywalker return to Naboo. On Naboo they separate to engage in
the story’s ultimate thematic plot correlation: Queen Amidala and Anakin versus the invasion
force, and, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Darth Maul. After sacrificially winning
their thematic battles the heroes (sans Qui-Gon Jinn) become aware that the Naboo invasion is
just the beginning of an elaborate Sith plan to revive the Dark Side’s control of the galaxy.
The differences which indicate a film’s story and a film’s plot are sequence and method.
The writer transcribes the story, or sequence of development/action, into a plot, which retells the
story in a certain way (Goodykoontz, Jacobs, 2014). In transcribing the Star Wars Episode 1
story into The Phantom Menace’s themed plot, writer/director George Lucas organized the
David Tattersall camera team and each actor/dialogue/setting sequence toward intended narrative
ideology development. The narrative ideology, computer-generated imagery and live action, is
fast-paced and full of critical moment scenes.
An example of Mr. Lucas’ directorial plot methodology recapturing the Episode One
story sequence, and a scene from the aforementioned film summary, is Qui-Gon Jinn and ObiWan Kenobi saving Queen Amidala from the initial Trade Federation invasion. The techniques
and design elements, as they apply to the overarching them of confrontation with evil are
correspondingly represented in setting changes, character movement, camera angles and editing
styles. As the film transitions from the evil sneak attack destruction of the spacecraft, the
audience sees Trade Federation droids communicating with a hologram Darth Sidious who
commands them to kill the Jedi Master and apprentice Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The
following cinematic events support the four areas of in-depth film analysis and is but one of
many which work together to convey the central Episode 1 themes.
The setting, a Naboo guest quarters annex, is low-key lighting and smoke-filled with greys
and vibrant blues as the Trade Federation droids gas then approach the slowly opening doors of
the Jedi’s guest room. The diegetic and non-diegetic sounds correlate the computer-generated
droids’ ‘command and control’ conversation and the suspenseful background music. The scene
transitions to an over-the-shoulder camera angle of the droids’ perspective and silence as a
servant droid walks out of the room. The editing sequence from that moment shifts back and
forth from the droid perspective to the open guest room doors to heighten expectation of a Jedi
appearance. Instantly laser blasts sound, two lightsabers appear, heroic theme music plays and
Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi appear deflecting laser projectiles and defeating the droid
attack. The Nick Gillard-styled coordinated character movement, the Paul Martin Smith-styled
fast-paced camera angles of David Tattersall styled close-up, medium, and full ‘battle sequence’
shots helped make sense of the twisting and turning loyalty shifts and mise en scene
chronological changes. The efficacy in the specific editing, sound, and computer-generated
imagery (CGI)/special effects mixture gives the audience a clear interpretation of thrilling action,
comprehensible excitement and protagonist ‘heroic triumph over evil’ engagement. In furthering
the focus of the overall ‘confrontation with evil theme’, the CGI effects devise a unique Star
Wars subtheme aesthetic that promises a superior advantage.
The social impact of Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace begins with the
popular science fiction escapism of the 1970s and 1980s. Released two years after the end of the
Vietnam War, Star Wars: Episode Four – A New Hope broke all-time box office records and
garnered a multi-faceted, dedicated and vastly expanding science fiction fan base and culture.
The theatrical presentation was such an awarded success that the culturally demanded sequels,
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) created even more intense multi-
faceted social demand. As the Star Wars response to the extreme popularity and demand of the
aforementioned blockbusters, Episode One – The Phantom Menace satiated the expectation,
anticipation and excitement of the legendary space soap opera. When fans anxiously awaited the
premiere of the theatrical presentation back in 1999 the elation of a new Star Wars overrode any
critical disdain in the mind of superfans (Kickham, 2015). The social impact is in adding to the
Academy Award record-breaking potential of the Star Wars franchise and invigorating a multifaceted (artificial intelligence, aeronautics, health, audio engineering, astronomy, physics, genre
sophistication, etc, (Gent, 2015) theoretical science culture.
The author’s ability to analyze movies has increased sufficiently according to previous
study and course terminology definitions and descriptions. The completion of English 225:
Introduction to Film enables the student in explaining how movies incorporate meaning beyond
story events. Quite professionally, the author is able to better distinguish cinematography
variations and differences and recognize like elements in portraying similar themes. An effective
refinement in differentiating story and plot gives the author greater appreciation for engaging
audiences with socially-sensitive narrative elements and uniquely interpreted literary devices
(such as metaphor, conflict, foreshadowing, symbol, point of view, tone, etc.). A better
understanding of the relationship among directors/writers, actors and technical teams changes the
author’s use of film theory and criticism by prioritizing the application of cinematic innovation in
attracting and retaining audiences. The author’s skills, developed in the English 225: Introduction
to Film course, are central to an in-depth understanding of a filmmaker’s use of actors. In
recognizing the difference among actors and characters, the author can better determine the
applied aspects in effective realistic or stylized acting. Recognizing the types of actors and the
interdependency in acting styles effectuates what the author considers promising and proficient
professional acting skill.
Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace fashions meaning through an elaboration in
optimistic promise and objective consequences in moral significance. The formalist approach
directly highlights narrative elements and cinematic techniques for focusing thematic
collaboration and definitive comprehension correlation. As a must-watch action adventure for all
science fiction aficionados, the highly recommended theatrical presentation expertly represents
human ‘good versus evil’ ideological interaction on its finest scale.
Gent, E. (2015). ‘Star Wars’ Tech: 8 Sci-Fi Inventions and Their Real-Life Counterparts. Live
Science. Retrieved Dec. 25, 2015 from:
Goodykoontz, B. & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.) [Electronic
version]. Retrieved from
Kickham, D. (2015). Star Wars fans react to the first screenings of The Phantom Menace in
vintage clip. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved Dec. 25 2015 from:
Star Wars. (2015). Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Retrieved Dec. 25, 2015 from:
1. The author has written a strong introduction that gives a clear sense of the topic and purpose. Additionally,
a strong introduction explains how the purpose will be accomplished – in this instance, what techniques and
methodologies will be explored.
2. The author makes a claim about the theme of the film under discussion and then indicates how this claim will
be proven in the succeeding paragraphs.
3. Following the guidelines for this assignment, the author has delivered required contextual information – and
has done so fully with complete sentences that explain how even this information links to the overall concepts
under discussion.
4. A plot summary is just that – a summary of the important events and currents of a film. Here, the author
covers the broad strokes of the plot without getting bogged down in too many specific details. Additionally, the
author is sure to signal how the plot connects to the theme.
5. The author provides specific examples, including scenes from the film, to support the viewpoint being discussed.
6. These specific examples, used to support the claims made throughout the paper, are closely analyzed scenes
and shots from the film itself. The author has used the proper terminology to discuss these techniques which
demonstrates mastery of course content.
7. A reader won’t believe what you’re saying unless you give clear and direct reference as support. In this class,
that support often comes from specific scenes or shots from the film itself.
8. The author begins a discussion of the social impact of the film by appealing to an understanding of the culture
at the time, showing the delicate interconnections between film and society.
9. Even though the film under discussion is primarily meant as entertainment, the author explores this topic fully – considering the many ways a film may interact with the larger culture. Additionally, outside resources have
been brought in to enlarge this discussion.
10. The author has integrated his required personal reflection, showing how the work done in this paper is an
integral capstone to the learning accomplished in class.
11. The author has written a complete conclusion that serves to look back at the entire paper and gather the various ideas and concepts that have been discussed. Additionally, the conclusion is linked to some specific information from the film.

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