• How does the use of Sound and Cinematography construct meaning and evoke an audience response in the closing scenes of Maleficent.

How does the use of Sound and Cinematography construct meaning and evoke an audience

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response in the closing scenes of Maleficent.

Clip length – 4 minutes 59 seconds

The film I have chosen to analysis under the genre of fantasy thriller is

“Maleficent”.”Maleficent” is a 2014 American dark fantasy thriller film directed by

Robert Stromberg and from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton. The story takes

inspiration from the 1959 animated classic, “Sleeping Beauty”, but from the perspective

of the villainous Maleficent. The movie explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic

villain and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone.

Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, at

the same time growing fonder and protective towards Princess Aurora to whom she had

cursed. This movie highlights elements of women empowerment and vengeance than

being helpless and in despair; the movie also follows a linear narrative to explore the

nature of the corruptness of mankind. Traces of a parent child relationship between

Princess Aurora and Maleficent are seen, and coveys the message that even in the

darkness of evil shines a heart of gold.

The closing-action sequence of “Maleficent” is highly significant in terms of both

narrative structure and stylistic implications. This sequence is very important in the

film as it is at the peak of tension and climax of the battle between both the regions. A

close-up on Maleficent is intended to captivate the focus of the spectator in

communicating with Maleficent through her facial expressions. The use of fast cut

editing, low angle shots and the soundtrack has worked hand in hand to build a sense of

fear and create anxiety which locks the attention of the spectator. The director has used

a lot of wide shots to keep the spectator engaged with the scene, this is seen when

Aurora walks up to rescue Maleficent’s wings, which is locked up inside a glass

chamber. The spectator feels relieved and sympathy for Maleficent, as she is trapped in

the castle, and with the steel heavy wings that caught the eyes of Aurora, the spectator

feels that with the help of gaining her wings back. Maleficent can now fight back king

Stephan. The lighting is low key mostly in the shades of black and blue, however we see

a blue ray of light shining behind the chamber, indicating hope and happiness.

The director has used a range of high angle shots to convey the message that the

characters are weak making the look upon as helpless. This is witnessed when the

soldiers chain up Diaval, now turned into a dragon, as the soldiers are trying to kill the

dragon. The use of fire and chaos occurring in the background, adds a more dramatic

approach of misery and the reduced hope for freedom. The music used in this particular

sequence and through the battle being fought, is a combination of both diegetic and

non- diegetic sounds. For example, the fast paced, major key music adds a sense of fear

and anxiety, as it builds up tension for the spectator, to help them feel more about the

chaos and the way Maleficent and Diaval feels. Maleficent, on the other side is depicted

in a tight frame, showing isolation as the soldiers surround her with iron shields,

making her impossible to get out , because iron burns fairies. Keeping this weakness of

Maleficent in mind, king Stephan wears an iron shield, covered in head to toe, when he

approaches to kill Maleficent.


Adds an enigma and mystery to the closing scene and leaves the spectator wanting to

find out whether maleficent is able to rescue herself and princess aurora out of the

palace . The closing scene of the film has worked well to hold the gaze of the spectator

and leave a ruthless end for a love story yet giving birth to a new peaceful life of

happiness that waits ahead. These elements of the movie has accomplished in catering

towards the captivation and engrossment of the movie in the eys of the spectator

leaving a high standard expectation and a change in perception as they see the other

side of the classic sleeping beauty which was masked away from the heads, as the movie

comes to an end.

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