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The investigation of the genre. War Films. Target Audience.

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Target Audience

The target audience for this genre is usually adults and young adults because of its content. They are usually geared in the direction of betrayal and gore. A younger audience wouldn’t understand who is doing what because the plot is usually more complicated than most. Though in most cases, war films can be a little gory, and or bloody. The film tries to capture the essence of war, and war is not a pretty matter. When the producers and directors make a war film, the only reason they make it is to prove a point of a real historical event that maybe people 16 and up can watch, or to make an epic, bloody, action packed war film. These are generally for the male adults because they love the idea of war and blood. In most movies, the hero is a male role, so the male audience is more targeted. Most of the time it is not a child that is the hero either. So the obvious target audience is the adult male part of the population.


Codes and Conventions


They are usually matching to the “side” they are on. If the good guys are in red, then all good guys are red. If the bad guys are black, then all bad guys are in black. The color is important as well because the good side is usually the lighter color as the “evil” side is usually more of a darker tone.


Unless the “savage” is portrayed as the “good guys” then any more than regular face makeup would mean these are people from an invading country or the country being invaded. It symbolizes a difference from the enemy.


It is usually dark, and depressing. War is not fun, nor is it the place where there is happiness. The only time in the movie where you would generally see the sun or any bright lighting would be at the very beginning and at the very end. The points of the movie where the climax is not close. Most of the movie will be unhappy or dark, so there won’t be that great of light unless they are fighting during the day in the dessert because no matter what, it’s very bright there.


Codes and Conventions

Camera Angles:

The camera angle is usually eye level, just above or way below. The reason for being above is so you can see more soldiers. The reason for being way below is so that you can see who has more power. The effect of the large man is intimidating. Camera shots are usually long shots or medium shots because there is usually more than one person in one scene that is talking or fighting. The medium shots are usually for the fighting scenes, but the long shots are for the action, the fighting, and showing all the soldiers.


Details of the Genre


Heroism, cowardice, absurdity of war, brutality of war, underdog

Plot: Two groups or more at an impasse or conflict and decide to go to battle, usually many die.


An open area, field, water, anywhere where the battle can be had without casualties are usually a common setting. There may be some where the war is in the city because the opposing side wants the upper hand.

Special effects:

The genre usually uses blood and gore effects to make it seem like the characters are actually dying. Then, they seem to be able to use a technique that makes you feel like you are actually there. They are able to make you feel for everyone in the movie.

Use of camera:

camera is usually everywhere in any battle scene so you can see every angle of the action. Though when it is not time for a fight, the camera is usually set normally. They are able to get great shots only when the fight scenes happen. They are usually more concerned with those anyways.



Details of the Genre*cont*


The music is usually rock or music that is composed by a great composer like Hans Zimmer. The music is supposed to help you get in the mood for battle. If the good guys are winning, there will be powerful music on for example.

Sound effects:

They are there to help us understand why the characters are acting the way they are and to help us feel in the zone.


They are usually the very common or well known stereotypes. The villains are very simple to see because they want power and control. That causes the hero stereotype to come in and have the need to stop the evil. This leads to war.

Past to present:

An early example of a war film is “All quiet on the western front”. The camera was always at eye level, and you could always see at least 2 people in the shot. Now days, movies like 300 and Troy have a wide range of shots, levels, angles and all. Troy used a great shot with his spear when he threw it; the camera followed the spear into the enemy. In 300 they gave good close ups so you can see every emotion


Dominant and oppositional


Dominant messages are very simple in war films. It is usually that someone will always get hurt, or that war never ends well for both sides. Though the oppositional messages differ from what movie it is and if it is character based or plot based. If it is character based, then the message may be a little more noticeable because it is usually tied to the characters motives. If it is plot based, then it may or may not be as noticeable. For example is Troy, the dominant message is do not underestimate your opponent but the oppositional message is anything can happen.

The messages are usually being created by the director or producer. They design what the movie will be and what the actors will be portraying. In other words, they are giving you messages through what the lines of the characters are and by what the characters actions represent.





In my opinion, I would say the biggest and most controversial problem would have to be the repetition in the genre. Platoon won lots of awards, than all the other actors saw how much attention it got and wanted to make movies like it. Just like WW2 movies. They have been redone and redone to death. When I first thought of this genre, tons of war movies just meshed together because I couldn’t tell them apart. They all seem the same. Some of them have their own story to tell, some are just yet another remake of a once great film. This whole industry is doing this, but, if I had to choose a genre that is doing most of the repetition, I would say it would be war movies. They are the ones who mostly get nominated and that’s all actors and directors care about anyways. It really upsets me that there is not much originality left in Hollywood.



I watched the movies 300, King Arthur, and All quiet on the Western front. The last one I watched was all quiet on the western front. It is much different than the first two. The director didn’t really use the same general camera shots as the first two and therefore would just be like a regular film. But, the costumes and the setting said that it was a war movie. 300, is an action, war film. It is about 300 Spartans going to war against a huge army of Persians. They had slow motion shots, long shots to see the full action, and extreme close ups to see their expression to show what is happening to the warriors. King Arthur was the movie I loved the most. It had the same shots and angles as 300 which made it a war movie. Though it had more of a plot. Arthur and his knights defend a realm that they thought was a honest land. The characters had more depth to the story than 300. It made it a great movie to watch. 300 was just all action and death. King Arthur was a movie that anyone can see. Even if you don’t like war movies.