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Visual & Performing Arts
Movie Review
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Sequences Comparison Movie Review - Geostorm and Stagecoach (Movie Review Sample)


Art History 1921 Term Paper Fall 2017

Write on one of these assignments:

1)  See Geostorm (dir. Dean Devlin).  Then write an essay comparing the Indian attack sequence in Stagecoach with the car chase sequence toward the end of Geostorm when Max, Sarah, and another character (not to be identified here) leave the national convention at the stadium in the commandeered taxi. Then discuss those sequences in relation to the films as wholes, in terms of narrative concerns and construction, and cinematic style. For each sequence, analyze how the drama is constructed.  Consider not only dialogue and action, but also visual and aural elements such as lighting and camerawork (position and POV, framing, movement), editing, mise-en-scene, the sound track, etc.  Stylistically, is each sequence representative of the film as a whole?  Exceptional?  What is the relationship between the sequence and the larger narrative?  Does it build upon earlier moments?  Set up later ones?  How does the sequence fit in the larger narrative in terms of the personal relationships? Do the relationships and the outcome suggest particular sets of values? 

2) See Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (dir. Angela Robinson). Then write an essay comparing the relationship between Rick, Ilsa, and Laszlo with the relationship between Bill, Elizabeth, and Olive. What kind of relationship is involved?  What kind of issues? Consider how each narrative presents the relationship, its development, and resolution by focusing on a key scene (if possible not the first meeting of the three, or the final one, or the scene from Casablanca discussed in section; your selected scene does not need to include all three characters).  Each film uses surprises, reversals, and other plot devices to make the relationships dramatic and the outcome uncertain until the end; you may wish to select a scene that marks one such shift.  Consider not only dialogue and action, but also visual and aural elements such as lighting and camerawork (position and POV, framing, movement), editing (including transitions between scenes), mise-en-scene, the sound track, etc. Stylistically, is each scene representative of the film as a whole?  Exceptional?  What is the relationship between the scene or sequence and the larger narrative?  Does it build upon earlier moments?  Set up later ones?  How does the scene or sequence fit in the larger narrative in terms of the personal relationships and the events? Do the relationships and the action in the scene suggest particular sets of values?  

As a reminder, some other questions to be considered:

--What are the basic similarities and differences in the kinds of stories, and how are they reflected in the styles of the films, including their patterns of developments and key moments?  (It may be useful to prepare plot segmentation charts like the one in B&T, pp. 68-69).

--How is the relationship between plot and story handled?

--How are time and space handled?

--How does mise-en-scene support the action?

--What is the relation between sound and image?  How is dialogue used?  Music?  Other sounds? 

--How does the camera move, and with what effect?

--How do camera position and editing help to establish a point of view?

--What values does each film present, and how are they established?  Consider not only political and social values but, more generally, the kind of experience created by the movies.  Do they rely on fast-paced action?  Violence?  Suspense?  Surprise?  Comedy?  Melodrama and sentiment?  Romance? (You may wish to review B&T on form, feeling, and meaning, pp. 56-60.)

These questions should not be used as a mandatory checklist.  You may consider other questions and should decide what importance you wish to award any specific element.  You must, however, consider visual style.  

  Please italicize or underline your thesis statement, and the film titles. 

Credit lists are available on  Use character names except when specifically referring to the actors.  

Papers should be five pages long, double-spaced, with one-inch margins (and no extra spaces between paragraphs), and printed out using 12-point Times New Roman font; make a xerox copy, just in case.  Submit your film notes with your paper, stapled or clipped together. 


Jiaming Huo
Sequences Comparison Movie Review- Geostorm and Stagecoach
The Geostorm is a sci-fi thriller directed by Dean Devlin focusing on satellites originally created to control global climate, but the weather-controlled system started attacking the earth, and the challenge is to save mankind from the Geostorm while assessing the damage from the storm. The sequence scene focuses on the interaction of Max, Sarah and the President inside the taxi trying to move away from the storm. In the Western film Stagecoach, passengers are traveling by stagecoach when a violent conflict between Indians and whites emerges in the western frontier instigated by the Indians who surround and begin attacking the coach. The framing highlights the urban settings in Geostorm and open space of the American West frontier in Stagecoach, and this contrasts the action as there are more activities in the city and an impending geostrom would be more devastating than in sparsely populated areas.
Like many classic western movies, Stagecoach explores the conflicts between the whites and Indians as well as conflict within white culture in the western frontier. When the Indians launch an attack, they first appear in a high ridge and the camera zooms to their location to highlight the close-up action, where their leader signals for the attack to begin. The long shots of the landscape are important as they focus on the horizon and mountains contrast with the closer shots of the men shooting at each other. As the Indians instigate the fighting they are shown to be the villains as they surround the stage coach and begin attacking regardless of who is inside, and the other men simply defend themselves, the two women in the stagecoach and an infant. The threat from outside the stagecoach necessitates all the passengers to be alert about the danger ahead, and it is when the action gets closer that the men shoot more intensely.
In Geostorm, Sarah, Max and the President move at a high speed away from the storm in the self-driving taxi. The surrounding is urban in contrast to Stagecoach, and the director uses close up shots to highlight the action, where Max and the President talk briefly about the supposed ‘president kidnap.’ Since the three characters are in the cab they are only shown up to the sitting position, yet this emphasizes the challenge of them to navigate the storm successfully since emphasis is on how they can deal with the impending weather disaster. The end of civilization does not happen after there is realization that the weather satellite had been sabotaged and this was rectified even as the futuristic elements emphasize the looming apocalypse. The source of threat in the film is the weather-based system unlike Stagecoach where the Indians attackers launched a surprise attack.
In the Indian attack scene of the classic Western film the camera follows the Indians launching attacks targeting the stage coach where they surround the people being driven. During the actual attack there is the use of low-angled shots, bringing the action closer to the audience. The slow and steady stagecoach accelerated when the Indians attacked, and this further highlighted the scenery. In the Western films the landscape plays an important role in the film’s plot, and the framed landscape is relevant to the story. The director compressed the movement in the frame allowing the viewers to look into the landscape. The open frontier landscape that is rugged is the settings where hostile elements come into contact and in the scene gun fights between the whites and Indians takes place in this backdrop. The landscape also fosters the theme of the terrain being hostile and represents the perception 19th century American West was not the place for the faint hearted, and even the mythic hero...

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