Thursday, February 20, 2014

Red Light. Green Light. Go.

Ashley Travis
College Writing II

Red Light. Green Light. Go.

            Cars have come along way since the early nineteenth century. Movies have used cars in their films and posters to attract the audience. Through this rhetorical analysis, I analyze how automobiles are used in the media, and how cars can be interpreted into different movies genres. Also this rhetorical analysis examines how people view different movie covers, or what draws their attention. I believe this paper will help filmmakers, car companies, advertisers, and graphic designers improve their work, and also see how the audience they want to attract view different posters. In this rhetorical analysis we need to keep in mind ethos (credibility), logos (logic), and pathos (emotion).
            The three posters I analyze were:
·      The Cannonball Run (1981)
·      Fast & Furious (2001)
·      Cars 2 (2011)
These movies were made at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. The advance of technology allowed the automobile to become better, faster, and safer than before. Filmmakers interpret automobiles into different genres that will appeal to a specific audience they would like to attract to see that movie. I am going to analyze each of the movie posters individually, and going in the order of when each movie was produced.
The Cannonball Run (Fig. 1) poster has a large title and is positioned at the top so; it draws our eyes to see it first. Viewers then attend to observe the big picture that is in the middle of the poster. The picture shows a car in the center with the speed limit sign above it. Next we see the characters (actors) around the car and speed limit sign. The designer of the poster displays that the movie will be a comedy by having all the actors smiling. Another evidence that the designer used to show us it will be a comedy is the actors are caricatured. Because the car looks like it is coming towards the audience fast, and the designer has it breaking through the speed limit sign and racing flag, it gives the impression that it is a racing movie. Also another clear evidence that shows it is a racing movie is the other car in the background. The other car is smaller than the center car to indicate the car is in a race with the car in the center. Although the background is white, the illustrator uses different colors on the main picture to get the audience to look at that right away. The use of caricature and the plain background helps us indicate that this movie is a bit older. Once we finish observing the main focus of the picture, we see four well-known actors that will be in the movie. The illustrator advertises the well-known actors to draw people into seeing the movie. There is not really any text except the title and actors of the movie so, the visual is important. The visual definitely helps you determine different things about the movie.
The movie poster Fast & Furious (Fig. 2) uses a similar arrangement to the poster of The Cannonball Run. The poster uses a car as the main picture focus. Also when we see the car, we can see the title of the movie on the side of the car. Like the poster for The Cannonball Run the characters (actors) are shown around the car. By the facial expression of each character one can assume the movie will have action in it. All the characters have a serious expression with determination in their eyes.  Also the seriousness of the actors’ faces plus the car can allow one to assume it is a racing movie. At the bottom of the poster it says, “Get Up To Speed” so, we can put that as the movie has racing in it. The designer of this poster focused on people who like cars because the poster has the car as the main focus. Another evidence that could draw a car lover in is that on the car it says, “New Model. Original Parts.” The car looks like a realistic photograph of a car, but it also has a bit of caricature to it. Unlike the poster The Cannonball Run, Fast & Furious uses darker colors. The dark color scheme gives the poster a more serious vibe, and also gives the viewer a sense of what the movie genre will be. The bottom of the picture has names of the four well-known actors that will appear in the movie.
Last movie poster I will analyze is Cars 2 (Fig. 3). Now Cars 2 is a little bit different than the other two movie posters because it is animated. One can assume that this movie poster is trying to convey a younger audience between the ages two and ten.  Evidence for knowing this movie is for kids is that it is animated, and it gives personification of cars having human like characteristic. On the poster it says Disney Pixar, which we know as a well-known production company that creates kids movie. At the top of the poster it says, “From the creatures of Toy Story 3”. The poster saying that helps verify that this is a kid movie.  The title is in the center of the poster and is fairly large. Your attention goes straight to the title of the movie first. Next your attention goes to all of the cars that are below the title. Like I said above the cars have human like characteristic that makes it appeal to a younger audience. The facial expressions on the cars are happy so, we can conclude that the movie will be a happy, funny movie for kids. It has a globe in the background, which could mean that the cars are going to race around the world. The color scheme used is bright colors. I believed the designer used the brighter colors to appeal more to the kids. At the bottom there is a slogan saying “The mission begins in cinemas this summer” so, this lets the viewer know when the movie will be in theaters and to go see it.
Each poster visual positions the audience that loves cars and movies. Also car companies, advertisers, and filmmakers will like how each movie poster is presented. The posters can leave us appreciating the technological advances of the automobile. We could probably assume that the designer did this so, we can see how there are different type of cars, and how the different types can draw a viewer’s attention. This can get us emotionally attached to the movie even before we go and see it. When we see these different car posters it may make us want to buy a car that looks like the one in the poster. The visual definitely helps us understand what the movie will be like. If the visual was missing, and it was just text not many people will go and see it. I hope that this rhetorical analysis helps people be able to analyze how automobiles are used in the media. Also how cars can be interpreted into different movie genres, and how people view the different movie covers. Filmmakers, car companies, and advertising agencies all do rhetorical analysis to see what they can improve on. In addition to improving, they try to see what is marketable.  

“The Cannonball Run.” IMDb., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
"Fast and Furious." IMDb., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
 “Cars 2.” IMDb. IMDb., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

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