Transformers the last knight and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have one thing in common which is the action-packed scenes that both of them are filled with. They are also adaptations from comic books that were brought to the big screen via 3D cinematic technology that has enabled fictional characters to come to life. My thesis will focus on the main techniques that they use to develop action sequels. The shooting of action films is done from a similar playbook that most directors use. Michael Bay who directed the transformers as well as Dave Green who did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the shadows are going to be used to elaborate on these techniques that are synonymous with this type of genre.
Most of the scenes in both action films experience quite a bit of this technique as they bring the anticipation of tension in the movies (Ryan 24). An example is in the Transformers movie whereby we witness numerous scenes whereby the main actor Mark Wahlberg is in the thick of a battle scene whereby they are being hunted down in this setting of an abandoned town by paramilitary personnel and drones because robots are now considered dangerous and are outlawed to be seen moving about. This is also depicted in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the sequel whereby the CGI ninjas are engrossed in a fight with the Krang as they invade earth.
This technique is used to portray a fantastic action stunt or a cool set piece. It can also be employed to increase the effect of the drama found in a specific scene. As the Ninja movie begins, we experience their introduction through some stunts that are done midair whereby the turtles are descending from a building onto the streets below. The tricks that are carried out in mid-air are done in slow motion to emphasize their skill and superhero moves that they carry out. This is also seen when they are in the sewers whereby they cleverly toss the pizza box from one turtle to the other without dropping it (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows). The same can be seen in Michael Bay’s film whereby the Autobots transform in slow motion to enable the audience witness how the transformation occurs.
This camera action is also used to bring about dramatic effect close up shots of the characters faces are used to show the tension that is created in the scene. When the alien mothership releases a ray harvesting the Earth’s core, we get to see a couple of close-ups of main actors as well as extras that show the direness of the situation. The facial expressions evoke a feeling that the viewers can be able to relate to (Ryan 29).
This type of technique is used when showing the vigorous movements of the actor in a scene that holds a lot of tension in regards to the destination that the character is heading to. For instance, when approaching the mother ship of the aliens, the soldiers who do so are followed by the camera through the ruble and the shootout between the bots and the military forces. This includes the audience in action making them feel every moment as they progress.
This was popularized by Michael Bay who would cut shots in between action sequences to create a sense related to high stakes which is a characteristic of action based films to keep the action flowing for more extended periods (Ryan 37). This quick transition is meant to take us to another scene that connects to the previous round of actions that follow. It aims at giving us a holistic picture of different parts of the location all at the same time without confusing the viewer. The fifth iteration of the Transformer franchise shows this well by having actions take place simultaneously on the ground as well as action happening in the air whereby planes are fighting enemy forces, and ground units are also engaging the foe.
It is a new technique that has been extensively used in both films to bring about the aspect of realism to put the audience further into the action. It is used to introduce the presence of alien ships through the portal in the Ninja Turtle franchise. This clever trick when used in moderation can bring about a cool effect and when overdone can be annoying to the viewer.
City to outer space
There is a reduced number of locations that are used in these movies especially since they are more focused on the action and destruction taking place rather than a change in location. They are mostly limited to the city area zone for both films with extra scenes being shot in hangers that use green screens or miniature models that are constructed to depict various locations. This is a witty technique that is used to maximize the potential of an area without moving away from it. This coupled together with computer-generated images give a sense of vastness and is functional for the purpose. The images of spaceships entering the Earth’s atmosphere through a portal or outer space are not filmed as is but are created digitally. This helps the plot of the film as it enables the fictional spaceships as well as aliens come to life and serve a purpose which contributes to the overall feel of the movie.
A- List actors that create a visual appeal
The popularity that is amassed by these motion pictures not only comes from the comic books that they are based on but from the famous faces who play certain characters in the films. Audiences of such genres look most to the familiarity of the cast who play the characters in the films. Megan Fox, Tyler Perry of the Madea string of films are some of the faces that were used to represent characters in Dave Green’s movie. Michael bay also went for some famous names including Mark Walberg and Anthony Hopkins (Transformers: The Last Knight).
Good versus evil
The ideas in such productions are minimal and can be summed up in one major theme which is mainly good versus evil. It is always the good fighting the bad in a battle to save the Earth or the city from sinister motives that are depicted by a benevolent side. There is a power struggle that occurs between the two which always ends up with the good just narrowly winning the day. Shredder in the turtle movie is the antagonist they share this role with Decepticon Galvatron who seek to see that the world is turned to ashes but are resisted by protagonists who are Optimus Prime as well as the Ninja turtles who defend the Earth from enemies of humanity.
It is evident from the above that all of them are necessary for the successful implementation of action-packed films. Like in the similarities that were found in both films which had different directors but the same techniques which were used. The same rules do not apply to any conventional genre of film as there are some rules that do not apply to action films. The style of directing and editing also differs and is distinguishable from the get-go.
Ryan, Michael, and Melissa Lenos. An introduction to film analysis: technique and meaning in narrative film. Continuum, 2012.
Green, Dave, director. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. gomovies.tech/film/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-out-of-the-shadows-12803/watching.html?ep=688111.
Bay, Michael, director. Transformers: The Last Knight .
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