The feature film industry is an important sector of the whole movie industry. There is, therefore, a great need to hold discussions over the same so that the future growth of the industry will be healthier. With regard to the American feature film industry, these discussions cannot be overemphasized, since America is a giant in the movie industry, in general. That is why Turner (2009) observed that America has dominated the feature film industry since the beginning of the twentieth century. The author also pointed out that the feature film industry and the resultant TV culture led to the decline in the consumption of films in a wider movie industry. The reason he provided for America’s leadership in this ‘sub-genre’ was that due to the fact that they “made their films well”. In order to determine the quality of movie it has to be critiqued.
Feature film is a term that was originally used to refer to the main or featured film that was shown in a cinema. This can simply be referred to as a popular film. Today, these films run for about starting from sixty minutes to one and half hour. The examples of the American feature films include Howl (Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, 2010), Superman Returns (Bryan Singer, 2006) and Homecoming (Joe Dante, 2005). This is the critique of Homecoming, a film that uses the genre of horror to communicate on the political themes. So as to adequately critique the film, the following issues shall be demystified: the nature of storytelling, acting, cinematography, and genre. This critique shall also include some aspects of editing, sound, style, and directing. The impact of film on the society, application, and overall textual themes shall also be discussed. A basic submission of this essay is that the film Homecoming is a great movie of our time that should be watched by everybody. This is due to its presentation of a very serious matter in the ‘not very serious’ mood.
Analysis of the Film
To begin with, it should be noted that Homecoming is an episode of a bigger collection or a series of Masters of Horror. This sixth episode was directed by Joe Dante. It would rather be called a political satire horror. The Joe Dante’s directed film was written by Samm Hamm, Mick Garris and Dale Bailey. It is also worth mentioning that the film was produced by Andrew Deane, Adam Goldworm, Ben Browning and Grant Rosenberg. It runs for fifty nine minutes (Gubelman & Freeman, 2009).
The writers of this script tell their story in a linear manner. Just to illustrate this point using three scenes. There is a lab scene, an election night and the scene where soldiers are shot. The major highlight in the lab scene is shooting a zombie soldier while a captured woman is crying that the election should be stolen. However, there is an interesting twist in which the long dead people come to life to vote; and yet we are not told who they had voted for (Gubelman & Freeman, 2009).
The setting of the story is in the United States of America, few weeks before the Election Day. The major issue at hand is the political supremacy of governing against the freedom of people. The film very clearly illustrates how people suffer while fighting for their country, yet very little is done to appreciate them. Of course, the war alluded to the events happening in Iraq and the film crew wanted and indeed succeeded in telling the story through the action (Harris, 2009).
Each actor plays an important role in the delivery of the main themes. So as to deliver the larger themes, they had to portray realities that came with war. This could be defined as the ultimate film acting. The big question is, however, whether what they actors brought out were their characters or the intention of the director. There have been the varied views on this but it seems that the director had a great role to play in the film. When the input of the director is compared to that of an individual actor, the director keeps more responsibility (Gubelman & Freeman, 2009). Homecoming was not just a kind of film but the film to sell a strict message to the regime of the moment, and so, it seems that a lot of actions were stage-managed and directed.
The film employs a lot of symbolism. In the literary terms, the very assumption of zombie characters is symbolism. Some government officials considered zombies as the symbols of destruction which being not always true. They actually came to vote. It would, therefore, mean that zombies were such because of what they had to go, though while fighting for the country. Yet they were not treated for that. This would also symbolize the existence of disparities in the society (Harris, 2009). The story of the film also appears more allegorical than metaphorical. In a normal usage, metaphors have some elements of the hidden message. On the other hand, allegory is a straightforward story. In this context, war was not something to be hidden as it was already happening and as such the entire film was built on satire.
The characters in this film are variously categorized. The stars include Jason Emmanuel, Jon Tenny (as David Murch), Terry David Mulligan (as Marty Clark), Robert Picardo (as Kurt Rand), Beverley Breuer, Thea Gill (as Jane Cleaver), and Ryan McDonnel.
One would agree that it is a good quality of video. The lighting is good, and the colors come out very well: distinctly and clearly. However, bearing in mind that the director himself is also a producer, the better results should have been achieved. In general, the whole cinematography seems to be just above average. This film has also blended well both the objective and subjective use of camera. Where focusing was necessary, it has been achieved either through zooming out or in. From the quality of visibility of backgrounds, it implies that the persons doing it made a good use of distances and angles (Gubelman & Freeman, 2009). However, the final quality would not have been possible without some special effects which had to be applied.
This has been well achieved. The acts have come out well due to the right arrangement of scenes. So as to achieve the desired creativity, the editors applied different transitions. This was also highly informed by the kind of scenes either preceding or succeeding each other. As earlier pointed out, this film is an episode of the longer series. This means that editing had to be done in the way to ensure the continuity and good flow of actions at all (Harris, 2009).
We are living in the times of great creativity, innovation and uniqueness. The film has greatly made use of dialogues and also some effects, although they are comparatively milder. Although the film can be said to have a generally fair effect, only the few sequences made use of the rear effects channels. Moreover, the track sounds very good, and it seems a lot of efforts have been put into the music selection and positioning (Gubelman & Freeman, 2009).
Style and Directing
The film was directed by Joseph Dante, a renowned director, actor and producer. It is, therefore, true that the film combines many aspects required for the good films since the director has several backgrounds. Dante has also participated in a lot of the fiction genres. Many reviewers agreed that he is a humorist. His abilities have been seen in such several films as The Phantom, Eerie Indiana, The Howling and Women on the Moon among others. It should not be forgotten that Dante co-directed Hollywood Boulevard with Allan Arkush.
Joe Dante has shown much uniqueness in presenting his point of view on the political issues of the United States of America, especially with regard to war. His style has blended well with both the satire and fear. This, together with Dante’s technical know-how of the industry, gave rise to the wonderful movie. As pointed out earlier, he is a director, actor and producer that knows his subject well. However, when the film is compared with other works by the same professional, its level is a bit lower in terms of its theme and classification (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011). Moreover, the director has used the movie well in sending the message to the audience.
Impact of the Film on the Society
This movie has a direct message for every citizen and any regime, since the message of the film is not just to the governed people but also to policy makers. The movie indirectly tells people to be careful with the manipulation of government for the attainment of its super goals at the expense of its citizens. This is illustrated by the way citizens are seen to devotedly fight for the sake of their country that does not care much about them. At the same time, however, citizens are being called up to exercise their democratic rights not depending on the circumstances. This has well been illustrated by zombies who ‘come home’ to vote. They are, however, not being trusted by some government officials. The film is, therefore, a kind of the advocacy tool (Harris, 2009).
In directing the movie, Joe Dante wanted to bring out the evils of war; it is, therefore, an anti-war film trying to teach the society and the regimes of the time that war is not good. It should be remembered that the movie came during the time when the Bush’s administration was propagating war in many parts of the world. The reaction of the society is rather responsive since as one goes along, they are able to identify themselves with some actors. The society may also feel that its ideas were not well represented and may, thus, be a bit indifferent. The zombies in this film, although being extra-human in the looks and ability, purely represent human attributes. Watching this movie, one does not feel out of the world since the war is represented as a phenomenon of the daily life. If anything happens, one feels real.
This film is mainly a horror movie. This is illustrated by the zombies in the act. However, the major theme is a political message sent to the leaders of the time that despite the fact that the election time was around the corner, but the American soldiers continued to fight abroad. By bringing out this contrast, the author is perhaps recommending that the soldiers should come home after serving the country through fighting. The fact that the film does not restrict itself to the strict sense of horror, it may not qualify to be a genre film. It presents more than one theme which is almost equivalent in magnitude (Goodykoontz, & Jacobs, 2011).
The traditional knowledge of the horror film is which fear the instilling creatures, popularly known as vampires, kill and eat people for their (vampires’) own individual needs. In this film, however, there are the political overtones, which dilute the expected fear in such a movie. The strict horror movies take people out of this world to the suspended and isolated world, for instance, the thick forest at night, where there is no hope of coming home. This creation helps to instill behavior for the fear of retribution from those creatures. The movie under review also helps viewers to understand the subject matter but not as vivid as it would have if it were the strict horror. This deviation was motivated by the achievement of specific themes and the overall textual themes (Harris, 2009).
This film deviates from the central theme of being the fear instilling media. This is because zombies are not vampires and may not be cannibals either. At some point, one is left to wonder whether to focus on zombies or on the government’s commitment to the issues affecting the citizens. As far as this critique is concerned, this is a political film but not the horror, because it is the main content being repeatedly referred to. By the virtue placed under Master of Horrors, it swaps the implicit content with the explicit one. The title implied message is a pure and deeply rooted horror but what comes out is something else (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011).
By even looking at the star characters, you find that some are the political professionals in real life, thus, posing the serious questions on what was the initial purpose. At some level, one is also tempted to think that tagging the Bush’ characters was an attempt to sell big. It may or may not be agreeable to most people but the academia is about exploring all possible alternatives especially where the evidence looms. That is why it is herein proposed that the contextual approaches will be applied in dissecting the issue further (Harris, 2009).
This critique was geared towards discussing some key aspects of the feature film Homecoming. This has been done by, first of all, looking at its storytelling method and acting. In the former, the critique succeeded to investigate some of the actors and what the caliber were; while in the latter, some of the things were the symbolism and satire. The critique also investigated the cinematography of the film.
It was established that the film made a good use of cameras in terms of distance and framing. In addition, both the film editing and sounds were well merged. When it comes to the style, it was also found out that the director did a good job since he had the prior experience not only in directing but also in acting and producing. Hollywood Boulevard was one of his works of directing. Finally, the societal impact and the genre were highlighted after which the critics were put forward. It seemed that the film deviated from its implied content. All in all, this remains a great work of art.