Micro-features are made up of the following elements:
- Performance (talent)
These features work together to form the language of a film and play an essential role within the generation of meaning for the film’s audience.
I am going to make a short analysis highlighting the use of micro-features in the film Matrix Reloaded. However, specifically taking an interest in how the use of cinematography, editing and the mise-en-scene establish Neo as the superior fighter against Smith.
This is an extract of the scene I am writing about –
From the early stages of the scene, the mise-en-scene presents an empty environment, isolating Neo and Smith in a run-down location, away from the hassle of any external characters. This hints that something negative may emerge, for it to be hidden from the outside world.
It shows the audience this through the use of cinematography, by presenting a 360-degree pan, which circles around the environment. This gives the audience the illusion as if they are at the location turning around, as they would do if they attended an unknown location. This makes the audience feel vulnerable meanwhile placing us in the boots of Neo, as he enters this unknown territory. Then to emphasise the notion that Neo has no escape the mise-en-scene gradually fills up with Smiths everywhere, suggesting that Neo has no where to run, and because the audience have felt this position of Neo they will start to contemplate that Neo is going to be defeated. Though, in the long term, amplifies Neo’s superiority for the audience, as he takes on each opponent with confidence, contrasting the original thoughts produced by the audience.
As the fight breaks out, the cinematography is quick to demonstrate the imbalanced battle by using a high angled shot above the action. This allows the audience to see the two sides of the battle. In conjunction with the mise-en-scene it shows the several Smith characters surrounding Neo, highlighting how he is outnumbered. However, even though the audience can clearly see that Neo is outnumbered, the filmmaker has allowed the high angle shot to manifest long enough to show how Neo’s skills are superior and that he has a chance in this visually deceiving, but deliberate shot.
The use of cinematography further accompanies Neo’s skill by displaying a medium angle pan around Neo. From this, the viewer is encouraged to experience the mighty speed of Neo, as he invites each fight.
The editing has also been used to slow down the fighting, to focus on Neo inflicting damage on Smith. This compels the audience to take a closer observation of the movements taking place, and allows the filmmaker to pronounce who is more powerful. The fact that the filmmaker used the slow motion effect for Neo’s moves, as opposed to Smith’s, raises thoughts that Smith is unequal to Neo.
As the fight progresses the use of cinematography, mise-en-scene and editing repeatedly develop more and more biased towards Neo. Through giving him longer screen-time to capture his movements. These features are most apparent towards the end of the fight, when they happen simultaneously, informing the audience that the finale is coming. It starts off when the camera shots apply the shot/reverse shot editing technique, conflicting between Neo and Smith. While the camera switches between these two characters they have used a high angle shot to capture Smith, while using a low angle shot for Neo.
The high angle shot used on Smith presents him as an inferior figure, allowing the audience to look down on him. Whereby the low angle shot used on Neo forces the audience to look up to him as a figure of superiority.
The cinematography then uses a wide-angle shot to separate the two sides of the battle. The filmmaker has purposely done this to show the bravery and courage of Neo, by carefully choosing to cut to a camera angle that shows Neo surrounded by Smith’s. This tells the audience that Neo is not concerned and is ready for battle.
After the use of this wide-angle shot, audiences are then presented with Neo taking the battle on. However, in a manner that contrasts the way the battle has been seen so far and this is because the filmmaker has used special effects on Neo’s moves, to further separate him from the enemy Smith. This shot presents Neo levitating above and beyond the ground, where Smith is positioned. This allows the audience to see a contrast, seeing Neo defying gravity and doing what is not humanly possible and then showing Smith in the same frame bounded by earth. This editing technique presents Neo in a position that makes him vibrantly dominant within the composition, developing Neo’s figure to be of great size. The cinematography assists the editing here by evolving around Neo in a circular manner at a medium-close angle. This close concentration towards Neo forces the sight of Smith to be lost. Showing that he is less important and in the context of the battle, less powerful.