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Life of an American Firefighter vs. Saving Private Ryan

In class, we discussed the realism between an old time film by Edwin Porter and a more modern film, Saving Private Ryan. Professor O’Malley mentioned that the firefighter film is more realistic because it only has two angles, one from the insider view and from an outsider view of the building. It was also more¬†realistic because of how there were no adding effect that could make the film unrealistic, Porter shot actual footage of what it would be like to be a fireman in the 1800’s. As for Saving Private Ryan,¬†Professor O’Malley analyzed that it was more unrealistic because of the multiple unrealistic angles that were shown in the film. Additionally, the added effects of the gunshots did not correlate to where it really should’ve hit the soldiers or if it would’ve hit the soldier at all.

However, I don’t find these statements to be completely true. He does makes some good points, but first off, I don’t think the angle or where the angle was taken determines whether how realistic a film is. I think the movie is more realistic with the different angles because you really get a sense of the setting of the movie. Additionally, it captures its essence, so it feels like you are really there and following around with the actors/actresses in the movie. As for the firefighter movie, even if the film makers chose to use only two angles, it doesn’t make the film anymore realistic since it is very stagnant and I’m sure in real life the action the firefighters go through are not plain and simple. Although it is raw footage and untouched by editing, it is not very exciting to see and you don’t really get a sense of what it really feels like to be in the moment with the firefighter. For example, during the ladder scene if they had shown the perspective of the firefighter going down the ladder, then it would’ve been slightly more entertaining to see how far up and scary it is, especially with someone else on his shoulder. Lastly, what really made the firefighter movie unrealistic was that they weren’t even putting out the “fire” they just sprayed the wall that was unaffected by the fire. None the less it was still funny and added a comedic factor to the “serious” film.

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