Thursday, 30 September 2010

Take on Me by A-Ha, Directed by Steve Barron (1985)

Our Male character has been established as a fictional hearthrob motorcycle racer which already has captured the attention of the female character who is part of the real world and just seems like your normal everyday kind of girl.
Nowadays you would definatly notice the 80s retro fasion worn by both characters; the female wears really baggy clothes which focus more on the colour rather than the figure, the male wears leather and denim which is quite typical for a 80s male hearthrob; intertexuality for Grease, Footloose etc. The cafe setting is interesting because it appears to have no relation with the lyrics or music whatsoever however it can be a typical meeting place for dates between male and female characters introducing the intertexuality once more.
The cinematography is really interesting at the start as they include quick close ups and pan outs of the cartoon images (flicking through) so it's like you yourself are reading it and what you would look at. Chemistry is established through close ups between the real female and cartoon male and continous two-shot frames within the alternate reality where most of the narrative takes place.
The very amazing visual effect would be the B&W comic book characters coming to life and interacting with the real world (like a cool retro 3d effect) the cortoon hand grabbing the female hand and pulling her into his world. How the male still a cartoon is in the real world causing him to shed his black and white colours in flashy effects ultimatly becoming a real person.
The words do not make much point or sense to me however the tone works extrememly well with the visuals and creates a calmer environment for the female character even though she is no longer in her reality but somehow appears to be in a greater comfort zone.
I sure the music represents a love story as its intrumental sounds are very calm and soothing which does not give your mood negative effects and really does set the scene for the chemistry between the male and female and it also puts the narrative into suspense when the two main characters are being chased by rival racers.
This narrative really messes with the real world and creates a whole load of surrealism but does not change genre, this narrative (love story) shares alot of similarities with other popular 80s musical and romance films (grease & footloose) which can capture more of a wider audience.
The genre characteristics would be the establishment of the Male - Female relationship through chemistry at first sight which it clearly was. It also would include characteristics from the musical genre as dancing and singing is thrown into the narrative.
This music video is concept based on a classic 80s love story where the Male is put in danger but does not hesitate to protect his love interest, leads to some sacrifice and fear of danger or death but always ultimatly leads to a happy ending.
The music video promotes the band even through its narrative it seems that the only characters are male, female, rival racers however there are quick shots at members of the band when a guitar solo come into play (boost bands image) the narrative end cuts away from the female and male embracing only to switch to a magazine cover featuring the band "A-Ha" advertises a little.
This can target a mixture of people Male and Female, doesn't matter what age. Mainly for those sensitive souls out there.

Morton Harkett the lead singer is presented as the protagonist in the music videos narrative, helping out the damsel in distress. He is clearly portrayed as eye candy for the female gaze and constructed to be dreamy and brave which will appeal to most girls, stereotypical version of the hero. The narrative has the cheesy 80s romance thing to it. The rest of the band play in the background and make small appearences but do not interfere with the narrative; their music is very dominating with the catchy tune. ECMS; cinematography involves a heavy amount of CUs in order to create the meet cue between the male and female characters and to help the chemistry between them blossom alot more. Panning around the male and female characters helps to capture the romance as well as the interesting setting that has been created for this music video. At the start of the music video there are loads of fast, quick jumps to each picture featured in the comic book which quickly sums up the origin of the male character; makes some sense to the audience and is an interesting opening to a music video. The editing in this music video is fantastic purely because of the effect used to create the fictional comic-book world, animation seems ahead of its time when you watch this video; making this very memorable and iconic. A reversal effect is also used when the comic-book male character tries to enter the real world ad there are flickers of pencil sketching on his body despite the realistic surroundings. The incredibly catchy beat overpowers the vocals throughout the song making "Take on Me" known for its tune giving the audience today that 80s feeling.

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