The Use of Techniques in The Mummy

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The Use of Techniques in The Mummy

In the extract from ‘The Mummy’, a wide range of techniques are

employed in order to convey certain aspects to the audience.

The ways in which the camera is used have great effect on the

impression given; for example the minimal movement, including slow

pans, in order to not detract from the impressive nature of the exotic

location – a staple for films of the action/adventure genre. The

vastness of the desert is also emphasized by the use of wide shots, in

which the screen is filled by the sandstorm and the heroes’ plane

appears greatly vulnerable; this also makes use of another genre

convention – the powerful odds which must be overcome. Another use of

the wide shot is to provide a backdrop for the film’s spectacular

special effects. Medium close-ups and close-ups (CUs) are used to

focus on the expressions of the actors, such as when the female lead

kisses the Mummy, and on the building psychological tension, for

example the female lead’s concern for the occupants of the damaged

aeroplane. The use of POV (point of view) shots, such as the view from

the plane as it turns over, increases the audience’s involvement in

the action and their empathy for the characters, and the use of low

angles when the Mummy appears gives the impression of great power.

The most obvious example of computer generated images (CGI) is that of

the sandstorm itself and the devastation it creates. This is the main

focus of this extract, and while the large amount of screen time

devoted to it does not further the plot particularly, this is not its

purpose – instead, it amazes the audience. Another slightly less


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... and the feeling that the heroes are out of place.

The costumes worn are in keeping with the period in which the film is

set (1930’s), and the female lead appears to be wearing a nightdress,

which emphasises her status as a ‘damsel in distress.’ In contrast,

the Mummy is dressed in keeping with the Westerner’s stereotypical

image of Egypt – rags, medallions and talismans; the difference in

costume between the Mummy and his sidekick and the foreigners greatens

the differences between the two parties.

The main focus of this extract is the special effects and spectacular

location, and all the devices employed here add to these, rather than

detract or distract from them. The film also appears rather

‘tongue-in-cheek’, perfectly aware that is playing to both genre

conventions and conventional views of the foreign ‘other.’

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