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17 Again

In: Film and Music

Submitted By chenghiuwai
Words 1387
Pages 6
17 Again By Burr Steers

In this essay, I am going to analysis a moving image text through the film techniques and media theories I have learnt in this term. The film is called “17 again”, which is directed by Burr Steers and written by Jason Filardi.

This movie is took place in USA and released in 10 April 2009. The budget of this movie is $20000000 US and the final gross is $64149837 US which is a great success. This story is taking about the main character-Mike O’Donnell ( Zac Efron) whose life didn't quite turn out how he wanted it to and wishes he could go back to high school and change it. He wakes up one day and is seventeen again and gets the chance to rewrite his life.

The genre of this film is comedy romance, which is a hybrid genre as I can find lots of signs and conventions in the movie. For examples, the kissing scenes and some silly reactions of the characters can be found in the movie. What’s more, the lighting in this film is high-key lighting which connotes the meaning of happiness and serenity. Moreover, the mode of address in this film is indirect to the audience which was used the third person angle to encode the meaning to the audience.

On the other hand, I choose this movie because of few reasons. Firstly, I love the main character- Zac Efron very much. He has acted in many teenage romance films before, for instance, High School Musical 1, 2 and3. After I watched the High School Musical, I admire his out-looking and his acting skills. Therefore, I choose this film. Besides, the narrative of this movie is very special, which is a non-linear structure and always include some flashback scenes.

Firstly, I am going to analyzing the narrative structure of this text. As Todorov mentioned; narrative structure can be divided into 5 parts, which are equilibrium, disequilibrium conflict, recognition of disequilibrium, attempt to resolve disequilibrium and finally the new equilibrium. In the text, the opening of the film is a disequilibrium which represented that the main character-Mike felt frustrated of his life because of the failed marriage and career. Secondly, the climax is that a time sprite guy appeared and used the magic to let Mike back to seventeen to save his own life. As Propp mentioned, the time sprite guy is a character of “Helper” who helped the main character to solve the enigma. However, there are few conflicts in the text.

Firstly, Mike’s wife didn’t believe that the teenager was her X husband. Besides, Mike found that her daughter was behaved badly and his son was bullied in the high school. At the end, he managed all the messy things in his life and saved his marriage which is the equilibrium.

And the equilibrium is reflected in the opening scene. Thus, we can see that this is a circular narrative. At the first scene, it is a flashback which mentioned that the teenage Mike was kissing his girlfriend (future wife) at the basketball court because her girlfriend was pregnant. As for the equilibrium, the old Mike was kissing his wife at the basketball court again because he saved his marriage. Therefore, we can see that the equilibrium is established at the beginning and again at the end of the film.

Moreover, the ending of this movie is a close-ending because all the problems were solved and seems complete. Besides, as Roland Barthes mentioned, there are lots of narrative codes in the film. Firstly, there are some action codes which is a series of actions facilitates a viewer to follow the details of a plot of sequence. For instance, the kissing between Mike and his wife, also, Mike was wearing underwear and using the light sword of Star War fighting with his friend were the action codes which enabling the viewers to absorbed in the narrative.

Secondly, the enigmatic codes can also be found in the film. For example, after Mike back to seventeen, he had to choose between the scholarships and his wife and at this moment, the screen was black out for a while which ensure the audience were continuously watching the movie. Thirdly, Mike has a poor life in the movie, however, his friend has a wonderful life, for instance, he was rich and surrounded by females. This is a binary opposition between these two characters. The reasons that the director makes this opposition can emphasis the misery life of the character in order to move on the narrative.

And now, I am going to talk about the audience responses in this movie. As I saw the audiences’ responses in IMDB, generally, they think the movie is not only suitable for teenagers because of the casting and high school background of the movie, adults are also suitable.

Besides, the movie is not only making people to laugh but also encourage them to think about their life. This is a preferred reading which audiences interpret the text as closely to the way in which the producer of the text intended. For instance, most of the audiences think the movie is very funny and make them feel relax. And the one of the genre of this movie is comedy which shows that encode the same things that the producer tried to represent.

As I mentioned, after the audiences watched the movie, they tried to think of their life, just like the main character that needed to make a choice between family and glory. The audiences can feel the same things as Mike because they have the same cultural experience. Most of the audience had an experience of studying in high

school and fall in love at that time. Therefore, they can get the meaning which represented by the producer.

And now, I am going to talk about the profiling of this movie. As British Board of film classification mentioned, this movie is suitable for aged 12 or over. This is because It included some moderate sex references and language and besides, The film also contains some mild violence which is well precedent at the stated category. For example, one of the scenes is talking about the school delivered condoms to the students and tried the raise the concern of safe sex and a bad student claimed that he would use all of the condoms within one week with her girlfriend whom was the daughter of the main character. Thus it can be seen, the target audience of this film is teenagers to adults but not children.

My favorite scene is the ending of the movie. Firstly, it is a happy ending which Mike finally save his marriage and his family, fixed the relationship with the children and wife, it is very touching. In that scene, Mike was playing a basketball competition just like when he was in the high school, and his wife (High school girlfriend) was standing next to the basketball court like that the old times. The director used the technique of flashbacks, and alternated the flashbacks and the present in order to let the audience know that Mike had another chances to choose between his wife and glory. This scene not only let me reconsider my value of my life, but also the techniques are very impressive, I like it so much because it just let me experienced the same situation as Mike. And finally, Mike made a decision which was the same as he did in seventeen- his family. He gave up the match and chasing his wife. At the end, they kissed and it was the same scene as the opening of the movie. I love this technique because it just like a circular narrative which is the ending brings back the beginning. Besides, I love happy ending and romantic scene, and the ending satisfies my desire.

In conclusion, I love this movie not because of the appearance of the main character but also the narratives and the editing of this film. After I watched this movie, not only for entertainment but also let me self-questioning myself whether love or glory is more important. It also benefit for my study in film module by learning the techniques and the use of codes and conventions.

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