Tuesday, 9 August 2011

RS - Deconstruction - Muse - Knights of Cydonia

Artist: Muse
The world famous "face" at Cydonia (located on Mars)
Song Title: Knights of Cydonia
Year: 2006
Audience: 15-24
Director: Joseph Kahn

Muse's Knights of Cydonia video is a narrative music video as the entirety is based on a story of a man named "The man with no name" (a clear reference to Clint Eastwood's character in the "Man with no Name" films.) practicing his fighting skills and going to the western town of Cydonia. He faces off with the sheriff and ends up saving the hot blonde woman. The music video is basically just a short spaghetti western film!

The holographic version of the band performing in a bar
The music video contains performance footage of the band throughout both in the flesh but also with a futuristic twist. They obviously took influence from the Star Wars franchise and used holographic images for parts of the music video for when the band is performing, a simple yet interesting effect used in editing software.

One example of multi-layering in the video
Multi-layering is used on many occassions throughout the music video, it has been used to show the band performing whilst having the story play underneath it for effect. It is useful because they can show more shots and shot variation. It also appeals to the audience because it is more interesting than just one long shot.

The male gaze aspect in the video
The attractive woman is being cast for this role to be used for the male gaze. Therefore this video will appeal to the male audience due to her good looks and appeal. This aspect is made even stronger when they have a sex scene within the music video to show off her curves and increase the "male gaze level" to attract even more.

Here is one of the reference examples. You can tell it has taken inspiration from "The Matrix" with the over exaggerated "kung fu" type pose which is used alot in the Matrix trilogy. Also this shot takes reference from Sergio Leone's classic western "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" with the font of the text that is on the screen.

Blonde woman "mouthing" the lyrics after sung by band
The music video has lip-syncing by the band and using there instruments but it also has the actors within the narrative side of the music video "mouthing" out the lyrics. It is not lip syncing because they mouth the lyrics slightly after they have been sung, they are used like a script for the actors to read. ‘You and I must fight for out rights’ is sung by the band then a second after the blonde female says it to the audience within the narrative of the story when she is about to be hung. (at about 4:59 in the video)

3 shots in 1
Several effects have been used in the music video, such as the "holographic effect" and the gun firing a laser beam. They also use effects such as blending 2 or even 3 shots into one (like the one to the right) to make 1 shot alot more interesting. We will be able to do this on the editing software we use at A2 level. (Final Cut Express)

Here is the laser gun, reference to Star Wars again?!
 Here you can see the director Joseph Kahn went down with a "futuristic" feel to the old western type music video by adding little details such as this to bring it to the future. Added with things such as the robot, the sheriff's car and the "man with no name's" motorcross bike.

 Joseph Kahn uses very simple and small details which are very effective like the part at about 3:09 when the man gets pushed down the stairs by the "man with no name" and it replicates the sound when guitarist Matt Bellamy slides his hand down the guitar.

The bedroom scene
Cross cutting is used in the music video when the "man with no name" enters the bar scene and meets the blonde woman. It cross cuts between the bedroom scene and the bar scene to have two sequences play at the same time to appeal to the audience, the sex scene part of the music video also appeals to the audience. However the full version of the bedroom scene was removed from the official video for obvious reasons.

The futuristic sheriff
 The audience for the music video is 15-24 and mainly male due to the male gaze aspect of the video. The bedroom scene also appeals to the male audience and the age range. However if they chose to keep the sex scene in the official music video obviously the age range would go up slightly.

And finally here is a reference to old western films with the typical "title" screen shown before and after to give it the codes and conventions of a typical western. A very small detail yet it is needed and works.

Funny Fact: When Muse play this song live they also play a little intro to the song  which is from the famous western film "Once upon a time in the west". They play "The Man with the Harmonica" which is from the film and the Bass player of Muse; Chris Wolstenholme plays the harmonica part. Ennio Morricone composed the song. (he also composed the music for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly). Here is a clip of Muse's version of the Ennio Morricone classic before playing Knights of Cydonia.

Here is a list of all the movie references used in the music video. Sourced from Musewiki

  • Star Wars
  • The Good the Bad The Ugly
  • The Matrix
  • Batman
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Mad Max
  • Blade Runner
  • Lone Ranger
  • Maverick
  • Once Upon a Time in China
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Five Deadly Venoms
  • Kung Fu
  • The Searchers
  • Westworld
  • Heavy Metal
Here is the music video for Knights of Cydonia. Unfortunatley they have removed the rights to embed this video so I can only provide the link to Youtube for you to watch it. Sorry about that!

Here is a link to the "Behind the Scenes of Knights of Cydonia" which is very useful to get the feel of all the ideas that they brought together for the music video and some of the references they adapted into it. It also has some details on why they chose the costumes etc and is useful for us to watch as we will be doing a similar thing in our coursework.

Here is a live version of Knight's of Cydonia played at the recently built (at the time) Wembley Stadium. 

The song below inspired Knights of Cydonia, mainly due to the fact that George Bellamy (Father of Matt Bellamy, Frontman and guitarist of Muse) was in the band that made it, listen to it to hear how similar they sound!

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