This epic film has introduced many innovative narrative and dramatic techniques, not previously seen in any other film studies thus far. The first is that of emphasis. Previously it has been hard to ascertain the tone of characters when cutting away to words, however Metropolis is the first film I’ve seen to use varying typography styles and capital letters, such as the “ME!” that was cut away to in one scene. It is much more effective in conveying the character’s sense of tone. It also underlines various words for emphasis.
Fade transformations are experimented with in the film and in the case of the factory turning into the pyramid, is very effective. However the later fade of the cyborg turning into Maria is nowhere near as convincing.
Metropolis also introduces what is known today as the ‘Cookie Cutter.’ That being the various scenes where little pieces of film are cut, the edges given a nice feathering fade and juxtaposed with other pieces e.g. the scenes of all the eyes and faces.
Rear projection makes an appearance as it was brilliantly used to make a fake computer screen for the characters to look at and interact with.
This incredibly layered film has three distinctly different settings, being paradise at the Babel Tower, the machine world of the workers and the dark ancient catacombs down below.
Most scenes on the factory floor give off a very theatrical musical vibe as the workers are dressed the same and moving in sync with each other and you almost expect a song to break out, forgetting that it is a silent film. The sets were also incredibly theatrical, clearly built to provide the audience with a sense of spectacle, rather than realism.
I only have few criticisms about little things such as continuity. The scene directly after the flood, characters are not wet. The cyber woman’s movements were far too natural. In some scenes there are long stretches of dialogue without cutting to words on screen at all and that makes it difficult to understand the story.
All in all Metropolis is an epic and enjoyable story, that in the right hands could likely be turned into a spectacular remake for the modern audience. While it would never have the same feel as the original, I believe it is a story that should be passed down and continued through the generations as they find their own meaning in the story via their film techniques.
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