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Airplane Case Study

vikiwalden | Friday September 09, 2011

Categories: GCSE, Films & Case Studies, Hollywood Films, Airplane, Genres & Case Studies, Disaster, Hot Entries

Paper 1 | Disaster Movies Case Study | Airplane

Analysing Genre Codes and Conventions


Airplane is a parody of Disaster Movies like Airport; a parody is a film which is overtly aware of genre conventions, and often presents them in a comical fashion.

Mise-en-Scene [Costumes, Props and Setting]

In the Control Room, one of the men looks at a microwave instead of a radar imaging screen, another takes his clothes washing out of the screen. Then, on the plane when instruments are referred to, the crew play musical instruments. The use of props in this comical nature references the technical jargon and gadgets used in Disaster Movies.

In the final landing there is fire coming from underneath the airplane. Whilst there is no clear signifier for the cause of the fire, it is used for dramatic effect. Disaster Movies are full of explosions and erupting fires- the contrast of the orange/ yellow glow of fire is striking and fearful against the darkness of night.

As Ted and Elaine embrace, a wind machine is used to blow their hair through the wind, the free movement of their hair symbolises both a genre cliché and their freedom now they have survived and can be together.

Mise-en-Scene [Lighting]

The lighting in the main cabin is warm and yellow in a similar manner to Airport. When Ted has his moment of doubt, the assisting Doctor’s shadow looms over him visualising his self-doubt. However, when Ted returns to the cockpit, he is surrounded by low-key lighting, yet his face is seen under key lighting that emphases his now, heroic qualities.

In the final sequence, Ted and Elaine embrace under moonlight; they are also backlit by clearly place studio lights. This expresses the romance of the sequence- the hero has got the girl, but also it represents the cliché romance scene in such films.


Newspaper reporters gather in the Control Room, they ask arbitrary questions and get stupid response from Jonny who, when they ask “What type...

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