Films are one of the most incredible ways of delivering valuable messages and morals to the audience. They try to get our attention in every way possible through the use of various film techniques such as mis-en-scenes, captivating sounds, professional editing and perfect protagonists. Everyone can watch a film but not everyone is able to dive into its secrets of how the film came to be and why are they enjoying it so much and what techniques went into making the film so appealing. We are going to dive into the behind the scenes of two similar films, ‘Groundhog Day’ directed by Harold Ramis, 1993 and ‘The girl who leapt through time’ directed by Mamoru Hosoda, 2006 to discover the efforts that went to make these films so successful. We will be comparing and exploring the scenes of self-improvement, death and time in the following paragraphs.
In both films, protagonists take path of self-improvement. In Groundhog Day, Phil realises the possibilities of having so much time in his hands and he starts to improve himself by taking classes such as piano learning from the mistakes he makes and slaps while trying to impress Rita. In the girl who leapt through time, Makato uses her time leap powers to help her friends, avoid bad situations and Kosuke find date with the little girl. Initially, when Phil discovers his time loop phenomenon, he uses it for his selfish motives such as getting Nancy Taylor to sleep with him but gradually learns that these things will not get him anywhere so he diverts his attention towards improving his character/skills to impress Rita and get her to like him. He asks Rita for the qualities she would want her lover to have and so Phil works on them and finally gets Rita to love him and exits from his 2nd February time loop. While in the girl who leapt through time, Makato used her new found ability to do useless things like going back to get her puddings and eat, going back again and again to avoid the same situation of being asked out by Chiaki which wastes her limited number of leaps she can take and sadly until at last only she realises that the numbers on her shoulders indicated the number of times she could leap and loses Kosuke. But by fate she revives 1 last leap and performs the ultimate selfless act by going back to the time she finds the time leap gadget and returning it back to Chiaki to go back to his time and giving herself a last chance of self-improvement. Overall, the viewer realises the value of being able to help others without selfish motives and the great satisfaction it brings with it and a chance to better ourselves a human.Death
In both films, variety of sound effects and music have been implemented in order to influence audience throughout scenes highlighting death. In GroundHog Day, death is featured in two scenes. One features the old homeless man who Phil desperately tries to save but fails which induces a feeling of sadness and empathy and the other is when Phil tries to kill himself due to frustration which is rather entertaining because he can never die while in The girl who leapt through time, the scene of Kosuke’s inevitable death raises the audiences heat beats and induces apprehension. The sound effect leading to old man’s death is non-diegetic emotional instrumental low tune which has an effect of hopelessness & grief and the music during Phil’s death is non-diegetic medium key classic that makes the audience feel fun and happy while the sound featuring Kosuke’s death is rising pausing high-tone fast-pace ending with the desperate effort of Makato and time pause by Chiaki. The emotional effect from the old man’s death is reinforced by the sounds/music because it’s rhythm and tone reflect a slow stroll much like a miserable and distracted individual and the fun effect of Phil’s death is reflected as he comes to wake up everytime after he dies & nothing seems to work. While the nervous effect of Kosuke’s death is strengthened as the sound keeps rising along with Makatos sprint in an effort to save their life that ends in tragedy. Finally, the viewer can bind their emotions of sadness and distress from the film deepening their perception of how someone’s loss can impact individuals.
In both films, profound value of time is articulated to the audience. In Groundhog Day, Phil discovers the other uses of time rather than just fulfilling his selfish goals and in girl who leapt through time, Makato learns how precious time is after she loses all her time leaps and fails to save Kosuke from death as well. Phil learns not so late that he is stuck in his time loop and realises he can use it for other productive things which instils a respect for time within him as he starts getting better at life and impresses Rita.