Free Willy: Film Poster Analysis

Free Willy is a 1993 American Family drama directed by Simon Wincer, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Jennie Lew Tugend, and written by Keith A. Walker and Corey Blechman from a story by Walker. The film stars Jason James Richter as a foster boy who befriends a captive orca.

Free willy film poster

Colour- The colour scheme matches with a sunset, so the dominant colours are dark blue with some tones of black, matched with the bright oranges and yellows. The use of these colours which shows sun set or sun rise symbolise new beginnings, which allows the audience to infer that there will be a new forming relationship between the whale and the child who is also in the centre of the poster. The darker colours  in the posters colours also foreshadow that they will be some difficulty within the story line, because this is used among a sunset range of colours the audience see the representation of hope, and a happy ending for both characters shown in this poster. The black and white used on the whale shows the audience the type of whale, which gives more of an idea about the title which implys freedom. The sun is shown under the arch made by the whale as it has jumped over the boy, the sun is the white, which symbolises innocence and purity, the audience then gather that this is a story of two innocent characters possibly against something which tries to remove freedom from ethier character- which can be inferred from the title.

Images- The main image in this poster is centralised; which shows the significance of this image throughout the film and the plot within it. The use of the rocks and the sea also sets up a sense of location for the audience, as they are now aware that the characters are offshore and by the water, which could have both the meaning of peace and tranquility but also danger and the unknown, from the colour scheme and the title the audience understand that the inference is more associated with peace at the end of the film but danger and the unknown could be associated with the image of the sea. The character of the little boy can be seen to stand directly under the whale which highlights the bond between the whale and himself, through trust. Although it could be inferred that the little boy also has a sense of control over the whale which reduces the impact of the title and the freedom on the audience. However the position that the boy is standing in looks like a victory pose, which could show that he has won the freedom for this whale, which then re-enfoces the title placed under. The whale is the sky also shows a sense of freedom, this could be linked to the bird that is flying as a common thought of freedom, the audience can then infer that the whale is now free from whatever it has experienced previously. The whale is also jumping over the rocks, which shows that it is jumping from one section of the sea, to another, which shows the change and the freedom of the whale as it moves from one section to another, which shot that the whale is having a new start in its life, and the audience can see that the little boy character has a significant part in getting the whale a new freedom.

Layout- The images are centralised in the poster, which shows that they are important and the main characters within the story. The image is put straight above the title of the film, there is also a tag line below the title, under this is a list of credits and the production teams and other big organisations that would help to produce the film at the bottom of the poster. At the very top of the poster is another tag line format that just gives a small amount of information about the film and the characters that will star in this production. Although it doesn’t give much away the audience get a feel of the storyline and what the idea behind the film is. The sun is also positioned through the gap of the whale jumping over the boy, which shows the hope of what the audience can infer of setting the whale free, which could also connate the main line of the story.

Typography and Language- The main most dominant typography on the poster is the film title ‘Free Willy’, the language of this also emphasises the idea of freedom which the audience make the link to the whale, the word ‘Willy’ also brings the audience to the idea that this could be the potential name for this whale. The typography is white which connotes innocence, therefore furthering the interpretation that a hidden message could be within the film about how animals such as whales and there freedom. The typography  is all written in capitals which is associated with importance and therefore the audience can see that the meaning behind this film is important, and potential something the director feels very passionate about. The credits are written in a traditional credit format which includes a significant amount of the roles that are played when producing the film, the most important such as director and producer are listed on the top line. A tag line at the top of the poster is also used. This is written in black and writes: ‘A 12 year old street kid. A 3 ton killer whale. A friendship you could never imagine. An adventure you’ll never forget.’ This is written in font with a very large amount of tracking between the characters, it is written in plain Sans- Serif font; this is done to keep the audiences attention on the words and the meaning behind the sentence rather than the font itself.


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