A 6-10 page (2100-3500 words) communication criticism on a topic of your choice, using one of the critical methods found in the textbook, Communication Criticism, such as rhetorical, narrative, ideological, and similar kinds of criticism, with 8 references aside from the textbook and criticism artifact.


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This is the instruction I have for this essay assignment.
“A 6-10 page (2100-3500 words) communication criticism on a
topic of your choice, using one of the critical methods found in the
textbook, Communication Criticism, such as rhetorical, narrative,
ideological, and similar kinds of criticism, with 8 references aside
from the textbook and criticism artifact.”
(I choose the movie- Saving Pirate Ryan)
Class notes about this criticism paper
Criticism-sharing an interpretation (claim about meaning and offer
*Theoretical lens (explanation)
Those are the key theory from the book that should be use to
explain the scenes in the artifact (movie)
Accurate interpretation-journalism, history (chapter 4)
Aesthetics-beauty (chapter 5)
Camera shoot
Camera angle
Persuasion-persuasiveness (chapter 6)
Narrative-plot (story), characters (chapter 10)
Ideology-power (chapter12)
This is my thought about this essay.
(This is just my idea and you can change it if you found something
that makes more sense)
(The main theme: “Is Ryan worth saving”)
Accurate interpretation-the true event or true fact about this
Aesthetics-talk about the opening scene of D-day where they try to
take the beach (One of the best scene of this movie and how
director use cinematic technique to represent this bloody event)
Persuasion-the persuasiveness of captain miller to tell his man to
save Ryan
Narrative-talk about the characteristic of captain miller
Ideology-the power between different rank of the soldiers
(We can choose any of the theories and as many as possible as
long as those theories can explain the scenes in the movie)
My thought is just a guide to help you better understand the
I know this can be a little bit complicated but you can put your
own ideas.
Let me know if you have any question.
(This is my research about the paper and feel free to find more sources)
Total 8 references
Spielberg and many critics seem to be lost in that lie and take the film as “the
real thing” and therefore seem to think that if a person doesn’t emotionally
react the way it was intended by the director, there is something
fundamentally wrong with that specific viewer.
A similar reaction was triggered when Saving Private Ryan was discussed in
a less than affirmative way. Critiques were mostly positive and praised the
film for its realism, its “bloody authenticity” [7], the technical artistry of
Spielberg and his cameraman Janusz Kaminski and generally “for getting it
[WWII] right” [8], while at the same time bashing possible attempts to criticize
the film. Everyone who isn’t moved by this film has to be one of the cynical
“media-savvysmartasses” [9]. This seems to show a resemblance to the
incident with the high school students.
Ryan wants to know their names in order to remember them and makes his
speech about why he can’t abandon his post and why he openly refuses to
follow his superiors’ orders. He argues that he won’t comply because he
didn’t deserve to be relieved from his post any more than his fellow soldiers.
He points to his comrades and the camera shows us three battle worn
soldiers, none of whom will survive the following German assault on the
bridge, in medium shots and medium close-ups.
When asked by Captain Miller what he should tell his mother on receiving the
likely news of his death, he replies:
“Tell her [Ryan’s mother] that when you found me, I was here and I was with
the only brothers that I have left, and there’s no way I was gonna desert
This scene and the speech makes the squad and the audience realise that
Private Ryan is potentially “worth it” because he holds up the right ideals –
camaraderie and sense of duty – even if upholding these ideals mean his
likely death. His selfless self-sacrifice is what makes the squad join his effort
to hold this bridge because he is willing to risk his life for his “brothers” the
same way the squad members were risking theirs for his – which makes him
one of them and therefore worth saving.
To have that kind of family bond, this feeling of a brotherhood, with the notion
to “never leave a soldier behind” makes sense for any military institution, but
to depict soldiers in the way the U.S. Army would like to see itself (at the
same time giving away how it indoctrinates its soldiers) hardly qualifies as a
critical approach towards war. Spielberg manages to send a mixed message
about war – on the one hand he shows the brutality and violence of it, and on
the other hand he makes the deeds of the American soldiers look even more
heroic because of this violence. The battle for the bridge seems to go in a
similar direction, the squad and Ryan’s paratrooper division face numerically
and materially highly superior German forces (according to their scout
50 soldiers plus “change” and 4 tanks against their roughly 15 soldiers, 2
machine guns and explosive socks) and they successfully hold them back for
quite a long time. Unfortunately, that battle is depicted in a way that is
contradictory to the film’s appraised fighting realism; until the
Allied reinforcement arrived I counted 14 hits or explosions that very probably
killed or rendered American soldiers defenceless, while the German forces
are seen to suffer 56 wounded or killed soldiers and three tanks destroyed (I
only counted on screen hits or explosions with visible impact). [11]
The dying words of Captain Miller to Private Ryan and the audience are “earn
this” and the questions repeatedly asked in the film, whether it is right to
sacrifice the lives of many for one life and whether Ryan “earned” their
sacrifices, are answered affirmatively, not only literally by Ryan’s wife, but
also by Spielberg’s filmic depiction of war, that shows us that “the life of
an American Everyman does in fact justify […] war”. [13]

Problems with Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998)

One of the last shots of the battle focuses on the name
“Ryan” stenciled on the backpack of a corpse. A scene in a
military office back home produces the information that in
fact three of four Ryan brothers have died in action within
days of one another. When Army Chief of Staff Gen. George
C. Marshall (Harve Presnell) finds out, he focuses on the
survivor, Pvt. James Ryan, on the ground somewhere in
Normandy. “We are going to send someone to find him,” the
general says. “And we are going to get him the hell out of
That someone turns out to be Capt. Miller, none too happy
at being assigned to what he considers “a public relations
gambit” as potentially difficult and pointless as finding “a
needle in a stack of needles.” What is the sense, both he and
his men wonder as they head out, in risking all their lives to
save just one? “Ryan better be worth it,” the captain says.
“He better go home and cure some disease or invent a new,
longer-lasting lightbulb.”

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