Codes and conventions are important tools that help an audience to interpret a text. Codes can include symbolic, written, audio and technical codes. In the film Shrek (2001), Audio codes such as dialogue, music and sound effects help us understand and decipher the text as well as setting the mood and atmosphere. Examples of these audio codes are shown throughout the text.
Dialogue helps us understand the characters and plot as well as give us background information that helps to move the plot along. Dialogue is useful for explaining complex ideas or plot points that aren’t easily shown visually. The opening 15 minute extract from Shrek begins with a voice over narrating a generic fairy tale story, this narration gives us an idea of a traditional fairy tale and the associated conventions that many audiences are familiar with. The story ends abruptly with Shrek ripping out the page and saying “Hehe, like that’s ever gonna happen, what a load of….”, which leads us to assume that this film is no ordinary fairy tale. An example of dialogue helping move the plot along is when all the magical creatures are in Shreks swamp and the creatures are explaining to him as to why they are there. Without the dialogue here we wouldn’t exactly understand what was happening nor would the story be able to continue.
Music helps set a mood and at times it can also help to indicate what might happen next. Music tends to engage with our emotions, which really helps draw us into the movie. For instance the soft ukulele and the violin playing in the background when Shrek is having dinner gives us a relaxed and almost peaceful, but at the same time lonely in a sense. The song at the beginning is quite upbeat and modern which also gives us the feeling that this film will be different to a traditional fairy tale. When the magical creatures are all on Shrek’s land i.e. the