In this age of digital effects, extravagant costumes, and larger than life celebrities, it may be easy to overlook the importance of the simple movie prop. As examined by Rishi Kaneria in his video essay “Why Props Matter,” it’s quickly revealed how indelible many props become thanks to the movies in which they appear. No one can hold a whip without thinking, if only for a moment, of Indiana Jones. Wilson from Cast Away transcended its prophood to become an actual character, and that in turn was so notable that it inspired a whole host of sporting goods characters in The Last Man On Earth.
It’s easy to just overlook the prop as a thing that’s used by characters in a film, but Kaneria’s video shows the possibility of great importance that can be communicated through a simple item. Sure, mostly they just serve a means to an end or a specific purpose; but in the hands of the right filmmaker, they become potent symbols, metaphors, or classic icons that stay with audiences long after the credits have rolled.