Analysis of the cinematography of Jurassic Park
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There are many different elements in the movie Jurassic Park that make the movie interesting. This film plays with the question What if dinosaurs were alive today? The director, Steven Spielberg, uses sound, lighting, camera angles, comic relief, and even combines some of these different things to make this film a spectacular one. Not only that, but it is a unique kind of action/adventure movie because it is about dinosaurs, which makes it even more interesting.
The sound in the movie was used fantastically. There were a lot of different sounds in this movie, I think more than any of the others that I have seen. At first you do not notice them because the way they are used is very subtle. For example, when the scientists are in the scene where the dinosaur eats the cow, you do not notice the buzzing sound that the electrified fence makes. If you listen closely, you can hear it, though. This is important for later on in the movie when all the power is turned off. You cannot hear the fence later on in the movie when all of the power is turned off. Also, in the scenes when they are being attacked by the T-Rex it is raining. You would not really notice the sound of the rain unless it wasn’t there. You would be asking questions about why the sound of the rain wasn’t there. When Timmy was up in the tree, I noticed that the sound of the rain changed, but it was still there.
It sounded like the rain was just dripping down from branch to branch. I think that this is because Spielberg was trying to create the point of view from inside the tree. The footsteps of basically anything that could walk was taken into consideration. Spielberg always made sure that the sound was exactly precise to whatever kind of surface the “thing” was walking on. For example, there is a shot of the T-Rex stepping in the mud; there was an extremely great amount of detail given to that particular sound. Also, in the same scene, when the dinosaur “roars”, it is not the same sound for each “roar”. In fact, I doubt that the same sound was used for any two “roars” in the movie. Spielberg had them create different sounds for each “roar”. I am not talking about the duration or volume, but the pitch of each “roar” was totally different.
The lighting in the movie helps create the element of surprise. In my opinion, the element of surprise is a very important factor to have in this particular genre. The element of surprise makes a film exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat because you do not know what is going to happen next. For example, at the beginning of the movie when it is day, and not stormy, everything is safe and appears to be going smoothly. After the power turns off, there is no light, and the storm comes into place. Now that it is dark all of the carnivores, which are the ones that threaten the scientists and Dr. Hammond’s grandchildren, come out, since they are nocturnal. Nocturnal means to sleep during the day and be awake during the night. There is one catch, the filose raptor, the most dangerous of all the meat eating dinosaurs, comes out. So at one second you think that it is safe, but all of a sudden, it isn’t and they are being chased by this ferocious dinosaur.
Spielberg really knows how to use different camera angles to his advantage. For example, going back to before, when Timmy was stuck in the tree and Alan Grant is climbing up the tree, he does not do a close up of Alan Grant’s face while he is climbing. He uses a mid range shot through the leaves and branches of the tree making it seem as though you are inside the tree, too, looking at him. Another great example of this is when the filose raptor is peeking around the corner of the kitchen counter looking for Timmy; it shows Timmy and the raptor. And as you can see the tip of the dinosaur’s face it switches angles to a view from behind Timmy and shows the dinosaur’s face inching forward from behind the side of the counter. Spielberg also uses a camera technique called “cross-cutting”. “Cross-cutting” is when you cut to the opposite side of the camera angle that you are using. They use this technique a lot when they shoot football games. It comes into play in Jurassic Park when Grant and the kids are trying to climb the fence while the paleobotanist is about to re-electrify the fence. As they switch the sides of the fence Spielberg cross-cuts. I think the idea here is to keep the camera faced on their backs rather than their faces. It keeps you looking at the kids and Grant at the same way you were before, not through the about to be re-electrified wires of the fence.
Comic relief is a tool that directors use to relieve suspense. The way a typical horror film would work would be for the director to build up suspense, then use comic relief, this pattern would go on and on throughout the movie. The timing of comic relief is what makes a movie good. Spielberg brought this tactic to his action/adventure movie Jurassic Park. When the T-Rex rips the lawyer off of the toilet this relieves the suspense that was created moments before.
Spielberg combines different elements of the film making the tension higher. For example when the kids are in the car and they are looking at the glasses of water shaking at the exact time as you hear the dinosaur’s footsteps. This creates an image of the dinosaur in your mind as a tremendous, vicious dinosaur, which is what the T-Rex is. There is another scene when Dr. Malcolm is looking at a big footstep of a dinosaur with water in it and it is shaking as you hear the dinosaur’s footsteps. You get the same exact idea from this scene, too.
Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is a unique adventure movie because of its topic Spielberg uses sound, lighting, camera angles, and comic relief combined to make this an extraordinary action movie. . There are many different elements which come into play that make this a great movie.