Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video sharing what Jurassic Park can teach us about scale and composition.
There is so much to admire about the original Jurassic Park that identifying what, exactly, makes it so damn good feels like a bit of a fool’s errand. The temptation to gesticulate wildly at the whole thing is very strong.
Indeed, this is one of those rare films where every single lighting queue, performance, and detail of set design feels like it’s working in service of the story. Is there a more paralyzing moment of sound design than the roar of the T-rex? A more appropriately gargantuan score than that of John Williams? I know I’m not breaking any new ground with my “Jurassic Park? Good movie.” take, but holy smokes what a picture!
In that spirit, the video essay below zeros in on two elements that really capture what makes Steven Spielberg‘s film such a densely efficient piece of visual storytelling: scale and framing. After all, Jurassic Park is a film about the equal enormity of ancient beasts and human hubris. Director of photography Dean Cundey captures all this awe, fear, and arrogance with (among other things) clever blocking.
The essay concludes with the proposal that this is one of the essential ingredients lacking from the sequels. Namely: an appreciation for what Blockbuster cinematography is capable of: not only telling a story but making us feel something.
Watch “Why Jurassic Park Looks Better Than Its Sequels”:
Who made this?
This video is by Films&Stuff, a channel that specializes in dissecting blockbusters. Films&Stuff is run by Toronto-based film buff Jonathan Burdett. You can subscribe to them on YouTube here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.
More Videos Like This
- Here’s yet another Jurassic Park-themed video from Films&Stuff, on why Jurassic World cynically takes aim at its own legacy.
- Queue favorite Lessons From The Screenplay has a wonderful video on how the original Jurassic Park uses a central theme to design a cohesive and powerful story.
- Here’s The Cinema Cartography on why composition is storytelling.
- And here’s another Queue favorite, kaptainkristian, on how the original Jurassic Park revolutionized the landscape of visual effects.
- Entertain the Elk dives deep into the history of the Jurassic Park franchise in an attempt to identify the moment that sparked the series’ downfall.
- One of my favorite examples of a sequence designed to convey a sense of scale is the opening city-scape shots in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Here’s a gloriously detailed VFX reel that shows how they did it.
- And here’s the fine folks at Filmmaker IQ on the math and science of one of the great in-camera ways to impress a sense of scale: forced perspective.