Tag Archives: Jurassic Park

Jurassic World Review

Jurassic World Review – Jurassic World is an American science fiction adventure movie released in 2015. The movie is a sequel to the franchise of Jurassic Park. After 22 years of the incidents in the island of Jurassic Park there is a new theme park created with genetically altered dinosaurs. Things go awry when the newly created predator Indominous Rex breaks free into the wild.

The movie of dinosaurs releasing after 22 years made it very special for this movie. Many of us who have seen the first installment had nostalgic moment of going to this movie. When Jurassic Park was released it was almost considered, as a sin for not have watched the movie. Although Jurassic World did not create the peer pressure but still drew people by recreating the nostalgic memories of seeing dinosaurs on big screen.

Jurassic World has the chills and thrills that you expect from the movie. Although it can never match up with the first one due to the fact that we have already seen dinosaurs on screen, still it is successful in recreating the magic world much bigger and fancier this time. The movie’s money shot is the sequence in which the biker drives alongside running Velociraptors.

Jurassic World Bike sequence with Velociraptors
Jurassic World Bike sequence with Velociraptors

It is said that Steven Spielberg wanted to create this scene in the new installment of the movie, which was originally in the Lost World book but he could not add it to the movie. The end output had worked very well.

Director Colin Trevorrow should applauded for recreating the magic of Jurassic Park all of us have enjoyed in the past. The imagination of a theme park has gone wild and the sequences are visually very appealing. It is also great to see Irrfan Khan having a substantial role in this compared to his role in The Amazing Spiderman.

It is really unfair to compare this with the first one then you may not enjoy it very much. Go with an open mind and get enticed with the visuals you see on screen. If you have kids take them along with you they would enjoy this a lot.

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Forced Perspective

Forced Perspective

Have you ever taken a picture standing in front of Taj Mahal or Washington mall monument actually far away from it and rising up your hand so that the photo looks like you are holding the tip of the monument or tried to take the photo in an angle which appears like you are holding the sun in your hand? I am sure these images strike a bell to you… Well if you have taken these shots… then you have employed a popular technique of optical illusion in movies known as the Forced Perspective.

In this week’s Friday Fundas let us look at the amount of magic this simple technique can create. Optical illusion forms a major part with visual effects in Cinema. It is like a magic show, constructing a scene in a certain way revealing certain portions while hiding the rest to create an illusion. In the Forced perspective the depth of field gets hidden from the viewer. Like in your photo with Taj Mahal you don’t see the distance between the person and the Taj Mahal so you feel they are holding it.

Let us look at some examples in the movies. Consider a movie like the Jurassic Park. Minatures of Dinosaurs had been used in many shots. Have a miniature dinosaur very close to the camera and a person far from the camera. The camera angle is such that it covers the shot so that it appears that the dinosaur is looking down the person while the person is looking up.

Lighting plays an important role with the forced perspective. Both the objects in the scene should have the same amount of lighting so that they actually appear standing close to each other rather than standing apart. As you know light’s intensity decreases as it moves farther away. So the power of lighting should cover the near and far object sufficiently. If not you would reveal the actual distance and there would be no more illusion. Another example is Hagrid’s character in Harry Potter who is tall as compared to the others. Forced perspective was employed to shoot these sequences.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy took Forced perspective to a different level. As the movie involved dwarfs, wizards and hobbits it was very much important for them to create this illusion perfectly. With a still camera the forced perspective is easy to achieve, what if the camera is moving. In order to solve this problem they had constructed the partial set in Lord of the Rings to be move as the camera moves. The movement is done in such a way that the angle of the camera and position of the set does not reveal the actual depth of field between two characters. This is better explained by Peter Jackson and Technicians themselves. Watch the following video

Cinema is a magical medium. The tricks have to be performed the right way to make the show successful. A lot of thoughts go into designing the techniques, and it does involve a lot of science not just art.

Friday Fundas: Reaction Shot

Reaction Shot 

In this week’s Friday Fundas we would see one of the basic units of film grammar – Reaction Shot.

A Reaction shot is the one where the camera moves away from the main sequence to show the reaction of a character to the main sequence. It could be a response to a dialogue or an event in the preceding shot. Reaction shots are usually a medium close up shot.

The famous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a great example of a reaction shot. You see the killer approaching the shower and opening the screen. Immediately the next shot is the woman screaming and then the scene shifts back to the killer and proceeds from there. This might appear to be trivial. Now try to imagine the entire sequence without this single shot you would not feel connected to it.

Reaction Shot - Psycho

Reaction Shot – Psycho

The reaction shot is usually present in the shooting script. When the screenplay is written there would be no mention of the reaction shot but when the script is converted to a shooting script there would be mentions of reaction shot.

Usually this is determined by the director’s vision for the script.

Panchathanthiram
Panchathanthiram

In a comedy film the reaction shots play a very important role in making audience laugh. If you can think of comedy movies like Panchanthanthiram you would now be able to relate to some of the very effective reaction shots.

Usually the reaction shot occurs post the actual main shot. However many film makers have improvised on this to show a reaction shot before the actual main shot to make it more dramatic.

Jurassic Park - Reaction Shot
Jurassic Park – Reaction Shot

In the movie Jurassic Park as the crew is taken for the first tour around the Park they spot the huge herbivores walking around. Initially Spielberg shows the reaction of the people in the Jeep and then later shows the actual scene to which they are reacting to. This is the first time the audience see a full dinosaur in the movie and this just increases the anticipation and prepares the audience for something spectacular.

Few directors have omitted reaction shots on certain occasions to create a suspense that would be later revealed in the movie.

Sixth Sense Restaurant Scene
Sixth Sense Restaurant Scene

In the movie Sixth sense restaurant scene director Manoj Night Shyamalan does not show many reaction shots during the most part of the conversation Crowe’s wife’s face is not shown. Only later when she is signing the cheque her face is shown which works effectively to conceal the secret the climax would reveal later.

Whether reaction shots are present or not present they are very essential to the visuals. Effective use of it is elementary to an engaging movie.

Friday Fundas: Types of Shots in movies

Friday Fundas: Types of Shots in movies

Based on the distance of the camera from the object the types of shots can be broadly classified into the following categories

  • Close up / Extreme Close up Shot (CU/ECU)
  • Medium Close up Shot (MCU)
  • Medium Shot (MS)
  • Medium Long Shot (MLS)
  • Long Shot (LS)
  • Extreme Long Shot (ELS)

The type of shots are mentioned in the shooting script of a scene. This is determined by the director and cinematographer. Let us look at some examples of the shots from popular English movies

Close up / Extreme Close up: Camera is so close to the object that it fills the entire screen. These shots are used to stress the importance of a character or a moment in the film. The close up shot of the eyes of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill emphasizes her sharp focus and alertness in the fight sequence

Extreme Close up shot
Extreme Close up shot – from Kill Bill

Medium Close up Shot: Close up of one or more characters including their shoulders and head is an example for this shot. This is used mainly when focusing on conversation and dialogues between the characters. Some of the most powerful dialogues in The Dark Knight from Joker has been taken as a Medium Close up Shot.

Medium Close up Shot
Medium Close up Shot from The Dark Knight

Medium Shot: The shot is generally from Waist up or knees down for a character. Usually the character occupies two thirds of the screen. This is mainly used in indoor sequences placing emphasis on a character or relationship between two characters. The medium shot from Amazing spider man when Peter Parker is in his high school is an example of this shot. This shot reveals the physical state of Peter Parker and his feelings for Gwen Stacy.

Medium Shot
Medium Shot from Amazing Spiderman

Medium Long Shot: This shot is between the Medium and Long shot. This reveals almost full length of a character and is used to reveal the relation of the surroundings to the character. The character is usually in the middle of the frame. The focus is also on the entire attire of a character. The shot of Clint Eastwood’s appearance in the movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is an example of this shot.

Medium Long Shot
Medium Long Shot from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Long Shot: The characters or object is in full view of the camera and they are seen along with the surroundings. Most of the Action sequences are taken as long shot. The scene from Expendables 2 is an example of this shot. This used a lot of long shots to give importance to the ensemble rather than the single character.

Long Shot
Long Shot from The Expendables 2

Extreme Long Shot: The subject and the characters become the background to the shot and the environment takes precedence over the objects. This is used to reveal the entire atmosphere. Movies like Avatar, Hobbit, Gravity, Jurassic Park used a lot of Extreme long shots to make the audience acclimatized to the environment.

Extreme Close up shot
Extreme long shot from Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Lot of thoughts go in before capturing the visual into a frame. Each shot would place different emphasis on the characters, emotions and surroundings. All these contribute to the viewing experience of the audience. Next time when you are watching a movie, check out for the kind of shots used in various situations.

Friday Fundas: Recipe for movies to connect with Audience

Friday Fundas: Recipe for movies to connect with Audience

There are numerous reasons a film script is successful. One of the factors for success is the ability of a movie to connect with the audience.  The more the audience is connecting to the script the more engagement happens and eventually they like the film.

Naturally human beings react to 5 senses see, hear, smell, taste and touch and 6th intellectual sense. If the script is able to connect with the six senses then there is a natural connection that happens.

View of a train through paddy fields
View of a train through paddy fields in Pather Panchali

 

See: Film is a visual medium and it can easily connect to this sense. The visual portrayed connect to the audience. Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali has an iconic scene of the kids running through the fields to see a running train. The scene would connect well with people who spent their childhood near a railway line and have experienced this or even run through a paddy field.

 

 

 

 

Slumdog Millionaire Kids running in Dharavi
Slumdog Millionaire Kids running in Dharavi

 

Hear:  Audio plays a very important role in the movie. This is where sound engineering plays a major role. Slumdog Millionaire created the sounds that one would hear in the Dharavi area very aptly which made the visuals look more real.

 

 

 

Smell of the Lunchbox
Smell of the Lunchbox

Smell: This is one of the difficult senses to get across to the audience although there has been experiments made to create smell in theaters based on the visuals but nothing has been put into commercial use yet. However through the characters in the movie or in the dialogues this could be manifested. In the movie Lunch box you see the lead character smelling the tiffin box and leaving for lunch immediately. This would get the audience connected to the scene.

 

 

 

Kahaani - showing road side eateries
A shot from Kahaani with road side eateries

Taste: This again can be conveyed through a visual medium. The movie Kahaani had Kolkata as a character in the movie. The street side chat shops have been used to create an ambience and many scenes involve the actors or the side characters eating in those shops. Lunch box is another good example where food plays a major part of the narration and it is shown beautifully that you end up feeling hungry. This makes the audience relate to the sense of taste.

 

 

 

Making of Mahatma
Making of Mahatma

 

Touch/Feel: Similar to smell this can be narrated through visual elements. Many a times you would have felt goose bumps when watching the movie. In the movie Making of Mahatma when Mohandas starts walking on his own and slowly the scene builds up where more and more people join him the march you get a sense of pride and goose bumps. Compelling narration could manifest a variety of feeling in the audience to have them connected.

 

 

 

 

 

Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

 

Intellectual: The sixth sense of the human is intellectual and a good script should never “insult the intelligence” of the audience and would never connect well with them. In the movie Jurassic Park Director Speilberg and writer Crichton prepare the audience in the first 20 minutes to create a convincing case for the possibility of recreating the dinosaurs which had got extinct 65 million years ago. This created a very successful movie and also allowed them to create more sequels to this.

 

 

 

Every individual is different and there is not a single movie which everyone has liked it. A movie or a script becomes a hit then many people have connected to it. If it is strongly liked only by a set of people then it gets a cult status. Not all hit movies would have connected to the six senses of the audience but all movies that have failed to do so.

Friday Fundas: High Concept

High Concept – refers to an artistic work that can be pitched very easily. For example movies that could be promoted easily with a one line premise generating enough interest in people wanting to watch it. One of the most popular movies with a High Concept narrative is Jurassic Park. The movie had a high concept narrative based on what if dinosaurs could be re-created. Mostly high concept narratives fall into the pattern of “what-ifs”. Movies like King Kong, The Matrix, Inception, E.T are all movies with high concept narration. High Concept movies are not just limited to western movies it has been very popular in the Indian Cinema as well. Some of the popular High Concept movies are 12B which dealt with what if you were to see alternate lives of a person by getting onto a bus or missing a bus. Ghajini is another popular high concept movie where in the audience where intrigued by the fact that a person with short term memory loss is trying to seek revenge. Most of Shankar’s movies are high concept movies Nayak (Mudhalvan) is a good example of this which dealt with what if a common man is made the Chief Minister for a day. His recent block buster Endhiran is another high concept movie which dealt with the concept of what if Robots have emotions.

Mostly you would see that the promotion of High Concept movies is very simple as the concept itself is sufficient enough to draw people. Jurassic Park just had a dinosaur logo in its poster. Ghajini had the protagonist picture sitting with tattooed bare body. The marketing of the high concept movies follow the guidelines of “the look, the hook, the book”.

The look: how it is visually appealing to the public. Aamir Khan / Suriya’s look for Ghajini eight pack / six pack abs, tonsured head, and tattooed body.

The hook:  the attracting force for the public. How a person with short term memory loss can seek revenge?

The book:  how the movie is promoted. Before the release of Ghajini many of the multiplexes had their ticket counter personnel sporting Ghajini hair style.

Source Wikipedia