Big Screens - Week 1: Clip Analysis

Analysing a 3 minute long film clip:

We chose to analyse a 3 minute clip from the origlnal Jurassic Park Film (1993). The scene we selected, apart from breaking new ground in the field of CGI, =is a classic example of good filmmaking. Spielberg manages to consistently tension over the course of the scene by repeatedly placing the characters in imminent danger, only to have it temporarily abate.  The absence of music is notable, as the noise of the raptors piercing the silence helps create tension. The pace increases drastically at the times when the characters are being chased, and slows once they've escaped danger.  The clip is broken into three sections, which are shown in the graph below, along with key moments in the scene. 

Graph showing the story arc of the scene.

Important moments in the scene:

1) 0:04 - At the very beginning of the scene, the raptors are shown standing in the doorway, as the camera pans down to the two characters.

2) 0:08 - The shot focuses on the children, showing their fear.

3) 0:16 - The raptor announces its presence with a guttural call.

4) 0:22 - A second raptor enters the scene, signaling an escalated threat to the characters.

5) 0:32 - The characters see the raptors for the first time and are clearly afraid.

6) 0:59 - Both the characters and the raptor appear in close proximity in the same shot, which is the first of the close encounters, designed to raise the scene's tension.

7) 1:15 - The male character disturbs some serving spoons, which alerts the raptors to their presence; it's the second of the close encounters.

8) 1:24 - The metal spoons fall to the floor and make a loud noise, which grabs the attention of the raptors, signaling that the tension in the scene will soon rise again.

9) 1:43 - The male character again comes into close contact with one of the raptors, creating a tense moment.

10) 1:52 - The female character attracts the raptor's attention by tapping a spoon on the floor, thus diffusing the overall tension.

11) 2:14 - The tensest moment of the scene so far occurs when the raptor attacks a reflection of the female character, allowing her to narrowly escape.

12) 2:18 - A pause in the action diffuses the tension once again, and prepares the user for the climatic buildup.

13) 2:32 - The male character is chased by one of the raptors.  He's injured and limping, further raising the tension.

14) 2:38 - The mail character is chased into a standing refrigerator, narrowly escaping death as the raptor slips on the icey floor and crashes into a shelf. This is the penultimate climax of the scene.

15) 2:52 - The final climax of the scene comes as the raptor crashes into the refrigerator door.  The characters miraculously manage to close the door and insert the pin into the handle, locking the raptor inside and guaranteeing their safety.

16) 2:58 - The scene ends as the characters breathe a sigh of relief and exit the kitchen.