Jurassic World – Analysis of opening scenes

Jurassic World was the DVD of the day. It’s a fantastic movie, packed full of powerful CGI imagery, terrifying moments, heart stopping chase sequence all shot against the lush rainforest backdrop of Isla Nublar mixed in with panoramic arial views of the ocean and the island. The colours are bright are bold, the scenes packed with action and character and crammed filled with tiny details so you feel like Jurassic World really does exist.

I decided to analyse just the first few minutes of the movie to see how the main characters were introduced, which shot composition was used and the way each frame motivated the next. I created a storyboard of the first few minutes.

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The opening shot is the most important part of the movie, it has so much to do, it needs to grab the viewers attention, it needs to convey in that one shot the premise of the movie. I was watching this video and it was really interesting seeing how much went into the opening shot. Jurassic World’s opening shot is no exception. It’s around a full minute shot as the camera pans around the laboratory. You only need to say Jurassic Park and the first connotations are dinosaurs. So this is what the viewers are excited to see and we aren’t disappointed. The opening shot begins with a flash of white, at least six seconds long then starts to fade to reveal an extreme close up of a textured surface. A dinosaurs egg. As the viewer watches, a crack splits across the surface of the egg. The titles come up and the viewer is pumped with anticipation. Slow the camera zooms out and we see there are several eggs in the lab. The wide aperture is very effective as the background turns to milky textures so the egg shines out crisp and directs the viewer where to look. As the camera sweeps gently across the eggs like wandering eyes it finally hones in on one in the background. A little claw is scrabbling to tear the egg shell away and finally it does revealing a single reptilian eye blinking. There’s a sense of excitement mixed with danger as we remember the earlier Jurassic Parks and how something always escapes…and now it’s going to start all over again.

The screen overexposes to white and then the jump scene. Hopefully I wasn’t the only person to jump out of my skin when the giant claw comes crashing down into the snow or who felt pretty silly as it zoomed backwards to reveal a humble crow pecking at the snow. I personally love that scene. There is huge debate about how the dinosaurs are linked to birds. The bone structure is more like a bird than a reptile and their bones are also hollow, just like a bird. So the link from the dinosaur into the egg to the crow is a very clever one and one which I was impressed by. We are shown a wide angle shot of the crow flying off which guides the eye to the modern house behind and the women packing the car with suitcases. Instantly our mind processes they’re going on a journey, it’s Winter, Christmas, where are they going? Instead of flicking to the scene inside the house the Mum shouts ‘Boys, let’s do this’ This then motivates the next scene, we’re inside the view master, seeing the clips of dinosaurs as Gray, one of the protagonists looks at the pictures inside. This then shows a wide shot of the young boy, Gray including detail of his bedroom to show his character and interests. His Mum comes in and there is a nice relaxed conversation mixed with humour and also showing Gray’s intelligence as he quotes how many   it will take to get to the airport (we now know they are going to the airport and no prizes for guessing where) his Mum interjects ‘And how long does it take to get that little butt in the car’ he smiles showing a sweet bond between mother and son (A contrast to his older brother who later puts his headphones on to block out his parents) As they leave the room, the bedroom door shuts behind them and there is quick cut to the house door opening, a quick interlude which is fun and nice filming and cutting out any shoe leather, as it would be unnecessary to show them running down the stairs and through the hallway.

As Gray runs outside he passes his older brother Zach who is saying goodbye to his girlfriend. The camera stops panning with Gray and stays on Zach, cleverly linking the two. Zach’s character is shown, it’s clear he doesn’t feel as strongly about his girlfriend as she does about him as she says ‘I love you,’ and he breaks her off by saying, “I, will see you later.’  This brings in the opportunity to show the boys Dad sitting in the car who remarks in his pessimistic way, “You’re not going off to war here,’

The girlfriend waves and the Mum and Dad turn round in their seats, the Dad teasing Zach, “Are you going to be ok,’ in a babyish mocking voice. Zach jams his headphones on unamused as the background music starts up with ‘Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, Gray looks excitedly out of the window and there’s a quick scene change to the family gathered in the airport.

While this scene doesn’t take that long we learn the following about the characters.

Gray. Gray is enthusiastic and kind, he has a strong bond with his mother and is intelligent as seen by his love of science and maths. His room reveals his love of animals, science, nature and most importantly dinosaurs. He is often seen running around excitedly showing his enthusiasm, portraying him a typical child his age, hyper and excitable.

Zach. Zach seems indifferent to everything, even his girlfriend, he is often seen with headphones, his way of blocking out the world which he clearly isn’t impressed by. Generally when a character is shown to be like this you see a change in their character by the end of the movie.

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