April 03, 2013

Anatomy of a Scene: Jurassic Park's T-Rex Introduction

We don't see it until about an hour into the movie, but the Tyrannosaurus rex in Spielberg's Jurassic Park -- and the scene that builds up to its violent arrival -- is the best in the film, the 3D version of which hits theaters on Friday. We break down the suspenseful introduction -- the screaming children, the running lawyer and that goddamned flashlight -- of the film's lumbering monster. By Voice Film Club.

See Also
- How Does Jurassic Park 3D Play When You Can't Fast Forward?
- Follow @VoiceFilm Club on Twitter
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The goat establishes that we're back in the paddock, while also sneakily priming us for the much more shocking shot later, when the goat will be gone.
The goat establishes that we're back in the paddock, while also sneakily priming us for the much more shocking shot later, when the goat will be gone.
Dr. Grant returns to his vehicle after checking on the kids in their identical Jurassic Park-branded SUV. This shot clearly establishes the scene's geography and the characters' place in it.
Dr. Grant returns to his vehicle after checking on the kids in their identical Jurassic Park-branded SUV. This shot clearly establishes the scene's geography and the characters' place in it.
Tim digs up night vision goggles. Like all Spielberg kids, he's enchanted by the wonder of his dangerous situation.
Tim digs up night vision goggles. Like all Spielberg kids, he's enchanted by the wonder of his dangerous situation.
Tim's night vision gives us a new (literal) perspective on the action and reinforces the geography of the scene, something that doesn't ever happen in Transformers.
Tim's night vision gives us a new (literal) perspective on the action and reinforces the geography of the scene, something that doesn't ever happen in Transformers.
In contrast to the children's wonder, their supervising adult is entirely checked out. This character has no respect for their fantastic world, and will be the first to be chucked from it.
In contrast to the children's wonder, their supervising adult is entirely checked out. This character has no respect for their fantastic world, and will be the first to be chucked from it.

In Spielberg, time is fluid. The anticipation of approaching danger is in this case every bit as frightening as the danger itself. Shaking water indicates the approach of the Tyrannosaurus Rex twice in Jurassic Park. At the climax, when it's more suspenseful for the dinosaur to arrive unannounced, there are no cups or puddles around.

In Spielberg, time is fluid. The anticipation of approaching danger is in this case every bit as frightening as the danger itself. Shaking water indicates the approach of the Tyrannosaurus Rex twice in Jurassic Park. At the climax, when it's more suspenseful for the dinosaur to arrive unannounced, there are no cups or puddles around.
The lawyer, Gennaro, is startled by the approaching footsteps. "M-Maybe it's the power trying to come back on," he suggests, still not fully invested in the dangers or wonder that the children understand.
The lawyer, Gennaro, is startled by the approaching footsteps. "M-Maybe it's the power trying to come back on," he suggests, still not fully invested in the dangers or wonder that the children understand.
Gennaro searches the rearview mirror but finds nothing.
Gennaro searches the rearview mirror but finds nothing.
Tim, though, is the first to see true evidence of the danger. That goat is lunch.
Tim, though, is the first to see true evidence of the danger. That goat is lunch.
Lex the vegetarian knows. Gennaro still doesn't.
Lex the vegetarian knows. Gennaro still doesn't.