Restarting Blog: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is a good blockbuster film and I found the most interesting part to be the first third. This film establishes the setting in a an extremely competent fashion, one that’s applicable to all narrative art forms.

By taking three main characters through the park, we see how the park operates, we see who fulfils specific roles within the park, who’s in charge, who has expertise. This relies on the characters being interesting, having interesting dialogue etc., and the setting being interesting, which is almost guaranteed in the context of a visually impressive dinosaur park. I could list dozens ands dozens of elements that are established, hidden in dialogue or character moments, like the lethality of velociraptors.

We first hear of this when a child is sneering at the description of a raptor, and our main archaeologist character displays a lethal claw from one of the creatures. Then a keeper describes how difficult it is to feed them, how intelligent they are, and how they hunt. With all of this established, the raptors are well placed to become the primary antagonist towards the end of the film, with viewers fully aware of their lethal capabilities.

Establishing the setting is often discussed by people who review films, less so by book critics, but I think it’s applicable to both. It’s pivotal in both mediums requires certain information, in order to appreciate the narrative with a story. For instance, if a person is bitten by a poisonous snake, but their is a hospital less than a mile away, the audience might feel very little tension. If it has been previously established that this snake is rare and its bite can only be cured at a few hospitals around the world, the tension levels change drastically.

I can’t think of a simpler way to express it, other than this; a writer can’t just tell a story, they need to consider what information a reader needs, to make the story as effective as possible. Being able to understand the reader’s limited viewpoint, is essential to writing well.

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