The Oscar Project
Today is my first look at individual categories and which films and creators are nominated in each category as we lead up to the 95th Academy Awards on March 12th. This category is filled with films that are either sequels, reboots, or flat out remakes of previous films.
All Quiet on the Western Front
I just finished watching this film on Netflix last night and boy was that a tough one to watch. The film felt like a blending of 1917 (which won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects three years ago) and Saving Private Ryan (which did was not even nominated). The opening battle, though much shorter than the storming of Normandy in Saving Private Ryan was just as brutal visually and the connection to 1917 goes without saying as they cover the same conflict (WWI) though from different sides. The biggest argument in favor of this film winning the award this year would be that I rarely thought to myself “that’s a great effect” while I watched. The visual effects are embedded in the action and everything looks real, from the soldiers being shot, to the explosions that deliver realistically devastating effects to everything around them. All four names called out for their work on this film (Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank, and Kamil Jafar) are first time nominees in this category and in my quick review of previous winners in this category, I could not find any that were also nominated in the Best International Feature/Best Foreign Language Film.
Avatar: The Way of Water
How could this film NOT be nominated for Best Visual Effects? Unfortunately, it is the only film in this category that I haven’t seen yet (to be rectified soon) but from everything I’ve heard, the visuals in the film are what make it worth seeing and everyone I’ve spoken to about it recommends seeing it on the biggest screen and in 3D if possible. Looking back in time, the original Avatar film won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects at the 82nd Academy Awards, but was only competing against two other films in the category at the time (District 9 and the J. J. Abrams Star Trek reboot). It has been widely publicized that the development of new visual effects methods to shoot performance capture in underwater environments was a contributing factor to the film to be delayed as long as it was. That can’t go unnoticed in selecting the winner in this category, giving the film a very strong chance to take home the Oscar yet again. To top it off, two of the individuals called out for the nomination this year (Joe Letteri and Richard Baneham) were also part of the team that won for Avatar. Letteri has also taken home statuettes for King Kong, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King along with six additional nominations.
This is only the second Batman film to be officially nominated in the Best Visual Effects category, going all the way back to the original Tim Burton/Michael Keaton Batman in 1989. Batman Returns was a nominee in 1992, losing out to Death Becomes Her, and multiple Batman films have been shortlisted including Batman Forever in 1995, Batman & Robin in 1997, and Batman Begins in 2005. All four of the individuals named for this film, Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, and Dominic Tuohy, have been nominated for Oscars in this category in the past with wins for Lemmon (for The Jungle Book in 2017) and Tuohy (for 1917 in 2019). Unfortunately for this group, their history doesn’t bode well for taking home the trophy this year, especially with other strong contenders.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The first Black Panther film was not nominated for Best Visual Effects, though it was shortlisted prior to the final five nominees. You would also think that Marvel films would have taken home this category several times, given the sheer number of films in that series over the last two decades, but the only Marvel film to win in this category to date is Spider-Man 2 way back in 2004. Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White, and Dan Sudick are the names on the nomination for this film with Hammack receiving one previous nomination (for Deepwater Horizon) and White receiving two prior nominations (Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey). Sudick’s name has been attached to 12 previous nominations, mostly for Marvel films like all three Iron Man films, Marvel’s The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and he was a double nominee last year for the Ryan Reynolds film Free Guy and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Top Gun: Maverick
The final film in this category is one that might spoil the party for Avatar: The Way of Water. Looking back through the history of the category, the original Top Gun was neither nominated nor shortlisted. The film was generally recognized for sound production (more about that tomorrow) and for the music across many award circuits including at the 59th Academy Awards. Out of the four names attached to this nomination, Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher, only Fisher has been nominated previously. He also brings two wins to the table for work on two Christopher Nolan films, Tenet in 2020 and Interstellar in 2014. The reason this film has a chance to upset at the Oscars this year is that it was also innovating how to shoot in a very unforgiving environment, flying in fighter jets. The short video below goes into some of the new technology that was used for this film and it’s truly amazing to think of what they were able to accomplish practically in camera and then enhance with visual effects.
It’s the last full week of January and you should have just about finished four movies for the year so far. If you’re not a huge movie watcher, this might feel like a lot, but you can do it. Just take them one week at a time and try not to get too far ahead of yourself with the rest of the year. Before you know it, you’ll have over 50 movies under your belt for the year!
My film this week for the category of a film with animals was Life of Pi directed by Ang Lee. I did a little digging after watching this film, and though it is now more than a decade old, Lee has not returned to the Oscars as a nominee since receiving the award for Best Director for this film. It’s also coincidental that I am writing this post the same week as this year’s Oscar nominations were announced and have a post on this year’s crop of Best Visual Effects nominees, a category that Life of Pi won along with Best Cinematography.
The action shifts to a teenage Pi (Suraj Sharma) and his family in India before they emigrate to Canada. His family owns a zoo in their town and Pi loves the animals, especially a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker (so named due to a clerical error when the tiger was acquired by the zoo). As a result of “the Emergency” in India, Pi’s family decides to relocate to Canada, and bring their animals with them on a ship across the Pacific Ocean. When the ship sinks, Pi is the only human who manages to make it into a lifeboat alongside a zebra with a broken leg, an orangutan, a hyena, and eventually Richard Parker himself. The hyena quickly kills the zebra and eventually the orangutan, before falling victim to Richard Parker.
The bulk of the film is the journey that Pi and Richard Parker go on as they try to survive first days, then weeks and months at sea in a small lifeboat. Pi is alone and uses the time to sort through his feelings on religion and God, something he had thought about since learning about Christianity and Islam as a boy who was raised in a Hindu home. He questions why his entire family had to die in the sinking ship. He considers why he was allowed to survive and why he is stuck in the lifeboat with a creature initially bent on killing him. One of my favorite lines in the film is from Pi when there is a storm raging. He and Richard Parker have come to an understanding at this point, where Pi provides food for the tiger, and the tiger in turn doesn’t kill and eat Pi. During the storm, Pi yells to the open expanse of the sky asking why are “you” scaring him (Richard Parker)? In speaking directly to God, he exclaims, “I’ve lost my family. I’ve lost everything. I surrender. What more do you want?”
There are obvious connections to biblical stories like Noah’s Ark in this film, and honestly it takes on one of the biggest questions people have posed about that story for a long time, namely, how did the lions and tigers and bears not eat everything else during that comparatively short (40 days) journey? I’m sure there are more religious undertones that I missed relating to religions I’m not as familiar with, but it’s definitely a film that makes you think and question why certain things happen.
The film was lauded at the time for the realistic nature of the animals, specifically Richard Parker. If you look at behind the scenes footage of the film, you’ll see that much of the production consisted of Sharma sitting in a lifeboat in a giant indoor water tank with blue or green screens all around him, acting against nothing, or against a small inanimate stand-in for Richard Parker. What the visual effect artists did with the animals, especially Richard Parker, is astonishing, and honestly, there were moments where I couldn’t tell if they had used a real tiger for certain shots or if it was digital. The film is worth seeing for this fact alone. But the visual nature of the film doesn’t stop there. Going back to the point that it won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, the overall visual appeal of this film is off the charts. There are the moments in storms where waves climb hundreds of feet above Pi and the boat, but the ones that are even better are those where the sea is calm and Pi gets time to sit and contemplate. We get to see reflections of the heavens against the calm sea, a floating island full of meerkats (also computer generated) that looks like nothing I’ve ever seen, and even an enormous whale breeching near Pi’s boat, churning up bioluminescent algae along the way. If you love striking visuals in film, this is one you shouldn’t miss.
There is some question about the end of this film. Ultimately, no one can verify Pi’s version of events because he was the only survivor. Near the end of the film, some investigators from the insurance company checking on the boat’s sinking ask him for his story and don’t like the version with Richard Parker. He offers a different story where his mother survived in the boat with him along with a sailor and cook from the ship. In this version, the cook turns on the sailor and Pi’s mother, killing them before Pi kills the cook. It is obvious that these characters are substitutes for the zebra, orangutan, and hyena, with Pi perhaps being the tiger. Ultimately the insurance report sticks with Pi’s first version of the story, and I tend to want to believe that one as well.
Finally, a question I considered while digesting this film is what sort of movie I would make featuring animals. My favorite animal has been the wolf for as long as I can remember, so I would probably pick something about wolves. I know there have been plenty of films with wolves, both as good characters and bad, but hopefully I would be able to bring something new to the creature and do them justice. I think a realistic adventure film would actually be a lot of fun, showing the dynamics of a wolf pack.
I hope that I would have been able to survive as Pi did in this film. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t ever want to be stranded in a lifeboat at sea with a Bengal tiger. But if something like that ever DOES happen, I pray that I will be as resourceful as Pi in my ability to survive.
A film that is visually striking to you
I absolutely love this film and was happy to find a spot for it on my list. It’s probably my second favorite “real” space film behind Apollo 13. By real space, I mean set roughly in the current reality of our ability to travel in space, and not set in some far off future or distant far-flung past. It has a great pace to it and truly makes you feel like you are in the various space bound environments with Sandra Bullock.
With Bullock playing the majority of the film on her own in space, fighting for her own survival and trying desperately to figure out a way to get back to Earth safely, it truly give the feeling of a suspense thriller that just happens to be set in space. One of the main points of pride, but also pain points is the scientific accuracy of the film. While even director Alfonso Cuarón admits some liberties were taken in the interest of the film, it is incredible to me how well they depicted the movement in space and how things interact with one another in that environment. There are several moments where Bullock just barely manages to save herself from certain doom. Typically, in an Earthbound film, we would see this as falling over a cliff or off the side of a mountain, but in zero gravity, we get that in the form of potentially being flung off into the void of space. It’s a different look at something tried and true in survival films.
One of my absolute favorite pieces of trivia related to this film is its running time. The film runs at 91 minutes, which by no coincidence is almost exactly the amount of time that it takes for the ISS to complete an orbit around the Earth. In a similar way that Titanic runs for the same amount of time as it took for the boat to sink after it hit the iceberg, Gravity is as long as it would take for Bullock’s character to be forced to find a way home. In that way, we are on the journey with her and feel the tension in as close to real time as possible.
And finally, returning to the visuals which prompted the selection of this film for this category, the views in the film are truly stunning. You certainly get the feeling of being in the emptiness of space and far away from our home planet, but also get the feel of the scale of Earth when looking at it from low orbit on or near the ISS. As the action moves around the planet and away from sunlight that we get at the beginning of the film, the palette changes form very bright to very dark, and back again. We get interiors of various space vehicles along with the splendid exterior space shots. All in all, it’s a fantastic voyage and visually stimulating the entire time.
If you haven’t checked out Gravity, I urge you to go rent or download it today. You won’t be disappointed.
Day 26 – A film you like that is adapted front somewhere | Day 28 – A film that made you feel uncomfortable
A film you like that is adapted front somewhere
I waited almost the entire month to get to one of these films, and finally decided it was time to drop it here. It’s REALLY hard to adapt a book into a film, especially a book as deep and intricate as The Lord of the Rings. That’s what makes the accomplishment of Peter Jackson that much more impressive.
I will admit, I never read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit growing up. I think I first read The Hobbit around 1999 or 2000 when I first heard that they were making the longer book into a series of movies. I followed that up with a mad dash through The Lord of the Rings trilogy, finishing The Fellowship of the Ring before seeing the film in theaters and working my way through The Two Towers and Return of the King soon after. After seeing all the films, I am extremely glad I read the books first. Not only did I get some of the little tidbits that the films leave out, I had a better understanding of the action taking place. Since there is so much going on in these films, even with the things left out, it helps to have a little background going in.
I know The Lord of the Rings is one of those groups of films that people either love or hate. I personally love them and think everyone should see them. I have the theatrical versions as well as the extended director’s cuts on DVD, buying all of those at a time when I didn’t have a ton of disposable income, but it was important for me to have them just the same. One of my favorite parts of the extended DVDs especially is all the behind the scenes features included across the three films. For anyone who loves films, I highly recommend those extended features, even if you’re not a big fan of the movies themselves. They cover the entire breadth of film making, from initial script writing and concept art, to costume design, sound and film editing, and up to the music that fully develops the world. One can get lost in those features and spend probably a solid week watching nothing else if you really wanted to.
Finally, I know that today is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. I want to just say how thankful I am for everyone who has been reading these posts this month. I appreciate the dedication to reading them and have thoroughly enjoyed writing each and every one of them for you.
Day 25 – A film you like that is not set in the current era | Day 27 – A film that is visually striking to you
A film you like that is not set in the current era
There was plenty to choose from when I picked this category, but I had to go with a film that I absolutely love, and I have seen probably two dozen times or more over the years. It’s one of those that I usually watch to the end whenever it comes on TV, which sometimes takes up several hours of my afternoon/evening/night.
I have to say, this film is one of the best I’ve seen when it comes to immersing the audience in the time period and the world it exists in. From the opening sequence in Germania, we are thrust into a gritty hellscape of how war was waged two thousand years ago, give or take a century or two. The opening battle is brutal, and they don’t get any tamer from there.
It’s easy to say that the battle and fight scenes are some of the best parts of Gladiator, yet I find many of the best parts are in the quiet intimate moments between the chaos. The personal interaction between Russell Crowe’s Maximus and his owner Proximo (Oliver Reed) about how he can win the crowd and potentially win his freedom is one of those moments. Another is Maximus’s interaction with the young prince Lucius before one of his fights. He speaks with the boy I think because he sees his own dead son in the boy and wants to connect with someone that age once again. And speaking of his son, one of the most incredible scenes is when Maximus returns to his farm to find his wife and son dead. The anguish that Crowe displays is part of the reason he was crowned Best Actor by the Academy for his work in the film.
The film also won an Oscar for Best Costume Design, and this goes back to my initial point about immersing you in the world. There are thousands of costumes in this film that make you feel like you are in ancient Rome. Everything is here from the obvious gladiator gear, to the soldiers in the army, the simple robes of the senators, and the elaborate robes of the royalty. The last time we were watching the film, my wife and I both remarked that Lucilla’s (Connie Nielsen) costumes are some of the most beautiful in the film and fit her character perfectly.
But the costumes alone don’t make this film feel like a part of history. There are plenty of scenes in the markets, the countryside, and of course, in the gladiatorial arenas themselves. The way the story progresses, Maximus fights his way through several lesser arenas throughout the Roman Empire, before venturing to Rome itself and competing in the Super Bowl of gladiatorial arenas, The Colosseum. It’s quite a scene when Maximus and his fellow slaves see the edifice for the first time and once they get inside, it’s hard to distinguish where the live replica of the building ends and the digital version begins.
All in all, Gladiator is a fantastic film. Yes, there are some historical inaccuracies, but you get that with any film based on historical events. That’s the beauty of film. It’s a chance to tell a story set in a real time and place, but with some elements of fiction woven in. It’s hard to say that there are no wasted shots in a film that stretches over two and a half hours, but I feel that this is about as close as one might come, with nearly every moment on screen contributing to and moving the story forward.
Take a moment this holiday weekend and visit ancient Rome in Gladiator. You won’t regret it.
Day 24 – A film you wish you saw in theaters | Day 26 – A film you like that is adapted front somewhere
A film that changed your life
There is a book that came out last year by Brian Raftery called Best. Movie. Year. Ever. How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen. In it he documents the stories behind some of the biggest films of 20 years ago (OK, 21 years ago) and argues the idea that 1999 is the best year in films, at least in recent memory. Some of the films he covers include The Blair Witch Project, Office Space, American Pie, Cruel Intentions, The Sixth Sense, Eyes Wide Shut, Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, and Magnolia. That’s only about a third of the films he covers, yet any one of those could be included in a list of top ten favorite films for many people.
The movie that I’ve picked for this category though is The Matrix. While some of the films mentioned above are revolutionary in their own way (Blair Witch gave us the “true-story” horror film, American Pie gave us a great look at the struggles of teenagers and the importance of friendships) none of them quite stood out like The Matrix. Seeing this for the first time at the end of my junior year of high school, my mind was completely blown by the story that they Wachowskis has invented and ultimately delivered to the screen.
I always had mild aspirations of being some sort of computer hacker when I was younger. Granted, I never really had the skills to make that dream a reality, but when I heard about the movie where a guy finds out he’s permanently wired into a computer and has to break out into the real world, I was hooked. Pile on top of that a huge action film with plenty of great action set pieces, and it was a no-brainer for a teen like myself to flock to this movie.
The film is well known for the introduction of the filming technique called “bullet time” that used still cameras positioned around the actor(s) to achieve the illusion of the camera moving around the action in super slow motion. And while this technique was only used in a handful of shots in the finished film, you’ve probably seen dozens of other films, television shows, and even commercials that use the concept this film pioneered.
Beyond the stunning visuals and the fantastical story, The Matrix stayed with me in an emotional and even metaphysical way long after I first saw it. There is a scene where Neo is waiting to meet The Oracle and speaks with a young child bending spoons with his mind. The boy hands Neo the spoon and tells him not to try and bend the spoon as it’s impossible. Instead, he must realize the truth, that there is no spoon at all. Since they are in the matrix at the time, the spoon is not real. Now, I don’t have time to expound on this concept here, but there is plenty of analysis of this one scene (and more) on the internet if you are interested in it. You can check out the scene here.
The Matrix spawned several sequels along with short films, comics, and other media, but the original is the only one that counts in my book. It has everything you need in it and tells the complete story.
Day 19 – A film made by your favorite director | Day 21 – A film that you dozed off in
A film made by your favorite director
I had such a hard time picking a favorite director for this category, so I landed on Steven Spielberg. I already had two Christopher Nolan films on the list and had selections from some greats like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, and Peter Jackson but I only had one Spielberg film (Jurassic Park) way back on day 2. And if you’ve been playing along all month, you’ll know that a few of those names I just mentioned are teasers for upcoming films in the last few days.
Obviously, Spielberg has such a vast catalog of films he has directed over a nearly 50-year career, I had many options to choose from. Some other choices that were near the top of my list included Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, and Minority Report. But if I had to pick one movie that only Spielberg could have made, it would be E.T. The Extraterrestrial.
There is so much to love about this film. He clearly moved on from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and wanted to make a different kind of alien movie and succeeded in that. From the instant E.T. appears on screen, anyone watching the film loves him. Granted, the film was released three months after I was born, but I would guess that the love for E.T. hasn’t been matched in the nearly 40 years since then, with the exception of the recent addition to the Star Wars universe, Baby Yoda.
I think it’s a credit to the enduring legacy of this film that it even inspired a short film/commercial last holiday season that featured Henry Thomas, the actor who portrayed Elliott in the original. You can watch that short film here. I dare you to watch even this short 4-minute clip without tearing up just a little.
We all want a little part of E.T. in our life, something from completely outside our imagination that we can believe in and be connected to. And deep down, we probably all understand that we may not get to keep that strange thing for long, but that it will always be a part of our experience and remain in our heart forever.
Day 18 – A film that stars your favorite actor/actress | Day 20 – A film that changed your life
A film that put you in deep thought
This is the second newest film I have on my list and one of the most recently critically acclaimed. As such, there may be a bit of recency bias in this pick, but that’s OK. I wanted this list to have a broad spectrum of films from different eras, genres, directors, and styles, and that means including recent films as well as those from 50 or 80 years ago.
For anyone who has seen this film, I challenge you to admit that it didn’t move you in some way. As I wrote in my recent review of the film, it is a personal story, yet one that is told on a grand scale. There are moments of intense emotion between individuals, followed by sweeping views of the devastation of war that is evident all around them.
I’m not joking when I tell you that I sat in silence in my living room, all by myself, after this film finished playing. In today’s world of streaming video and DVDs, it’s easy to just click off the credits and move on to the next piece of media. But as the category for today suggests, I sat in thought after this film finished. I let the credits play and imagined how I would have reacted in the shoes of the characters on screen. Would I have had the courage to lay my life on the line the way they did to save my fellow countrymen? Would I have been able to crawl through trenches full of decaying carcasses, avoid sniper fire, and swim over a waterfall, just to deliver a message that could potentially save the lives of hundreds of men? I’m not sure.
This is a hallmark of some of the best films throughout history. They tell a striking story in an incredibly visual way that makes you sit back and think. Films like this stay with you and give your brain plenty to chew on, not just in the moment, but for days after viewing. That is what 1917 did for me.
Day 12 – A film that you hate from your favorite genre | Day 14 – A film that gave you depression
A film that you will never get tired of
My first of two Christopher Nolan films on this list comes with Inception. I could probably populate this list with even more of his films, but I’m trying to keep things spread out a bit, giving love to as many possible films, directors, and actors as I can.
Inception is certainly not a perfect film. It leaves many people very confused and there is a whole corner of the internet focusing on finding ways to visualize the various levels of dreams that the characters go through during the third act of the film. To call it the third act isn’t even really fair. The whole second half of the film represents the heist that Leonardo DiCaprio’s crew is trying to pull off, while the first half sets the stage and give as much exposition as you’re going to get for a mind-bender like this.
For a quick recap, well, I’m not going to try and explain it. You just have to watch the film. The basic idea is that a team of corporate espionage experts have to hack into someone’s dreams to plant an idea deep in the victim’s subconscious in order to get them to do what the client wants. I’m not sure how someone even comes up with an idea like that, but it’s truly wild ideas like this that make many of Nolan’s films so memorable.
I have to give an honorable mention and shout out here to the first Nolan film I saw, Memento. Released in 2000, Memento tells the story of a man who suffers from short term memory loss and relies on a complex system of notes and tattoos to remember who he is, who he can trust, and why he is where he is. Another truly mind-bending concept, executed to perfection by Nolan.
But back to Inception. I love this film many of the reasons outlined above, in addition to the great cast. DiCaprio is cool and calm (most of the time) while his team made up of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Dileep Rao provide a good group to pal around with for two hours. Add in Ken Watanabe as their client Saito and Cillian Murphy as the mark, and Marion Cotillard as DiCaprio’s deceased wife, you’ve got a phenomenal cast that knocks this story out of the park.
I used this as the film I never get tired of and it’s true. The number of times I have stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning watching this because I caught it on TV late at night is more than I care to admit. I think I’ve only seen it from beginning to end once or twice, but the entire heist sequence is one I can’t tear myself away from and I just have to watch it to the end.
Inception is currently available on Amazon Prime.
Day 6 - Your favorite animated film | Day 8 - A film where you like the soundtrack more
A film you like that starts with the first letter of your name
Thankfully my name starts with J because I’m not sure where else I would've put Jurassic Park in this challenge. There are a few spots it could have landed, but this is probably my favorite “J" movie. Some others that nearly made the cut were Jumanji (the original with Robin Williams), The Jungle Book (original animated feature), and of course, Jaws.
I find it interesting that three of the four films I considered in this category dealt with special effects. Jaws is famous for the shark even though we see only a few minutes of actual footage of the shark in the film. Jumanji came after Jurassic Park by a few years and utilized much of the technology that Spielberg’s groundbreaking film pioneered, but not with the same attention to detail.
Jurassic Park was, and still is, a masterpiece of storytelling, brought to life on the screen by advanced technology that made seemingly impossible visions a reality. I’m still not quite sure how my pre-teen self managed to sift through Michael Crighton’s 448-page book that the film is based on, but I did, and I was so excited to see the dinosaurs on screen. And while some people remember their fright at seeing Jaws for the first time, that film for me is Jurassic Park. It wasn’t so much the T-Rex, but the raptors that did it for me. Especially near the end of the film when those raptors are after prey that was much the same age I was at the time, I guess it hit just a little too close to home.
Now, you surely know that an entire franchise has sprung up around Jurassic Park, complete with theme park rides, video games, LEGO sets, and a new animated series on Netflix. Probably not what Crighton had in mind when he put pen to paper in the 1980s or when Spielberg decided to adapt the book into a film.
And while the most recent entries in the franchise have done better at the box office even than the original, the first film will always hold a special place in my heart, just as it has cemented its legacy in the history of film. Seeing the herd of dinos running across the island as they’re being chased by the T-Rex or feeling the adrenaline of Grant, Sattler, and the kids being chased by computer generated velociraptors was something that had never been seen on screen before. We take these visual effects tools for granted today, but at the time they were state of the art and cutting edge. I would estimate that 95% of the effects work you see on screen today can be traced back to the technologies created to make Jurassic Park.
The last thing I must talk about with Jurassic Park is the music. It’s one thing to see the dinosaurs on the screen, moving in their environment and even interacting with the human actors on occasion, but it’s another thing entirely to feel the grandeur of those enormous creatures when you hear the swell of John Williams’s incredible score for the film. I spent many hours when I was younger practicing my assigned piano pieces as quickly as possible so I could get a chance to play the Jurassic Park theme on my piano. While my piano never quite did the same justice as a full orchestra, I always loved playing that music just as much as I love listening to it. If you are a lover of soundtracks as I am, I recommend you check out two episodes of The Soundtrack Show podcast dedicated to an analysis of the music of Jurassic Park. (Episode 1, Episode 2)
Day 1 - The first film you remember watching | Day 3 - A film that has more than five words
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?