The given paper will primarily focus on the thorough analysis of two major films of the 20th century, which are Jaws (1975) and Jurassic Park (1993) by Steven Spielberg. Jaws can be considered as an earlier thriller film with a depiction of a modern-day animal as the main villain, whereas the second movie revolves around utilizing prehistoric creatures as antagonists. Both movies use novelties and advances in cinematography, but they put a great deal of emphasis on a different aspect of filmmaking.
In the case of Jaws, Spielberg tried and successfully made one of the most famous ocean-based blockbusters, which were a rarity at that time. The historical context of the film was in a match with its release date, where the United States was depicted during its post-war boom phase. There were some minor social and political elements, where certain characters referenced WWII and the Japanese invasion as the basis for their experience of encountering sharks and learning about their behavior. In terms of cultural and artistic aspects of the movie, the plot and characters are adherents towards the standard American style throughout the storyline with no particular focus on a specific culture.
Aesthetically, Jaws primarily focuses on the minimal depiction of the sharks, and the emphasis is put on settings and actors. The emotions and mood of a scene are delivered through acting alongside the vastness of the ocean. Spielberg uses mechanical sharks at the end part of the film, but he mostly accentuates the constant presence of danger. Therefore, the key principle of film form revolves around the generation of the feeling of ever-present threat from the shark’s side. The narrative elements are mostly manifested in character storytelling and in-scene conversations. In other words, the shark is more talked about than seen, which is an effective technique to build up tension and anticipation among the viewers.
The technical aspects of the film are innovative in the case of sounds, cinematography, and acting. The tone of the film is highly muted with minimal use of music and other sound themes, which in fact improves the product even more. Spielberg also utilizes clever cinematographic techniques, such as a light beam within the fog. Acting is a central piece of the film because the majority of information about the shark comes from the conversations between the characters. It is understandable since, at the time of production, the technology of CGI and mechanical robots for the in-water shooting was not as advanced as they are now.
The second film of choice is Jurassic Park, which was also directed by Spielberg, and it was released almost two decades later after Jaws. Similarly, the historical context of the movie matches its production and release timelines, where social and political issues include corporation dominance and wealth inequality. The cultural and artistic aspects of the story are minor or insignificant, with an exception of futurism and discovery accentuations. Therefore, one of the background topics of the film and its sequels is corporatism and corporate power, which might not be bound by laws on ethics. It is evident that the dinosaur specimens are mostly genetically engineered, which makes the entire park partially dismissive of real dinosaurs.
Jurassic Park is highly focused on aesthetics, where Spielberg tries to mix prehistoric natural settings with a futuristic one. The given approach is achieved through depictions of advanced laboratories and other facilities alongside lush forests and dense jungles. Therefore, the key principles of film form focus on visual elements, and the narration is also conducted through the demonstration of dinosaurs. Unlike Jaws, Jurassic Park is heavily focused on cinematography and sounds, where dinosaurs are depicted outstandingly through a mix of computer editing and mechanical modeling. Sounds are among the most critical in the movie because viewers are introduced to an array of novel sound effects. These are manifested in the roar of t-rex, screeching of velociraptors, and sounds of other dinosaurs. In addition, the film is accompanied by one of the most famous and well-known soundtracks themed around Jurassic Park.
The filmmaking process is a highly complex activity, where a director or creator needs to be focused on both detail and grander vision. A well-shot scene is a combination of camera positions, angles, lighting as well as character involvement. The drop in performance of one of these elements can negatively impact the entire filmmaking process (Brown 154). In addition, the importance of cooperation cannot be underestimated because the quality of production and proper use of available resources is highly dependent on correct planning and precise communication.
In conclusion, the analysis and in-depth evaluation of Jurassic Park and Jaws by Spielberg revealed several key elements of filmmaking. Each film is an outstanding example of innovation and pioneer work at the time of production. Jaws became highly successful despite the limitations of technology in mechanical representation for ocean-based scenes. Jurassic Park fully utilized the earliest successes in advances in computer imaging alongside mechanical dinosaur modeling.
Brown, Blain. Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors. Routledge, 2016.