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Hi, I'm Michael.
This is Lessons from the Screenplay.
"There it is!"
For a kid growing up in the 90s, Jurassic Park was everything.
It's hard to imagine anything cooler than a dinosaur,
and this film brought dinosaurs to life in a way never before possible.
But as time has shown, simply including dinosaurs is not enough to make a movie good…
…and in revisiting the film as an adult,
it's clear that one of the most impressive aspects of Jurassic Park is its screenplay.
While the film is filled with exciting action sequences and amazing visual effects,
it is also populated by interesting characters
who are used to explore an important, modern theme.
So today I want to examine how the theme's origins inspired the creation
of two very specific central characters…
To look at how both the plot and supporting characters challenge their beliefs…
And dissect how every single choice made by the writers fed the theme
until it became a full-grown, unstoppable monster.
Welcome to Jurassic Park
In the early 1980's, author Michael Crichton was working on a script
about a graduate student using technology to recreate a dinosaur.
As he was writing, Crichton arrived at a problem, explaining:
“This kind of research is tremendously expensive.”
“And the question arises: who will pay for it?”
“The only thing that I could think of was that it would come from a desire for entertainment.”
So the idea of a dinosaur theme park became the foundation of Crichton's premise,
and buried inside this premise he found what would become the DNA of the story—its theme.
In his book, Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story,
John Yorke discusses the importance of theme:
“A theory is posited, an argument explored and a conclusion reached.”
“That, in a nutshell, is what theme is.”
“Subject matter is a static given.”
“Theme, on the other hand, is an active exploration of an idea,
it's a premise to be explored,
it's a question.”
Is it a good idea to bring back dangerous, extinct creatures?
Just because we have the technology to do something, does it mean that we should?
And, more broadly, is everything we call “progress” actually progress?
This is the theme of Jurassic Park,
but Michael Crichton didn't think the question had a simple answer.
So he and screenwriter David Koepp used the theme as a blueprint
for creating two characters with opposing viewpoints.
When we first meet Dr. Alan Grant, he is anti-progress in two distinct ways.
“I hate computers.”
“The feeling is mutual.”
We see that Grant is completely mistrusting of technology.
“Look at the extraordinary—“
“What'd you do?”
“He touched it. Dr. Grant is not machine compatible.”
“They've got it in for me.”
We also see that he is not compatible with a more symbolic representation of the future.
“He slashes at you here…or here.”
“Oh Alan.”
“You are alive when they start to eat you.”
Grant doesn't like kids and doesn't want to have them.
“I mean, what's so wrong with kids?”
“Oh, Ellie, look.
They're noisy, they're messy, they're expensive.”
“Cheap, cheap.”
“They smell.”
Throughout the first act we see examples of Grant's dislike of children
and his contentious relationship with technology again…
And again…
And again.
Grant clearly represents the anti-progress side of the theme,
but soon, someone with an opposing viewpoint comes barging into his world…
John Hammond.
Hammond is so pro-technology and progress,
he doesn't even consider that genetically engineering dinosaurs might be dangerous.
When a worker is killed by a velociraptor,
Hammond's only concern is that it might delay the park's opening.
In fact, Hammond's favorite catchphrase…
“Spared no expense.”
“Spared no expense.”
“Spared no expense.”
…is an expression of this mindset: forward at all costs.
“How could we stand in the light of discovery and not act?”
The first act of Jurassic Park establishes Grant and Hammond's opposing takes
on the theme of progress.
But just having characters embody different perspectives isn't enough.
To truly explore a theme, you must find ways of testing the characters' beliefs.
In act two, the screenplays Grant and Hammond up,
putting an entire island and a 10,000 volt fence between them.
This separation allows each of them to encounter situations
uniquely designed to attack their beliefs.
When power goes out all over the island,
Grant is suddenly forced to get along without the help of any technology…
“Hey what'd I touch?”
“You didn't touch anything. We've stopped.”
…while at the same time finding himself responsible for the lives of Hammond's grandchildren.
“He left us!"
"He left us!”
“But that's not what I'm going to do.”
Throughout the second act of the film,
every single moment in Grant's story is about one of these two things.
“Good boy.”
Eventually, Grant even acknowledges that he has been resisting progress in his own life,
and that he might be ready to change.
“What are you gonna do now if you don't have to pick up dinosaur bones any more?”
“I don't know, I guess we'll just have to evolve too.”
Meanwhile, Hammond is dealing with the fact that the dinosaurs he decided to bring back to life
are destroying everything he has built.
But even worse, they're now threatening the lives he values most.
By having to witness the disaster unfold,
Hammond is forced to realize that he only loved progress-at-all-costs
when he thought he had control over it.
But it's not just the situations that are designed to attack Grant and Hammond's beliefs.
(Malcolm laughs)
The script uses Dr. Ian Malcolm, chaotician,
to test the character of Grant by flirting with Grant's partner, Dr. Ellie Sattler.
“Did I go to fast? I go to fast I did a flyby.”
And in his interactions with Grant, we see that Malcolm might have some of the qualities
Dr. Sattler wants that Grant lacks.
“You got any kids?”
“Me? Oh, hell yeah. Three. I love kids.
Anything at all can and does happen.”
This hints that if Grant doesn't figure out a way to evolve, he could lose Dr. Sattler.
Malcolm tests Hammond by spelling out the exact problem
with Hammond's pro-progress obsession.
“Our scientists have done things which nobody has ever done before.”
“Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could
that they didn't stop to think if they should.”
Once Malcolm is injured, Dr. Sattler—another well-designed supporting character—
steps in to test Hammond's beliefs for weaknesses.
“When we have control again—“
“You never had control, that's the illusion!”
“The only thing that matters now are the people we love.”
“Alan, and Lex, and Tim."
"John, they're out there where people are dying.”
The screenwriter even reminds us of Hammond's catchphrase at the end of this scene,
highlighting how Hammond's progress-at-all-costs viewpoint has failed in the face of disaster
and now sits around him, melting.
“Ellie reaches out and takes a spoon out of one of the buckets of ice cream, and licks it.”
“It's good.”
“He looks up at her, and his face is different,
as the unhappy irony of what he's about to say
finally hits home.”
“Spared no expense.”
Ian Malcolm, Ellie Sattler, and even characters like Dennis Nedry, Muldoon, and Gennaro
are fun additions to the story, each with their own memorable moments.
“Clever girl.”
But more importantly, these supporting characters exist to sharpen the film's focus on theme
by challenging the beliefs of Grant and Hammond.
And because their beliefs are challenged throughout the film,
by the end they have both learned to evolve.
“Ellie! Boot up the door locks! Boot up the door locks!”
During the movie's climax, Lex's skill with new computer technology…
“It's a unix system!"
…becomes the reason all the characters are rescued—
a fact Grant is forced to acknowledge.
“Mr. Hammond. The phones are working.”
“It's going to cut through the glass!”
And after the trauma of this ordeal…
…Hammond has realized that sometimes the cost of progress is simply too high.
“Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration I've decided not to endorse your Park.”
“So have I.”
That both of them have changed their beliefs
suggests that the central question at the core of a theme
doesn't always have a neat,
easy answer.
As Michael Crichton said:
“It seems to me that we live in a society
in which technology is continuously presented as wonderful.
Isn't it fabulous that we all have computers?
Well, yes and no is my response.”
Yes. And no.
Jurassic Park is a great example of how to use theme to guide the design of a screenplay.
It celebrates the marvels that technology can provide,
while also warning of the dangers of irresponsible progress.
And taking it a step further,
the filmmakers even found ways to weave in moments about all kinds of “progress”
issues from the early 90s,
from legal and bureaucratic red tape…
To feminism…
“Dinosaurs eat man… woman inherits the earth.”
To corporate espionage.
This commitment to theme elevates the film above a simple monster movie,
helping make it one of our most beloved and enduring cinematic experiences—
One that may never go extinct.
And it allows a thrilling, meaningful adventure to await inside the gates
of Jurassic Park.
Jurassic Park was first released in theaters in June of 1993,
but it didn't come out on VHS until October of 1994.
As a seven-year-old, having to wait that long to watch it again was very frustrating,
but I filled that time by playing with my Jurassic Park toys...
(tinny roar)
...and by reading the original book.
The book has a much darker tone, but is really great,
and if you haven't read it, you should.
Which is why I'm so glad that Audible has sponsored this video,
because you can start a thirty-day trial today and get your first audiobook for free
by going to audible.com/lfts or by texting “lfts” to 500500.
Audible has the largest selection of audiobooks on the planet,
and you can listen to them on all your devices—
seamlessly switching between your phone, car, or tablet—
picking up exactly here you left off.
So head to audible.com/lfts or text “lfts” to 500500
to sign up for the free thirty-day trial and start listening to Jurassic Park today!
Thanks to Audible for sponsoring this video.
Hey guys, hope you enjoyed the video!
Have you seen the new Jurassic Park, and if so what did you think?
Let me know on twitter @michaeltuckerla.
Thank you as always to my patrons on Patreon
and my supporters here on YouTube for making this channel possible.
If you want to support the channel you can by heading to my Patreon
or by clicking on the “sponsor” button below.
Thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.


侏儸紀公園-以主旨塑造角色 (Jurassic Park-Using Theme to Craft Character)

601 分類 收藏
于凱安 發佈於 2019 年 8 月 23 日
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