When someone asks you what your favorite movie is, what goes through your mind? When someone asks me that question, I instantly think of specific scenes from my favorite film that induce a strong emotional response. This seems to happen when thinking about any movie I particularly like. What makes these scenes so memorable that they still emit those same emotions when just thinking about them? The answer is mise-en-scene – the visual story that is being told through setting, costumes and makeup, lighting, and staging. Bordwell and Thompson inform us, “Elements of mise-en-scene accentuate action and engage attention…Many of our most vivid memories of movies stem from mise-en-scene” (pg 112). The film Jurassic Park (1993) is a great example of how mise-en-scene can shape our experience of the film through specific components such as setting, lighting, and costuming. The scene from Jurassic Park that is embedded in my memory is when Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) leaves the children in the park restaurant by themselves as he goes to check on the other adults stranded in the park. At this time, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) feel they are safe behind locked doors from the wilderness they escaped outside. The scene starts with a tired and bedraggled Tim and Lex filling plates of food for themselves, as they think they are in the only predator-free area of the park. The dual lack of dinosaurs in the immediate vicinity and background music causes the viewers to believe the storyline is about to take a turn for the better. As soon as the viewer feels safe, watching the children eat ravenously, the camera cuts to Lex holding a spoon full of bright green jell-o. She stares off into the distance with a look of pure terror that spreads into the viewers as well. Next the camera cuts to the mural in the restaurant. This mural in this setting instills a positive attitude towards...
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