Favorite Scenes Blogathon

Over at Hitchcock's World, John has been running a Favorite Scenes blogathon. The idea is to select scenes from a variety of films and highlight why your choice is most memorable / why you like it. Usually the movies I rank as my favorites, I know by heart - so finding movies that I liked but didn't know every scene like the back of my hand was a bit more difficult at participating with this blogathon. Watching movies throughout June, I didn't think about answering this blogathon with a specific them but now that I look at my choices, a connection of man versus a force bigger than itself is at work. Thank you to John for hosting and hope you enjoy this quick read!

This popular adventure flick of Steven Spielberg's called Jurassic Park has a lot of ambitious scenes; character decisions and plotting are entertaining but at best a bit clunky. A paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are invited to explore billionaire's Richard Hammond's latest theme park, where cloned dinosaurs are the main attraction. Things do not go as well as planned.

My favorite scene picture above takes place when the island's security defense system goes temporarily offline when the automated car attraction reaches the T-Rex section of the park. The "testers", which includes Hammond's grandchildren, are stranded to survive as best as possible. As the audience, we were previously shown the dinosaurs both as ferocious predators and calm gentile beasts that were plucked from extinction into our modern world. In this scene, we can only sit and watch in excitement or cringe-worthy terror as the T-Rex attacks the vehicles with the characters left to outsmart and outrun him. The pacing of the scene is both highly action-driven, where nature throws the the characters out of their ordinary existence into one where nature is chasing them into oblivion, similar to their previously-fossilized friends.

What better way to go up against or try to understand mother nature than to be a storm trooper? Twister, starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, takes into the heart of the tornado season in Oklahoma, where two estranged storm chasers are trying to release a research device called Dorothy into an active twister. The film in many ways a typical 1990s blockbuster movie with its cheesy one liners, over-exaggeration and explosion of character's emotions and laced with explosive action scenes.

My favorite scene is one of the many chase sequences where Paxton and Hunt trail a twister. Unlike their previous attempts earlier in the film, the heated adrenaline rush to release Dorothy and failing leads to a confession by Paxton and Hunt, and their motives for their marriage dissolving and her obsession for the project. Twister is often shunned for its cheesiness, which is true it has plenty, but the mix of special effects and stunt work (pictured in the scene above) is quite impressive. I also think the movie tries its best to do better than be a hokey action blockbuster with some characters that have faults but also try to understand nature at its beautiful and destructive.

Gravity might be one of my favorite movies of all-time. Yes, throw tomatoes or skirt my opinion, but director Alfonso Cuaron's film is equally balanced with action, character, and symbolism. A simplistic example of "the hero's journey", two astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are floating in space trying to bamboozle their way into a space shuttle home.

The action is tense from the get-go when the first space shuttle is ripped to shreds by flying debris. Stone is thrown off structure without a tether or booster back, and is shown drifting and spinning endlessly through space. The technical aspects of Gravity throws audiences into space alongside Stone, and Bullock's physical requirements of her role which included rigorous breathing training, undoing years of acting training to speak fast and move your body slowly to the vice versa, wearing a claustrophobic astronaut suit while being whirled around green screen set stationed with multiple cameras. Yet when I watch this movie, and this scene where Bullock is simply drifting in space, the best emotional effect is achieved of feeling her abandonment and the power of our planet's characteristics that keeps us grounded.

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