Saturday, 13 November 2010

Journey to the Center of the Earth 1959 film

I have recently watched the 1959 film adaption for Journey to the Center of the Earth directed by Henry Levin to look at how they have incoporated Verne's ideas from the original book and recreated it on a cinematic scale. The film uses the same characters and plot of Professor Lidenbrook discovering a book with symbols leading him and his newphew Alec to Iceland, where they find Hans and Carla. They all travel down the volcanic cave to discover new environments and creatures at the center of earth.

These are screenshots of chambers in the volcanic cave, the rock formations are usual and reveal layers of different surfaces creating possible passage ways. The skeleton graveyard creates a maze enviroment due to it's complicated shapes restricts how a person walks through this space because it's an obstacle. I really like the broken bridge scene because the formation of the rocks are more organic as the stagalatites grow more randomly on the ceiling and through the rock platforms. In the bottom image, the pillars create a window that leads into the environment like a frame, which is a good technique to view the space at eye level. The contrast of light and dark spaces can be seen clearly in the film because the areas of importance e.g the skeleton graveyard and the Atlantis chamber has a lot of light source to see the impressive sets in all their glory, whereas the small claustrophobic spaces are completely dark with hardly any light.

This is the screenshots of the coast scene and the Dimetrodons that feature in the film. This area has a lot more light making the space feel more open and external but includes the ceiling of the cave to show this is continuing the enviroment of underneath the volcano. The cliffs are unique organic shapes and these stuctures can help me for my environment concept in this space because these forms feel like they should be underground instead of drawing the typical cliffs you would find on a coast. The dimetrodons are actually real lizards with the back frill stuck on the back but even though the creatures look pathetic in today's standards they help to understand their scale against the humans and the space around them and more successful from a distance because they look more like the prehistoric reptiles that they are trying to represent.

The crystal lagoon was a more beautiful space compared to the other chambers in the cave because of the crystals spread around the rocks and the waterfalls make this environment more peaceful. The rock forms are more bulky and not jagged like the formations in other envrionments. The crystals are formed in groups and reflect the lights and colours from the area, which has helped to brighten this space and create the illusion that this underground space is another world hidden below.

Screenshots of the lava erupting and the lava lizard, which again show the limitations to the special effects of the time. The lava was effective in completely destroying the Atlantis space in a matter of seconds, the volcano erupting was realistic because it showed the violent power that they can cause. The lava lizard is the typical creature that is expected in this environment to cope with the climate and conditions in this space.

The mushroom forest was an unusual space because I expecting them to be big and more opposing. The space was more rock formations and stairs leading down which is effective because the view changes from each step, the lower the step the more of the underneath of the mushrooms can be seen. There is a great scene where Alec's character tries to chop down one of the mushrooms but discovers that it is tough and impossible to snap which shows how these thin stalks support the bulky heads of the mushrooms.

These are the screenshots of the characters entering the tube underneath the volcano, this offers a new viewing point as pointed out in the bottom image because you see how thin the ledges are on the cave wall and the depth of the entering tube. The ropes feel like they are enticing people to explore the treacious caverns as they offer a safety hand rail to guide along the dangerious thin ledges.

These are screenshots of the characters crossing the sea on the raft built from mushrooms from the forest, this journey went from calm and peaceful to a storm in a matter of minutes. The water spiralled into a whirlpool and spraying water in all directions transforming the space to hostile. The power of the waves crushed the raft's mast, it was clever how they managed to show the quick change of mood creating by the sea that changed the effect of the enivironment.

This is the wind tunnel, another long vertical tube and reacted to the objects found in the space around it. The space was completely dark so viewers relied on the suction effect this small space had on the rocks and the cup the characters used to escape. The sound was also important in this space because it identified the gust power in the wind tunnel which we understand as the exit vent of the volcano.

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