Amongst other tidbits, like common screenplay settings, the gender of screenplay writers, and how many of the year’s screenplays were actually worth reading, this infographic also has a long and detailed list about the common problems facing your average movie script. These flaws are universal — common enough to pop up on a regular basis for an entire year, and even common enough to plague the films everyone likes. Films that are successful. Films that are, for lack of a better word, good.
So naturally, here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest problems this particular scriptreader had to wade through, and the universally beloved films that suffer from the very same flaws. Not to nitpick and not to convince anyone that his or her favorite movie is actually a steaming pile of refuse, but to show how even the toppest of top scripts can still fall prey to simple mistakes. And to demonstrate how a truly masterful film overcomes its accidental missteps.
Script Problem: “The Story Begins Too Late in the Script”
Cinematic Offender: Jurassic Park
It’s hard not to love Jurassic Park. After twenty years of advancements in technology and paleontology, you’d think it would have grown at least a little obsolete, yet it remains the unchallenged king of the dinosaur movie. But so much of Jurassic Park‘s success hangs on its special effects, and once you’ve seen that T-Rex head explode through the men’s room door for the umpteenth time, a problem presents itself. The one primary conflict in Jurassic Park is man vs. nature- dinos want to munch humans, while humans would prefer very much to remain un-munched. And in Jurassic Park, it takes a full hour of the two hour running time before the dinosaurs actually escape and the opportunity for munching presents itself. So for that first hour, Jurassic Park is content to stand around and repeatedly proclaim, “Yes, that’s correct — these are dinosaurs.”
Why don’t we care? Because the dinosaurs are so pretty to look at. The first time seeing Jurassic Park is time spent gawking at all the cool dinosaurs brought to life. Even today, when the occasional CGI brachiosaurus hasn’t aged quite right, the average park denizen still looks tremendous. And by the time you’ve seen Jurassic Park enough times for the magic to fade, the film’s become habit. Sitting through an hour of exposition isn’t such a big deal when the exposition in question is already well-worn and well-loved.