Jurassic Park (1993)
The Exposition: Hammond: “Well! Mr DNA! Where'd you come from?”
Mr DNA: “From your blood! Just one drop of your blood contains billions of strands of DNA, the building blocks of life. A DNA strand like me is a blueprint for building a living thing. And sometimes animals that went extinct millions of years ago, like dinosaurs, left their blueprints behind for us to find.
We just had to know where to look! A hundred million years ago, there were mosquitoes, just like today.
And, just like today, they fed on the blood of animals. Even dinosaurs!
Sometimes, after biting a dinosaur, the mosquito would land on a branch of a tree, and get stuck in the sap. After a long time, the tree sap would get hard and become fossilised, just like a dinosaur bone, preserving the mosquito inside!”
The Short Version: Mosquitoes fed on dinosaurs and then became trapped in amber. Hello dinosaur blood, hello cloning!
Why It's Genius: Time to prove that even science can be fun in a Spielberg movie!
Mr DNA might look like that annoying Microsoft Office paperclip from days gone by but this animated character offers the basic facts about DNA and genetics in an easily digestible format.
Anything that stops your mum asking, “What's going on?” during a film has to be a good thing.
The Karate Kid (2010)
The Exposition: “Start kindergarten. Lost first tooth. First home run. 9th Birthday. Daddy died.”
The Short Version: Dre's dad is dead.
Why It's Genius: The suitcase Dre lies on in an empty apartment is enough to tell you that he’s moving house but it’s the height markers on the door frame that fill in the rest of his past without a word ever being spoken.
The Thing (1982)
The Exposition: “Cell intruder. Assimilation. Assimilation complete - cell dog imitation.
Probability that one or more team members may be infected by intruder organism: 75 per cent. Projection: If intruder organism reaches civilised areas... Entire world population infected 27,000 hours from first contact.”
The Short Version: The men at the Antarctic base aren't all human. And if this shape-shifting alien life form makes it out of here, the same goes for the rest of the world.
Why It's Genius: If the subtleties of an alien that can absorb and imitate its prey have passed any viewers by in the tense build-up, this one scene - using what must have been cutting-edge computer graphics at the time - spells out humanity's doom.
It also helps explain why Blair, who's running this projection, goes bat-shit crazy a few minutes later.
The Exposition: "This story takes place a long time ago, way before the First World War.
When movies were silent and women were even quieter. The government was getting complaints about the asylum, so they sent an inspector to check it out. He arrives late one night to see what's going on.
Everything seems fine and the warders agree to show him around. But everything isn't fine. Everything's not fine at all.
All the inmates are going crazy, screaming at him to let them out.
Then he realises what's wrong. The inmates had taken over and locked up all the doctors. And then they turned on him. He tried to reason with them but there's no reasoning with the mentally insane."
The Short Version: Crazies killed everyone and escaped from the old mental hospital the team are currently staying in.
Why It's Genius: The scene riffs off that line, “When movies were silent and women were even quieter” and plays out like the black and white horror film Nosferatu .
The Green Hornet (2011)
The Exposition: James Reid: “Think Britt. You can figure this out my son with your brains.”
Kato: “It's almost like time slows down.”
James Reid: “That's right. Think, slowly.”
Britt Reid: “OK, two years ago Scanlon decides to run for DA. He goes on the platform that he's cleaning up the streets of LA, which is impossible so he asks the media to slant the news and you go along with it like everybody else?”
James Reid: “No, I refused.”
Britt Reid: “Shit, so what does he do? Scanlon decides to go really dirty. He makes a pact with a criminal and Chudnofsky kills your reporter."
James Reid: “I didn't want any more bloodshed so I stopped reporting on crime."
Lenore Case: “To be honest, the last few years this paper has dipped in quality and ambition.”
Britt Reid: “Now Scanlon can hold up his part of the deal and keep the media under control and Chudnofsky can do whatever he wants. But Chudnofsky had a different plan. He wanted to take over all the different gangs of LA so that's when you decided to cut the strings.”
James Reid: “I couldn't look myself in the mirror. I hated every word I said to you that morning Britt.”
Britt Reid: “So you start reporting on crime again and now Scanlon is a dead man unless he proves he's in control. He has no choice but to organise a secret meeting with you and then he kills you himself. In the end, you stood up for what's right dad.”
The Short Version: Britt finally figures out that DA Scanlon killed his father.
Why It's Genius: Just as you start to believe that maybe The Green Hornet has picked up some of Kato's ability to see everything that's happening in a split second, the bubble is burst when Scanlon says: “I can see by that stupid expression you've had on your face for the past five minutes that you're trying to piece this together.”
The Exposition: Paul Atreides: “Here we are now, Caladan. And 19 light-years beyond, beyond Bene Tleilax.”
Computer: “The training planet of the Mentats, the human computers. Know a Mentat by his red-stained lips.”
Paul Atreides: “There. Arrakis.”
Computer: “Spice mining. Carry-alls lower the harvester to the sand and lift it off to safety when a worm attacks. Worms attack all rhythmic vibrations. Weather. See storms. No precipitation.”
Paul Atreides: “Never one drop of rain on Arrakis. And the Harkonnens are near. There. Giedi Prime and the Baron Harkonnen. The enemy.
Computer: “The Baron Harkonnen has sworn to destroy House Atreides and steal the ducal signet ring for himself.”
The Short Version: Paul is travelling somewhere hot that produces drugs and is filled with enemies. And no, it's not Afghanistan.
Why It's Genius: With so much background information to impart from Frank Herbert's novels there was always going to be some exposition in Dune .
In fact, the film kicks off with a lengthy voiceover explanation. Giving this scene a Rough Guide feel allows the audience to learn about the planet Paul Atreides is about to travel to.
The Exposition: “Once upon a time there were two super cops called Daddy and Marcus who were very good at getting bad guys.
Frank D'Amico was the baddest guy of them all and he came up with a plan to get rid of daddy.
Being framed as a drug dealer was the worst possible thing that could have happened to Daddy. Prison was not his natural habitat. He was very upset. With Daddy in prison his pregnant wife was all alone and could not cope.
But all clouds have a silver lining – Mindy was born! Marcus became the child's guardian and Daddy started a plan of his very own. Five years later he left prison and he was ready.
Now it was time for Mindy to get ready too.”
The Short Version: Top cop Daddy was framed for drug dealing and used his prison time to plan his revenge as vigilante superhero Big Daddy.
Why It's Genius: Director Matthew Vaughn makes excellent use of the printed material that inspired his ultra-violent film to fill in the background for two of its most enigmatic characters: Big Daddy and Hit Girl.
The usually stark 2D panels from the comic-book even benefit from an enhanced 3D look when they’re presented onscreen.
Dances With Wolves (1990)
The Exposition: Willie: "Get the kids and get them in the house. Go on!"
Mother: "In the house. Christine! Christine! Where are you? Joe, get in the house right now! Who is it, Willie?"
Willie: "They look like Pawnee. My father and your father are talking to them."
Mother: "What do they want?"
Willie: "I don't know."
Grandfather: "Go on. You heard him. Get out of here."
Mother: "Run, Christine! I said run!"
The Short Version: Stands With A Fist's family were killed when she was a little girl.
Why It's Genius: As soon as he rocks up at the Native Americans’ homestead, a curious Lt John Dunbar begins to wonder how white woman Stands With A Fist came to live among the tribe.
As she wanders off to sit alone by the river, it’s left to a daydream to show off the gory details of her past.
The Exposition: “Esa'ala cave. The largest unexplored cave system in the world.
A million years of rain water dissolving its way down through the rock trying to find its way to the sea. Which is of course why we're here, for no other reason than to explore and find that hidden pathway.
Sixteen caving personnel and 50 porters have hand-carried nearly a ton of equipment almost two vertical kilometres into the Earth's crust over a period of five weeks.”
The Short Version: There's a very deep cave and despite massive resources they've yet to find a way through it.
Why It's Genius: James Cameron originally wanted to shoot this CGI video guide as a single shot with a real camera moving through a real cave structure, but the cost would have been a lot more than mocking it up as an image on the computer.
Plus, if they'd done that they wouldn't have been able to add the wizard as a sight gag.
The Matrix (1999)
The Exposition: “This is the world that you know. The world as it was at the end of the 20th Century. It exists now only as part of a neural interactive simulation that we call The Matrix. You've been living in a dream world Neo. This is the world as it exists today.
Welcome to the desert of the real. We have only bits and pieces of information but what we know for certain is that at some point in the early 21st Century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marvelled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI.
A singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines. We don't know who struck first - us or them.
But we know that it was us that scorched the sky.
At the time they were dependant on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun.
Throughout human history we have been dependant on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.
The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120W battery and over 25,000btu in body heat. Combined with a form of fusion the machines had found all the energy they would ever need. There are fields, endless fields, where human beings are no longer born, we are grown.
For the longest time I wouldn't believe it and then I saw the fields with my own eyes.
Watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realise the obviousness of the truth. What is the Matrix? Control.
The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.”
The Short Version: The world is a lie told by machines using humans as an energy source.
Why It's Genius? Morpheus' explanation had to take place in 'the construct' - you can't have access to a completely unreal world and not use it as a demonstration tool.
If it can teach you kung-fu it can damn well show you the end of the world.