How the Use of Geometric Shapes in Films Helps to Evoke Certain Feelings, Responses, and Reactions

Darth Vader Triangle

Film essayist Jack Nugent of the cinematic series Now You See It examines the use of shapes in films, noting how they are strategically employed to evoke certain feelings, responses and reactions to what’s going on in the scene. Sharp is seen as evil, round is seen as good, square is seen stubborn as most often exemplified in animation.

The best place to see this idea has to be animation where animators can make objects and characters from any shape they want. Let’s start with the basics. Circle, square and triangle. This may seem reductive but these shapes say a lot more than you may think. Evil characters…have sharper features pointy noses ears and long curly fingers and the lovable characters … it a coincidence that the fluffiest and least threatening character and animation is named Baloo? To me, this whole concept makes intuitive sense. Our brains are designed to see sharp and pointy things as more threatening.