It's real simple. Ron Thornton showed me three variations on the
Great Machine shot. Because you're looking at a composite shot, you have
to shoot either sharply angled down, or dead across, and full-figured,
since you have to put them into another piece. That meant either a
horizontal shot, or a 3/4's vertical shot.
Two of the shots on the storyboards were horizontal; one showed our
characters way off in the distance on a ribboned path lined by crystals.
It'd be pretty, but it looked like another tunnel shot, and I wanted to
show something that wasn't claustrophobic. Also, we'd be limited in the
camera move, and our characters would look kinda like peanuts. Not
terribly dramatic. The second shot just didn't work for me, I don't
entirely recall the reason now. The third possibility seemed the most
dramatic...it was a high angle shot, it had depth, it would let us start
on our characters and do a camera move/pullback in post production, it
worked on every level.
My second thought was, "Shit, somebody's going to gig us on the
Forbidden Planet thing." Nonetheless, it was the right shot, for the
right reasons, and we chose to go with it.