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Eye Open

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The theme song ends, or The Teaser starts, or we return from a commercial break, or we simply change scenes. What do we see but a close-up of a character's eye?

This is an Eye Open, a device sometimes used to show that a character is waking up. Of course, sometimes it's just used to show off an actor's good-looking eyes.

Not to be confused with Eye Awaken, which is when a character's eyes suddenly open, but the shot doesn't open with an image of them. See also One-Eyed Shot and Open the Iris.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Canaan: Canaan
  • Fate/stay night: Saber
  • In The End of Evangelion, after a trippy Instrumentality sequence, we're treated to a live-action close-up of an eye opening. In the movie proper that shot is as disconnected as the rest of the live-action part, but a longer live-action sequence was shot where that would've been Asuka waking up.
  • Chi's Sweet Home: Chi

    Films — Animated 
  • This is the very first shot of Puss in Boots when the titular character is introduced.
  • In Turning Red, when Mei wakes up from her nightmare, it's shown using this trope. It also serves as the first indication that she has transformed into a red panda: the area around her eye has red fur.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie ├ćon Flux opens with the title character's eye catching a fly, a recreation of the original show's opening title.
  • Apollo 13 does this with Marilyn Lovell after showing her nightmare of losing Jim in space.
  • Used in the opening and closing of Avatar. The sequel has it in the final scene.
  • The opening to Blade Runner centers on the Blade Runner Dave Holden's eye viewing the neon skyline of 2019 Los Angeles.
  • The movie Cat's Eye opens with (what else?) a close-up on one of General's eyes. Serves also as a visual Title Drop.
  • Cube: The film opens with a tight close-up of a man's eye when he wakes up to find himself in the Cube.
  • Although the shot includes both eyes, The Divide opens with missile trails reflected on a tear-filled eye as a main character witnesses the nuclear destruction of New York.
  • Event Horizon on a close-up of William's eye.
  • Heathers has a close-up on Veronica's wide eye as she wakes from a nightmare.
  • Next does this with Nicholas Cage's eye twice, once before and once after his character's long vision of a possible future.
  • In The President's Last Bang, Korean CIA director Kim Jae-kyu is introduced with a tight shot of his eye while he's at the doctor. Later that evening, he will assassinate President Park Chung-hee.
  • One of the more disturbing in movie history has to be the closeup of Marion Crane's eye in Psycho after she flops over onto the bathroom floor.
  • Star Trek: First Contact opens with a close-up on Picard's eye as things flash back to when he was the Borg's prisoner.
  • Strike includes a title card announcing that the authorities are "searching for subversives", then cuts to a tight closeup of a spy's eye. The film is a Soviet propaganda piece set in Tsarist Russia, and the spy is hunting for subversive workers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Criminal Minds episode "The Big Wheel" starts with a shot of the killer's eye opening when he wakes up in the morning.
  • The Good Place uses this whenever someone wakes up in the Afterlife, or to show a new timeline.
    • The first episode begins with a close-up of Eleanor's eyes as she wakes up.
    • During the first reboot (last episode of season 1/first episode of season 2), we get close-ups of Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jianyu as they wake up.
    • The last episode of season 2 features this again as Eleanor is rebooted back to Earth with Michael saving her. Notably, her squint under the Arizona sun marks this quickly as a very different awakening.
  • House milks Hugh Laurie's very blue eyes for all they're worth.
  • Lost. Quite a lot, in fact.
    • The finale ends with Jack closing his eyes in a reversal of the pilot's first scene.
  • The opening sequence of Merlin features a close-up of Merlin's eye as it changes from blue to gold.
  • The opening credits to Robin Hood had an image of a bright green eye; causing some confusion among viewers considering no one in the cast had green eyes. (According to Word of God, it was meant to be Robin's eye).
  • Another backwards one in Smallville. During Lex's first appearance in season 3, we zoom in on his eye.
  • Supernatural
    • In the episode "Mystery Spot", many times when the loop resets, the camera is focused on Sam's eyes as "Heat of the Moment" plays in the background.
    • Season 9 ends with a close up of Dean's eye lids popping open to reveal demon-black eyes.
  • A first-season episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) does this.
  • The pilot of V (2009) does a backwards one: instead of opening on Erica's eye and zooming out, we open on Erica and zoom in to her eye.
  • Seen in the opening credits of The X-Files.
  • The Doctor Who serial "The Deadly Assassin" does a Dream Within a Dream variant, where an extreme closeup of the Doctor's brilliant purple-blue eye flickering open is used to indicate that we've passed from the world outside while Those Two Guys talk over his sleeping body to inside his Cyberspace Nightmare Sequence. Only within the dream-world, he is waking up. With an anaesthetic mask on his face. As a surgeon prepares to perform Meat Grinder Surgery on him. Aaaagh.
  • The Sherlock episode "The Final Problem" opens with a close-up on a little girl's eye opening.
  • [1]The Adventures of Pete & Pete episode last laugh starts with Big Pete's eye opening.

    Video Games 
  • Half-Life 2 opens on the G-man's eye.
  • The opening of Final Fantasy X focuses on Tidus' eye while he lies on his back just before some rock music kicks in and his hometown is doomed.
  • At the end of the credits in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, a dead Clockwerk is seen with one of his eyes lighting up again.
  • Kingdom Hearts: In the opening cutscene, and the next one after that.
  • Games published by the company Virgin Interactive Entertainment from 1995-1999 feature a logo animation of an eye opening with the company logo appearing in it. It usually scared the crap out of anyone unprepared for it.
  • Sega debuted a new logo animation in May 2017 as part of their "Amazing Sega" corporate image, and it's of a eye with the Sega logo inside the pupil. Feels like they couldn't find anything original and copied the Virgin logo.
  • Twice in Metroid: Zero Mission:
    • When Samus first descends into Norfair, Mother Brain is shown observing her progress.
    • Upon boarding the Space Pirate Mothership, a brief cutscene is shown of a mechanical eye opening, that of the Ridley Robot.

    Western Animation 
  • Ninjago: Every intro up until Season 11 opens with one of the main characters doing this.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Eyes Open


Half-Life 2 Opening

G-Man starts his speech with a close-up of his lovely cyan eye.

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