Can you believe it’s been twenty years since this movie was release in theaters? I remember seeing it at the movies when it came out. Man, that makes me sound old (I’m really not…yet). My mom thought that it was going to be some kid friendly movie, even though she read the book. This isn’t to say that Jurassic Park isn’t a kid friendly movie, it just isn’t like The Land Before Time or Disney’s Dinosaur. Growing up my brother and I had all the toys and memorabilia from back packs and lunch boxes to playing cards, video games, and bed sheets. During my movie making stage I even directed my own Jurassic Park trilogy. They differed from the movies and were somewhat darker. I’ve come a long way since covering up the “Jur” and “ic” in Jurassic and laughing, so let’s take a look back on it.
Jurassic Park has always been one of my favorite movies and for numerous good reasons. The movie had been around for ten or so years before I was introduced to the book, which I tore through in about three days. The book throws a lot of information at you and is chock full of technical terms and is probably pretty accurate. When you compare the two, the movie does a pretty good job of adapting the source material given all that it had to present and the limitations of movies versus books. And even though it can viewed as a mindless action movie starring dinosaurs it can be looked at as something more. For evidence I direct you to the seat belt scene at the beginning when the helicopter is making its descent toward the island. This is a direct allegory for the life will find a way theme. This was the last great triumph in movies, technically speaking, in my opinion. Terminator 2 had come out the year before, but Jurassic Park is really the movie that pushed, and really set the limits of what CGI can do. Could you imagine this movie with the movie with stop motion animation dinosaurs as it was originally intended? I’m so glad that Spielberg decided to go with the CGI. If it were made today, every single scene involving a dinosaur would have them computer generated. Spielberg (almost) seamlessly goes back and forth between animatronics and CGI, which at the time left you questioning what was real and what wasn’t. Spielberg, of course, isn’t the best with continuity and it is most evident in the initial T-rex scene, I noticed even more this time around, but I’m willing to look past all of that because I love the movie so much.
Throughout the years as the knowledge of dinosaurs increased a lot of people pointed out that the raptors actually had feathers, a fact later incorporated into Jurassic Park 3, and some dinosaurs weren’t alive for the Jurassic period and blah, blah, blah. If you are one of those people or you think the night sky in Titanic was inaccurate, or that Pearl Harbor was historically inaccurate then maybe movies aren’t for you. Personally, I think if they had made the raptors more accurate than they wouldn’t have been as menacing. I’m not worried about what color the dinosaur actually was or what behavior it would have exhibited, as long as it is somewhat believable to me, the uninitiated, then all I care about is dinosaur mayhem.
I had the opportunity to see this in IMAX 3D with a whole new generation of people. It was a real treat to listen to people react to what was happening on the screen, kids screaming and laughing, that’s why I go to the movies. Even after all the times I’ve seen it the end scene with the T-rex roaring as the banner falls in front of it still gives me goose bumps and is probably one of the coolest moments in cinema ever. The 3D conversion was okay, sometimes it went from looking like a pop-up book to a diorama, but it’s worth it to check it out if you’ve never seen it on the big screen.
One of the tag lines for the movie was “An adventure 65 million years in the making” and that couldn’t be more true and I am glad I was around to experience it not once, but twice.
11 out of 11
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About the movie:
Synopsis: During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Actors: Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Samuel L Jackson
Run time: 127 min