Jurassic Park Movie Review

Jurassic Park
Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Movie: Jurassic Park
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Production Companies: Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy & Gerald R. Molen
Scriptwriters: Michael Crichton & David Koepp
Main Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough & Bob Peck
Release Date: June 9 1993
Running Time: 128 Minutes
Certificate: PG

Based on the bestselling novel written by acclaimed science fiction author Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park (Spielberg, 1993) brings back dinosaurs to modern times, utilizing science-based on extracting dinosaur DNA, from mosquitoes found in amber. I first watched Jurassic Park when I was little, and it quickly engulfed me in this magical world. Luckily, I had a complete trilogy to watch but the original entry is something that can only be explained as a timeless cinematic masterpiece. Although I hate to admit it as I love Jaws (Spielberg, 1975) but Jurassic Park’s practical and digital effects hold up better than some films even released in recent years.

The keen insight of the creative heads and the production teams working on this film ensured by its completion it wouldn’t be just a movie, it was a whole new world they had brought to life. Just as Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and Wu (BD Wong) brought the dinosaurs back to life. The films score by John Williams rivals his other famous work on Star Wars (1977-), Jaws, Indiana Jones (1981-) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Spielberg, 1982) as arguably his most recognisable theme ever composed.

Jurassic Park

Synopsis Of Jurassic Park

An archaeologist duo, Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and his girlfriend Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), are working on uncovering fossils when they are approached with an invitation by one Richard Hammond, yet the man isn’t anywhere to be seen. The two accept and arrive at a heliport where they are greeted by Dr Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) and Richard Hammond, the owner of the soon to be opened ‘Jurassic Park’. They then fly to Isla Nublar, an island licenced off the Costa Rican government by Hammond. However, a disgruntled worker, Dennis (Wayne Knight), has an ominous agreement with a man in a suit representing some mysterious group.

The man wants one thing, dinosaur DNA. However, amidst the first tour of Jurassic Park for selected scientific guests and Hammond’s grandchildren (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards), Dennis decides to initiate his plan and steals the DNA, making a run for it only for a tropical storm to hit the island. The storm causes malfunctions in the safety equipment and fencing for the enclosures what ensues is man-eating dinosaurs roaming free from their enclosures. The group are attacked several times by a T-Rex and Velociraptors with the ultimate climactic standoff between the three parties taking place in the main hall of the park. The group escape the T-Rex and manage to ensure safe passage from the island.

Analysis Of Jurassic Park

This is a case of the best-selling novel becoming a cinematic masterpiece. The best-selling science fiction novel by Michael Crichton was released in 1990 to critical and commercial acclaim. Greeting readers to a world filled with possibility, wonder, mystery, and a posing ethical question. Should man play God, even if they can? Filmmakers soon pursue this with Spielberg ultimately being the creative head to bring the book to life. His directing is evident throughout the film, utilizing techniques he popularized when making Jaws such as POV’s of the monster, working with John Williams for iconic (often Academy Award-winning) music, working with practical effects and more.

Thankfully, the mechanical props utilized for the film’s practical effects vastly outweigh the quality of the mechanical shark for Jaws. Multiple production teams spent months researching the muscle tone that would fit on skeletons of dinosaurs, then programming their movements on computer software then finally engineering as close to a real-life dinosaur as possible. The creative decision to portray larger velociraptors was ingenious, in this they created intelligent, creature antagonists which displayed anthropomorphic activities and expressions when pursuing their prey (the group). The decision to play the scene of the initial T-Rex attack at night means the mix of practical and digital effects still hold up as the standard in the industry to this day.

Score

William’s original score provides the film with more than one unforgettable composition. One can close their eyes when listening to the film’s theme. And they can just picture the main gates opening, welcoming them to the park. The chemistry between the three main cast members Dr Ian Malcom, Dr Alan Grant and Dr Ellie Sattler is remarkable. The couple and the doctor couldn’t be more different in personality. Their morals on the field contrast one another more than their personalities. Malcom’s morals and ethics flesh out more in subsequent films. Casting David Attenborough’s acting brother as Richard Hammond was perfection. One can simply pretend that in an alternative universe David has constructed a park to revive dinosaurs.

Success

Jurassic Park collected over a billion dollars in the box office against a measly 63 million budget. Upon its release, it became the highest-grossing film of all time. This lasted until 1997 when Titanic (Cameron, 1997) knocked it off the top spot. At the 66th Academy Awards, the film collected the Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects awards. The film’s success spawned Universal to commission Crichton to write a sequel, the Lost World. What followed was the film adaptation The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Spielberg, 1997).

Unfortunately, Crichton would pass before seeing the end of the trilogy. However, his creation outlived him. The franchise became Jurassic World in 2015 (Trevorrow, 2015). This led to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Bayona, 2018) and the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion (Trevorrow, 2022). Not forgetting the animated spin-off Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous (2020-).

Summary Of Jurassic Park

In conclusion, Jurassic Park provides scares, awe-inspiring moments, and overall, a rollercoaster of an experience. Spielberg’s blending of wonder and fright works extremely well for the subject material. The subject could work both as a horror and as a wonder, so why not both? You will often find yourself picking up your jaw in awe of the cinematography and the music. Speilberg’s best work suddenly entices you in, pulling you onto the edge of your seat hoping your favourite character survives the ensuing dinosaur attack. As the music intensifies you can see and hear the stomping footsteps, you fill with fear, will your favourite survive?

Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

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