Movie Review: Jurassic Park
We’re looking at the Jurassic Park films leading up to the latest in Jurassic World.
While World comes out June 12, we’ll first look at the one that started it all, Jurassic Park.
As one of the last major films to predominantly use practical effects before the heavier reliance of CGI, Jurassic Park innovated as an exercise of immersion. The film used a combination of both. The use of animatronics produced lifelike dinosaurs not attempted with such ambition since the glory days of stop-motion with Ray Harryhausen. The grandiose use of physical machines to portray the dinosaurs to interact with the human actors helped authenticate the experience with audiences all over the world.
The story surrounds the journey uniting an archaelogist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), a paleontologist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), a chaotician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to survey a dino-themed zoological theme park owned by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards), and a lawyer, Donald Gennarro (Martin Ferrero) join them for the tour.
Without disclosing any further plot details beyond this, the security system malfunctions and the quest for survival begins.
Jurassic Park provided a rare balance between the human characters and artificial counterparts. You actually experienced a wide range of dinosaurs between the vicious and predatory to the more gentle herbivores. It’s an exploration film rather than just a monster flick. People do get eaten, but you also get a strong messages about conservation, science and evolution. It’s a perfect balance of morality, science fiction, and nature story rolled into one. Plus you’re treated to the music of Spielberg favorite John Williams.
Until the sequels, it was truly one of a kind film and represents one of the biggest creative apex’s of director Steven Spielberg since his other critically acclaimed Schindler’s List came out the same year in 1993. While author Michael Crichton was no stranger to Hollywood, Jurassic Park was his first work adapted to film since 1979’s The First Great Train Robbery. Following JP’s success, other novels Rising Sun (1993), Disclosure (1994). and Congo (1995) were released before its inevitable sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).
If there was a top 5 quintessential must-see Spielberg films, Jurassic Park definitely belongs on this list.