Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror.
Directed By: Steven Speilberg
Written By: Michael Crichton
Staring: Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferraro, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, B.D. Wong, and Samuel L. Jackson
The lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me. -Dr. Ian Malcolm
Jurassic Park is the first of it’s kind. Both in film making and in the story itself. It’s a story that begins a small island off the coast of Costa Rica called Isla Nublar. There, some of the worlds greatest geneticists, along with dinosaur lover John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) create something no one could ever have imagined. A genetically engineered dinosaur. And not just one, but an entire park, set up in a zoo fashion full of them. From your gentle Brachiosaurs to your violent and intelligent Velociraptors, the park contains it all.
However, not all things are going according to plan, and Hammond’s investors require some experts to view the park and sign off on it’s safety. These experts include paleontologist, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil), paleo-botonist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). The discovery of what Hammond has created leaves the group in complete awe and shock. No one can believe their eyes, but it isn’t long before all three begin to realize the implications of Hammond’s magnificent creation.
Not shockingly, after the discovery that violent dinosaurs such as Raptors, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Dilophosaurus’s being bred turns their fears even greater and then soon enough things begin to fall apart and then horror, awe, and reality become mixed together as one.
Everything in this movie came together with a touch of perfection. Starting with the special effects. The team led by Stan Winston (James Cameron protege, credits including: Terminator 2, Aliens, and The Abyss), who was way ahead in his time of Computer Animated Graphics took the dinosaurs to a completely different level, making them more animal like than monster like. The specific and detailed characteristics given to each and every one is what made all of us viewers gasp in disbelief at what we were seeing on the big screen. The dinosaurs looked real. And almost fifteen years later, the technology has held up, because they still do.
The plot itself is backed by a phenomenal philosophical techo-thriller written by Micheal Crichton, who adapted the book into a screenplay himself. The combination of great dialogue, an already very developed plot, with a believable plausibility on the dinosaurs genetic re-engineering, superb casting, mixed with the most cutting edge special effects of it’s time, and all by direction of Steven Spielberg, it’s no wonder a masterpiece was created.
The casting of the movie was right on, but the real stand out actors were the dinosaurs, who were not only given life like appearance, but behavior as well. The Velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park were just as vivid and charismatic as the live action people running around in fear of these massive villains. The intellect in the Raptors eyes, and the way they physically responded to what happened around them completely captured the deep frightening intelligence of their beings. The T-Rex was more than a roaring giant mindless monster. He was Michael Crichton’s thinking creation, an essential victim of circumstance, instinctively behaving as he would in the wild. That complex behavior made these dinosaurs so much more than mindless creatures made to frighten audiences. The intellect and personality of each dinosaur was what made them so blatantly terrifying, not to mention the insane special effects put together to make them so realistic in appearance. They are some of my favorite villains to ever grace the screen.The intelligence in their eyes mixed with a lethal personality made them a “beautiful but deadly addition in Jurassic Park.”
In some ways I’ve always felt Ian Malcolm was the voice of Crichton. It was obvious in his novels he had a love affair with the character. Always the voice of reason, sanity, or insanity, Malcolm was always used as the character to reflect and analyze and finally understand the situations, and world before him. In a cynical mad scientist kind of way, and Jeff Goldblum fully captured that part of Malcolm, while also placating to his over enthusiastic sarcasm in an almost charming way. Some people hated Goldblum’s performance, but his character was exactly how Crichton wrote him to be and exactly as I envisioned it. To hate Ian Malcolm, part of you had to have hated the bigger picture and point of Jurassic Park. He was the eloquence, he was the character that fully understood the devastation of what science has done and is doing to the world, though in a very entertaining way of course. He warned us, explained it to us, and we salivated in anticipation for the destruction of it’s future. Jurassic Park is one of the greatest films of all time and would have been a trite monster movie without Ian Malcolm……….and maybe those dinosaurs too.
Jurassic Park is exciting, intelligent, thrilling, suspenseful, funny, and visually absolutely stunning. Even now part of me wants to believe that those walking giants are real. The brilliant pacing, combined with suspense driven scenes creates for a thriller like never seen before. It proves a box office hit doesn’t have to be a mindless popcorn flick, it can have depth and great FX, and turn out to be a great movie. Jurassic Park is timeless.