On remote island Isla Nubar, a rich businessman creates an amusement park inhabited with actual dinosaurs harvested from prehistorical DNA. Before opening the park to the public, he conducts a dummy run on some selected guests: Dr Grant (Sam Neill), Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and the owner’s two grandchildren, all in the name to calm his investors’ nerves. Low and behold, this is no ordinary park and their visit is anything but calm, as the park’s security breaks down. And thus, its local wildlife escape and what was supposed to be a good day at an prehistoric safari park turns into a chase between Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster.
Nearly twenty-five years on, Steve Spielberg’s Jurassic Park scrubs up well with modern audiences. My only regret is that it came out two years before I was born and hence I was not able to give it its due diligence on a massive cinema screen. This film needs to be seen on a cinema screen because I truly believe watching it on your DVD and Blu-Ray players does not do this timeless classic justice. From seeing the Brachiosaurus eating from a tree to that famous kitchen scene to Jeff Goldblum (The Fly) playing Jeff Goldblum, you must “spare no expense” in giving yourself the best experience possible in watching this monumental achievement of cinema.
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton and directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park is a character-driven story. You don’t get that with “creature movies” because this genre is often dominated by bad acting and little to no storyline, but plenty of action to entertain audiences. Let’s not forget to mention those characters that scare easily at predictable moments. Jurassic Park counters this, as it changed the way audiences saw the world and its view of humanity. It shows us that there are as many demons within the human spirit as there are within those creatures. On one hand we have calculating killing machines, and on the other hand we have dinosaurs.
Dr Malcolm explains why it’s going to go wrong via his Chaos Theory. “Life finds away” and screenwriters Michael Crichton and David Koepp spared no expense in delivering this in a poetic way. “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs” says Malcolm. Ellie continues: “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.” Jurassic Park delves into the conditioning of man, and how greed trumps all, as Hammond thinks he can privatise 65 million years of nature. “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should” and the questions continue on and on.
Jurassic Park is one of the most rewatchable films ever made, and it’s one of the first films I ever watched as a child, along with Star Wars (OT), Mary Poppins, Toy Story and Lion King. The cast did a fine job. Sam Neill (Peaky Blinders), Laura Dern (Nocturnal Animals) and the late Richard Attenborough are still brilliant to this day. Jeff Goldblum plays Jeff Goldblum as Malcolm. There are some actors who are boring playing themselves and then there’s Jeff Goldblum who is just great. We are also witness to Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), B.D Wong (Jurassic World) and Wayne Knight (Toy Story 2) giving good performances in their supporting roles.
In this post-2010 era, practical effects are few and far between, often being replaced with infinite amounts of CGI. When I watch Jurassic Park, I am reminded of a time when movies were cared about as more than another road to revenue. Jurassic Park provides a blend of practical animatronics, as well as good use of CGI to to give life to the Velociraptors, the T-Rex and other fantastic beasts. Twenty-four years later, the effects may seem to be a tad dated, but I still believe that Jurassic World could have benefited from the animatronics that Jurassic Park and Lost World had in 1993 and 1997 before the coming of the computer-reliant times of the today.
From now until the end of days, Jurassic Park will be a landmark for modern cinema and a masterpiece that transcends the generations, whether that person be fourteen years old or sixty four years old. From the cast to the effects to the whole look of the film, it’s a picture I will rewatch and rewatch to the point of no return, as boredom from this film is a rarity.