Thirty minutes into this movie and you’re thinking: A park full of dinosaurs sounds like a terrible idea, but John Williams’ score says that everything will be okay. Thirty-five minutes into the movie and you’ll never look at a glass of water the same way again. I conquered my fear this weekend and re-watched Jurassic Park for the first time since its 1993 release. The mountain of foreshadowing may not have hit me when I was a kid, but the screeching, stomping, chomping, stalking dinosaurs sure did. The lasting impression is still a powerful force, but hopefully this time the nightmares won’t be.
What do you get when a friendly Scotsman with a lot of money decides to clone dinosaurs? A theme park. Obviously. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) is eager to show his unbelievable island to the public, but his investors insist that he get outside endorsement first. John invites paleontologists, Allen (Sam Neill) and Ellie (Laura Dern), along with a lawyer, Donald (Martin Ferrero), a chaotician, Ian (Jeff Goldblum), and his grandchildren, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards), for a weekend visit to this unique park. The group gets the full tour, enjoying an up-close (fenced-off) experience with the dinosaur clones. Their visit, however, happens to fall on the same day the park’s computer expert decides to steel some dinosaur embryos. To get off the island unseen, the expert shuts off all the power, which, in a facility that relies heavily on computerized enclosures, is a very, very bad move.
John constantly insists that he “spared no expense” in the park’s security. But, even with the high concrete walls, electric fences, automated cars, laser sensors, a narrow-eyed Australian hunter in a Tilley hat, and Samuel L. Jackson in the control room, I never quite believed him. A park full of man-eating dinosaurs? What could posssibly go wronge?
Jurassic Park must have the most satisfying “I told you so” in cinematic history. After all that foreshadowing, after all that “Life will find a way” theorizing, after the fact that John thought it necessary to bring a chaos theorist on board, it is so satisfying when the T. rex breaks loose and attacks the children. I mean… oh you know what I mean. Even after twenty-two years the graphics and especially the animatronics are amazing. I hate that today’s studios prefer to go the CGI-route rather than building something tangible out of rubber that will scare the flying crap out of your inner child. “What’s gonna happen to the goat?” Oh, I think you know what’s gonna happen to the goat…
Jurassic Park is a masterpiece, bringing together fabulous direction (with just the right amount of dramatic zooms), epic music, and intelligent monsters that we worship and admire from the safe distance of 65 million years away. Jurassic Park stands the test of time. People remember when they saw it first, what they thought, and how they slept the night after. It is a 10/10 instant classic.
Jurassic Park trailer.