Jurassic Park - 30th Anniversary Review
Let’s do this.
Let’s look at how far we’ve come along with visual effects at the movies. It’s incredible how much we’ve refined them so they’d look like what happened in the film did happen, and the actors who went along with it made the situations feel real. That’s a testament to the greatness that outstanding artistry can unleash.
Nowadays, of course, there has been some backlash saying that some movies have become too over-reliant on having the visual effects tell the story rather than the story or characters themselves. That is understandable, especially given the tricky elements that fabricating visual effects in a designated environment would arrange. Sometimes, it would work in the movie’s favor, but other times, it could overshadow the more pivotal elements a movie needs to work the way it should.
However, let’s go back to when computer-generated effects started finding their footing. Around that time, computer effects were used only sparingly to provide what would’ve been impossible to achieve through practical means. And while it wasn’t everywhere at that time, it did achieve spectacular results when it did, lending some iconic films, including Aliens, Terminator 2, and The Abyss, all of them by James Cameron, the appropriate effects and substance necessary to formulate the reputations they achieved due to what they dazzled their audiences with.
Enter 1993, and the envelope was pushed even further with a spectacular little blockbuster film called Jurassic Park. The movie was practically the equivalent of asking: what if humans and dinosaurs could now coexist, and all it took was to resurrect them through their DNA?
And you know what? It may sound like a cliche by now, but this movie deserves its reputation as the kind of groundbreaking film it has become.
But for the sake of prover overviewing, let’s look at the story.
The story is about a paleontologist named Dr. Alan Grant and his partner, Ellie Sattler. They were digging up some dinosaur bones in Montana when they were visited by inventor Dr. John Hammond, who flew by helicopter to request for them to endorse a major project he had going with the promise of a 3-year backing for their dinosaur projects. Taking this opportunity immediately, they joined him, along with his grandkids, Lex and Timmy, and mathematician Dr. Malcolm, to Isla Nublar, west of Costa Rica, where they were all greeted with an unprecedented, colossal surprise: roaming the island were revived, de-extinct dinosaurs. What went on was this: millions of years ago, prehistoric mosquitos feasted off the blood of dinosaurs, only to be later encased inside some tree sap after landing beside it. As the sap hardened and became amber, they became stuck underground for millions of years until scientists discovered their remains, excavating the DNA samples from the mosquito to scientifically revive the dinosaurs one by one. With this scientific discovery and careful restructuring, the dinosaurs became alive and well again, as all involved felt like they were transported back into a time millions of years ago when dinosaurs reigned supreme.
However, not all is well on the island, despite the imminent excitement such a project of this scale would’ve invited. After a few days, things started running amok among the scientists and dinosaurs, beginning with a sneaky computer hacker who attempted to steal some dinosaur embryos and make a fortune off of them in America. In so doing, he shut off the power grids to make a break for it, but to no avail. Meanwhile, the power shutdown left all the electrical wiring disabled and all the residents within the park – Hammond, Malcolm, Grant, Sattler, and even Hammond’s grandchildren – trapped under hostile weather. Worse still, they were also in the hands of the native dinosaurs who now roamed free, including the feared T-Rex and frighteningly intelligent Velociraptors. So, in addition to scrambling to find the power circuits and shut them back on before things got too hectic, the rampaging dinosaurs who now shared the Earth with humanity became the apex predator as Grant, Ellen, Hammond, Malcolm, the scientists, and the kids tried to stay alive. What was to happen when one ruler of the planet faced another?
When I was a kid, I was vaguely familiar with this movie, primarily because of the iconic logo on the cover of the VHS my parents and I have. It looked stunning, with the T-Rex hovering over the dinosaur-inherited forest beneath it, just to hit him home how the T-Rex was the king of all dinosaurs. It looked so stylish and stimulating, as cool as it can be for a logo promoting everything dinosaurs. Heck, even as someone who majored in Graphic Design throughout college in Santa Fe, it still looks stunning. It still excels in demonstrating the size and magnificence of Jurassic Park’s place in the dinosaur world, even if it’s all confined within a theme park.
And much like a good promotion, that logo was just a taste of what you’re expected to see underneath its simple yet riveting exterior. And what you’d experience throughout the movie is, in a way, like wandering into a splashy, engaging theme park. Only in this case, it has far more in store than what you bargained for, but in a good way.
To start, the scientific angles to evaluate the resurrection of the dinosaurs throughout carried significant merit to it. Yes, I realize that this movie is science fiction, and it means you can make anything up and anything fantastical plausible if it can be constructed under scientific means, but the means of which to demonstrate the likelihood of humans and dinosaurs coexisting still carries enough validity to work. The idea of a small fragment of blood preserved inside the stomach of a prehistoric mosquito over millions of years only to be excavated for DNA restructuring would sound barely likely. Yet, in the case of Jurassic Park, the presentation of how it could be still feels like it could be manageable. That’s a sign that the movie had already worked its magic.
It’s also a sign of good scientific expertise, mostly since Michael Crichton was a scientist in his day. He studied at college throughout his years as he trained to be a doctor, and you can feel his background in that field with the hit show ER. And Jurassic Park is no exception. Crichton displayed his full-on knowledge of the research concerning dinosaurs, their habitual instincts, diets, and ways of living before or during human inhabitation. I don’t know where his creative and scientific expertise aligns compared to someone like Jules Verne, but he still displayed genuine prowess in what he expressed through his stories concerning scientific discoveries and achievements.
I believe that all the best portions of Crichton’s firsthand knowledge of such subjects can be reflected in both his writing and that of David Kopek. They both knew how to take such an unlikely yet mind-blowing feat as dinosaurs being revived and roaming alongside humans and translate it onto the screen with panache, conviction, and heart. They made the scientific potential feel feasible. They made the dinosaurs feel magnificent but also threatening. They made the characters compelling enough to be worth tagging along with despite not getting to know them well enough – I’ll elaborate more on that soon. And altogether, the imagination and scientific aspects were in full play to weave a story that can only be harvested from the depths of everyone’s imagination.
They also brought in the natural elements of the dinosaurs, ranging from their modesties notwithstanding their sheer size and the menacing tendencies of those that did mean harm, and therefore, a more significant threat factor to the main characters as they became the prey in their world.
Also, the idea of theme parks going haywire was not as foreign to Michael Crichton as you’d think. He also demonstrated that with Westworld in the 70s, only in this case, it’s with dinosaurs instead of just androids in themed lands acting on their own free will.
And this leads us to the real mastermind behind this phenomenon, Steven Spielberg. If Crichton brought forth the scientific legibility and horror aspects, Spielberg infused the film with the sensibilities, anticipation, and wonder that a story of humans mingling with dinosaurs deserves to display. He brought forth the innate human tendencies that anyone would’ve felt or expressed as they confronted the possibility of dinosaurs being alive and well again after millions of years of extinction. Of course, I believe his influence was apparent in far more than just the characters’ reactions to the spectacles that awaited them, not to mention the natural horrors that came with them. He also heightened the characters’ sensibilities so that, once things got more severe and dire for them, we still would want to see them try to remain alive and kicking if not best the island’s predators. There would also have been a sense of despair and disappointment over the idea of a theme park with the best intentions and possibilities acting beyond someone’s control and wreaking havoc more than anticipated. And you can feel it all through Hammond, Ellen, and the characters as they wrapped their heads around all the chaos that unfurled around them.
Together, both Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg made the magic work. However, what makes this even better is how Jurassic Park started and how it came to be. I never read it, but Crichton wrote Jurassic Park as a novel, and as such, it emphasized the scientific and horror aspects of the story. And shockingly, one of the aspects separating this rendition from Spielberg’s version was that Hammond was instead a mean-spitted, callous, almost manipulative man who deliberately put the main characters in trouble. Here, Hammond came across as an equally ambitious man who realized too late what his actions have unleashed, making him a far more compelling, three-dimensional character. Moreover, the film retained Crichton’s horror elements, while Spielberg’s sense of optimism and sentimentality cooperated with it instead of clash against it. So, for what Jurassic Park ended up becoming, the collaborative creative efforts of Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton worked in perfect harmony.
The characters involved in all this chaos expressed moments of sheer audacity and genuineness to them, even if what they did leave in terms of memorable marks were few and far between.
Ian Grant was a paleontologist with a high knowledge of the subject, but potentially less concerning social endeavors, least of all with kids. So, when he was transported to Jurassic Park with Sattler, Malcolm, and, of course, Hammond’s grandkids, his conditions and positions invited countless discourses with him while also digging out, so to speak, an inner hero who’s more fearless and selfless than he seemed.
His partner, Sattler, also had some moments, whether on her own or with Grant. Judging from her and Grant’s chemistry, they’ve been partners for a long time and showed signs of potentially being in a relationship, even if they never said they were. It might have been hinted at with her quips to Grant regarding his ways of handling or even being in the company of children. Meanwhile, as she got more acquainted with the unique wildlife in Jurassic Park and grasped the situations as all hell broke loose, Sattler tried her hardest to stay on top of the game and rectify the problems in any way possible despite her insecurities and frightened mannerisms as she did so. Simply put, if Grant was the brains, Sattler felt like the heart, but they both expressed courage all the same.
Dr. John Hammond, the proprietor of Jurassic Park, was an excitable if not slightly eccentric, visionary whose expertise within paleontology and theme park entertainment established him as a creative genius who looked forward to wowing audiences worldwide with what he believed would’ve knocked everyone’s socks off. However, it showed a slight shallow-mindedness on his part, for he did not anticipate the terrors that’d come with the dinosaurs breaking free, living off their own free will, and, in the process, terrorizing the park’s residents, including his grandchildren. He was the main object of realizing what happens when you push your luck in revolutionizing theme park entertainment by combining them and natural elements into one colossal theme park.
But that’s nothing compared to the conversations he had with Dr. Ian Malcolm, who, I will admit, felt like the fill-in for the audience as they carefully processed the consequences of reviving dinosaurs into the present-day world. While I don’t recall him practicing very many mathematical elements, his observations and questions either to Dr. Hammond or over the whole process of creating Jurassic Park expressed pure common sense, feeling like a borderline translation of what went through the audience’s heads as they processed what Hammond had unleashed. In a way, he was to Jurassic Park the same way Ashitaka was to Princess Mononoke: the eyes, ears, and voice of reason in a conflicted, chaotic world.
At first, I expected Hammond’s grandchildren, Timmy and Lex, to be the emotional magnet emphasizing the reactions we or the characters would’ve felt if they were in peril. But while they did fill the bill in some spades, some facets surprisingly made them feel more interesting as characters. The first time he was elaborated on, Timmy admitted to Grant that he read his book on his reports of dinosaurs, so that tells me he was a dinosaur aficionado from the start. And throughout the movie, he mostly identified which dinosaurs were which and whether they were leaf-eaters or meat-eaters. So, his biological know-how and somewhat apparent fear of heights established him as a quirky and feeble character.
Meanwhile, Lex felt like she was there just to come across as another damsel in distress, like Sattler. But that’s not always the case. For instance, even as she boarded the Jurassic Park tour jeeps, she was playfully investigating the island screens on the back of the chairs, cluing me in that she’s somewhat into mechanics. Well, guess what? During one of her and Timmy’s arguments, Timmy complained that Lex always sat at home playing on her computer while she insisted on being called a hacker. Now, part of that felt like it existed as only a blatantly significant plot point, especially when you place them side-by-side with those of Dennis Nedry. Still, the fact that this applied to characters who I assumed would’ve done very little in the movie outside of enforce emotional concerns demonstrated an admirable attempt to revitalize such clichéd characteristics to a point where it’d nearly make you think twice before judging a book by its cover.
Speaking of Dennis Nedry, the sleazy scientist seemed like an unfocused, incompetent slouch who was generally sluggish at what he did at Jurassic Park, which was to be the park’s debugger and programmer. However, it was all just an act. From the very first time we see him, his cohort transported to him a large suitcase full of cash in exchange for a whole case of dinosaur embryos that he planned to use to sell off and make into dinosaurs of their own. And Nedry planned to smuggle them there in the form of a hair shaving cream canister that he would’ve stashed the embryos in. Plus, when he shut off the power grid in a desperate move to make it to the docks, he set off the domino effects of everyone on the island being at the mercy of the dinosaurs, mainly since the shutdown affected the electrical fences, too.
All the other characters in the movie also demonstrated various establishments within their profession in correlation to the story. Among them was Dr. Wu, who explained how the DNA of the dinosaurs could’ve been implemented by technology to revive them and bring them to life again. He even spilled the beans on how every single dinosaur bred on the island was female and that the scientists filled in some of the oldest dinosaur DNA strands with those of frogs. There is also Dr. Arnold, who oversaw the technical aspects of the tour, just like Nedry, and Donald Gennaro, a lawyer who expressed concerns for Hammond’s legal affairs after the construction of his theme park aroused suspicion and dangers around the Costa Rican lands.
So, the characters and their more shining contributions felt so hit-and-miss, but somehow, I still felt a deep connection with them all despite so little being revealed about many of them. So how were they so memorable?
Well, besides Steven Spielberg’s directing, I think you have the actors to thank for that.
For much of the movie, the effects made us buy the story of the dinosaurs and everything that happened since they felt like they really did happen. But not only are all the actors in this picture nicely rounded up, including some big-name stars like Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Laura Dern, and early newcomer BD Wong, but they gave it their all in heightening the moments of pure empathy and inflections that anyone would’ve felt had they gone through what the characters have.
Starting with Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, he confidently lunged into the movie with confidence as Grant worked off his paleontologist expertise with his cohorts and friends and entered Jurassic Park. Then, he braved into the wilderness when he found himself at the mercy of the dinosaurs inhabiting the island. And what’s more, when he found himself watching over Lex and Timmy during their trek together, his commitment to keeping them safe unleashed an inner hero that knew how to respond in hectic situations and concoct strategies on how to get himself and others out of harm’s way, and all with his palaeontologic know-how at the ready.
As Ellie Sattler, Laura Dern demonstrated some savviness in her character, too, regarding her capabilities and field of knowledge. Much like Neill, she played her role perfectly with professionalism and tenderness to heighten her character’s expertise and her vulnerable moments when she tried to stay one step ahead of the dinosaurs’ tracks. In general, though, I remember her well for two things: one is when Sattler dealt with the dinosaurs in person. When she ran for her life from the invading dinosaurs or tried to put the power circuits back on, her reactions and desperation as she attempted to ward them off were impeccable. They made Sattler look less like a damsel in distress, for she tried to dig her way out of distress despite her fears and conditions. And the second and most prominent moment, to me, was when she decided to stay behind to watch over a sick Triceratops. Her sense of hospitality towards her was heart-melting, then funny when she investigated what she ate through her dung piles. Word has it that passerby children even asked her if she was the one who dug her arm down the dung pile. So, Dern practically nailed it as Sattler.
Richard Attenborough felt like he was having a ball as Dr. John Hammond. With his charismatic mannerisms, charming attitude, and overall enthusiasm, his portrayal of Hammond demonstrated a showman who felt like a kid in a candy store because of what he created and planned for the viewing world to see. But as things started to crumble underneath him, such as when his grandkids were in jeopardy because of the dinosaurs roaming free, his discouragement and panic became more evident as Attenborough allowed his character to come to grips with the severity of the situations that came forth on their own and beyond his control. For that reason, Attenborough brought this character to life and made it his own.
Frankly, I was amazed by what compelling, natural performances the kids infused their characters with. For the entire movie, they just started like normal kids before their vacation-turned-sour reduced them into frightened wrecks just trying to stay alive. The actor playing Timmy, Joseph Mazzello, leveled him out with a generally inquisitive and witty tendency, making him look adorable and fear-inducingly vulnerable. But that’s nothing compared to Ariana Richards’ performance as Lex. Sometimes, she played Lex like she was just your everyday, slightly bossy pre-teenage girl. But once she’s stuck fighting for her life with Timmy and Grant, look out! When she was frightened, she looked scared to death. When she was sad… man, did she look heartbroken. So, the child actors knew how to take such seemingly generic roles and infuse them with so much emotion that you could feel their vulnerability as they and Grant wandered through the jungle to get to safety.
Outside of Space Jam, I remember Wayne Knight for playing Al in Toy Story 2, who stole toys and tried to profit from them. Well, watching Knight play his character in Jurassic Park tells me that that’s where it all began, for he did a fabulous job conveying the fake lightheadedness and desperation through Dennis Nedry. Every time he played his character in or out of the laboratory, he looked like an innocent scientist trying to make it by in his position. But once you comprehend what he’s up to, his demeanor conveyed a more sinister, conniving personality hiding underneath his allegedly unfocused behavior.
Samuel L. Jackson did a terrific job as Dr. Arnold. Jurassic Park was released in 1993, the year before Samuel L. Jackson wowed audiences as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. And for what he accomplished in something like Jurassic Park, I potentially wouldn’t have guessed that this was him because he was that good at conveying the slight geekiness and scientific personality coming through Dr. Arnold. Anyway, Jackson did a great job playing the elite scientist who knew how to run the basic operations at Jurassic Park, but not in others, such as Nedry’s hacking skills.
Finally, Jeff Goldblum made his character. His suave personality and constant wisecracks enlivened Malcolm out of generality, and he delivered his lines in a way that perfectly pertained to his character while also matching those of the casual or imagined responses of the audiences watching him. Even then, of course, when he wasn’t busy being a real smart-aleck or a realist, he displayed some modest, decent qualities that demonstrated his heroic acts or more seducing sides to him, particularly concerning Sattler.
Altogether, these are the reasons I believe the actors, not just the visual effects, gave life to this picture. They helped hone each character’s natural elements despite the more fantastical elements occurring before them. And they played their roles as such with so much dignity that you could feel the wonder, amazement, awe, concern, terror, and fear that everyone expressed with each encounter of a new element or threat at play. They matched the sensibilities of the audiences watching this movie and, in so doing, heightened the more intuitive aspects of the characters at play.
This is one of those rare occasions where the characters worked in this movie not because of what was shown or spoken about them but rather what was felt about them. You felt what each character was feeling or doing throughout their trek in Jurassic Park, down to the fear factor succumbing to them as the threat crept closer and closer. The child actors nailed it, the adult actors nailed it, and they perfectly reflected how the audience would’ve felt watching this.
And the visual effects, man. Need I say more? As I said, this came out at a time when 3D visual applications were starting to pick up steam and trickle throughout other major films to enhance the believability of the otherwise fantastical elements happening before the actors in each given situation. With Jurassic Park, the 3D effects it had in its arsenal were just right to help lend believability to the dinosaurs as they wandered, ran, or did their own thing.
They were the real reason this movie is such a classic. And as you can see with the effects applied to all the dinosaurs in the film, they were more than groundbreaking for their time. And what’s even better is that the results were arranged through a perfect balance of computer-generated and practical effects, contributing to the general realism weaved together for this movie. Sometimes, I can tell which types of effects were which, for the Brontosauruses and Gallimimus looked CGI’d. In contrast, the sick Triceratops, the Dilophosaurus, and maybe the Velociraptors looked like they were done through practical effects. And just like Grant, Sattler, Malcolm, and everyone present to witness it, the effects left many moviegoers awe-struck at what magnificence it was they have seen through the presence of these dinosaurs, recreated for the screen the same way they were revived from the DNA sample they found off the prehistoric mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, with the T-Rex, it didn’t matter to me which effects she was displayed under. Her movements, reactions, and lunges felt natural and terrifying enough to shroud her in fear-inducing gravitas whenever the characters were in her presence. At that point, you’d immediately understand why the T-Rex was the ruler of all dinosaurs in its time.
Though, I must say, while the T-Rex was terrifying enough, the way the Velociraptors were built up was alarming enough to send chills down your spine before they even made their flesh-and-blood appearance in the movie. We see very little of them throughout the first half of the film. Still, before they did appear, the characters referenced the Velociraptors as if they were nobody to mess around with, for what they lacked in strength or stamina, like the T-Rex, they made up for dearly with their speed and collective brainpower. Like wolves, they were also shown to be good pack hunters for each member went separate ways to cover all their preys’ tracks. As Grant warned one kid at the beginning of the movie, they usually wouldn’t have attacked from the front; they usually attacked from the side.
Warden Robert Muldoon found this out the hard way while hunting for them while Sattler was in the short-circuit room. This scene was the one I remember demonstrating the Velociraptors in all their frightening cunning, for one of them just stood behind the bushes, with her eyes in plain sight, like she was petrified of Muldoon sneaking in with his rifle. But then, her partner emerged from his side, prompting him to respond, “Clever girl,” before she instantly lunged forth and ate him alive shred to shred. Not helped is the fact that the other Velociraptor who hid behind the bushes still stood there in her position, only this time, I can’t help but read her thought process as if she’s thinking:
The fact that their threat factor would potentially have felt on par with that of the T-Rex because of what they’re capable of would’ve been prone to make anyone’s blood freeze if they were stuck in the positions poor Timmy, Lex, or anyone who faced them would’ve felt.
However, it’s not just the visuals of the dinosaurs that helped give the movie its vibes. Their voices might have played a role in this, too. I can barely imagine how dinosaurs or their calls would’ve sounded if I had been around to hear them. Still, the voices concocted for each dinosaur by Gary Rydstrom helped give us a general idea of how each dinosaur would’ve sounded if they were alive and we could hear them. They all sounded exotic and properly prehistoric, giving us the impression that we stepped back in time to wander around their homelands. And, of course, it culminated in the iconic sounds and roars made by the T-Rex in all their terrifying glory. Kudos to the sound team for crafting those in a way that made the dinosaurs feel as believable as humanly possible!
Ever since this movie came out, it has become a hallmark in achieving astonishing visual effects in cinema. But that’s not the only reason this movie works so well. Also working its magic alongside them was the movie’s cautionary message of what happens when you try to tamper with nature and control it like it’s your plaything. As Dr. Malcolm said, life always finds a way somehow. Whether cloned or biologically grown, animals or dinosaurs are not meant to be used as playthings or as attractions for their customers, which is something zookeepers could take a cue from. Oh, who am I kidding? Now that I think about it, even zoos know how to tend to the animals in their care. Look at something like ‘Creature Comforts’ to get the general idea.
To add to the intrigue it aroused, Grant and Sattler contemplated where they would end up professionally once Jurassic Park opened to the general viewing public. Grant feared that with dinosaurs being alive and well again, it would’ve put them out of business. Well, I say…
Put paleontologists out of business? The way the park and breakthrough achievements were set up, it would have made them, especially archeologists, look like grave robbers!
Of course, that’s the general first impression I’ll wager audiences felt once they witnessed the dinosaurs in all their glory. The real kicker comes when the dinosaurs roamed free and took control of the food chain. Only then we’d go from appreciating the dinosaurs being alive again to feeling instead like we’re invading their territory, like we’ve wandered someplace where we don’t belong, rather than the other way around. This interpretation invites an even deeper, more troubling question: at what price do you intend to pay once you play God with nature in all her works?
As Dr. Hammond realized the hard way, all the dinosaurs he initially believed were recreated to be precisely attractions at his theme park began to develop minds of their own as they soon adjusted themselves to their surroundings and wildlife lower than them for their dietary satisfaction. So, would the founding of what seemed like an ambitious project for a theme park be genuinely worth it when all is said and done? And must it entail lives being at stake because of what was unleashed within the confinements of such a theme park? Especially on a remote island, where it was meant to be more isolated and secret?
So, to put it most bluntly, Mother Nature is beautiful, but she can be feisty and is absolutely nobody’s whore.
I must mention one more thing about the visuals. This movie, along with Mrs. Doubtfire, was among the very first movies rated PG-13 that I was ever acquainted with, even though I was only a few years old and not the right age to watch them. And besides the iconic logo that I remember on the VHS cover, coincidentally enough, both movies featured an animated segment that got me excited since I grew up on most Disney animated films. Animation is up my alley. And these segments got me intrigued despite them coming from PG-13 movies. In Jurassic Park’s case, the animated segments concerned an animated character from the Jurassic Park tour named Mr. DNA. He sounded like Bill Nye the Science Guy if his voice sounded more professional than animated. Ironic, huh?
On one final note – so to speak – the last thing about this movie that I found surprisingly awe-inspiring was the music by John Williams.
I guess it’s to be expected, given that this is a Steven Spielberg movie. Still, his music was fantastic about capturing every aspect of trekking through a theme park full of dinosaurs, only to suddenly try to stay alive, as only we can feel it through his music. The more whimsical and epic portions of his music blazed forth in all their glory as the characters and the audience took in all the wonders and majesty of watching the dinosaurs roam in their homeland. But when the more predatory dinosaurs roamed free and started hunting down their prey, Williams captured the unnerving elements and terror associated with having to flee for your life while undercover or running away. To understand how nicely John Williams captured every essence of the film, listen to the Jurassic Park Suite. It’d give you a generally good idea of what to expect from the movie throughout that piece alone.
Of course, for all its wonder and terror, some scenarios throughout the movie seem rather silly. One instance I remember too well was when Timmy and Lex saw the T-Rex in person for the first time. Lex was so terrified that she turned on the light to lure it in, but she was too scared to realize that she wasn’t supposed to turn it on at all, and it only lured the T-Rex to them the way she never meant to.
On top of that, there have been some liberties taken with the dinosaur species and their functionalities. I was fortunate enough to have visited a dinosaur museum just recently, and it opened my eyes a little as to which dinosaurs were really which.
For instance, do you remember the dinosaur that pulverized Nedry with her spitting venom, the Dilophosaurus? Well, the real Dilophosaurus was much bigger than what Nedry ran into and was more like the Tyrannosaurus. Plus, it did not have a frilled neck or spit out venom at its opponents.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the Velociraptor. In the movie, the Velociraptors looked like they were among the most ruthless, knowledgeable dinosaurs ever and were as feared as the T-Rex. In real life, however, the Velociraptors were much smaller, hunted as any dinosaur would’ve, and were primarily feathered.
And — here’s a bit of dinosaur trivia you’ll find fascinating — regarding dinosaur brainpower and being used to one’s advantage hunting-wise, that would be more accurate of the Troodon. It had the largest brain among any of the smaller dinosaurs, and just like the Velociraptors in the movie, it was fast and a viable pack hunter. Most importantly, it was known to have used fire. And I don’t mean make fire, like the earliest of mankind did, but rather, learn how to intimidate its prey with it.
There were some silly moments like this, but they felt insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that stuff like that can crop up more than once throughout a movie like this.
Its faults notwithstanding, is it any wonder that Jurassic Park became such a massive cinematic icon? It perfectly translated every aspect of every collective human being’s, if not every child’s, imaginations of humans and dinosaurs coexisting together and displayed it in all their wonders but also all its frightening instincts. The characters are simple yet likable, the performances are marvelous, the effects are groundbreaking, the sound effects are pitch perfect, the music is terrific, and the story would leave you with a deep impression and contemplating the necessities of Mother Nature in full play. What came about was a real tour de force ride that thrived on its thrills, wonder, and scientific intrigue that only lent more believability to an otherwise impossible likelihood.
What else can I say but, as Hammond always said it best, it spared no expense?
A strong A-
I need to say this: the ending scene with Grant looking out through the plane window to see a flock of pelicans is nice enough. However, look at Ellie’s and Grant’s glances toward each other while Grant held Lex and Tim in his arms. Am I the only one who thinks the scene would’ve been more potent if the birds they saw outside were storks instead of pelicans?