Revisiting Jurassic Park

Ask any­one who knows me about my fond­ness and utter boy­hood joy for movies and most likely you’ll begin to piece together per­sonal frag­ments that ulti­mately led to the per­son I am today.

Like Michael, I’m like a kid in a candy store — gnaw­ing on an enor­mous Gob­stop­per — when it comes to watch­ing movies, espe­cially those rare cin­e­matic expe­ri­ences where you feel as if you’re a part of what’s occur­ing on screen.

There are very few movies that have immersed me in such a vivid man­ner that when I’m amongst the audi­ence I for­get about real­ity until the cred­its appear on screen. One such movie, which debuted in the early 90s, totally cap­ti­vated me at the time as well as reminded me what a good movie could be.

Sev­eral months prior to the offi­cial open­ing of the movie I can remem­ber strolling past the card­board dis­play, a medium-sized adver­tise­ment with a jeep and the words “Juras­sic Park: An Adven­ture 65 Mil­lion Years in the Making”.

At the time, my brother and I stopped dead in our tracks and just exam­ined the adver­tise­ment won­der­ing to our­selves whether or not it was a dinosaur movie or a cheesy hor­ror flick. Despite our attempts to fig­ure out what the movie was about, I do remem­ber think­ing that the logo was fan­tas­tic, a silo­huette of a dinosaur on a blood red back­ground with huge bold let­ters, that alone guar­an­teed our pres­cence at the film’s release.

How­ever, there was one tiny detail I had ini­tially over­looked upon first glanc­ing at the card­board stand, that Juras­sic Park was not only going to be a movie about dinosaurs, but that Steven Spiel­berg was direct­ing. I decided then and there, with­out a moment’s hes­i­ta­tion, that I was going to see this movie, no mat­ter what.

After doing some more research on the film, which if I remem­ber cor­rectly, con­sisted of watch­ing every enter­tain­ment medium that I could, it was revealed that not only was this going to be a movie about dinosaurs, it was going to be about a “dinosaur amuse­ment park”. In my opin­ion, mix­ing giant rep­tiles of the past with Dis­ney­land seemed like a superb idea.

Hav­ing no prior knowl­edge of the book I decided to pur­chase it and read it before the movie, some­thing I try to avoid since they rarely ever com­pli­ment eachother. A few chap­ters into Juras­sic Park my eyes glazed over and I tossed the book aside in dis­be­lief and frankly dis­ap­point­ment, mainly because of the long pas­sages of text deal­ing strictly with med­ical ter­mi­nol­ogy and the fact that the story itself dragged on.

Luck­ily, Steven Spiel­berg and crew took cre­ative lib­er­ties with the story, some­thing I was happy with con­sid­er­ing the orig­i­nal sto­ry­line, while sim­i­lar and I sup­pose appeal­ing to some read­ers, wasn’t exactly “adven­ture” mate­r­ial (years later I would end up chang­ing my mind, after read­ing the book cover-to-cover).

The movie Juras­sic Park, unlike it’s book coun­ter­part, was sim­ply one of the most ener­getic and visu­ally mind-blowing cin­e­matic expe­ri­ences since Star Wars. The break­through CGI, bring­ing to life dinosaurs you could only imag­ine before­hand, made these dinosaurs seem life­like and in some instances down­right hor­rific, espe­cially the T-Rex and Raptors.

Almost 13 years later, I’ve since revis­ited Juras­sic Park, hav­ing watched the DVD and air­ings of the movie on tele­vi­sion and I’m still cap­ti­vated by it. The per­for­mances are and char­ac­ters them­selves are stel­lar, espe­cially that of Ian Mal­colm as played by Jeff “The Fly” Gold­blum. He plays the neu­rotic, know-it-all char­ac­ter in many films and pulls it off par­tic­u­larly well in JP. The spe­cial effects, which were pin­na­cle at the time, still remain con­vinc­ing and dramatic.

Juras­sic Park is and was truly one of the most ful­fill­ing movie expe­ri­ences that I’ve ever wit­nessed and because of the amount of detail and the thrilling aspects to the film it’ll always remain a clas­sic, earn­ing its spot next to other won­der­ful movies that will be watched and remem­bered by gen­er­a­tions to come, mark my word. 

  • Colin D. Devroe

    On the con­trary, Juras­sic Park is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read.

  • Simon Jessey

    I remem­ber when I first went to see Juras­sic Park. I saw it at the Empire Cin­ema in London’s Leices­ter Square, so I got the whole “laser show, reclin­ing seats, THX” expe­ri­ence. I walked out of the the­atre absolutely speech­less — the spe­cial effects rep­re­sented such an enor­mous leap for­ward in real­ism that I was utterly dumbfounded.

    After gath­er­ing my thoughts, I began to remem­ber minor details that irri­tated me. The kids were annoy­ing, as was the “it’s a UNIX sys­tem” bull­shit. Richard Attenborough’s iffy Scot­tish accent seemed point­less — it would’ve been fine if he’d just used his reg­u­lar voice.

    Actu­ally, my favorite scene in the entire fran­chise is from the sec­ond movie. Mal­colm, Sarah, and Kelly are hang­ing over the edge of a cliff. Eddie shouts down “do you need any­thing else?” and receives the reply “a cheeseburger…with fries…and a large Pepsi…no onions on that” (or some­thing like that, anyway).

  • Kathan

    Oh Juras­sic Park, I’m get­ting nos­tal­gic.. I still get the chills dur­ing the jeep scene at the begin­ing when they pull up and it’s that large field with the lake crawl­ing with dinosaurs. God that was intense. Now I have to go and watch the movie again!

  • Colin D. Devroe

    Simon: I too remem­ber the day I went to see it. My entire fam­ily had read the book, includ­ing the extended mem­bers that mar­ried my sis­ters. So there was prob­a­bly 12 to 15 of us walk­ing into the the­atre in 1993 (which is now closed and was replaced by a Bor­ders book store).

    Even though I was 12, I remem­ber being awe-struck as well. After watch­ing that movie more times than I care to count I agree with you about there being a few annoy­ing points. But, I believe that annoy­ing things are almost impos­si­ble to avoid.

    Def­i­nitely a film that changed many things, and many lives.

  • Pauly D

    I saw the movie on open­ing day on the “biggest movie the­ater screen west of the Mis­sis­sippi” in New­port Beach, CA. That was the first of three times I’d see it there over the next week.

    So great.

  • Matt (brother)

    Aaaw.. How weird. I was just dis­cussing this movie last night when it was on TV (I think USA). I didn’t know the movie was mad sooo long ago. I can remem­ber dad tak­ing us on a school night to go see it, and how awe­some it was. I can also remem­ber being pulled out of school to go see The Matrix with you and dad.. Math Class, Mr. Parti, 2nd period. I have heard rumors (from that Juras­sic Park 4 will be directed AFTER Indi­ana Jones by pro­ducer Frank Mar­shall. I’m not one for talk­ing rap­tors though that are defeated by a mag­i­cal musi­cal instru­ment, so I cant imag­ine what other stu­pid ideas are involved. (Which plot is roughly described as “If you like veloci­rap­tors, you will love Juras­sic Park Four”).

  • Josh Hem­sath

    Chip Kidd, the Knopf jacket designer of Juras­sic Park wasn’t even cred­ited for the “skele­ton” logo that the film used on all its mer­chan­dise. Read more about it in his book “Chip Kidd: Book One.”

  • Don­nie Jeter

    I got the same sort of expe­ri­ence when I saw Inde­pen­dence Day — I was younger then and when I walked out of the the­ater I felt almost as if we had really defeated the aliens, that I was lucky to be alive.

  • coelomic

    Juras­sic Park is and was truly one of the most ful­fill­ing movie expe­ri­ences that I’ve ever wit­nessed and because of the amount of detail and the thrilling aspects to the film it’ll always remain a clas­sic, earn­ing its spot next to other won­der­ful movies that will be watched and remem­bered by gen­er­a­tions to come, mark my word.”

    - Couldn’t agree more.

  • David Ellis

    Juras­sic Park was, is, and always will be my all-time favorite movie! I remem­ber see­ing it SEVERAL times in the sum­mer of 1993 with all my friends in the neigh­bor­hood! I bought the sound­track (Great, orig­i­nal and very under­ated), the toys, the books. I can’t believe it’s been 13 years. It impacted me in a HUGE way and will ALWAYS hold a spe­cial place in my heart.

  • beeurd

    I’m glad I stum­bled across this acci­dently. With­out a doubt, Juras­sic Park has to be the best movie I have ever seen at a cin­ema. I love it to bits, although I pre­fer the novel much more. 😀

  • Bar­ringer

    Juras­sic Park is leg­endary.. enough said.. after i saw the sec­ond movie i bor­rowed my friend’s novel and read critchon’s the lost world and i loved it.. if they made a movie that fol­lowed it almost exactly it would be as ful­fill­ing as the first juras­sic park movie.. there was alot of sci­en­tific ter­mi­nol­ogy but it did add a unique expe­ri­ence that in my opin­ion worked well with the rest of the book’s mood. What ever hap­pened with the infa­mous “bar­bosal” can that chubbs lost after being eatin in JP? It seemed like they would build off that inci­dent for a sec­ond or third or pos­si­bly fourth movie.. hope­fully the fourth movie will be as ful­fill­ing if not more than the first which would be a hard task but spiel­berg and critchon could pull it off.. they should bring back the orig­i­nal cast like dr. grant, mal­com, sat­tler, lex, tim etc.. to help give the feel from the first movie but with a good new sto­ry­line.. i could go on all day ab this but ill end it with this.. JP4 bet­ter be as good or bet­ter then the first

  • jan

    i still remem­ber going to see juras­sic park — and then i went with my daugh­ter and her kids — the youngest was barely 2 — any­way, they were lit­tle and scared but loved it because there were no dinosaurs hid­ing under their beds at home — years later when the movie was shown on tv i watched it and even­tu­ally bought the 3 dvd set

    have heard rumors of a 4th movie — sure hope so because at the end of the third one those fly­ing repi­tiles were leav­ing the island and dr grant says they were going to look for new nest­ing places