Jurassic Park (1993)

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Jurassic Park (1993)

Post  BoG on Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:00 am



This was a true event picture - maybe one of the last ones; they made a big deal of this one on opening night - there was a lot of anticipation and people went in droves. Before Titanic, this was the big one - a mammoth hit, a box office monster, a return for Spielberg to the glory days of Jaws and E.T.  Based on the best seller by Michael Crichton, this details how several key experts (Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum) are invited to check out and critique the new and unusual amusement park on the island of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), a billionaire with a playful side (sort of the nineties version of Walt Disney). Only, Hammond has chosen to be playful with real dinosaurs - new cloning technology has enabled Hammond and his scientists to recreate the creatures from the DNA blood stored in prehistoric mosquitoes which have been frozen in amber.  Goldblum's Ian Malcolm, a mathematician into chaos theory, is the first to voice concerns even before any troubles begin.

Unfortunately for all involved, Ian's worst fears are realized - it doesn't help that one of Hammond's employees (Wayne Knight) is unscrupulous, secretly working for a competitor. He sabotages the park's security system during a storm and exposes all the guests and workers still there, including Hammond's grandchildren (Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello), to the danger of the predatory beasts, notably the raptors and a T-Rex. It's up to dino expert Alan Grant (Neill) to guide the two kids to safety; other characters on the island are not so lucky (includes a lawyer {Martin Ferrero}, a game warden {Bob Peck} and Samuel L. Jackson as a computer tech guy just before he became a big star in Pulp Fiction '94).  The standout performance is from Goldblum; his timing is great and he has several very amusing lines.  Neill and Dern are on the flat, boring side of things.
The most intriguing portion of all this is the discovery by Grant that the dinosaurs have managed to reproduce even though part of the cloning process was meant to prevent that - it suggests that things would have gone awry eventually even without a saboteur.  Spielberg had lost some of his edge by this time (it happened during the eighties) and the first half of this film is a bit too easygoing and slow. Spielberg also peppers the story with those moments meant to inspire awe but he overdoes it - the primary example is when Grant sees his first live dinosaur; the audience is meant to share in this awe but Spielberg batters the audience over the head with it, drawing it out until it's too saccharine. Some scenes are plain dull (Dern & Attenborough sitting eating ice cream).  But, this is offset by the truly thrilling moments, especially effective in a movie theater: the first appearance of the T-Rex (the FX are so good that it looked to me that Spielberg had managed to find a real dinosaur for the role), the scene of the impact tremors and the monster's reappearance and chase of the jeep, and all the scenes with the raptors, which are the ultimate predators. BoG's Score: 8 out of 10

ABOVE: poster for the film done up in the style of the seventies, playing cards merchandise and a newspaper

Jurassic Trivia: the 1st sequel was in 1997, titled The Lost World as an homage to the old dinosaur film and story; it featured Goldblum & Attenborough reprising their roles; the next one was in 2001 and featured a returning Sam Neill, with Laura Dern in a small role.
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Behind the Jurassic Scenes

Post  BoG on Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:14 pm


>>>> ABOVE: Spielberg discusses how much awe Sam Neill needs to register...

BELOW: another retro poster - possibly how it would have looked in the sixties:

More Trivia From the Park: based on a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton, this has obvious similarities to his Westworld (73); Crichton, however, was unable to create an acceptable screenplay and it was done by other hands. Spielberg was desperate to direct this and won the assignment over rival directors Tim Burton, Joe Dante and Richard Donner. This film took the opening weekend record away from Batman Returns (92), at $47 million, but was beaten in 1995 by Batman Forever ($52 million). Then, its own sequel, The Lost World, took it in 1997 ($72 million).
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