Jurassic Park (1993)   4/54/54/54/54/5


Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic park

T-Rex 20th Century Dinosaur

I remember seeing "Jurassic Park" in a packed out cinema when it was first released, everyone had heard about the supposedly stunning special effects and all had seen the teaser trailers and now came the time to see if the boasts were in fact true. Yes they were, you could hear draws dropping when we saw the dinosaurs for the first time in a way which had never been done before and for months after the topic of conversation was about "Jurassic Park". But does it still have that same wow effect, well honestly it does. Whilst technology has moved on with computer generated images becoming even more life like and the used of 3D becoming mainstream there is a magic about "Jurassic Park" which still makes it great entertainment.

On an isolated island in the middle of the ocean, wealthy businessman John Hammond (Richard Attenborough - Brannigan) has been furtively creating the most thrilling theme park in history which thanks to his group of scientists whose ability to create life from prehistoric DNA means that the park will feature real living dinosaurs. To try and help quash the fears of his concerned investors Hammond invites a select band of professionals including Dr. Grant (Sam Neill - Memoirs of an Invisible Man) a palaeontologist, Dr. Sattler (Laura Dern - Mask) a paleobotanist and Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) a mathematical theorist as well as his two grandchildren Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) to try out the park before it officially opens. But things don't go to plan when the computer systems go wrong and the dinosaurs start to escape their confines leaving his visitors in danger of becoming dino dinner.

Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards and Sam Neill in Jurassic park

The thing is with "Jurassic Park" is that the underlying storyline is nothing new and is basically a very simple action/ chase movie. But it is the fact that "Jurassic Park" bases everything around an exciting theme park where by the miracle of DNA they have managed to bring dinosaurs to life that makes it such a crowd pleaser. I doubt there is not a single person on this earth which hasn't had to study prehistoric times at school and I would imagine many of us played games with toy dinosaurs as a child, so bringing this to life in a new way is obviously going to appeal to a lot of people even if the storyline is far fetched. "Jurassic Park" is very much a sit back, don't worry about the logistics and wait to be wowed over and over again.

But even though I say you shouldn't try to think about the storyline too hard it's impossible not to mention that "Jurassic Park" is seriously flawed. There are plot holes a plenty, areas which just would never happen such as the park being manned on such an inefficient computer system and of course the ability to collect DNA from old insects entombed within amber. I am no scientist but I am sure there must have been plenty of poetic licence in adapting reality to fit in with a fictitious storyline. But these things do not matter as at its heart "Jurassic Park" is pure escapism something which both writer Michael Crichton and director Steven Spielberg are masters of.

So of course there are the much talked about computer generated dinosaurs which were the big factor as to why "Jurassic Park" was such a box office smash. Well yes they are impressive, even more so when watched on the big screen rather than at home and still remain captivating to this day despite technology moving on in leaps and bounds. Do they look realistic well they certainly look better than what had been achieved before and combined with the actors the power of these extinct beasts is magnificently demonstrated in every scene. But it's not just the big dinosaurs which impress, there are several smaller creatures with so much detail that you can't help but forget that you are watching a lot of computer generated trickery.

Acting wise, well "Jurassic Park" comes up trumps in every department. Richard Attenborough is brilliant as the excitable and a little eccentric John Hammond, the man behind the Jurassic Park and Jeff Goldblum is great as the quirky maths expert Dr. Ian Malcolm. Even if the character of Malcolm doesn't come over as your typical maths geek the character is a perfect accompaniment to that of Dr. Alan Grant played by Sam Neill and Dr. Ellie Sattler played by Laura Dern. These four actors work well together and although the dialogue may not be that great they make the characters believable. Plus of course in what I would call a homage to Disney movies you have a young brother and sister Tim and Lex played by Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards who are stereotypically annoying do at least provide plenty of humour.

Plus as previously mentioned "Jurassic Park" is written by Michael Crichton who also wrote the fabulous "Westworld" and is directed by Steven Spielberg who really doesn't need an introduction. Taking the imagination of Crichton and combining it with the imagination of Spielberg is movie gold as the pairing certainly gelled to make one of the most memorable movies of the last century.

What this all boils down to is that despite being older than I remembered, was "Jurassic Park" really released way back in 1993? It still is a magical experience thanks to good acting, plenty of action and of course the CGI dinosaurs which still are as impressive today as they were back then on the movies original release. It can't be half bad as it spurned a couple of sequels and still remains one of the biggest box office movies of all time.


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