As soon as I heard about Michael Crichton’s new book in 1990, I scrabbled to get my hands on a copy, and ended up co-opting and keeping my mother’s hard cover edition as soon as she was done with it. Then, hearing that Spielberg had bought the rights for it, I knew I had to read it!!!
So it’s no surprise with a pedigree of a Michael Crichton story, a Steven Spielberg film, with music by John Williams, creatures by Stan Winston, and an all star cast including Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough, it’s no surprise that this one ended up on the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list.
Featuring a beautiful score by John Williams, a seamless blend of CG and practical dinosaurs (created by Stan Winston and his studios) Spielberg brought dinosaurs to the screen in a huge way, and made them believable.
Just like Doctors Alan Grant (Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Dern), we are stunned after their arrival on John Hammond’s (Attenborough) private island, and they see real dinosaurs striding around. It’s awe-inspiring and everytime it brings a lift to my heart.
Grant and Sattler, along with Doctor Ian Malcolm (Goldblum), a lawyer (who’s there to over see the investors stake) Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) and Hammond’s grandchildren Tim (Joseph Mazello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) are there to sign off on the park, a theme park created to showcase these resurrected creatures.
As things often do, especially for a big budget film, or a Michael Crichton novel, things go sideways real quick, as an incoming hurricane and a devious IT guy (Wayne Knight), effectively cripple the entire island, including the security systems, freeing all the dinosaurs, including the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex and a pack of velociraptors.
Grant, who is not a fan of kids, is stranded with Tim and Lex, and they have to find their way across the island back to the main building, and hopefully escape via helicopter.
Ellie, has to work with Malcolm, Hammond, Ray (Jackson) and Muldoon (Bob Peck), the park’s game keeper, to restore the power, and contain the animals.
The film is a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions, with stunning sequences, including the T-Rex attack, and anything involving the velociraptors.
There is humor, scares, and Spielberg’s sense of wonder and action combining to bring these incredible animals back to life.
This film is a true blockbuster, and while best viewed on the big screen (I love whenever the Cineplex Digital Film Festival screens it) it works just as well in your home theater.
And even now, in 2013, that’s right, as I write this, Jurassic Park is 20 years old, it still works, it still enthralls, and you can still walk away believing those dinosaurs are real.
And while the film has created two sequels at this time, the first film is still the strongest and the best, even though so much of it differs from the original novel. Whatever, says I, because for those two hours that I’m sitting there, wrapped up in the image and the sound of this fantastic film, dinosaurs, real dinosaurs are walking the Earth again.
This is one of the films, that is in my Top 20 of all time (though they do change positions) and I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen it… How about you?