During a preview tour, Jurassic Park – a theme park filled with cloned dinosaurs, resurrected through the wonders of technology and mosquitoes getting stuck in amber while filled with dinosaur blood – suffers a catastrophic power failure. The dinosaurs run amok, and the humans must find a way to survive.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the majesty of Jurassic Park was first introduced into our cinematic lives. I remember being 13 years old and so utterly excited about this summer tent pole movie that I collected coupons from cereal boxes to send away for a free tshirt. I also remember my mum telling me that the book was always better than the film, and labouring to get through Michael Crichton’s tome so I could go and see DINOSAURS ON THE BIG SCREEN!
The good news is that Jurassic Park is still a phenomenal movie. All the guts and glory that you remember – the score, Ariana Richards’s scared face and the scale – are all still as impressive as they were the first time around. The bad news is that at the screening I went to, the 3D went out. I say bad news, but as someone who almost always rails against the use of 3D, this was actually something I appreciated; I got to watch Jurassic Park in IMAX, 20 years after I first saw it on the big screen. No complaints here!
Watching Jurassic Park now, it is hard not to pit it against films that have come out since, and the way that cinema has changed in the last 20 years, and even still the film holds up. Dr. Grant’s lesson about accepting the kids into his life is no less poignant, John Hammond’s insistence that no expense was spared, while he eats the melting ice cream and his life’s work collapses around him is still tragic, and the dinosaurs are still scary, sneaky and impressive. The CG is a little ropey in places, but since a lot of the work was done with animatronics, the T-Rex chase still looks fantastic and is as tense as you remember.
Of course the film is now tinted with nostalgia, but that’s the great thing about it. Watching the film as an adult and remembering your childhood fear that the goat had gone, or that the Dilophosauruses (Dilophosauri?) were somehow not as cute as Nedry thought is part of the fun and, since I had not seen the film in many a year, in some scenes, the fear was all I remembered.
Jurassic Park is still a clever twist on our fascination with life and control, and it is still a damn good adventure movie; who doesn’t want to sit in a tree and feed leaves to a brachiosaurus, then encounter a T-Rex face to face? Speilberg has proven time and time again that he is a master at creating fun, engaging movies on an epic scale, and Jurassic Park is no exception. The effects may be slightly dated, but the story, wonder and spectacle endure.
Jurassic Park is a fantastic adventure, monster movie and nostalgia piece. The clever VFX used mean that the film still holds up visually, and the story is still scary, funny and filled with suspense. Of course the issues with the film are still there, and some of the ‘science’ seems downright silly but in all, Jurassic Park is one film that still holds up 20 years later. I may even go and see it in 3D. You heard it here first.