jurassic park | steven speilberg | michael crichton | david koepp | sam neill | laura dern | jeff goldblum | samuel l. jackson | adventure | sci-fi | sci fi | thriller | united states | giant monsters | animal attack | based on | novel | dinosaur | dinosaurs
Film: Jurassic Park
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Michael Crichton and David Koepp
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum
Now this was a film that was one of my favorites growing up. I can remember that my aunt and cousin took me to see this one when it was in the theaters and it sparked my love for dinosaurs. I’ve probably seen it a handful of times since then and it was one that I could just pop into whenever it was on television. The synopsis is during a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
We start by seeing a large trailer being moved toward a wall and gate. We see Muldoon (Bob Peck) who is in charge. We know there’s something inside the trailer that is dangerous. It is screeching and a man on top falls off when its pushed back from the wall. He is pulled inside the gate while Mulddon tries in vein to save him..
We then shift to the Amazon, where we see a man in a suit is floating up to land on a raft. The man is Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) represents the investors for something and he was expecting to speak the man in charge. He climbs off and walks with Rostagno (Miguel Sandoval), learning that the guy he was there to see has left. In order for them to proceed with the investment, they need to have two experts sign off on its safety. Rostagno says the one they want is a digger like him and won’t do it.
The film then shifts to a dig for dinosaur bones. The man in charge is Grant (Sam Neill) along with his girlfriend, Ellie (Laura Dern). He’s one of the leading expert on dinosaurs from what I gather and she is a renowned paleobotanist as well. After Grant scared a child for mocking Velociraptors, a helicopter comes and pushes around the dirt they have shifted. This upsets the two, but they soon change their tune when they realize who it is. The man who came from the helicopter is Hammond (Richard Attenborough). The person whose been funding their dig. He asks if they come with him, he will fund them completely for three years. To which, they agree.
It then shifts to San Jose, Costa Rica. A guy arrives, trying to be incognito. He’s called out to by Nedry (Wayne Knight). The other guy is Dodgson (Cameron Thor). Nedry is hired by the man to steal viable embryos from where he is working to help a rival company catch up in research. In return he will be paid handsomely and he’s given a shaving cream canister to hide them in.
Grant, Ellie, Hammond and Gennaro are joined by Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) on a helicopter to an island off of Costa Rica. Malcom is a mathematician who focuses on chaos theory. He’s asked to come to help give the park his blessing to open as well.
Grant and Ellie are still a bit confused as to why they’re brought to the island. It is then they realize, Hammond has brought back dinosaurs. With some of the recent mishaps, they need their opinion in order to open the park. Things don’t go well from the start and an incoming tropical storm doesn’t help. Nedry makes it even worse though when he shuts down systems in order to steal the embryos and make his escapes. He’s not the only thing that does this and the other things are much more dangerous.
As I lead this off with, I remember seeing this film in the theaters as a child and it is still amazes me as an adult. The CGI and the dinosaurs look real. I normally lead off here with the story, but I think I’ll switch it up and go with the effects. They are truly amazing for the time. I could tell this time when analyzing that there’s some CGI, but it still holds up. It is quite amazing actually. The film is also shot beautifully which definitely helps.
Now unlike a lot of major blockbuster films we see today, there is a really good as well. Part of that is in part that this is based off of a novel by Michael Crichton. Him, Stephen King and John Grisham really dominated the 1990’s with their books being adapted to film. The idea in theory here in Jurassic Park is great. It is actually interesting that a lot of experts were consulted in bring the dinosaurs to life and I believe due to this film, we get a lot of what we think they move, act and sound-like. Some of the great writing is thinks that Grant says early on are shown through the dinosaurs in the park which I liked.
There are some deeper issues in this film was though. The first of which that really stands out is the idea of ‘playing God’. Malcolm is the first one to think this park is a bad idea and he is joined by Grant and Ellie as things go downhill. They’re right though. They created something they think they can control. Much like what Malcolm and I also think Hammond finally sees, nature will find a way. You can’t account for what Nedry does, but there is the human element there. They also think that the dinosaurs can’t breed and that’s where nature shows it can’t be controlled.
Something I’ve seen debated quite a bit is if this film is a horror film or not. I fall into camp that you most definitely can, more so than most of the other films in the franchise. The scenes with the raptors play like a slasher film. They stalk their prey in order to kill them, especially in the kitchen sequence of this film. As for the Tyrannous Rex, this really isn’t that much different from Jaws in that we have a creature that is running amuck. There’s not a lot of deaths, only 5 I can think of off the top of my head, but I do know slasher films with less than that for sure. The tone doesn’t come off as horror, but there are definitely some tense scenes.
That actually brings me to the pacing of the film, which is really good. Even though I’ve seen this film multiple times and knowing that it runs just over 2 hours, it doesn’t feel like it. I think that a lot of it comes from the set up of out of the frying pan, into the fire aspect. Every time they get out of a situation, they get right into another one and I think that actually keeps you engaged. It definitely builds tension all the way to the climax, which I thought was good along with the ending.
As for the acting of the film, it is absolutely amazing. Neill I think is great in his role. What is interesting is that he is dating Ellie, who wants a more traditional family. He is resistant, but we see him interacting with Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards). He is actually very good with them. Dern is great as well as Ellie. My favorite scene is her impassioned speech to Hammond about how he’s messed up. Goldblum is also absolutely fantastic. He brings a level of sexiness to the role and humor as well, but he points out some of the greatest lines. Attenborough, Peck, Ferrero, BD Wong, Mazzello, Richards, Samule L. Jackson, Knight and Sandoval are all solid as well and help to round out the cast of this film.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack of the film, which is also fantastic. It really brings the film to life, it fits each of the scenes and for some of the more tense ones, it really helps ramp up my anxiety. Even the sounds of the dinosaurs when they are roaring sounds definitely real and really helps to bring this film to life. This is a score I actually listen to when writing at time as well.
Now with that said, this film was one of my favorites growing up and it still holds up today. I can see its greatness at what director Steven Spielberg abilities here. There’s a great story here that has some real depth. The pacing of the film is perfect and despite a bit longer run time, it really doesn’t feel like it. The acting is great in bringing this to life and the effects are as well. There’s a mix of practical and CGI, but it all looks really good. It is quite insane how well it holds up. The soundtrack of the film also fits the scenes and really enhances the film overall. This is a pretty much a perfect film to me. If you never seen it check it out for sure.
My Rating: 10 out of 10