Jurassic Park Review
Before using computer generated imagery and animatronics, Steven Spielberg wanted to use stop-motion for the dinosaurs.
Before Jurassic Park was released in theaters, a new dinosaur was discovered in Utah called the Utahraptor. The Utahraptor is 10 feet tall matching the size of the Velociraptors in the movie. Special effects director, Stan Winston, joked, "We created it, then they discovered it."
The shots of the storm that hit Isla Nublar in the film were actual footage of Hurricane Iniki that hit Kaua'i, Hawaii on September 11, 1992.
The storm also caused a whole day of shooting and the hotel asked all guests to gather in the ballroom. Sir Richard Attenborough stayed in his room and slept through the entire storm. When he was asked how he could sleep through it all, Sir Richard Attenborough replied, "My dear boy, I survived the blitz!" The blitz were events where the Germans were bombing Britain during the Second World War. When the animatronic for the T-rex was built for the scene where it broke out of the paddock, Steven Spielberg was advised to not expose it to water. The scene took place in the rain, so he ignored the warning. It resulted with the animatronic T-rex to malfunction as well as shake and quiver due to the heavy weight of the water being absorbed into the foam rubber skin. Between takes, the crew would dry off the animatronic T-rex to avoid any more malfunctions.
What was suppose to be a stroll in the park tour, a theme park malfunctions after a power outage causing cloned dinosaurs to break out and run-amok.
If I were to make a Top 10 list of my all time favorite movies, Jurassic Park would be in that list. From the late 80's through the 90's, dinosaur movies were everywhere. Interesting enough, the ones that I remember seeing in theaters are mostly from 1993. I remember seeing Super Mario Bros in theaters and coming out loving it. The next month was Jurassic Park and I think I remember liking it. Either way, Jurassic Park became a huge staple franchise for Universal Studios for three reasons. The first reason is the movie's phenomenal leap in special effects. Jurassic Park is the movie that revolutionized special effects and CGI to a whole new level. It had the perfect blend of using both practical effects and CGI. Movies today mostly use CGI because not only is it cheaper, but every thing can be done without having to build an animatronic. But here, Jurassic Park has the perfect harmony of CGI and practical effects co-existing side by side. The visuals over all still hold up to this very day as still one of the best looking movies of all time.
The second reason is the story and characters. As far as story goes, it is just as great as I remember it. The movie was in production around the same time the book by Michael Crichton was published. There are so many differences between the book and the movie with the characters and the story. I am not gonna go into detail on the differences for this review. Right now, I just want to talk about the movie itself. The story is done very well. It has a lot of mystery and horror with some awe and wonder moments. What makes the movie so good is not the dinosaurs, but the characters and how they interact with the environment they were put in. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) really makes a point in some parts of the movie predicting with chaos theory that something bad will happen to the park. Even though Ian Malcolm is a side character he has a lot more involvement with the story than any of the other characters. He proves his point over and over when in the sub-plot of the movie Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) had to shut down the power to the park to steal the dinosaur embryos. With the power shut off the T-rex and other dinosaurs are free. Another example is that when Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong) explained that they spliced the dinosaurs DNA that they made them all female. Yet because the dinosaur DNA were blended with frogs they were able to change their genders from female to male. Life found a way for these dinosaurs. The movie explicitly goes out of its way to show the dangers of playing God and how these characters really underestimated the power that Hammond exploited. Other than that, the rest of the cast did really well. Sam Neil's character, Dr. Grant, is really the main character of the movie, but he does not act like it at times. There is this other sub-plot where he is dating the paleo-botanist, Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and she keeps giving hints that she wants to start a family, but Grant didn't want anything to do with kids until he meets Hammond's grand-kids, Tim and Lex. Grant is seen watching out and protecting these kids after the T-rex attacked and he starts to appreciate having them around.
My last reason is basically the dinosaurs. I always love me some dinosaurs of all types. These dinosaurs are not so scientifically accurate, but that is what I like about the ones in the movie. They're not made to be scientifically accurate. That is the point. I would shake my head whenever paleontologists would complain with every release of every movie about the dinosaurs not looking scientifically accurate. The most popular one, the T-rex, would go on as the Godzilla of the franchise. I say this because just like Godzilla the T-rex is a force to be reckoned with. The T-rex is basically the consequence of man playing God. The same can be said about the Velociraptors as well. I didn't really think much of the Velociraptors until Jurassic World was released in 2015. They were usually the much bigger threat than the T-rex. What I also like is the dinosaur fight in the movie. There is usually a fight between dinosaurs in almost every movie, but the fight scene between the T-rex and the Velociraptors is what popularized the T-rex in Jurassic Park.
There are some minor nitpicks I have with the movie. There are times where I can see where a scene cut looked sloppy. For instance, when the baby Velociraptor was hatching there was a claw that was seen holding the egg. When it cuts to a different angle of the egg hatching the claw is gone and the egg that was hatching seem to have restarted the hatching process. I thought there were two eggs hatching at the same time, but it's really the same egg. Another issue I have is more of a plot hole. When Dr. Grant rescued Lex out of the toppled over car and began helping Tim out, Lex screams at the sight of the T-rex and Dr. Grant had to cover her mouth and tell her to not move so the T-rex wouldn't see them. The book explained how Dr. Grant learned to not move from another dinosaur that they ran into earlier, but in the movie he just knows on the spot without any clear explanation. These are just minor nitpicks that I have, but other than that the movie is perfect. It is very different from the book, but this is a case where both the book and the movie are very good.
Final Thoughts: Jurassic Park still brings one of the most amazing cinematic experiences. From beginning to end the movie is still able to amaze me with the story, the characters, and the visuals. Jurassic Park is truly a masterpiece that will truly live on forever in movie history. I highly recommend watching this movie from beginning to end.