Director: steven spielberg (every single brilliant movie ever)
Starring: sam neill, laura dern, jeff goldblum, and richard attenborough
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park's mastermind, billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when various ferocious predators break free and go on the hunt.
When I was six years old John*, one of my classmates, told us all how he had just been to see a new movie, Jurassic Park. He went on to tell us that it had scared him so much that he had run out of the cinema. John should never had told us that. We mocked him mercilessly. (*Name changed to protect 'John's' identity).
If Jaws launched the summer blockbuster Jurassic Park completely flipped it on his head. The story, its characters, the blend of both practical and CGI effects, and the riveting action not only changed the way in which movies are made but how we watch them. To also think that Spielberg was shooting Schindler's List at the same time makes his feat with Jurassic Park all the more remarkable.
The story is a simple one: scientists have been messing around with genetics and have brought dinosaurs back to life on an isolated island. Through a series of man made and nature induced disasters the dinosaurs break lose, hunting down the islands human occupants.
In a big, hulking blockbuster it would be easy to forget any form of character development and instead focus on the scares and blistering action. But Jurassic Park doesn't do that - we see the relationship between Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Dr. Grant's dislike of children and his growing affection for John Hammond's grandchildren Lex and Tim, Dennis' evil motivations, and many more character arcs. Because of this attention to development we really care when these characters are in peril which adds to the nail bitting tension throughout the film.
As I re - watched Jurassic Park for this look back I was expecting the CGI dinosaurs to look incredibly dated. But they haven't aged a day even though Jurassic Park is 25 years old. I guess what made it such a game changer in '93 makes it one of the reasons why its still so great today. The CGI makes us believe that the dinosaurs aren't something dreamed up in a computer but that they are indeed real - right there before our very eyes.
Sam Neill is utterly brilliant as Dr. Alan Grant, one of the greatest things about the Jurassic Park/World franchise. He's fiercely intelligent, comes up with little quips, and is brave to a fault. He is matched if not bettered in some instances by Dr. Ellie Sattler (Dern), who isn't just some damsel in distress but gets to perform her share of daring deeds. Jeff Goldblum as the the brilliant mathematician is his smooth talking, super cool self to a T (don't you just wanna be as cool as him?) Richard Attenborough - what a legend. Watching Jurassic Park afresh is tinged with a little sadness knowing that this great acting giant is no longer with us. His gentlemanly demeanour gives way to steely determination as the film enters its third act.
The pacing, action sequences, special effects, are absolutely top class. And John Williams score - man, what a score! You will be humming it for days. Everything works and does so brilliantly. Welcome, to Jurassic Park.
It's a classic. That is all.