Released 6/11/93 Rated: PG-13
Steven Spielberg’s movie Jurassic Park is a film that takes its viewers on the ride of a lifetime. Made in the Hollywood era that shows no sign of its end, this film is considered to be a blockbuster, chalk full of action and special effects. Gone are the days when the majority of movies made the viewer think to get to the end; all they want is a ride, and Spielberg delivers.
Jurassic Park takes the concept of giving the audience a ride almost literally. Even though there are no roller coasters in the park—yet, according to Hammond, the film has no shortage of the stomach-churning excitement and thrills that come from actually riding one. The ride the film takes the audience on begins with the helicopter descending on the island. There are one or two sudden drops as the helicopter tries to land, mimicking its actual theme park ride counterparts. Then it follows up with a few informational, as opposed to thrilling, rides. And lastly, there is the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense when the audience finally gets to see the main attraction: the dinosaurs.
Amusement parks can bring out the child in anyone, and that is definitely a theme in this movie. There is a childlike innocence and simplicity to the beauty of the island; it can even be seen as a deception to the terror that awaits the approaching visitors. For example, when the dinosaur hatches from the egg, signifying birth, despite the fact that it is the vicious breed Dr. Grant was describing not long before. And when Allen and Ellie see the living dinosaurs for the first time; Allen points to it, turns to Ellie and says in awe: “It’s…it’s a dinosaur.” A childhood dream come true for both of them. The video that explains how the dinosaurs were made is geared more towards children with pictures and smaller words. Other safer moments the characters encounter in the park could be seen similar to that of a petting-zoo. Then all hell breaks loose, and our children have to grow up. The biggest evidence of this change is at the very end with John Hammond. In the scene when everyone is boarding the helicopter to leave the island, from a low angle the camera shows Hammond looking out at the island, sad to leave. This shot views him, no longer as a child, but as an adult; visually he’s taller, as opposed to the beginning of the film when the camera shot him from a high angle, he was like a child; visually smaller. He wanted to show the world what he had created, but the mishaps at the park and the realization that he cannot handle what he brought to life took away his innocents, and turned him into an adult.
I liked how they didn’t necessarily make the T-Rex the ultimate villain. Even though he is the king of the dinosaurs, the T-Rex usually has a negative connotation about it. But here, even though it’s the first one to go after the humans, it’s the one who ultimately saves our main characters at the end of the film.
The magic of Jurassic Park was made using a combination of animatronics and CGI technology. While Spielberg didn’t have half the trouble getting these animatronics to work like he had to deal with on Jaws, he had some issues, but he got them to work. Despite the fact that it’s almost twenty years old, I think the effects still hold up remarkably well. Not too many movies with CGI made around this time can say that. This movie is for anyone who is looking for a thrill, but cannot get the amusement park.