$2.50 Reviews: Jurassic Park (1993)

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$2.50 Reviews

Jurassic Park

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"I liked the part when there were dinosaurs" just about sums up my thoughts regarding Jurassic Park. Luckily enough, the film contains enough of the currently extinct creatures to be a worthwhile experience. The human characters are largely forgotten about, as is their story and their personalities, but that's to be expected in a special effects extravaganza movie. You're here for the dinosaurs, the characters are here for the dinosaurs, and as long as the dinosaurs are present or could be present for most of the running time, we're happy after watching it.

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The first time they're revealed, our main characters have recently come to an island owned by a billionaire named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), who has figured out a way to clone dinosaur DNA, fill in missing portions with frog DNA, and create living dinosaurs. We see the brachiosauruses first, and our eyes are as wide open as those of the characters. Two paleontologists, Alan and Ellie (Sam Neill and Laura Dern) have come to the island on a promise that if they sign off on its safety, the rich owner will fund their research for the next three years. They have no idea what to expect, and neither did we.

They're accompanied by a few others -- two children, a lawyer, a mathematician -- and they're about to take a trip around the island. It will be a theme park, Mr. Hammond tells them, and after they're assured of its safety, it will be open to the public. Well, not right away, as there are some bugs to work out, but after it's finished, people from all over the world will be able to visit the dinosaurs. That's the plan, anyway, and all that needs to happen is one successful tour.

If you guessed that the tour won't be a success, you're correct. The person managing the security system has gone rogue, and while attempting to sneak out some research samples, with the addition of a tropical storm, all of the security systems go offline. These people all end up trapped inside the park, without power, and with dinosaurs on the prowl. Oh, and of course, that storm can cause problems on its own, with strong winds and pounding rain not making anything easy.

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There are points in Jurassic Park when it seems like the filmmakers are trying to make us scared. It plays out like a horror film at points, and it's effective at doing so. I know my pulse was higher than resting level during some of these scenes. However, I couldn't help almost wanting the dinosaurs to appear to chase the characters or maybe even eat them. They're such marvels to look at and admire that I found myself hoping that they'd show up more frequently so that I could see more of them.

And they do look amazing. While there's a little bit of dodgy CGI here and there -- this was 1993, after all -- it's hard to deny how spectacular all of the dinosaurs look. Director Steven Spielberg and his team have managed to bring dinosaurs to life through CGI, animatronics and puppetry, and it's the dinosaurs that sell the film. If it were just an amusement park with dangerous animals, it wouldn't even be worth seeing. But with the fantastic dinosaurs, it becomes something that is absolutely worth your time.

Unfortunately, this means that the humans become secondary. It's hard to care or even root for them when so much focus is being placed on the dinosaurs. None of the humans are fully realized characters, getting about half-way there but not coming close enough to be real people. They're all caricatures, and many of them are actually annoying, leading me to a desire to see them eaten by the dinos. Actually, the velociraptors get more character depth than some of the people in Jurassic Park, and that's just sad.

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With that said, the dinosaurs look so good that it's hard to care all that much about how the humans are secondary. By about the midway point, I was only watching for the cloned creatures anyway, so having underdeveloped humans didn't bother me all that much. I just wanted to see what the dinosaurs would do next that the humans could just stand there and I would probably have been okay with it, as long as the dinosaurs were still doing cool dinosaur things.

Surprisingly, the whole moral quandary about whether or not cloning dinosaurs and using them as an amusement park attraction is right never really comes up. When it does, it's quickly pushed aside, presumably because the audience doesn't want to hear about it when dinosaurs are the only thing keeping the film together. If you're watching for the dinosaurs, do you really want to listen to people talk about how using them for entertainment purposes is morally wrong? Of course not. So the film skips over that so that we can just watch the awesome dinosaurs do whatever it is the filmmakers envision them doing.

Jurassic Park is a must-watch film even if, apart from the amazingly rendered dinosaurs, it's nothing special. But because of the dinos, you have to watch this film. The human characters aren't particularly important, nor is anything else surrounding them. You're here to see the dinosaurs, and so are the characters. You want dinosaurs, and that's exactly what you get with Jurassic Park, which is thrilling and exciting, but only when the prehistoric creatures are shown.

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Well that final bit was a given but that second screen is from Jurrassic Park 3 not from, well, this one. And also I have a problem could you tell me what you think it is?

Man this is one of the few movies that can stand the test of time.

Looks way better than most movies these days

Oh and I love the arcade shooter tie in for the movie

cojo965:
And also I have a problem could you tell me what you think it is?

I have no idea what you mean.

Marik2:
Man this is one of the few movies that can stand the test of time.

Looks way better than most movies these days

It definitely looks better than some.

Marter:

cojo965:
And also I have a problem could you tell me what you think it is?

I have no idea what you mean.

Marik2:
Man this is one of the few movies that can stand the test of time.

Looks way better than most movies these days

It definitely looks better than some.

Well what I mean is today I tried to post a thread in the Gaming Disscusion forums and I tried to put it up twice but both times I got a 404 error. Any ideas?

cojo965:

Marter:

cojo965:
And also I have a problem could you tell me what you think it is?

I have no idea what you mean.

Marik2:
Man this is one of the few movies that can stand the test of time.

Looks way better than most movies these days

It definitely looks better than some.

Well what I mean is today I tried to post a thread in the Gaming Disscusion forums and I tried to put it up twice but both times I got a 404 error. Any ideas?

If it's your Witcher 2 thread, it did get posted. Twice. If it's a 404 error, just wait and it'll almost always just turn up.

And this type of conversation is better done in PMs.

Pretty spot on. This movie is pretty much my childhood and even today the dinosaurs look so good.

I remeber this movie as one of those movies that when I was a child it was literally one of the biggest deals and was one of those movies frm your childhood like the Sandlot

Marik2:

.. .. Wow .. . even in 2012, those special effects are jaw dropping compared to most movies made today. I mean, yeah sorry to say this- but The Amazing Spiderman should be ashamed for how they made lizardman in this age while in 1993, the makers behind Jurassic Park made every dinosaur including the T-Rex especially look downright realistic (apart from them using puppets at times but that was perfectly ok!)

OT: Yeah I remember this movie well, it was one of my favorites until The Dark Knight came out. But no doubt did I love this movie.. it's one of those legacy movies that made Universal Studios what it is today. Also I know exactly what you mean about those scary scenes Marter, like when the female protagonist went into the velociraptor section below and that particular scene with the human hand hanging while suddenly a velociraptor comes out from behind. That was a real scare, I still remember it well lol.

I had to read a Michael Crichton book for Uni. It was annoying as hell. (He wrote the book of Jurassic Park, and if that other book I read is emblematic, it's his real weakness that his characters are annoying and vaguely drawn).

Jurassic Park was my favourite film as a child. I was tempted to go back and watch it again not so long ago, but decided that all this could do is ruin some happy memories of being 7 years old...

However this review seems rather kind on it, so I may have to go back and re-live that childlike excitement.

Uhm... I disagree with your opinion.
I think that your problem is that you came to that movie only wanting to see some dinosaur scenes. You can't say that Jurassic Park was a bad movie and that only its dinosaur scenes where nice..
If not anything else,Jurassic Park was one of the movies with the best scenarios/plots from any unreal being-based movie. What can you match to Jurassic Parks scenario ? Resident Evil ? Alien ?

The fact that you ignored the movie's scenario or didn't get it,doesn't make it a bad movie.
Sure the action scenes are exciting,but it's not a "special effects whore" by any means. It did had great special effects,but the total time they are used in the movie is nothing like the typical special effect shows like most modern comic hero based movies.

It's plot actually is quite original and the movie should be endorsed for that. A millionaire decides to use the latest scientific finds of biology to resurrect extinct species to exploit them for financial profit,and because of greed things get wrong.
This movie not only has a plot that got me interested,but it also paces itself very nice,and there is also the fact that the scenario is showcasing ethic dilemmas.
Should humans play it God ? Should living creatures get patented by corporations ? Is going against nature a wise thing ?

And you also say that there is not enough character development. Hammond is an arrogant and greedy rich man that always wanted to impress people with his works,and seems like he cares more for his investments that the lives of people. Dennis Nedry is a lazy basement dweler and a traitor that has no friends 'cause he always puts himself above others and is looking for his own good without caring about other people. Ian Malcolm is a mathematician that makes bad jokes and is bad at his relationships with women as he got married and divorced 3 times ,yet he is the most logical person and a brave man. Alan Grant is a paleontologist loving his job very much and wants to fund his excavations,he is a badass without being a jerk,he dislikes and get bored with kids,but is also a brave man. What more would someone expect from a 90 minutes movie regarding character development ? The complete bios of the lives of the characters up to this point ? It would be technically impossible,well except if all the movie showed was them talking about the past of their lives.

Last,what I want to add is that as most of the time it is true with films based on books,the book is better than the movie.

 

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