Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park Pic 015
Originally uploaded by Pineapples101
I run the risk of sounding like a giant dork when I say this, but Jurassic Park is one of my favorite Steven Spielberg films ever. I honestly think it’s the first movie that the theatre going experience stuck in my memory, and to this day I remember being scared of the dinosaurs even though I was fascinated; I remember the T-Rex being so loud as he ran after our protagonists that the floor was vibrating and that I tucked my feet under me in my seat because of this.

For anyone that hasn’t seen Jurassic Park you are missing out. It is Spielberg at his blockbuster best. The film is iconic proof that you can make a good adaptation of a great novel, maintain action and suspense without sacrificing character and story and even appeal to kids and adults alike. It has style, great direction and even moved the art of special effects forward.

Jurassic Park is the amusement park of the twentieth century and after an unfortunate accident creator John Hammond needs to get experts in the field to sign off on his park so he can convince his investors to move forward with funding. When archeologists Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler & chaotician Ian Malcolm arrive they are treated to the parks true wonder – Hammond and his scientists have found a way to clone dinosaurs and have them on display in his private island theme park. However, when the Grant, Sattler and Malcolm are sent on a tour of the park with Hammond’s lawyer and grandchildren something goes terribly wrong and the dinosaurs begin to overrun the park and turn the tables on the humans that recreated them.

This plot line is a perfect example of how to stay faithful to the source material yet make it work for film. If you have ever read the novel Jurassic Park is based on I think you will agree that the film is different in a lot of ways, yet somehow a faithful film. What Spielberg and crew managed to do was take all of the wonder, science and human interest from the book to the screen and keep the central dilemma – man vs. nature.

Part of what works so well about the film is that Spielberg made the film to be exactly what it should be – a monster movie. This is a story about science, nature and chaos, but more than anything this is a modern Frankenstein; man became too ambitious and tried to create life and now must deal with what happens when these creatures turn on them. The monsters are scary, but every character knows the events that are occurring are simply the nature of the beast.

I wish that the follow-ups to Jurassic Park were as good as the original, but sadly Spielberg’s first is the crown-jewel of the three film franchise. Even though he directed the second and some pretty cool elements are in there, nothing can hold a candle to the first foray into the world of Jurassic Park.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writing: Michael Crichton & David Koepp
Dr. Alan Grant: Sam Neill
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Laura Dern
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Jeff Goldblum
John Hammond: Richard Attenborough
Robert Muldoon: Richard Peck
Gennaro: Martin Ferrero
Tim Murphy: Joseph Mazzello
Lex Murphy: Ariana Richards
Ray Arnold: Samuel L. Jackson
Dennis Nedry: Wayne Knight

John Hammond: Dr. Grant... if there's one person here who can appreciate what I'm trying to do.
Dr. Alan Grant: The world is changing so fast, and we're all running to catch up. I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but look. Dinosaurs and man... two species separated by 65 million years of evolution, have suddenly been thrown into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea of what to expect?
John Hammond: I don't believe it! Hah! I don't believe it! You're supposed to come here and defend me against these characters and the only one I've got on my side is the bloodsucking lawyer!
Gennaro: Thank you.

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