Classic Review: Jurassic Park (1993)

You know Steven Spielberg can practically handle anything and make it wonderful for fans and audiences alike. He made us be terrified to go in the ocean in Jaws, made us feel adventurous with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and he made us feel that a friendship between a boy and an alien became real in ET. But in 1993, he directed that has become a classic Sci-Fi classic and make us believe that dinosaurs can roam the earth once again in Jurassic Park. And if we need a director who can put out two movies in one year (the other being Schindler’s List), Spielberg’s the man.

The Story: 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 little, I was actually afraid of Jurassic Park around the time the third movie came out. Even though it came out in 1993, years later, I was scared because of the dinosaurs. Never even went on the rides at Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios because I would be frightened easily. But as the years passed, I grew to appreciate the craftiness that what put into this blockbuster to become one of the best films to ever come out not only of the ‘90s but of all time.

As based on Michael Crichton’s novel, the source material doesn’t draw towards from the screenplay from what I heard, but this seems to be accurate to be translated to screen. This isn’t your typical monster movie involving creatures that will kill/ eat you, but it’s really a film to actually sink your teeth into and pull you in this work of fiction that makes you believe you’re seeing prehistoric dinosaurs terrorizing people on this island. And I give credit to Crichton and David Koepp’s script, who both honestly fleshes out the story with interesting characters to really latch onto. Spielberg’s direction is magically experiencing an adventurous 65 million years in the making. He takes a lot of time not letting everything hit the fan very quickly and focuses on our players and go deep into why this is all happening.

Neill as Alan Grant is fantastic as this paleontologist who knows everything about dinosaurs but might grow to love kids one day. Dern as Ellie Sattler is terrific as she was actually a strong female protagonist throughout. Both of them have great chemistry with each other. Usually, when there are kid actors, I would get annoyed but I love Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim and Lexi (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards). And finally, in my opinion, one of the coolest movie characters ever written on screen is none other than Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm. Every line of dialogue he speaks is pure genius. His brilliance in every scene he’s in makes for an outstanding performance. Right from the start, he’s smart enough to know that this idea sounds bad. And by smart, I mean he’s really smart. For example, he explains to Dr. Sattler about chaos theory and explains how a drop of water from your hand could lean on either side. Never has science become so fascinating while watching a film about dinosaurs.

On a technical level, this film has the most groundbreaking visuals ever in cinema. Not since Terminator 2: Judgment Day has these special effects made everything on the screen look so life like. They presented these dinosaurs to their full advantage absolutely making it look like these are actual dinosaurs in the real world. One of the best scenes put to screen still to this day is the introduction to the T-rex. It’s that sequences alone that made it so scary and realistic with the use of both CGI and animatronics to make the creature perfectly which should be thanked by Stan Winston, Phil Tippett, Dennis Muren and Michael Lantieri for perfecting the animatronics. After years have passed, it does actually hold up even though some shots are clearly green screen.

John Williams’ score is one of the most memorable music put to film in history. Some of his pieces are beautifully composed as without his music, a lot of the scenes wouldn’t have that feeling of composure into feeling anything special with each passing scene. The amazement of our characters on the realization about actually seeing Brachiosaurus in front of their eyes is accompanied by this man’s inspirational music as Dr. Hammond says the famous line, “Welcome to Jurassic Park.” Made me shed a tear of joy. In my opinion, it should be considered as the top ten best soundtracks of all time. Which begs the question, how was this not nominated for Best Original Score?

As it made its 20th anniversary back in 2013, they re-released it in IMAX 3D, and it couldn’t be a better experience. This provided some the best post-converted 3D I’ve ever seen as it makes it looked like the dinosaurs are really coming at me with the classic scenes with the T-rex and the Raptors.

If I was alive in 1993, it would’ve blown my mind after seeing this awe-inspiring masterpiece that’s on par with Jaws. It changed the game in the movie industry and it’s still remembered to this day.

Jurassic Park is the definition of a Steven Spielberg classic bringing outstanding visuals and investing story into this stunning action/horror achievement of summer fun.

Grade: A


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