From the trembling glass of water to the triumphant roar of the T Rex toward the end of the film, Jurassic Park provided cinema with some of its greatest moments upon its release back in 1993. Combining the writing talents of Michael Crichton with the directorial prowess of Steven Spielberg, the film is nothing short of a thrill ride from start to finish.
Essentially Westworld with added dinosaurs, it tells of a theme park gone wrong. Elderly nature enthusiast / money lover John Hammond hides behind rose-tinted glasses as he invites Sam Neill and Laura Dern to the park to accompany lawyer and Malcolm in an investigative trip. The group watch in awe as they encounter the dinosaurs, genetically manufactured using fossilised mosquitoes, roaming the park. Heavily merchandised and set to make a LOT of money, nothing could go wrong. Could it?
Of course it could. Throw two children, a heavy tropical storm and a greedy fat man into the mix and you get a very angry, very nibbled Samuel L. Jackson. Worryingly proving Malcolm’s Chaos Theory correct, the Park falls into disarray as the security systems fail and the dinos escape. Terror comes from all sides as the characters battles for survival against acid-spitting, fearsomely intelligent beasts intent on having a snack or two.
If that wasn’t enough the Amphibian DNA the geneticists used to help create the 65 million year old creatures has destroyed the safeguards implemented to ensure the dinosaurs couldn’t procreate. Although its a threat much more prominent in the book, the implications are nonetheless severe. The terror Spielbergs weaves throughout the film is palpable and, when the T Rex slowly tears the few remaining disarmed cables that stand between him and the principle characters, you know Spielberg’s going to work his magic. The scene that follows is arguably the best in the film, resulting in a very undignified toilet death.
As you’d expect from a Spielberg production the acting is superb, with Jeff Goldblum playing the annoyingly brilliant mathmetician Malcolm with, well, annoying brilliancy. The children never stray into twee terriotory, instead holding their own against the prehistoric backdrop. The stand-out performances however come from the dinos themselves. The effects remain remarkable to this day, with the close-ups seeming all too real. The infamous kitchen scene provides the velociraptors with some much-needed screen time, their menace oozing from the screen as they hunt for something a bit more substantial than a rump steak from the depths of the industrial kitchen.
The acclaim Jurassic Park still receives is well deserved. Well-scripted (thanks to Crichton’s input), beautifully shot and impressively put together, Jurassic Park proves life will indeed find a way… and will have two sequels to boot.
Key shot: The water trembling is now a Spielberg trademark.
Blink and you’ll miss it: Look closely and you’ll see that the wing mirror reflecting the chasing T Rex says ‘Objects in mirror are closer than they appear’. Cripes.