Any person would be hard pressed to deny “Jurassic Park” as one of the greatest films of all time. Steven Spielberg took a story that was too advanced for the technology of its time and forced technology to catch up. This film is masterful on so many different levels that it appeals to everybody in different ways. As a young child, I was terrified of the rainy T-Rex attack and the raptors in the kitchen. As an adult, I’m amazed by the realism of the dinosaurs and enjoy all of the one-liners. As a movie buff, I appreciate the attention to detail and seamlessness of the story. The genius begins with the story by Michael Crichton. The world has always been fascinated by dinosaurs and his story brings dinosaurs to life (literally) through scientific logic and the fixation on genetic engineering that dominated the early 90’s. The credibility of the science is what elevates this story above a standard monster movie. Crichton’s script is a perfect blend of terror and comedy while incorporating scientific explanations into the dialogue so that we gain the scientific knowledge without feeling like we are learning. Science fiction films are notorious for focusing so much on the concept that acting and dialogue go by the wayside. That is not the case for this film and I would argue that it was deserving of Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, in addition to its Oscar wins for the special effect and sound categories. All of the actors give above-average performances, from Richard Attenborough’s denial of the park’s inferiority and Sam Neill’s heroism to Laura Dern’s emotional moments and Ariana Richards’ blood-curdling screams. Jeff Goldblum, Wayne Knight, and Samuel L. Jackson give memorable performances in these character roles while Martin Ferrero makes a perfect “blood-sucking lawyer.” Even with an amazing script and great actors, this film became a blockbuster because of its special effects. You would swear that these were real dinosaurs and the combination of animatronics and computer animation makes us feel like we could reach out and touch them (whereas a lot of modern films have the appearance of video games because everything is CGI). I can only imagine being on the set with a giant animatronic T-Rex. You would think that all of the scary scenes would take place during the night but the adrenaline-pumping T-Rex attack sets you up to be scared throughout the rest of the film, the majority of which takes place during the day. Even more fascinating is the story’s ability to negate our childhood notion of the T-Rex being the scariest of the dinosaurs and shift this title to the raptors. It is chock-full of iconic moments, from the water ripples as the T-Rex approaches to the rearview mirror shot during the chase scene and Jackson's famous "Hold on to your butts." The score by John Williams completes the film, reflecting the beauty of this realized dream through its theme while enhancing the terror of the scary scenes. “Jurassic Park” is one of a kind, presenting dinosaurs as wild animals instead of as monsters. The franchise has had its ups and downs, but the original has become a cinematic rite-of-passage for young viewers and the film that everybody associates with dinosaurs. Its legacy is cemented in the fact that no other filmmaker has tried to create a modern-age story about dinosaurs since this film came out 22 years ago. Any attempt would be pointless - “Jurassic Park” will never be matched.
[Pictured: Jurassic Park is THE dinosaur movie]