In light of the upcoming addition to the Jurassic Park franchise, the much anticipated ‘Jurassic World’ (UK release date 11/06/2015), I’m taking a nostalgic look back at where it all started.
Way back in 1993, Spielberg blessed us with ‘Jurassic Park’, a film which in my opinion at least, raised the bar for all of cinema. The franchise quickly became an icon of popular culture, and whilst two fairly successful further films (‘The Lost World’ & ‘Jurassic Park III’) extended the phenomenon, the plot of Jurassic World will continue directly on from the original story, as if the next two films hadn’t happened.
For those of you who don’t know by now, the plot of Jurassic Park is relatively high concept and easy enough to explain. In a move typical of the sci-fi genre, a team of scientists led by John Hammond (played superbly by Richard Attenborough), create something that inevitably they can’t control; in this case, Dinosaurs. Whilst Hammond has noble intentions, desiring only to build a Dinosaur theme park for everyone to enjoy, the less honourable agendas of others, such as the parks computer network engineer, Dennis Nedry (played by Wayne Knight), have disastrous consequences for the parks first visitors.
Palaeontologist’s Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are recruited alongside mathematician, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and concerned Lawyer Donald Genarro (Martin Ferrero), to test out the park. But when the park’s security shuts down during their visit, the attractions quickly get less amazing and more terrifying. After a T- Rex escapes from its enclosure and makes a meal out of one horrified lawyer, the survivors decide (SPOLIER!) not to endorse the park.
Nonetheless, with all the terror and spectacle that Jurassic Park is, at its core is a truly heart-warming film. Amongst all the ‘Dino action’, is the gentle story of Dr. Grant realising his fatherly instinct as he bounds with Hammonds grandchildren, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards), on their perilous journey through the park.
There is so much to love about his film. The special effects, unlike anything ever seen before at the time, are still amazing and capture the audience’s imagination 22 years later. The way the CGI captures the movement and texture of the Dinosaurs achieves intense levels of realism. In fact, the cinematography throughout the entire film is stunning. The establishing shot of the island (shown below) as they arrive perfectly captures the beauty and immensity of the place. Combine that picture with the goose-bump-inducing music by John Williams and you create an unparalleled sense of adventure.
The film is filled with thrilling action sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat. It seems that the Dinosaurs of main concern, at least for Park Ranger Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) that is, are the Raptors. This gives rise to a particularly tense scene (SPOILER!) where Muldoon, whilst hunting one, is outsmarted by the other, appearing out of the undergrowth to attack him from the side, but not before they share a moment of mutual respect when Robert utters his iconic and equally chilling last words ‘clever girl…’. Interestingly, it seems that the new park ranger of-sorts (Chris Pratt) has the raptors under control in Jurassic world.
Perhaps the only criticism to be made would be that it leaves you wanting more. I would have liked to have seen more of the Dinosaurs behaving naturally. Don’t get me wrong, the spectacle of seeing a T-Rex in full rampage mode was more than satisfying enough, but I did get a feeling, perhaps comparable to that of being on safari when the lions are a no show, that there was more to see. Happily, it appears that this desire will be addressed by Jurassic World, where audiences will finally get to see a fully operational Jurassic Park – we have waited over 20 years for it after all.