Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park got the Steven Spielberg treatment with 1993’s film of the same name. The movie blazed new trails in practical and CGI effects. In fact, the CGI in that film is still considered by some as some of the best CGI in cinematic history. John Williams handled the musical duties and knocked it out of the, cough, park. The cast featured Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler, two scientists sent to Isla Nublar, home of a new park that features dinosaurs brought back to life through science, in order to give it their stamp of approval. Along for the ride is Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a chaos theorist who attempts to be a voice of reason, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero), a lawyer representing investors, and John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the man who hopes to bring his dream of a dinosaur park to life.
Of course, everything goes wrong and the small group (including Hammond’s grandchildren played by Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello) end up in a fight for their lives. If you haven’t seen this film, you’re missing out big time.
The film would spawn four sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (loosely based on the second novel with some of the first book crammed in for good measure), Jurassic Park III (utilizing characters from Crichton’s books in a new story), Jurassic World (featuring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard), and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (releasing in the United States on June 22, 2018). Each one of these sequels has proven to be profitable, but the consensus is that the story quality deteriorated with the second and third films. The fourth film, which takes place over twenty years after the original, has managed to correct the franchise’s course, but still lacks the magic and wonder that the original film had in my opinion.
While the films have had some memorable supporting characters portrayed by actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, B.D. Wong, Wayne Knight, Bob Peck, Richard Schiff, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Pete Postlethwaite, Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Michael Jeter, Irrfan Khan, and Vincent D’Onofrio, it’s the dinosaurs that are the real stars. The Tyrannosaurus Rex, Spinosaurus, and a genetic hybrid known as the Indominus Rex have all been key dinosaurs over the course of the films, but it is the Velociraptor that has become the most popular dinosaur out of the bunch. They became so popular, in fact, that some of them were given names in the newest films in the series, with Blue being the one raptor that stood out from the rest.
There have been quite a few deviations from the books in the films, especially when it comes to who lives and who dies. Muldoon was one of my favorite characters in the first book and he survives the raptor attack on the page. I was ticked off when he wasn’t as lucky in the film. Hammond survived in the film but dies in the book. Gennaro survived in the book but dies in the film. He’s also a lot braver in the book. A number of characters have much larger roles in the book, in particular Dr. Wu ( portrayed in the films by BD Wong), who appears to have become a primary villain in the newest sequels.
As time has passed, Jurassic Park has become one of the most beloved films in cinematic history. It paved the way for modern CGI but also did an excellent job of blending practical effects with computer generated effects. It did a great job of building suspense and had quite a few genuinely scary moments. Many of the cast members went on to star in other big films or had solid careers as character actors.
There’s no denying the legacy of Jurassic Park and its sequels. People still watch the original film and continue to collect any and all things Jurassic that they can get their hands on from clothing to toys and other collector’s items. The film also triggered interest in paleontology and dinosaurs in general. My son is one of the many young minds that has been inspired by the film and its sequels.
As always, thanks for reading. Let me know what you think about the film in the comments section and look out for my review of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in the near future!