Overview: A trial run of a dinosaur theme park goes awry when the exhibits fail to contain their main attraction. Universal Pictures. 1993. Rated PG-13. 127 minutes.
They’re baaccckkk: The best thing about Jurassic Park? Come on. It’s obvious. Even two decades later, the dinosaurs are still kick-ass, and necessarily so. The movie’s success is entirely dependent upon the believability of its dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg’s decision to nix stop-motion in favor of animatronics and the up-and-coming CGI ensured Jurassic Park’s giant leap from The Lost World and King Kong. While the transitions between animatronics and CGI aren’t flawless, the moment you catch the T-Rex’s eye dilating, focusing on his would-be-lunch, you’ll be sold.
Jurassic Park is an all-encompassing grand illusion, a world where dinosaurs have been re-born into captivity at the hands of short-sighted scientists. To say these dinosaurs are life-like is to undercut what has been achieved. Never before has an audience seen dinosaurs come to life in such a believable and ultimately horrifying manner. Not only did Jurassic Park invigorate a new generation of dinosaur enthusiasts, but it also solidified our perception of how dinosaurs moved, sounded, and interacted.
Dinosaur Food: The characters serve as little more than dino-spectators, and, at times, dino-feed. The dinosaurs are the crème de la crème. It’s hard to compete with a velociraptor. (Just ask Laura Dern.) Character development was clearly not a priority; which leads me to the worst part: the casting was good. Jurassic Park was comprised of actors capable of living up to the larger-than-life world they’d been thrust into. If Spielberg would have spent a fraction of as much time directing his actors as he did catering to his animatronic T-Rex, he could have propelled the movie beyond summer blockbuster.
NEWMAN!: In what truly should have been the catalyst for the impending chaos, Wayne “Newman” Knight’s B storyline serves as little more than a comic farce. Here is an opportunity to juxtapose Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the eccentric, filthy rich park creator with the disgruntled employee who sabotages it for his own gain. Each man yields too much singular power, resulting in dire consequences, but the opportunity is missed, the moral compass dropped to indulge a dinosaur chase.
Holes: If you’re a stickler for plot, science, or facts, this one may not be for you. Plot holes—and set holes, for that matter—infect the entirety of the film. Take the T-Rex enclosure, for instance. That alone proves less plausible than the cloned, back-to-life dinosaur it magically housed. Audiences easily suspend their disbelief because—hey, look! Dinosaur!
It’s Depressing: And not for the reasons you’d expect. You’ll come to accept that Jurassic Park isn’t real, and sadly, you will never have your car nuzzled by a Tyrannosaurs Rex. And yeah, the ending would kind of lead you to believe that maybe that’s for the best. But I had high hopes for tour two faring better. After all, the same thing happened at the opening of Disneyland—well, sorta.