“Jurassic Park” is truly a genre defining film. So of course, I’d be buying my tickets to see it on the big screen…in 3D no less! It follows the development of a theme park built on a remote island. The park is designed to get tourists from all over the world to see dinosaurs created from a lab. Owner John Hammond needs the approval from paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sadler to proceed with the park’s construction. But when the technology at the park fails, the dinosaurs break loose and cause havoc to those inspecting it. Will the group survive the chaos?
What can I say about “Jurassic Park” that hasn’t already been said? The film is a generational achievement that stands the test of time. What’s crazy is that the film looks and feels more immersive than most films made in the current day. From top to bottom, the movie is top notch. Spielberg crafts tension wonderfully by building the dinosaurs’ uncontrollable nature into the film before their arrival. Those educated on the animals know how dangerous they can be and how creating a park like this could be catastrophic. Sam Neill and Laura Dern portray the leads very well, being characters that are wholesome yet concerned. Intelligent but not arrogant. Their portrayal perfectly contrasts with Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond, the well-meaning but mistaken owner of the park. His character’s evolution throughout the film could mirror that of the audience’s, whose awe and wonder of the concept could sweep them up in the excitement. But the harsh reality of scientific evolution throughout millions of years cannot be stopped. Dinosaurs are not to be trifled with!
Jeff Goldblum is the performance to be noted though. He plays the witty Ian Malcolm, who realizes the park’s dangers before anyone else. There are so many classic lines he delivers that stand true even today. He clashes with John about the ideas of interfering with natural evolution, where playing God and turning it into a profitable scenario would be problematic. Some things are best left in the past as he would put it. But one new addition to explore is the 3D. To my surprise, it was adjusted well, especially when a dinosaur’s face would lunge at the screen. Not seamless, but it was better than the reformatted Jaws a few years back. The old school special effects still hold up though. Seeing the T-Rex approach the trucks in the rain and terrorize the children felt real. Genuinely like there was something on screen as a threat larger than life, not a computerized dinosaur that takes audiences out of the experience. This is the purpose of special effects: to enhance the experience of a film, not be saturated in it.
I really enjoy that Spielberg creates a film that is smart enough to be thought provoking, but accessible enough to trust the audience in deciphering its larger themes. It isn’t trying to be too smart for its own good and doesn’t dumb it down to become another mindless blockbuster. The film knows how to toe the line very well, which is why it will continue to age well. I’m amazed at what the film accomplished in a runtime of just over two hours. The pacing is exceptional, avoiding long winded segments that feel unnecessary. When the film ended, I couldn’t believe it went that fast. “Jurassic Park” knows how to intertwine smart dialogue, terrifying chases, pulse-pounding action, and thoughtful commentary.
“Jurassic Park” has always been a film that translated well to at-home TVs. But the theatrical experience is a place where it shines! I think the 3D was a gimmick that wasn’t completely necessary for the re-release. Certain elements of the 3D were cool to see, but I think formatting it in IMAX might have been more effective. There are a few aspects of the story that get a little farfetched, especially in the third act. When the kids were able to push away a raptor as the door closed or when the T-Rex comes to the rescue at the end, those were instances where I thought, “Meh, I’ll just roll with it I guess”. But they didn’t take away from my experience with the film. It is a thoroughly entertaining and groundbreaking sci-fi epic.
I’m so glad I got a chance to see this on the big screen. “Jurassic Park” helped define genres and a generation of filmgoers. It reminds me why I love going to the movies, where a group of people from all different backgrounds and experiences can sit together and immerse into the same experience. I turned my head and peeked around, witnessing so many people oohing and aahing at the screen. That’s the kind of movie “Jurassic Park” is, one that will never go out of style. One that will capture the hearts of audiences everywhere. It’s that good. Of course, I highly recommend the film and would love to see future entries in the franchise borrow the best of this film. While at the same time, we can forget the missteps of the “Jurassic World” films.