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Wayback Wednesday: Jurassic Park (1993)

My love for this movie will never go extinct!

This is it, you guys. I think we’ve officially reached the review of the movie that I have legitimately watched 28,000 times. I’m going to go on record and say that Jurassic Park (1993) is more ingrained into my brain than the alphabet. Oh, I’m not joking bitch. A STAPLE of my childhood viewing, this iconic (get used to reading that word in this review) movie is definitely tied with The Mummy (1999) for the movie I’ve seen the most in my life. Period. Ok, well maybe Titanic (1997) too. Oh, and quite possibly Aladdin (1992). By the way, check out my review for those movies here and here. What can I say? Movies from the 1990s are my jam. Case in point, I just watched this movie back in January for the 28,001st time and I’m not mad in the slightest that I’m watching it again so soon.

Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.50.30 AM
Credit: / Universal Pictures

Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park follows a group of visitors touring the titular wildlife park, an incredible island where wealthy businessman John Hammond and a team of genetic scientists have successfully cloned once extinct dinosaurs. When industrial sabotage leads to the disastrous shutdown of the park’s power and security, the group must survive and navigate the dinosaurs now running loose on the island while trying to find a way to escape.

It’s amazing that something that sounds like it could be the plot of a crappy made-for-TV movie on the Sci-Fi channel instead became one of the most beloved, acclaimed and successful movies of all time. I suppose it takes a visionary director like the one and only Steven Spielberg and the AMAZING production team he assembled to elevate a potentially hokey premise into a terrifying thrill-ride that’s also jam-packed with heart and charm. Jurassic Park is single-handedly responsible for igniting every 90s kid’s love of and fascination with dinosaurs. You better believe that as a response, the 90s then FLOODED every possible market with dinosaur related media. Like John Hammond, Spielberg successfully revived an extinct interest and made it a phenomenon for generations to fall in love with again. Serious question, what was the last great Spielberg movie? Like, the one that was universally loved, changed the game and made a generation of movie-goers fall in love with cinema? Was it THIS? It just might be. When it comes to crafting a truly indescribable viewing experience, few movies reach the level of achievement that Jurassic Park does. This movie is THE definition of movie magic.

Many movies have tried but few have replicated the awe-inspiring wonder of Jurassic Park. Almost 30 years later, this movie remains unrivalled when it comes to special and practical effects. To this day, you cannot tell me that they weren’t filming real dinosaurs. Every scene looks AMAZING! I could certainly be wrong, but I don’t think there is a green screen in sight. I’m sure there was one used at some point, but surely not in any way that’s obvious. 

BITCH. I can’t even put into words how incredibly breathtaking these animatronic dinosaurs are! Practical effects are such an art form and this movie is a Louvre full of masterpieces. I’m looking at a real triceratops! There it is! I refuse to believe otherwise! This movie made so many of us, kids and adults alike, believe in magic and kudos to the entire effects team because they sold the damn fantasy! Stan Winston, the incredible technician behind the live-action dinosaurs, is a legend. The practical effects are obviously top-tier but even the CGI looks mind-blowingly awesome. And no, not just for 1993, but in general. Like, look at how atrocious the effects in Godzilla (1998) look. By the way, check out my review for that movie, here. What’s most shocking is that Jurassic Park was made for only $63 million which is chump change when you consider the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on so called blockbusters these days. And honestly, a lot of those blockbusters don’t come anywhere close to having the lovability or longevity of Jurassic Park.

Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant is the heartbeat of this movie. He grounds it. His character, one with a love and respect for dinosaurs who then grows to see the danger and horror of something he would have once considered a dream come true, is brilliant. The movie as a whole does a great job of showing the duality of the very idea of an attraction like Jurassic Park. Just how awesome and how horrifying it would truly be. Neill captures that human experience and thought process and conveys it flawlessly. Remember when actors like Neill were the leading men in movies? Actors with actual palpable talent and unexplainable charisma who were realistically handsome and made us genuinely believe in the roles they were playing? All while doing an unclockable American accent? I love Sam Neill. Bring back the Sam Neills of the world!

There are no weak links in this cast. Everyone is exceptionally cast and play their parts to perfection. Even the child actors! They aren’t annoying which is a rarity in movies! Especially child actors in later instalments of the Jurassic series (1993 – 2022). Can we talk about LAURA FUCKING DERN though? Just being the most beautiful, the most charming, the most talented and the best character in this movie? I’ve always had a soft spot for her because she reminds me of my mom, but aside from that, Ms. Dern is eating these girls up more than the raptors. Every time Dr. Ellie Sattler is on screen my eyes are drawn to everything she does as she too plays a character that you’re rooting for from the second you’re introduced to her. And Jeff Goldblum! Absolutely sensational as the main voice of reason, unintentional sex symbol, comedic relief and just all around cool guy, Dr. Ian Malcolm. This trio of stars are so magnetic, so wonderful to watch and so iconic that it’s no wonder they’ve been brought back for Jurassic World: Dominion (2022). Probably the smartest decision the sequel series ever made. 

I know I sound like a damn broken record but everything about this movie is ICONIC. Everything from the outfits the main characters wear for a majority of the movie, to that incredibly breathtaking first scene of Alan and Ellie seeing the brachiosaurus, to even the logo itself is forever cemented in pop culture. And having it all wrapped up in John Williams’ gorgeously sweeping score that captures the grand majesty and otherworldly wonder of Jurassic Park, both the attraction and the movie, is just the cherry on top. Oh, and how could I fail to mention any scene with the T-Rex! The first attack scene lives rent-free in my brain. The roar, the rain, the close-up on its eye…the fear and panic it instills even today is unmatched. Such an amazing scene in cinematic history. I know I’ve already said it but it bears repeating, THEY BUILT THIS ANIMATRONIC T-REX! Incredible! The ending scene with the T-Rex is just as impressive, pure cinematic gold. Like, there’s your damn money shot. 

To say this movie holds up would be the biggest understatement of the century. Like the dinosaurs themselves, Jurassic Park is a timeless legend. I know there are a lot of famous movies people say you have to see and then they don’t end up being worth the hype, but this is not one of those movies. It’s sensational all the way through and should be seen by everybody at least once, multiple times if possible. Multiple times a DAY if possible. “That’s not possible,” you might be saying to yourself. Well all I have to say is, “life finds a way.”

Are you a fan of Jurassic Park and its sequels?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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