Sunday, June 14, 2015
Retro Review: Jurassic Park (1993)
'Jurassic Park' Is Pure Dino-Mite!
Well, it seems that just like how the T-Rex is King of the Dinosaurs, Steven Spielberg is the King of the Blockbuster.
Jurassic Park follows two scientists named Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) who are invited to a special theme park created by billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) where genetically engineered dinosaurs are created. However, things slowly begin to go awry as the group slowly experiences the errors of toying with science.
I'll start off by discussing the effects. They are done with such precision that you can tell which scenes have CGI and which have practical without it seeming too obvious, meaning that the computer-generated effects don't look half finished or anything like that. But whenever the animatronic dinosaurs were used and would close in on the different actors, it creates an uneasy feeling on the viewer since it feels like a real dinosaur is hunting these characters. That actually brings me to my next point.
I loved how the main characters were written and how they were given development so that we actually care about who lives and who dies. You have Dr. Grant, who is cynical about children but slowly shows kindness to the child characters in the film. There is also Ellie, the scientist who is serious about her job yet still very down-to-earth; Ian Malcolm, the hot shot, John Hammond, the optimistic yet slowly doomed billionaire; Dennis Nedry, the computer operator who serves as a spy for a rival company yet gets in way over his head as he is anxious about his task; the rather mature grandchildren of Hammond named Lex and Tim, and Ray Arnold, the straight-laced chain smoking engineer. All fully-realized characters that have us glued into the film watching experience.
I also want to point out the use of sound effects. While the dinosaurs attacking the human characters was pretty horrifying, for me, some of the scariest scenes were the ones where we hear thumping. When we see a glass of water shaking or gelatin moving on a spoon, it is an indication of the dinosaurs approaching and that helps build tension for the attack scenes.
Overall, Jurassic Park is a definitive blockbuster that delivers meaningful sci-fi as well as tension-filled horror mixed with fleshed out characterizations to give the film a lighter touch as well. Its mix of different genres and moods truly helps it define what true cinema is and why we go to the movies in the first place.