My Favorite Movies #32 – Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park - PosterJurassic Park

1993

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Quick synopsis… A multimillionaire (Richard Attenborough) unveils a new theme park where visitors can observe dinosaurs cloned using advanced DNA technology. But when an employee tampers with the security system, the dinosaurs escape, forcing the visitors to fight for their survival. Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern star in this thrilling, action-packed blockbuster from acclaimed director Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Michael Crichton.

  • I was just 13 when this movie was released.
  • And to a 13 year old who, as a small child, was really into dinosaurs, it was kind of a big deal.
  • When I found out this movie was being made, I made a point to read the book.
  • At the time, this was probably the most adult book I’d ever read.
  • And it was a struggle, since, in middle school, I really didn’t care much for extracurricular reading.
  • I didn’t even like curricular reading.
  • Despite the many obvious changes from the book, I still found this movie to be friggin’ incredible.
  • I still think it’s stupid that this first death at the jaws of the velociraptor even happens.
  • When there are so many automatic features in Jurassic Park (make noted of the cars that need no drivers later), why does someone have to manually lift a heavy gate while transferring a raptor into her pen?
  • Because of that worker’s untimely death, an investigation is launched, spearheaded by an attorney representing investors.
  • He needs some experts to sign off on the park in order for things to keep going.
  • But the lawyer, Gennaro, is ready to shut it down before anything is inspected.
  • Enter Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleontologist, and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), paleobotanist, who are busy digging up raptor fossils.
  • It’s established early on that Grant really doesn’t like kids.
  • Which doesn’t make sense because kids love dinosaurs!
  • In the book, Grant loved kids because of their undying fascination with dinosaurs.
  • Also, he didn’t have a romantic relationship with Sattler.
  • Anyway, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the man behind Jurassic Park, comes to see them a the dig site and whisks them away for a weekend trip to Isla Nublar.
  • On the way, they meet Gennaro and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), mathematician/chaotician.
  • Also, side note: before this weekend getaway can get underway, we have to meet Dennis Nedry (Newman from Seinfeld), the IT guy.
  • He’s being paid by a rival genetics company to steal dinosaur embryos.
  • This, of course, sets up the catalyst for why everything that can go wrong will.
  • When they get to the island, they’re riding along in Jeeps and Ellie is observing a huge leaf, which she says should have been extinct for millions of years.
  • Okay… they explain that they got the dinosaur DNA for cloning from bugs trapped in amber, that I get.
  • But where do they get extinct plant DNA?
  • I love the performances given by our three main experts here.
  • Before we even see the CGI brachiasaurs, they completely sell that they’re looking at real, live dinosaurs.
  • Of course, Genarro gets his first look at the dinosaur and exclaims they’re going to make a fortune with this place… even though only a few minutes earlier he was telling Hammond that he has real concerns about the safety of the park.
  • Guess that’s all out the window now that he knows the animals are for real.
  • Malcolm is still ready to shut the place down, calling Hammond a crazy son of a bleep under his breath.
  • During the tour of the genetics lab, we find out that there are some gaps in the DNA that they’ve collected, so they’ve filled in the gaps with frog DNA.
  • So, really, we’re not seeing dinosaurs at all in Jurassic Park.
  • They’re some kind of lab created dinosaur/frog hybrid creatures.
  • The lead geneticist, Dr. Henry Wu, explains that there is no breeding in the park because all of the dinosaurs that they’ve created are female.
  • It’s at this point that Malcolm points out that “Life finds a way.”
  • When Grant found out he was holding a newly hatched raptor, I thought for sure he was going to crush the thing.
  • When they visit the adult raptors, they meet Robert Muldoon, who explains that the raptors have problem-solving intelligence.
  • When the automatic tour begins, we get a look inside the control room and finally meet Samuel L. Jackson and his classic line, “Hold onto your butts!”
  • But on the tour, the dinosaurs aren’t very cooperative.
  • Malcolm: “You do plan to eventually have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour?”
  • The first dinosaur that we get to see on the tour is really off the tour.
  • It’s a sick triceratops…
  • As a tropical storm moves in, the tour is put on hold until the next day and Jurassic Park staff are ordered to get off the island if they’re not staying for the weekend.
  • The place is going to be run by a skeleton crew during this inspection.
  • That doesn’t seem like the best idea if you’re trying to convince investors that they should keep the place running.
  • Nedry puts his plan into action, which will effectively shut down everything on the island.
  • How epic is it when the T-Rex finally shows up?
  • The ripples in the water in the cups…
  • The missing goat…
  • And then it discovers there’s no nasty shock when it touches the fence…
  • Gennaro takes off.
  • Good thing there’s a bathroom nearby.
  • Too bad it won’t help in the long run.
  • How does Grant know that the T-Rex’s vision is based on movement?
  • How can you know that from studying fossilized bones?
  • I’m really asking… is that some kind of T-Rex fact that scientists actually believe about the T-Rex or is that something they just made up for the movies?
  • Unfortunately, the kids didn’t get the memo about staying perfectly still, so the dinosaur goes after them.
  • They argue about turning off the flashlight that drew Rex’s attention.
  • But… they don’t actually turn it off.
  • How hard can it be?!
  • CLICK! Off.
  • I’m with movie version of Grant on this one. Kids are stupid.
  • Grant tries to save the kids by using a flare to get the dinosaur’s attention.
  • Then Malcolm does the same thing but only winds up getting thrown through the bathroom.
  • Oh, hey, a lawyer… I bet he’s delicious.
  • Grant seems unconcerned with Malcolm’s fate as he goes to help the kids.
  • And then the T-Rex returns.
  • It’s a whole big thing.
  • Meanwhile, Nedry is trying to get to the getaway boat with his stolen embryos, even though the boat is clearly long gone by this point.
  • And as the weaselly little traitor that he is, he gets what’s coming to him.
  • We finally get to see what the dilophosaurus is capable of after it didn’t show up for the tour.
  • How did that thing get inside Nedry’s car?
  • Anyway… he dead.
  • Muldoon and Sattler go to find Hammond’s grandkids and find Malcolm, injured but still alive.
  • They also find the other car trashed along with footprints indicating that Grant and the kids got away.
  • I don’t get why they have such a hard time outrunning the T-Rex when they’re trying to drive away.
  • When they first arrived, Hammond claimed they’d clocked the T-Rex at 35 mph.
  • I know that Jeep can go faster than that, even on a muddy, unpaved road.
  • Toward the end, when the raptors track everyone into the main building, we learn why it’s important to have doors with knobs, not handles.
  • Raptors can open the doors with handles, but not doorknobs.
  • Remember that for when the dinosaur apocalypse is upon us.
  • This is a fantastic movie and if you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and see it.
  • You can skip the sequels.
  • I mean… Jurassic World, I thought was all right for the most part.
  • The most recent installment, Fallen Kingdom, was a disappointment.
  • I’m hoping they really impress us when they wrap up this new trilogy, though.
  • Apparently Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum are all returning.
  • And not just for a 15-second cameo like Goldblum had in that last one.

Okay, next week’s movie will beg the question, “Are you not entertained?!”

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