movie review

September 18th, 2015 – Jurassic Park

jurassic park

So as a teenager in the early 90’s, I used to read a lot. Ok…..I still read a lot but that is beside the point. Anyways, one of my favorite authors to read was Michael Chrichton, and a lot of that was due to a book that he wrote called Jurassic Park. With my love of dinosaurs and reading, this was the perfect book for me to enjoy, and I did, probably reading it half a dozen times just in my high school years alone. Then  I saw a trailer for a new Spielberg movie based on this book, and my excitement hit a record high, for back then at least, and I could not wait to see Jurassic Park in theaters.

The plot On the island of Isla Nublar, workers are connecting a crate containing a an animal to a holding pen when the animal suddenly rushes the connecting gate, causing the crate to become dislodged and one of to the workers to fall near the opening, allowing the animal to attack him. Some time later, the investors for the Isla Nublar park want some experts to sign off on the park, so John Hammond, the founder of bioengineering firm InGen, goes to Montana and manages to convince Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler, noted paleontologist and paleobotanist respectively, to come visit the park. On the trip to the island, Alan and Ellie meet Donald Gennaro, the lawyer for the investors, and Ian Malcolm, a noted mathematician who is the other expert brought to the island. After landing, the group take a pair of jeeps to the park’s visitor center, but stop partway there, where Alan, Ellie, and Ian get a glimpse of what makes this park so special, live dinosaurs. Arriving at the visitors center, the Alan, Ellie, Ian, Gennaro, and Hammond take the automated tour, where the find out exactly how Hammond was able to clone the dinosaurs. Interrupting the tour so they can see the lab, they meet Henry Wu, the head geneticist at the park who, when asked about the possibility if the dinosaurs can breed in the wild, informs them that all of the dinosaurs are engineered to be female. As they watch a baby dinosaur hatch, Alan realizes what it is, but confirms it when Henry tells him that it is a Velociraptor. Finding out that they have 3 adult Velociraptors, Alan immediately heads to their pen, where he and the others meet Robert Muldoon, the park’s game warden, who informs them of just how deadly the raptors are, especially the alpha female. During lunch, Ian, Ellie, and Alan, argue against the park, citing various reasons why it is a bad idea, but Hammond refuses to listen. As they prepare to go on the tour of the park, they are joined by Lex and Tim Murphy, Hammond’s grandchildren that he invited to the park. Meanwhile, in the control room, some people are concerned about a possible storm hitting the island as the automated cars head into the park. Ray Arnold, the park’s chief engineer, mentions some of the various problems on the island, which Hammond expects Dennis Nedry, the computer programmer that set up the park’s system, to fix. On the tour, the group had driven past the Dilophosaurus and T-Rex enclosures but neither animal was visible to the group. They soon come across a sick Triceratops that is being treated by the park’s vet, Dr. Harding, and Ellie decides to stay behind while the others head back to the visitors center before the storm hits. Nedry, who was hired by a rival corporation to steal dinosaur embryos from the park, sets off a program to deactivate the park’s security systems, allowing him to steal the embryos and head to his contact at the dock. Nedry races towards the docks in the rain, but he winds up getting lost and hydroplaning into a tree. As he tries to free himself, he is attacked and killed by a Dilophosaurus. The program also causes the power to go out in the park, stopping the cars right in front of the T-Rex enclosure. Tim finds a pair of night vision goggles and is playing with them when he feels a trembling shake the car and everyone notices that the goat is missing, just as the leg of the goat falls on the roof of the car that Gennaro and the kids are in and the T-Rex suddenly appears, swallowing what’s left of the goat. Gennaro panics and runs out of the car, hiding in a nearby bathroom. The T-Rex attacks the car with the kids in it and Alan uses a flare to lure the T-Rex away from the car. Ian grabs another flare and gets the T-Rex to chase him, but ends up getting flung through the bathroom, winding up unconscious while exposing Gennaro to the T-Rex’s view, prompting it to eat the lawyer. Alan manages to free Lex but before he can get Tim out, the T-Rex returns, and pushes the car off the edge of the embankment, where it lands in a tree. After climbing down the embankment, Alan manages to get Tim out of the tree, then leads the two kids into the jungle, where they climb a tree for safety. Ellie and Muldoon use a gas powered jeep to pick up the people from the tour, but when they get there, the only person they can find is an injured Ian and as they get ready to head back, the T-Rex appears and proceeds to chase them but they get away. The next day, Alan is leading the kids back to the visitors center when he discovers a nest full of empty eggs and realizes that Ian was right and that the dinosaurs had found away to breed. They continue on their way, and soon see a herd of Gallimimus running from the T-Rex but manage to avoid the creature as it proceeds to kill and eat one of the Gallimimus. Meanwhile, at the control room, Hammond convinces Arnold to shut down and reboot the system manually in order to cancel the program Nedry has running. The shut down works but the power remains off so Arnold heads to the maintenance shed to flip the breakers. When Arnold doesn’t return, Ellie and Muldoon head out to see what happened and when they get outside, they realize that the Raptors have escaped their pen and are now hunting them. Muldoon tries to kill the Raptors, allowing Ellie to make a run for the shed, but he ends up being killed by two of the Raptors. Inside the shed, Ellie manages to get the power turned back on, just as the third Raptor appears and tries to attack her but she manages to get away. Alan and the kids finally arrive at the visitors center and Alan leaves the kids in the dining room while he goes to find the others. When a pair of raptors arrive, the kids hide in the kitchen and manage to trap one of the raptors in the freezer. Alan and Ellie meet up with the kids and they head to the control room, where Lex is able to reboot the system. One of the Raptors breaks into the control room forcing them to crawl into the ventilation system to get away. They end up in the front lobby, where they wind up trapped between the raptor chasing them and the one that Ellie had locked in the maintenance shed when suddenly the T-Rex appears and kills one of the Raptors. As the other Raptor proceeds to fight with the T-Rex, Alan, Ellie, Tim, and Lex manage to get outside, where they meet with Hammond and Ian and head to the helicopter so they can make it off the island.

Jurassic Park was highly praised by the critics, earning a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there was some criticism about how the movie strayed from the book, the general consensus was that this movie “is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg’s best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.” Jurassic Park was nominated for three Academy Awards and won all three of them, as well as several other awards. The movie set the record for opening weekend with a total of $50.1 million. It would go on to make $914 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing film of all time until it was beat by Titanic. Taking into account the recent re-release in 3D, the movie would wind up with a worldwide gross of $1.029 billion, making it the 17th highest grossing film of all time, the 3rd highest grossing by Universal Studios, and the highest grossing film directed by Steven Spielberg.

I honestly don’t think I know a single person that did not like this movie. This was an absolutely incredible movie to watch. The acting was really good. Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough were all incredible in their roles of Alan Grant, Ian Malcolm, and John Hammond. The story was pretty good and though I admit that I was a little disappointed by some of the changes from the book, the script used in the movie worked very well. The dinosaur sequences were simply amazing, a blending of animatronics and computer imagery that, over 20 years later, still stands up today. I don’t think anyone has managed to make a star out of a dinosaur in such a way since Willis O’Brien in The Lost World, and that is some high praise from me. A definite must see movie.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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