Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Wayne Knight, Samuel L. Jackson, BD Wong
Academy Awards (1994):
Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing: Gary Rydstrom, Richard Hymns
Best Effects, Visual Effects: Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett, Michael Lantieri
Best Sound: Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy, Ron Judkins
“God help us, we’re in the hands of engineers.”
Eccentric billionaire John Hammond (Attenborough) has built a park with genetically recreated dinosaurs on a remote island. Prior to opening Jurassic Park, he invites palaeontologists Allen Grant (Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Dern), chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Goldblum), and his grandchildren for a sneak preview that doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.
I was too young to see Jurassic Park when it first came out, and it’s one of those movies that I’ve only recently seen. Also, I watched this on VHS, so while I’m sure the picture quality and some of the special effects have been tweaked over the years, I am for all intents and purposes unaware of them.
Jurassic Park was enjoyable to watch. It had engaging characters with witty dialogue. Top to bottom the cast worked well together. Though Goldblum has many of the memorable lines, it was interesting to see how each character interacted with everyone else. Hammond realizing the dangers of what he had done and Grant’s interactions with Lex and Tim Murphy were two of the more notable examples of character growth.
It was interesting, and annoying, to see how quickly Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) switched from being the skeptical attorney to overzealous cheerleader when he realized how much money the park could potentially make. Hammond’s enthusiasm for the park was infectious for most of the people who worked there. There was almost a “nothing could possibly go wrong” feel at the island. It was nice to see Gennaro get what he deserved.
There was also enough suspense to keep things interesting. The first introduction of the T-Rex and the velociraptors chasing Lex and Tim had just the right amount of build-up to keep me on the edge of my seat. Though I knew in the back of my head that most of the main characters would be safe, there was still just enough doubt to keep things engaging.
Despite the great performances in Jurassic Park, the real stars of the film were the dinosaurs. One of the biggest accomplishments of this movie is the special effects. Although it’s primitive by current standards, in 1993, it was cutting edge. The dinosaurs were impressive, even in a VHS format. It’s not very surprising, though, given the fact that it’s a film by Steven Spielberg.
Though some elements of Jurassic Park have clearly become dated, it is still an enjoyable, suspenseful film. It’s a franchise that I will probably someday get around to watching, but it’s definitely one worth watching.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.