Jurassic Park (1993)

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Scary | 0 comments


Disclaimer: A little ripe language and the digestion of humans by several large lizards (“clever girl”) – seriously scary stuff, but not overly gory.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Jurassic Park. I was 10 years old and the experience was so raw and visceral, and certainly horrifying, that it led me to revisit it on the big screen some weeks later (only one of a few I saw twice in theaters as a child) and read the science-heavy Michael Crichton novels some years later. The highly anticipated movie is a prime example of a movie everyone should see in theaters (and $900 million worth did, so give it a few years and I’m sure they’ll re-release it).

Millionaire John Hammond (Richard Jurassic2Attenborough in his first role in more than a decade) has a vision: an affordable theme park on a remote Costa Rican island where families can see the world’s denizens from thousands of years ago – dinosaurs. Hammond and his crew of experts have made the impossible possible by harnessing DNA from mosquitoes fossilized in amber. The film’s opening follows Sam Neill and Laura Dern as paleontologists who visit the park before it opens to ease the minds of weary investors. Also along for the ride is a lawyer (I wonder if he’ll get eaten) and a chaotician (Jeff Goldblum), who delivers philosophical “I-told-you-so’s” and humorous um-packed one-liners. Hammond’s grandchildren (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards) also stop by and, as you can imagine, things go horribly wrong when an underpaid staffer (Wayne Knight) shuts down the park’s power (including electrified fences) and the giant reptiles greet the dinner bell.

While Neill takes charge of the children and their safety, the others fend for their lives while trying to reboot the power. It’s a monster/disaster movie on the grandest scale – and even references King Kong at one point – with Oscar-winning visual and aural effects. The Steven Spielberg film set the bar for the rapidly advancing CGI technology of the time, which generated the most buzz, and acted as half of the most successful one-two punch from a director in a single year (Schindler’s List being the other half).

While the characters aren’t allotted enough time to grow beyond their one-dimensional selves, the film still delivers more thrills and horror than one could care to hope for. (And let’s be honest, does the croc hunter guy need to have a back story to say “clever girl” and “shoot her?”) It led to two mediocre sequels (with another supposedly on the way), reportedly increased the number of paleontology students worldwide, and, before Titanic or Avatar, held the record for box office grosses. It’s a classic blockbuster (what do you expect from Spielberg?) that’s sure to make you grip your seat. It certainly made my late-night trips to the kitchen and Jeep rides a little more frightening when I was a youngster.

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