Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Written by Nick McCann
Dinosaurs didn’t really need movies to be amazing, but they’ve helped a great deal. Going back to the dawn of cinema, these creatures have seen many interpretations. Everyone from Ray Harryhausen to Roger Corman has given their own take on these wonderful relics of history. However, things were looking to change when Steven Spielberg got his hands on Michael Crichton’s hit novel. What followed was a total revolution in film the likes of which hadn’t been seen. And this 1993 classic still retains immense power as a premiere blockbuster!
Essentially, Spielberg gets a chance to do “Jaws” over again but wiser and more confident. His classic flair for the curious and daunting is on full display, giving way to the suspense and tension that never lets up when the dinosaurs start breaking out. The direction is tight, moving briskly in and out of the drama. All while exploring intriguing themes of man bending and twisting the laws of nature. At the surface level “Jurassic Park” is an action-packed run through the jungle, but under the hood, it’s one of the best “Frankenstein” narratives. The best of both worlds.
When it comes to the dinosaurs, these aren’t your grandparents’ cinematic monsters. Nearly 30 years on and their presence still rises above a majority of the modern crop. Every single one, great and small, is realized through ILM’s revolutionary CGI and Stan Winston’s delightful practical animatronics. Many major highlights arise throughout, with the T-Rex breakout being a set-piece to rival all. Many of the computer effects remain impressive, displaying weight and menace that’s lost in even our best blockbuster lot these days. Not to mention Dean Cundey’s cinematography that captures these creatures (and the movie as a whole) with a high energy. The camera never appears to be hindered by the new adjustment of making room for computer creatures.
Despite the groundbreaking spectacle at hand, the film’s characters come first and the cast each deliver first-rate performances. Everyone’s easy to latch on to and their personalities make for an engaging ensemble. Sam Neill’s gruff and grumpy Dr. Grant is a solid offset to Jeff Goldblum’s smooth-talking Dr. Malcolm. Laura Dern, Wayne Knight, and the late, great Sir Richard Attenborough also do excellent jobs, helping the audience buy into these ordinary people witnessing the extraordinary. A lot of that is Spielberg’s touch for sure, but the script by Crichton and David Koepp gives them a lot to work with from the get-go.
Sound design deserves equal love for giving birth to sounds we continue to associate with these prehistoric beasts. The T-Rex roars loud, Brachiosaurs boom with every step, and Velociraptors screech with lethal intent. Layered all over this is John Williams’ score. It’s instantly iconic, matching the visuals and tone perfectly. You hear the massive orchestra blare with melody and it just takes you there, delivering emotional beats in classic fashion. You’d be hard-pressed to forget a single tune. “Jurassic Park” is a landmark event in cinema, and ever since movies have not been the same.
“Jurassic Park” Trailer
“Jurassic Park” is streaming on HBO Max.
You can connect with Nick on his Facebook and Letterboxd.