Jurassic Park (1993)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson
Plot: During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
Genre: Adventure / Thriller / Sci-Fi
Awards: Won 3 Oscars - Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing.
Rating: PG for intense science fiction terror.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.”
Steven Spielberg made Jurassic Park and Schindler's List in the same year. Four years later, he released Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Amistad. Eight years later, War of the Worlds and Munich hit the screens. If you notice the pattern, he sometimes direct two utterly dissimilar films in the same year, revealing his formidable versatility.
One of the fathers of the modern Hollywood blockbuster, Spielberg has always been equally at ease making populist fare that entertain audiences and serious dramas that illuminate the human condition. Jurassic Park, one of his unabashedly most entertaining movies since Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), is a terrific crowd-pleaser, and remains to be the very best of Dino-movies.
Jurassic Park centers on an ambitious old man (played by Richard Attenborough, director of Gandhi (1982)) who invites dino-experts and some other kinds of experts to his secret island housing the most amazing (and terrifying) of dinosaurs. Of course, we expect something to go terribly wrong. Well, you may ask the lawyer who cowered in fear in the loo. He will have something to say about being eaten alive by a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The T-Rex, essentially the star of the show, is simply breathtaking, appearing midway through the film in one of the most thrilling of sequences in the Spielberg canon. That can also be said of the famous 'raptors in kitchen' sequence in the climax, one that continues to wow with its precise execution.
Much has been said about Jurassic Park's breakthrough with CG-effects, a key milestone in the history of visual effects. Such is the realism that even after twenty years, the visuals still hold up excellently, and surpass even some of the effects work today. However, it must be noted that many of the dinosaurs were not completely rendered via CG as live-action models were also used in the painstakingly elaborate process.
Jurassic Park remains addictive and engaging and this is kudos to Spielberg, who so confidently balances between family entertainment and the monster flick. The Oscar-winning director may have his critics, but he is one of only a handful in the world who is able to take our longing for the miraculous, and then make the miraculous accessible to the world.
Verdict: Spielberg at his unabashedly most entertaining since Raiders of the Lost Ark.
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