CLASSIC REVIEW: Jurassic Park (1993)

Universal Pictures poster for ‘Jurassic Park’

The following is a Classic Review of Jurassic Park. 

Way back in 1990 the late, great Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel was released, three years later Steven Spielberg had directed its cinematic adaptation, and suddenly it was one of the most celebrated blockbusters in cinematic history. The film would eventually spawn sequels, and the franchise has become a healthy part of western pop culture.  This film was very important to me growing up, almost as important as the Star Wars-films were – and that’s saying something. To be honest, I think every kid felt the same way watching that film – I instantly wanted to be a paleontologist.

Still, today, this film makes me feel like I am still that kid watching these amazing animals on screen for the first time – some dangerous, some loving – I still feel that sense of wonder every time I watch it. Not many films can make you feel like that – but this is one of them.

One of the best ways a film can last in memory is by having a memorable theme or score. John Williams is a special composer, and the Jurassic Park theme is probably my favorite movie theme of all-time.

One of the things this film was praised for was its use of visual effects, and one of the more interesting things about this film today is that it still holds up in the VFX department. This film isn’t graphically dated at all, and the alternating use of CGI and practical effects just works so well. Actually, this film’s use of visual effects makes dinosaur films strictly using CGI look bad.

Let’s now move on to the characters. Wayne Knight’s character, Dennis Nedry, is probably my least favorite part of the film – but with that having been said, he has some highlights that are memorable, I just didn’t care for his part in the plot. However, I actually don’t find Samuel L. Jackson’s character, John Arnold, memorable at all – he doesn’t stand out.

Moving on now to some positive characters and performances. I have a special place in my heart for the late, great Lord Richard Attenborough – and his character John Hammond is a significant part of why we have this sense of wonder watching the film. He builds the park with all the right intentions, with a smile on his face – and his attitude is one of the best parts of the film.

One of the things that can make or break a blockbuster film is the use of kids – young actors. They have to be stellar, or they will be a constant annoyance in the film. They walk a fine line. In this film we have two young actors, Joseph Mazzello & Ariana Richards, and while the former works better than the latter – neither of them are problematic, actually their part in transforming Alan Grant is a great part of the film.

Though Jurassic Park works as a cautionary tale, the film is incredibly funny – and Jeff Goldblum is the reason why. Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, is one of my favorite characters – even though his spin-off film is polarizing – and you just smile whenever he’s on screen.

Now onto the two most important characters in the film – the two protagonists played by Laura Dern and the impeccable Sam Neill. Laura Dern’s character, Dr. Ellie Sattler, is an incredibly important part of the film – and one of the reasons she works is the chemistry she has with her co-stars.

With that said, my very favorite part of the film is Sam Neill’s Dr. Alan Grant. In what is probably Sam Neill’s best ever performance, we see an adult mesmerized by the animals around him – but genuinely annoyed by the kids. Over the course of the film he becomes their guardian, and his experiences change him in a great way, it seems.

Jurassic Park is one of my favorite films of all-time, and a true cinematic classic. If you have not seen this film yet, then what are you doing? Rent it, buy it – grab some popcorn – and have some fun.

Final Score: 9.5 out of 10 – They’re not monsters, they’re animals.

I’m Jeffrey Rex

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