Based on the novel and screenplay by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park is a tale about a scientist who has discovered the technology to have dinosaurs roam the Earth again. John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough – The Great Escape, Elizabeth) is the man behind this technology and on an island off the coast of Costa Rica he has populated it with all types of the prehistoric creatures. Hammond has invited four people and his two grandchildren to the island to see Jurassic Park.
Being able to genetically engineered dinosaurs seems incredible, but it has happened. When one of the workers on the island is killed by a velociraptor John Hammond invites paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill – The Piano, The Hunt for Red October) and his girlfriend Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern – Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart) along with Hammond’s lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero – Heat, Planes, Trains & Automobiles) and chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum – Independence Day, The Fly) to verify if the island and its creatures are safe.
When they tour the park everyone is amazed by what they see. While there an employee of Hammond’s attempts to sabotage the enterprise by shutting down the power on the island so he can steal the dinosaur embryos. During this time the danger rises as many dinosaurs including the tyrannosaurus rex escape from their paddocks. When they try to turn the power back on so they can leave the island this allows the deadly velociraptors to escape and now they are hunting the humans.
We forget, but Jurassic Park was the film that began all the wizardry in large scale films. For its day it was a wonder of film technology. But more so than all the technology what stands out for me is what a good storyteller Spielberg is. He keeps it going at a fast pace once the action starts and you are tense from that moment on. Spielberg expertly counterplays the conflicting feelings of wonderment and terror towards the dinosaurs. More than that he has made what could have been a too scary for kids’ film into a family friendly adventure picture.
Unlike many adventure films Spielberg realizes that what should be primary is the story. Without a good story all the special effects in the world don’t add up to more than a ball of string. Even though I knew the entire story and what was going to happen next did not detract from my enjoyment of the film. The mark of a good film in that it has stood the test of time.
-Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era
-Return to Jurassic Park: Making Prehistory
-Return to Jurassic Park: The Next Step in Evolution
-The Making of Jurassic Park
-Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park
-Animatics: T-Rex at ILM and Jurassic Park: Before and After the Visual Effects
-Early Pre-Production Meetings
-Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen