Jurassic Park directed by Steven Spielberg:
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.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park directed by Steven Spielberg:
A few years after the mess that was Jurassic Park the man behind it all, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough – The Great Escape, Ghandi) has discovered that his nephew (and CEO of InGen) Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard – Full Metal Jacket, Moneyball) is going to attempt to bring dinosaurs from Isla Sorna to the United States. Because of what happened last time, Hammond is going to try and stop this. He goes to Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum – The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Fly) to assemble a team to thwart Ludlow’s plans. Malcolm’s girlfriend and fellow scientist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore – The Hours, Still Alice), his daughter Kelly (Vanessa Chester – Harriet the Spy, She’s All That) and photographer Nick Van Ownen (Vince Vaughn – Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up) are joined by the team leader, Roland Tembo (Pete Poostlethwaite – The Town, The Usual Suspects), of an armed group of men. The group has to learn to work together and trust one another as they come up against a variety of dangerous dinosaurs.
Jurassic III directed by Joe Johnston:
We are back on Isla Sorna where a young boy has gone missing. His parents, Paul (William H. Macy – from television’s Shameless) and Amanda (Tea Leoni – from television’s Madame Secretary), trick Dr. Allan Grant (Sam Neill – The Piano, Jurassic Park) and his assistant Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola – American Hustle, LaurelCanyon) into bringing them to the island to look for their son. Once on the island they realize that the dinosaurs there have morphed into really intelligent creatures. Now, they not only have the difficult task of rescuing the young boy, but also trying to get off the island alive.
Jurassic World directed by Colin Trevorrow:
It has become rather frustrating that the people behind the making of movies will spend tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars to make things look great but will not spend even ten dollars on the development of a good story or writing of a good script. The focus is totally on the style and not the substance. Whether you are a tent pole film or not word of mouth will get around that there is not enough to the movie to warrant spending anywhere from thirteen to twenty dollars to go and see it.
Jurassic World looks great and has some funny moments but there is precious little there to cling on to character or story wise. Predictability is the name of the game here. A total summer film franchise meaning you can leave your brain at home and just settle into putting a dent into your large bag of overpriced popcorn.
We are now a generation after the cloning of dinosaurs became a reality. Seeing real live dinosaurs is not even that big a deal anymore. Two brothers, Zach (played by Nick Robinson) and Gray (played by Ty Simpkins), are on the dinosaur island just off of Costa Rica. Young people can explore the island park freely as it is reputed to be completely safe. Zach and Gray (and their parents) believe that because the person saying that the loudest is their aunt Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), the woman who is the manager of the park.
Claire and the park’s resident expert on dinosaur behaviour, Owen (played by Chris Pratt), often are on different sides of the issue when it comes to these prehistoric beasts. Their battles have to be put aside when Claire’s two nephews, who have been exploring the park in a Gyrosphere (a kind of giant hamster ball), are chased by an escaped Indominus Rex.
Jurassic World is a kind of combination of the old school Spielberg dinosaur films and a more modern attempt at telling this story. It focuses mostly on being a monster/dino film, so more action than drama. The reason to see this film is the visuals which really push the boundaries. Director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) has succeeded in bringing things to the screen that we have not seen before in regards to special effects, etc. This is the film’s one and only treat.
Being the very definition of what a summer movie is can be okay, but one thing I did have trouble swallowing was the whole feminine or anti-female side of the film. Let’s just skip over the fact that the Rex is a female and head straight over to the Claire character. She is portrayed as a steely business woman who has not a maternal bone in her body. All this goes a ways to making her unlikable in the film’s eyes. Why is my question? If she were a male character we would not feel negatively about her life choices (favouring career over family), so why are we supposed to solely because she is a female? Hmmm….
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom directed by J.A. Bayona:
It seems like that the Jurassic Park tale has gone on longer than dinosaurs inhabited this planet. Obviously that is an exaggeration, but the popular series has undergone changes in direction, story and cast, but still it surges forward. As big film series of this sort move forward usually the storylines get weaker and weaker. Even the biggest fans begin to turn away. With that in mind, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom should be a pleasant surprise.
As we last left the story, the Jurassic Park theme park had been closed four years previous. Now there is something happening that brings attention back to it. On Isla Nubar a volcano has become active again. Not only active, but on the verge of erupting. This brings Owen (Christ Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard – The Help, Gold) back to the island with the goal of trying to save the dinosaurs living there from extinction.
While attempting to do so Owen is also trying to find Blue, his lead raptor. During the course of this he uncovers a conspiracy which will make accomplishing what they came here for even more difficult.
The story here is rather uneven with moments where it is strong while others it is nonsense filled. For the most part the good outweighs the bad. More interesting is the rather brave directions it goes in occasionally. When they are doing well it is because they don’t try to be too ambitious. Keeping things simple and straightforward. The story for the most part is easy to understand. Then they sneak in some moral issues which are wrapped up in the whole genetic manipulation question. On top of that is the idea that humans are responsible to take care of the other species on the planet. A couple of things for you to chew on for a while. The world we live in is complex and asks plenty of humans.
Director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls, The Orphanage) does a good job here. He focuses on both the big and small sides of the story. Giving each its time to shine and air to breathe. Some of the technical and visual aspect are really well done. Money that Bayona got is well used, indeed.
The second half of the film is not as strong as the promise it showed in the first half. Which is unfortunate. But it never truly devolves into a stinking pile of dino crap. It remains a summer blockbuster which shows some intelligence and desire to expand the breadth of the story.
- 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
- Original Featurette on the Making of the Film
- Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park
- Hurricane in Kauai Featurette
- Early Pre-Production Meetings
- Location Scouting
- Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen
- Animatics: T-Rex Attack
- ILM And Jurassic Park: Before and After the Visual Effects
- Foley Artists
- Production Archives: Photographs, Design Sketches and Conceptual Paintings
- Jurassic Park: Making the Game
- Return to Jurassic Park: Finding The Lost World
- Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived
- Deleted Scenes
- The Making of The Lost World
- Original Featurette on the Making of the Film
- The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton
- The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg From ILM
- ILM & The Lost World: Before & After the Visual Effects
- Production Archives: Production Photographs, Illustrations and Conceptual Drawings, Models, The World of Jurassic Park, The Magic of ILM, Posters and Toy
- Return to Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure
- The Making of Jurassic Park III
- The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III
- The Special Effects of Jurassic Park III
- The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel
- The Sounds of Jurassic Park III
- The Art of Jurassic Park III
- Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs
- Tour of Stan Winston Studio
- Spinosaurus Attacks the Plane
- Raptors Attack Udesky
- The Lake
- A Visit to ILM
- Dinosaur Turntables
- Storyboards to Final Feature Comparison
- Production Photographs
- Feature Commentary with Special Effects Team
- Deleted Scenes
- Chris & Colin Take on the World
- Welcome to Jurassic World
- Dinosaurs Roam Once Again
- Jurassic World: All-Access Pass
- Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt
- Jurassic’s Closest Shaves – Presented by Barbasol®
- On Set with Chris & Bryce
- The Kingdom Evolves
- Return to Hawaii
- Island Action
- Aboard the Arcadia
- Birth of the Indoraptor
- Start the Bidding!
- Death by Dino
- Monster in a Mansion
- Rooftop Showdown
- Malcolm’s Return
- VFX Evolved
- Fallen Kingdom: The Conversation
- A Song for the Kingdom
- Chris Pratt’s Jurassic Journals
- Jurassic Then and Now – Presented by Barbasol®