While released to the public nearly three decades ago, the magic of the classic dinosaur sci-fi film lives on today. New viewers continue to be captivated by Jurassic Park. Back in 1993, the movie ignited a motion picture revolution that forever changed the industry. Many are entranced by the dazzling special effects, in awe of the masterfully choreographed, captivating images on the screen before them; others are drawn into the storyline, a harmonious mingling of suspense and action with more emotional, sentimental elements. Whatever draws viewers in, its place in history – which will likely continue to be solidified as time goes on – will be rightfully deserved, providing a poignant, unrivaled, and timeless cinematic experience.
Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, Jurassic Park, was perfect for the big screen. It struck all the right chords, all while providing the perfect opportunity to put the most innovative cinematic techniques of the day on display. So much so that Steven Spielberg, with the backing of Universal Studios, spent $1.5 million on the rights to the film – and it’s no wonder why he did. Using computer-generated imagery, even if only for a few fleeting moments, the dinosaurs were brought back to life for all the world to see on screen. With the help of Industrial Light & Magic, the long-renowned special effects studio, the opportunities for revolutionary digital imaging innovations were boundless.
And these bounds were, indeed, tested with this film, which remains one of the highest-grossing of all time. Even the plot, in and of itself, mostly based on Crichton’s novel, is enough to engage viewers and keep them on the edge of their seats for the full two-hour runtime. Starting with John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), a wealthy industrialist, developing a theme park of cloned dinosaurs, accomplished using innovative genetic engineering techniques. When mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are invited to tour the park and certify its safety, things seem to be going well at the park. They are all amazed by the creation they see before them, in awe of the extinct creatures now roaming the hills, despite some trepidation, especially from Malcolm, regarding the potential harm of the project as explained by the chaos theory.
However, things begin to go awry when they take a tour of the island, along with Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim Murphy. Stranded on the tour, and with monstrous behemoths now breaking loose across the park, the group is faced with dangerous situations at every turn, struggling to survive the theme park and escape the island. While they eventually make it off the island, the carnage unleashed throughout the film left several dead, the others barely coming out alive, as viewers see a banner reading “When Dinosaurs Rule The Earth,” hanging at the entrance to the park, fall slowly down at the hands of the tyrannosaurus rex now wreaking havoc on the Earth once more.
There are no words that can describe the experience of watching Jurassic Park for the first time. Few movies can transcend generational and cultural barriers, all while standing the test of time; this is one of them. Personally, watching this thriller had me glued to the screen for 127 minutes, waiting to see what would happen next, as creatures, who had not been alive for hundreds of millions of years, now ran across a kitchen before my own eyes. Yes, technology has advanced significantly from 1993 to today, and yes, such as digital editing and film production techniques are now commonplace. Yet, when watching the film, there was a sense that the magic was not lost; rather, it was amplified, especially due to the masterful cinematography orchestrated by Spielberg in the production of Jurassic Park, allowing you to take notice of just how immersed you are in this alternate world where dinosaurs come back from the dead. It’s an adventure that anyone could enjoy, and one which everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Even if only to let the dinosaurs rule the Earth once more on their television screens.