"Jurassic Park" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"Welcome to Jurassic Park."
These are the words spoken by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) when Alan Grant (Sam Neil), Ellie Settler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) see a dinosaur for the first time. Hammond, who is the eccentric billionaire that created the park, whisks away the three scientists to his new dinosaur theme park, which they think is all a hoax. It wasn't until this exact moment that they realized Hammond had something special on his hands - he was able to bring back the dinosaur race in this masterpiece of a film that shows why Steven Spielberg is one of the best directors of our time.
The reason Hammond brought these specialists to his park was to hopefully convince them to endorse his park. One would wonder why he would need someone to endorse his park since he has real living and breathing dinosaurs in his new tourist destinations. However, before the park was scheduled to open, a velociraptor kills one of the workers, resulting in that worker's family suing Hammond and the park for $20,000,000. This made the investors worried that the park wouldn't do well, and they were afraid all their hard work and money had just gone to waste.
However, Hammond assures his guests that the park is harmless, and there are multiple precautions put in place to keep the dinosaurs away from the guests. Yet, when a worker decides to betray Hammond and the park, and destroys all of the safety protocols put in place, it now puts everyone in the park at danger, especially Grant, Settler, Malcolm, and Hammond's two grandkids, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards).
When Spielberg made his first film, "Jaws", he made sure the shark didn't show up until near the end of the film. He thought that by not showing the shark, it would add more suspense and terror into the hearts of the audience, and it worked perfectly. The same is present in this film, with the audience not seeing the T-Rex until more than halfway through the movie. We focus on the characters, and the friendly dinosaurs that are walking around more than anything. If one did not know what this film was or what it was about, they would think this was a family-friendly film about lovable characters going to a theme park. So, when that T-Rex comes crashing in (literally), it sends a shockwave of shock and terror though the audience and completely changes the entire mood and tone of the film.
The heart of this film are the characters. Neil and Dern have excellent chemistry together as a couple, and it just gets better when combined with Goldblum's awesomely weird mathematician. They never miss a beat, and are always on their toes when interacting with one another. Yet, I think the best character arc is Neil's character and Hammond's grandchildren. The first time we see Grant, he is lecturing a kid on why he is wrong, and then voices his annoyance about kids to Ellie. This kind of sets the tone on what his feelings are towards kids, and it's made even more obvious when Tim and Lex are introduced into the film. But when the movie goes on, the viewer can see the major impact that the kids had on Grant. He starts to warm up to them as they are on the run from the hungry dinosaurs, and it seems like he has grown to care for the two kids like a father would. Many adventure blockbusters wouldn't have this kind of character arc present in the film, but Spielberg definitely take his time to craft these characters and their stories.
In 2022, almost every blockbuster you go and see has an exuberant amount of CGI, and it seems like they are always trying to one-up the film that came before it. Yet, when watching this film and seeing the dinosaurs, especially the T-Rex, it's hard to believe this movie came out in 1993. The CGI and effects have aged almost perfectly, and could even be compared to the CGI and dinosaurs of the newer Jurassic World films.
At the same time, Spielberg shows his directing talents, and how he is the perfect choice to direct these action and adventure blockbusters. Many blockbusters focus on the action and the explosions, but Spielberg takes his time to craft the story and the characters before throwing the action and the high-stakes into the mix. The characters in his films have so much charisma and charm that it is so hard not to like any of his characters, even the antagonists at times. I think he also does a great job of throwing in humor here and there, making the characters seem even more likable than they already are. Spielberg is without a doubt one of the best directors of this generation, and can even argue that he is one of the best directors to have ever lived.
This film, which was released almost thirty years ago, has stood against the test of time and is still one of the biggest blockbusters ever made. It totally redefined a genre, and has even spawned a series of films that is still being made today. This is one of Spielberg's masterpieces that helped put him on the map, and it's hard to imagine this film being made by anyone else.