Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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John Hammond, a rich industrialist with more money than sense, decides to build an incredible theme park filled with actual live dinosaurs cloned from ancient DNA. The facilities are on a remote uninhabited island, isolated from the rest of the world. Hammond’s investors, fearing safety risks, send a team to assess the park’s security. When a tropical storm strikes the island during the very first tour, the security system is immediately subjected to a thorough stress-test…

Some pieces of media are so critically acclaimed that writing a review almost feels like sacrilege – how dare I, measly hobby-reviewer, have an opinion on one of the great works of Steven Spielberg?

Jurassic Park is a bit like that, so I’m treading lightly (unlike, say, a T-rex). The reason I am still reviewing Jurassic Park is that I found out Jasmijn hadn’t actually ever watched it – which was somewhat shocking, because as a full-fledged-never-quite-grown-out-of-it-dinosaur kid it is almost impossible to imagine that there are people who do not have the memory of that T-rex encounter or the velociraptor kitchen scene engraved in their childhood brain. So basically, I am here to tell you that if you haven’t watched Jurassic Park, what are you doing with your life and clear your schedule tonight. Which, incidentally, is exactly what Jasmijn and I did.

So, Jurassic Park is a movie about dinosaurs that is older than I am. Maybe you’re expecting me to say that the special effects don’t hold up, but that you should watch it for it’s place in cinema history. You’d be wrong. Sure, you can tell in some scenes that the CGI wasn’t exactly made yesterday. But since most of the close up work is done with animatronics or people in honest to god dinosaur suits – and since a lot of the CGI is during somewhat blurry night shots – it is hardly noticeable that the movie is nearing it’s 30th birthday. Some of the pacing is a bit different from what we’d expect today, but once disaster starts to strike, I guarantee you’ll be on the edge of your seat. I’m not exactly a fashion enthousiast, but it even feels like a lot of the clothing in the movies is actually getting back in vogue these days.

Jurassic Park does not have a particularly sophisticated message or subversive twist. It lays it on thick sometimes. It might not surprise you. It neatly fits the classic movie model. But it is just incredibly well made, with lovely little touches like always showing the humans’ reaction to the dinosaurs before aiming the camera at the prehistoric beasts that are the real stars of the show. And of course, the premise is the absolute best. I think Jurassic Park is a movie for everyone, as I am sure Jasmijn’s review will confirm.

I’m subtracting half a star because being controversial is fun (if I was just going to give this a five star rating, you might not be reading this review!), and also for the liberties Spielberg and his team took in their depictions of dinosaurs (both the ones they should’ve known about and speculation that was subsequently disproven by later paleontological research). You know I’m a stickler for historical (and apparently, prehistorical) accuracy: velociraptors are way smaller than that, and also have feathers. I once outran a T-rex on a bike (though it was hard work) in my local museum T-rex experience (set up when they acquired their T-rex skeleton), so a Jeep shouldn’t have any trouble. No way a brachiosaurus is going to stand up on its hind legs. Etc. But don’t let my pedantry get in the way of having fun – they mixed in frog DNA, so for all we know a cloned dilophosaurus might actually spit poison…

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read Crichton’s book yet (please forgive my hypocrisy, I originally watched it before I decided on my rule to always read the book first), but now that I’ve re-watched the movie, that’s itching a bit. Sigh. Another one to put on the list.

This was my fist experience with the Jurassic World-franchise and I must say that I was amused. The story goes where you expect it to go and if the movie was filmed today I would hope that the cast would be more diverse – it is a product of it’s time. However, none of these issues break the movie. The characters rely a bit on stereotypes bus they have their twists and turns along the way. Overall, I was having a good time.

I watched this movie with Peter because dinosaurs are awesome and in that area the movie did not disappoint. For a movie that was made in the nineties, the way they decided to bring those dinosaurs to life on screen still holds up quite well.

Why had I never tried to watch this myself? I was a little afraid that the story and visuals would be gruesome (rampaging dinosaurs, lots of blood everywhere), but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a movie that can be catered to a younger audience as well, the bits that could be seen as ‘gruesome’ still have a slapstick-y element.

Next stop: the natural history museum, because I need to see the dinosaurs!

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