Jurassic Park (1993)
A masterpiece of imagination, creativity, suspense, science & cinematic magic and a breathtaking sci-fi adventure that you’ll want to experience again & again, Jurassic Park is a landmark motion picture that, today, is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of its genre for it not only added an entirely new chapter to the filmmaking manual but also opened up a whole new world of possibilities in film industry with its groundbreaking use of computer graphics. The first film to realise the full potential of computer-generated imagery (CGI), Jurassic Park isn’t just a dazzling visual ride that will leave you astonished but will also surprise you with its interesting plot, blistering pace, well-developed characters, rousing music & its significant emphasis on man vs nature element.
Adapted from the novel of the same name, Jurassic Park follows two dinosaur experts, Dr. Alan Grant & Dr. Ellie Sattler, who are invited by a wealthy businessman, John Hammond, to a preview tour of his new amusement park on an island off Costa Rica. Accompanied by a cynical scientist, Ian Malcolm & Hammond’s two grandchildren, they discover the island to be full of living dinosaurs, created by a team of genetic scientists from cloning the dinosaurs’ DNA collected from biologically preserved prehistoric insects. Everything goes smooth until a storm hits the island & an inside worker allows system security to fail so that he can steal the dinosaurs’ embryos for his own monetary motives, allowing the dinosaurs to go loose all over the island thus turning the adventure ride into a race of survival.
Director Steven Spielberg has proved over & over again why he is one of the best storytellers in film industry with a rare cinematic vision that appeals to critics & mainstream audience alike. And with Jurassic Park, Spielberg delivers once again to give us an experience that’s as entertaining as any typical blockbuster but has enough characterisation & substance to rise above the mainstream & etch itself in our minds forever. Michael Crichton, author of the novel, nicely adapts his book into a movie screenplay with finishing touch added by screenwriter David Koepp, and even though the final script leaves out detailed science of cloning and makes significant changes to the plot as well as characters while also toning down the violence, it still manages to do enough for viewers to invest their emotions in this film.
Coming to the technical aspects, Jurassic Park has innovation written all over it. The set pieces are impressive to look at. The cinematography is brilliantly done. Editing very much takes care of this film’s swift pace. But the one aspect where this film sets a whole new standard is in its pioneering visual & sound effects. The dinosaurs on-screen look insanely real, both the CGI & animatronics ones, and the amount of detail that went into the creation of each dinosaur is remarkable. Sound also breaks all barriers, not only as dinosaurs’ roars but overall too and Spielberg put it to great effect in driving our emotions the way he wanted. And finally, the music by John Williams synchronises so seamlessly with the film’s sequences that it ended up elevating the film’s experience to new levels. Boasting beautiful, adventurous & heartwarming tracks that in some sequences felt truly epic, the score of Jurassic Park just works and is easily one of Williams’ finest.
Everyone who watched this film remembers its jaw-dropping special effects but the performances of the cast often gets overlooked. And true that it’s not as spectacular as the film’s technical achievements, but it did play a vital role nonetheless without which this film would’ve fallen flat on the ground. It’s the human element in this film that connects us with it and makes Jurassic Park what it is; a rip-roaring, thrilling adventure ride. Jurassic Park features an ensemble cast of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson & others and everyone chipped in just enough with their fine performances. Sam Neill stars as palaeontologist Dr. Alan Grant and on a deeper analysis, the movie is about his character only and depicts the changes the whole experience of Jurassic Park brings to his personality, thus slashing out the lack of story’s motive & character development criticism because the arc of Dr. Grant is very well-developed here but, sadly, is overshadowed by the film’s true stars… the dinosaurs.
Even after 20 years, Jurassic Park hasn’t aged a day plus the recent 3D re-release has not only added a new dimension to this film but also depth. In spite of not having a strong script or any notable performances, there is a reason why this film still works. Because the first encounter with a Brachiosaurus scene still dazzles us in ways very few movies are capable of, eventually leaving us with an immense sense of joy & excitement for what’s next in store. Overall, Jurassic Park is a movie that was tailor-made for the talents of Steven Spielberg and presents the master director in tremendous form as he not only gave us one of the greatest blockbusters ever but also thrilled us with one unforgettable sequence after another and it, even today, remains one of his most enjoyable & entertaining films. Wonderfully blending the adventure elements with a sense of wonder & amazement that only a Spielberg film can provide, Jurassic Park continues to be one of the most influential films of all time that not only made significant contribution to cinema but also turned an entire generation of spectators into dinosaur-obsessed freaks (I’m still one of them!). The most special film of my life, Jurassic Park is the movie that started my love affair with movies. And I can never thank Spielberg enough for crafting this adventure that was 65 million years in the making.