ReelRetro: Jurassic Park

ReelRetro: Jurassic Park

 

Did you know September is National Velociraptor Awareness month? No, I am Serious.

The American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention, along with the North American Velociraptor Defense Association and the United Velociraptor Widows Fund, have been kind enough to provide us with information regarding velociraptor safety in your home. They even have a useful quiz to help you judge if your neighbour is actually a raptor in disguise – how considerate!

 All this talk of dinosaurs prompted me to dig through my DVD collection and settle down to watch some Jurassic Park action.

 There’s some default movies that you turn to when picking a new flick to watch is just too much effort. Jurassic Park is one of those. But as it reaches it’s 20th birthday, is the old T-rex extravaganza starting to look it’s age?

 Steven Spielberg proves he doesn’t hold a grudge directing Richard Attenborough (who beat him 10 years previous to an Oscar) as billionaire boffin John Hammond who creates an adventure theme park with real dinosaurs as the attractions.  Due to some peckish velociraptors  munching down on a clumsy worker, Hammond enlists paleontologists Alan and Ellie (Neill and Dern) to preview the park and give it the thumbs up for opening to the public. But the prehistoric ladies of the park have different plans….

 I remember being a kid and seeing a feature on the news about this impressive new technology with actors pretending to perform with things that were added in later by computers. I remember the shiny-faced reporter interviewing Sam Neill with a disbelieving look on his face. His red cheeks were practically screaming: how can this be possible!!! I admit thinking it myself even as a little six-year-old. Watching the raw footage of Neill ducking and weaving around invisible obstacles (two kids in tow), then seeing the finished footage with the dinosaurs pasted in blew my mind.

But hey, technology dates. Things that impressed the world 20 years ago don’t always stand the test of time…..Don’t worry Mr Spielberg, your film ain’t one of those.

Even 20 years on Jurassic Park succeeds at generating awe and excitement in viewers (even ones that have seen the film at least 10 times). The story is still accessible, with the arguments surrounding chaos and evolution relevant today.

The film still freaks you out. T-rex is still scary and the raptors continue to send a chill down my spine (that kitchen scene? Classic!).

Most impressive however is the lasting quality of the visual effects. Though the old brachiosaurus has seen better days, the main predators of the film still look real by modern effects standards. This film stands as testament to the value of animatronics, with the robot T-rex used for the close up shots and the jeep attack scene outshining some of the latest CGI.

The soundtrack is just as powerful as ever inspiring a sing along as the iconic theme tune plays over the helicopter’s arrival to the island (dadada DUM DUM, dadada DUM DUM..you know what I’m talking about!)

 Quite simply: this film rocks and it’s PG rating means teachers can continue inflicting it upon their terrified junior primary students as part of their work on dinosaurs – mwahahahaha!

 

Like a good wine, this film just gets better with age. It sh*ts all over the two sequels (and no doubt the upcoming fourth film)

I award it 5 stars

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