Advancements in scientific technology lead to the creation of an island full of living dinosaurs. John Hammond invites four individuals, plus his two grandchildren to join him at Jurassic Park. During a preview tour, the park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits loose. Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur adventure film celebrates its twentieth anniversary with a return to theatres in 3D.
In 1993 director Steven Spielberg brought ‘Jurassic Park’ to screens as his follow up to ‘Hook’, and just prior to ‘Schindler’s List’, based on the novel written by Michael Crichton the film was made on a production budget of approximately $63 million and has since gone on to generate almost $1 billion dollars in theatrical releases alone.
To add further significance to the film’s place in movie culture, it is considered a milestone in visual effects and in many ways was the catalyst for a number of projects that were then considered feasible after seeing what was achieved with ‘Jurassic Park’. Possibly the most notable of influences here was the encouragement the film lent to George Lucas in his ambition to pursue both the special edition revisions of his original Star Wars trilogy as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
At its heart, ‘Jurassic Park’, similar to ‘Jaws’ is an adventure film, and an effective one, with a screenplay by Michael Crichton the film boasts a tight script wasting little time delving into its main attractions. The opening act brings a sense of wonder and fantasy as it works its way through some scientific nonsense to lend credence for the events of the film, and it does so in as much as it needs to but without wasting time or becoming too convoluted for its own good. Keeping audiences engaged during its setup was the biggest challenge and Spielberg navigates it quickly and flawlessly.
Quickly enough all of that is left behind as the audience follows the main characters on their journey, the pace of the film works well through effective use of suspense and humour. From sequences including a charging Tyrannosaurus rex, to pack hunting by Velociraptors Spielberg keeps things heightened and engaging with some jumpy moments that’ll entertain.
Unsurprisingly Spielberg brings in a sense of family underpinning the film that adds something extra to its characters. In fact without the time to really explore or develop any of the characters in the film, each one is given some superficial identity which in the context of the film works well and delivers some humour along the way.
Generally the cast is strong, though there are a few missteps in dialogue delivery along the way, but a particular highlight would be the child actors who were effective with their facial expressions and feelings of terror at all the right moments. Here we see Jeff Goldblum’s rise to popularity in the role of delivering witty one liners at the exact right moments and of course Wayne Knight in a greedy disgruntled role that can’t help but feel like a more insidious and slightly more competent version of Seinfeld’s ‘Newman’.
For this release of the film of course the centrepiece is the 3D conversion, we’ve seen a number of these conversions previously and for the most part the results have been disappointing. However once again Jurassic Park raises the standard with a new benchmark by which all 2D to 3D conversions should be judged. The conversion here is not only very effective, but is also managed with precision so that it heightens dramatic moments where a 3D enhancement can have the greatest impact.
“Jurassic Park’ is something of a throwback to the now classic era of Amblin Entertainment films, it’s a great adventure film with an enthusiastic cast and landmark special effects that have aged reasonably well, but of course don’t hold up against recent cinematic offerings.
I highly recommend a return to the park after its release on 4th April 2013, I’m giving it 7 out of 10 stars,