Pros: Heart stopping action, great special effects
Cons: Slow first hour, weak ending
The Bottom Line:
Once it gets going
A heart pounding action flick
Ev'ry time you watch
"If Pirates of the Caribbean Goes Down, the Pirates Don't Eat the Tourists"
The idea of man and dinosaurs co-existing has long been subject of speculation. Few have done it as famously as this 1993 film based on a novel by Michael Crichton. Ultimately, Jurassic Park is a high tech monster movie, but what a fun ride it is.
John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has come up with the most incredible idea for a theme park yet. He has found a way to clone dinosaurs. He's thought of all the controls to keep the population in check and the dangerous ones under control.
Unfortunately, his investors aren't sure that the park is safe. So, before he can open it, he has to bring in paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler (Sam Neill and Laura Dern) and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to sign off on the park.
The three are admittedly impressed by what they see, especially Alan and Ellie. But the wonder soon turns to horror when security goes down, freeing the creatures. Suddenly, the group finds themselves stranded on an island in a storm fighting to survive these creatures from the past. Will any of them make it off the island alive?
The biggest reason this movie is so well know is the effects. It was one of the first to use computer effects, and it revolutionized the industry. Frankly, the combination of full size puppets, miniatures, and computer animation still hold up even today. You'll really believe that these people are interacting with the dinosaurs. True, the effects might be even more believable now. But that's a quibble.
The biggest weakness is the story. It starts out very slowly while the science is explained. There's lots of talking in the first half. Once the dinosaurs get loose, the movie slams into high gear and becomes an edge of your seat thrill ride. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, I still get knots in my stomach during most of these scenes. Director Steven Spielberg is actually proud of the ending. He changed it mid-production for something he thinks is better. It's not. Every time I see it, I think how contrived and weak it is.
Another weakness is the characters. The movie is populated with many minor characters, most of whom we really don't get to know. Even the main characters are a bit shallow. We get to know them just well enough to care whether they live or die. Really, all the characters are just there to run from the dinosaurs. So they do serve their purpose.
Every time I see a movie with so many special effects, the acting just blows me away. This one is no exception. How can the actors react properly to something they can't see? Everyone here does a great job reacting believably to the terror unfolding around them. They even make the talking of the first part interesting. Special mention must be given to Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards who play the two kids caught up in the disaster.
Speaking of kids, I have never understood why this movie was marketed at kids with fast food tie-ins and action figures. This isn't a kid's film. It's downright scary for at least half the length. Take the PG-13 rating very seriously.
Despite the weaknesses in the story, this is still a classic. If you haven't seen Jurassic Park, you're in for a heart pumping thrill ride.