[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004KKXMSI][/pullquote] Steven Spielberg’s name is synonymous with summer blockbusters. Films such as E.T., Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark firmly established him as one of the top directors around, and Jurassic Park sits very close to the top of his best works. Conceived from a book by Michael Crichton, the rights to Jurassic Park sparked a bidding war among Hollywood producers even before the book had been released. It was Spielberg and Universal Studios that eventually acquired the rights, which proved a smart piece of business as the film grossed over $900m at the box office. In 2011 it was rereleased at cinemas digitally remastered.
Based on the 1990 novel, Jurassic Park follows Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) as they are invited to a mysterious island containing a new theme park ‘Jurassic Park’ owned by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) that contains dinosaurs, recreated from DNA found within a mosquito that has been preserved in amber. The tour ride experiences a malfunction and the trio of doctors and the two grandchildren of Hammond have to escape from the park while the dinosaurs roam free.
At the time of the original release Jurassic Park came to define the summer with it’s family-friendly appeal and incredible story. Rarely is the audience given a moment of downtime as each scene packs in so much tension, excitement and jaw-dropping wonder. The special effects are still discussed in animators circles as one of the finest examples of the creation of verisimilitude in film history. So impressive were that highly acclaimed directors like Stanley Kubrick approached Spielberg regarding achieving the same levels of realism as Jurassic Park.
The cast are well pitched at somewhere between cold scientists and awe-struck children, and as is common in Spielberg films it all revolves around the theme of ‘family,’ with Alan Grant especially learning his role of fatherhood to children that aren’t even his. Add to these solid performances, the amazing score by John Williams and you’ve got the makings of a masterpiece. There’s even a role for Samuel L. Jackson, which helped him back on the path to super-stardom. So popular has Jurassic Park become in the years after release that for an entire generation of audiences it remains in their top five favourite films.
From the state-of-the-art special effects that are still talked about almost two decades on, the astounding and memorable score, the great acting and the fun family film premise and Jurassic Park stands the test of time as one of the most astonishing films ever.