Next month Jurassic World hits cinemas in the UK and I can’t wait to see it. So in preparation I’m taking a look back at the Jurassic Park trilogy and will review all three movies, starting with the first. This movie was a very big deal when it first came out, but how does it hold up today? Well let’s find out.

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The story is based around the novel by Michael Crichton (which I haven’t read), where John Hammond the head of bio-genetics company Ingen has a vision of the greatest theme park ever made. The park brings dinosaurs back to life using advanced cloning techniques, but when the park’s security goes down and the dinosaurs get loose the characters have to find a way to get the security back online and survive the dinosaur attacks. It’s a basic setup for a survival film however it contains more scientific elements and character building which I’ll talk about later.

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The cast for this movie all do a good job in their respective roles. I particularly enjoyed Sam Neill and Laura Dern as Drs Alan Grant and Ellie Satler. The two want a relationship but is held back because Grant doesn’t like kids, however when Grant is forced to protect the kids from the dinosaurs he grows more of a liking towards them. You also got Jeff Goldblum as the cocky, smart-arsed, brainiac Dr Ian Malcolm and of course Richard Attenborough is great as the man himself John Hammond. He spared no expense, apparently. Even the two children actors who play Tim and Lex were decent enough. All other cast members do a fine job as well.

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Of course the main area where this movie stands out is in its Oscar winning special effects. The dinosaurs here all look incredible, from the way they move just to the shear scope of them. Whether it’s for the more iconic dinosaurs like the T-Rex, Brachiosaurus or the frightening Velociraptors to the dinosaurs which you don’t know yet still enjoy watching, these special effects still hold up extremely well to this day.

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Of course as this movie is directed by Steven Spielberg he’s able to inject that “Spielberg magic” into the movie to make it enjoyable for family viewing. He’s able to capture such whimsy and wonder the way things are built up before being revealed and accompanied by a great score by John Williams. Scenes such as seeing the Island for the first time or getting a first look at the dinosaurs are made all that more grand and impactful. Also for a movie where the dinosaurs are a danger to the humans there really aren’t that many deaths in the movie (And no don’t worry, the children don’t die). Still though the action scenes do manage to be tense at times, getting down just the right amount of atmosphere and build up to keep you hooked.

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What I think really helps is how this movie takes it’s time. You get one dino attack in the beginning, but for the rest of the first act it gives the audience time to get to know its characters, have a look around and get a sense of the general premise. You know something is going to go wrong at some point, but you don’t know when or where. The Velociraptors don’t get much screen time until late on in the movie, but from that point on they become the thing to fear. It’s not the kind of movie that throws it’s dinosaurs and jump-scares at you as quickly as possible and the movie benefits because of that.

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One of the most famous scenes of movie exposition is the scene where John Hammond shows a video explaining how the dinosaur cloning techniques worked.  It’s done in the style of an animated cartoon that a child friendly museum would show as an educat      ional video. It does a great job at explaining how they brought the dinosaurs back to life. Of course real life genetics scientists might be able to point out the holes in it, but anyone else is more than happy to just go with it. These added scientific elements and dinosaur facts(?) make it a movie that does a good job at getting across what is happening to its audience and it treats them with more respect than a lot of big budget blockbusters today.

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What else is there to say about Jurassic Park that hasn’t already been said? It’s a fun survival movie that has a great sense of scope, imagination, scientific elements and character development. If that’s still not your thing then surely you can at least enjoy seeing the dinosaurs, I mean who doesn’t? In the case of this movie seeing is very much believing. All in all it’s a hugely enjoyable movie that has aged very well.

I give this movie 5 out of 5

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Comments
  1. Levi says:

    Nice review! It’s always a blast to revisit this movie. I agree that the pace and buildup is perfectly executed.

    If you’re interested, I have a review that’s mainly about the book but also discusses the movie: http://thestake.org/2015/05/13/the-backlist-revisiting-michael-crichtons-jurassic-park/

    Take care!

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