Directed by Steven
Spielberg (1993, Universal Pictures)
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Richard
A team of scientists get trapped in a dinosaur theme park while
evaluating it, and become hunted by the giant beasts.
June 12th, 2015 on
DVD for the 7th time
I think the visuals are what really
make this movie awesome, especially combined with the incredible music.
Of the story, the human moments between the kids and Dr. Grant are the
best, from him wanting to be in a different car, to his cluelessness
about how kids would lie about being okay, and then moving deeper into
disaster, his rescue from the tree, the inappropriate joke about being
electrocuted, and the tender moment in the tree.
January 1st, 2004 on
DVD for the 6th time
The movie is back to its awesome self,
after a hiatus of almost three years (my hiatus, not the movie!)... the dinosaurs are back, and the
movie overwhelmed me except for the many plot details that didn't make
The dinosaurs looked great
in the digital widescreen of the DVD, which I should have purchased
years ago. Once the dinosaurs are out, after the power failures, this
becomes a classic Spielberg film, with monsters jumping out everywhere
-at some points it reminded me of Jaws! The entire story from the
initial trip into the park to the end was great, and showcased a small
but detailed number of dinosaur species. Unlike
The Lost World, we
didn't get to see dozens of species for fractions of a second. Here, we saw half a dozen, and they
were all given adequate screen time.
What I don't like about this film is
everything regarding Nedry. So many stupid things had to happen for the
events of this movie to take place, that any reasonably intelligent
person should have seen it coming. Regardless, his death was very
Another thing that I dislike when I
think of this trilogy is the way all sorts of potential material was
wasted in the sequels. There were so many set-ups that received no
payoff, so many lost opportunities, including all of those questions
that I asked in my first review of the film, below.
Fortunately, that doesn't detract much
from this movie. While the acting could have been a little better, the
characters actually did get some growth. Malcolm was hilarious; for a
person expecting the unexpected, he sure was surprised a lot. I loved
his unexplained (in the movie) comment about the Butterfly Effect.
Grant's character got the most growth, however, in his appreciation of
children. When we first meet him, and before entering the park, he is
very uneasy around kids, even to the point of disliking them. But when
the T-Rex appears, he manages to comfort them, even though he doesn't
know how. I liked his conversation with Malcolm: he didn't even ask if
the kids were okay, since there was nothing to be scared about -but kids
get scared, because their imaginations go wild. Even I would have
started to panic a little- before the T-Rex got loose. By the end of the
movie, having spent about a day with the children, he is more likely to
want one of his own someday.
Speaking of the T-Rex scene, I am a
little confused on the geography of the paddock. When the goat arrived
to "lure" the dinosaur out, it seemed to be on the same level as the
road and the cars. (Where was the goat while underground -and who got to
feed it? Is there a vast underground tunnel system on the island?) When
the car was pushed over the edge, of course, there was a mighty drop.
Both of these occurred in the one area where the fence was torn.
The movie has more going for it,
though, than even just dinosaurs. I absolutely love the music to this
film. The grand theme, especially when descending to the helipad, is
just awesome! I also like the slower, smaller themes that appear
throughout. The scenery is also terrific. In this time of nearly no CGI
(other than the dinosaurs of course!),
I have to conclude that the waterfall in that descent was real,
somewhere in Hawaii! The other scenery was nearly as powerful. Great
place for a theme park!
I understand more, now, what was
included on the second videotape that I reviewed just below. At the
time, I didn't have a DVD player, and didn't understand the power of
special features. Of course, aside from the Making of Jurassic Park
feature, the others contain almost no material worth watching. The
Making of... was quite impressive, a very solid piece of documentary, a
prelude to what would later be achieved in similar documentaries for
Phantom Menace and Indiana Jones. The pre-production meetings were
mildly interesting, but I love watching Foley artists doing their art!
There was a lot of text information, which was common on these early
DVDs, and they don't really contain stuff that I would read twice. The
trailers were a lot of fun, making even Jurassic Park II look
interesting (the one for Jurassic Park III was almost non-existent).
As usual, the movie is the best part of
the DVD, the part that I love watching. I am glad that I was able to
feel something more while watching it this time, even getting
goose-bumps when we were first introduced to the dinosaurs! The
widescreen version of the film, combined with a very solid Making of
feature, makes the DVD worth owning.
April 28th, 2001 on Video
for the 5th time
The danger of watching
even a good movie again so soon (it feels so soon, anyway!) is that it
rarely seems as good the second time around. Everything that I found I
could tolerate the last time I saw this movie I laughed at this time -in
The reason for watching Jurassic Park a second time was the Collector's edition. I can't see why I got this set, though, because the movie didn't change -it wasn't even available on VHS Widescreen. The second video came with a "making of" sequence, which had been seen on TV once before, and a whole bunch of junk seemingly put on the video just to fill up space. This is not worth it.
The dinosaurs were still awesome, but the human characters and the plot were mere
ciphers. I could not stand Nedry for a second, but the others were not usually much better.
Strangely enough, it was the kids who shone through this time. They were themselves, latching on to the good
paleontologist with a grin, even though they end up in different cars at the beginning.
I still enjoyed the movie, but much less than the last time around. I spent too much time heckling the movie because of the absurd things the characters did and said, instead of sitting in awe of the dinosaurs, as I should have been. Better luck next time.
June 19th, 2000 on Video
for the 4th time
This is the classic
that introduced us to real-life dinosaurs. Although it stumbles in
a few places, with silly dialog, and stupid actions by many characters,
it is still overwhelming in what it sets out to do. The story is
simple, which is good, because the characters can't stand up to the
This was probably the best way to do the story of the return
of dinosaurs to the world. Open a theme park, with the giant beasts
as the main attractions. Nothing else is needed, except for some
danger. Nothing like the stuff that happened in the sequel,
World, which I will never see again (except possibly to reaffirm how bad it
The opening scene sets the stage quite well. We don't know
what kind of dinosaur is in that cage, but we can immediately tell that
it is very dangerous. Based on what we see in the movie later, it
is obviously a velociraptor. Chilling, especially the first time
The next scene establishes Dr. Grant, expert in dinosaurs, as
both an expert at what he does, and as an inept when it comes to handling
children. Of course, when he is in the park, he gets attached to
the children, grandkids to the park's owner. He grows, but the actor
is still sub-par.
I thought the plot that gets everything to fail, namely Nedry
disabling the electric fences and letting the dinosaurs get out (inadvertently),
could have been done much better. He was stealing embryos, which
he could have done at almost any time. He was well prepared in the
computer department, hiding his tracks, but ill-prepared in every other
way. It didn't have to happen that way, either. But it did
get the job done.
And once the dinosaurs were unleashed, they were awesome.
The brachiosaurs at the beginning looked too much like a matte painting
(on video, at least), but the rest of the time, they appeared to be directly
in touch with the humans.
And eating them, of course. The objections that the scientists
made to creating this sort of park were right on the mark. Somebody
must have done some actual research (Michael Crighton, obviously -but they
kept it in the movie!). And their reactions when seeing the dinosaurs
for the first time, and all throughout the movie, were priceless.
The ending seemed a bit abrupt, but it also established what
it needed to do -get the people off the island and out of the grasp of
the dinosaurs. And without the special enzyme in their system, they
will die. Except perhaps for the ones born in the wild. I was
never clear on the enzyme, though. Was it supposed to be given to
the dinosaurs with their meals? Did they track down every 'saur and
give it a shot? How did they know that every dinosaur would get its
The movie was great, though far from perfect. It left way
too many questions unanswered. Such as:
-- What was the triceratops sick from? Personally, I think she
-- Will the embryos that Nedry stole (and lost when he become dino food)
mature, as is implied by the camera zooming in on it?
-- Who was going to look after the hatching embryos when everybody was
off the island? Would the baby raptor get to cozy up against the
other eggs until everybody returned? Or does it get free reign around
-- How the heck does John Hammond get to see every single birth in the
park, if he is off the island so often trying to get support, and placating
his financial backers?
-- And how the heck did Dr. Sadler reach that ice cream bin, which was about
six or seven feet away in the next shot!!!