Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Film Favourites: Jurassic Park

jurassic park poster
Even the poster gives me tingles.

The Film

From back in the glory years of Steven Spielberg before A.I. and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ruined his winning streak, Jurassic Park is either one of your favourite movies or you are an evil alien from the planet Killjoy in the galaxy of Funlessness and we must now burn you. With fire.

jurassic park cow raptor feeding
The cow had it easy...

The Plot

Crazy billionaire and Irresponsible Grandparent of the Year, John Hammond, invites a group of smart people (and a lawyer) to inspect his dinosaur theme park before it opens to check that it's safe for the general public after a dude got killed, permitting his whiny grandkids to tag along in the same breath. A fat guy screws everyone over with shaving cream, Samuel L. Jackson and Bob Peck get velociraptored to death and children across the Earth are traumatised by dark kitchens for life. Cue credits.

jurassic park kitchen ladle
I still have nightmares about falling ladles.

The Critique

Jurassic Park is near perfect. It's paced brilliantly, the characters are each the perfect mix of interesting, kooky and straight up annoying (looking at you, kids) and there's fucking dinosaurs in it. Every movie is made better by throwing in a couple of dinosaurs.

jurassic park schindler's list red coat raptor
Tagline - Sometimes lists can't save you...
Sure, the acting is a bit cheesy and the gaping plot holes only seem to get bigger the more you watch it (like the cliff that appears out of nowhere or the fact that no-one, save the park ranger, ever thinks to use a gun for shooting things), but the film makes up for all of it's faults by simply being great fun to watch. Who didn't genuinely feel their heart pumping when the jeep was being chased by the T. Rex? Or held their breath when Muldoon got a raptor in his sights? Or laughed audibly at the hilarious dramatisation of the mundane act of searching computer files?

jurassic park computer gif
Clever girl...
The effects themselves still stand up very well after 20 years, thanks in no small part to predominant use of animatronics, puppets and people in rubber suits; but even the animation itself is a genuinely impressive effort for the time. That along with some spectacularly imaginative sound mixing (what better way to make the T. Rex's footsteps bone-chillingly terrifying than by using the sound of redwoods falling over?) makes for a film that will be forever timeless, until we finally admit that dinosaurs were probably covered in feathers and essentially glorified chickens.

jurassic park flare t rex roar

It's Special Because...

I first saw Jurassic Park on Christmas day in 1997; I was 3 years old. I sat down with my parents and brother in my new bean bag with santa hat, slippers and dressing gown on, arm buried up to the elbow in a back of crisps half my size and watched a film about a dinosaur theme park. Did I mention that it was full of dinosaurs? It was awesome.

It also gave me nightmares (Fun fact: So did E.T.). I thought I was being chased around my house by velociraptors while a T. Rex chilled under a lamp post outside, most likely wearing a leather jacket and smoking tabs with his his biker gang, The Cretacious Cretins. Although I now sadistically revel in my own scary dreams, three year old me didn't quite enjoy it that much; but a seed was planted. I was exhilarated by the experience the film had given me. Sure, young me probably just liked it for the giant lizards and the funny toilet guy, but if someone were to ask me for the moment when I first fell in love with film it would probably be that Christmas Day when for a moment, in the eyes of a little boy, dinosaurs were real.

american crocodile
Later discovery of crocodiles would then blow my freaking mind.
Because I've known this movie for pretty much as long as I've been able to think, it's as much a part of my memories of childhood as games of tig or the exhilarating epiphany that follows learning that you can call someone "smelly" even when they aren't. I'm overwhelmed with nostalgia within the first four notes of the theme song and to this day I still get a little sad when I hear it due to the knowledge that the world that I know so well will forever be out of reach on the other side of a television screen. Hell, I actually wept through the end credits when I finally saw the film in the cinema for the first time on its re-release a few years ago; yes, I'm that much of a sentimental sap.

jurassic park ending condor
"Nature- *sob* -finds a way..." *sniff*
I love this movie. At least as much as I love my family, or quoting this movie, or anything else really. Jurassic Park is and always will be a part of me. On that note I think we'll stop there; I have some pressing matters to attend to...

jurassic park t rex ending roar
Mutha. Fukin. Dinosaurs.

Best Enjoyed With

A bag of chipsticks, a glass of orange squash and family.

ben eating chipsticks
I haven't changed in 16 years.

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