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Must-See Movie Reviews From Before the Grave

Jurassic Park (1993)

"We Spared No Expense"

Follows the harrowing story of 10 survivors who become trapped on a dinosaur infested island, after a preview tour goes horribly wrong.


Initial Impressions:

Simon: I've seen Jurassic Park a couple of times now.  But haven't seen it for a while.  And for some reason I can't remember how much I enjoyed it.  I recall it having some tense moments, and some good effects.  Oh and it has one of the most ridiculous hacking sequences in the history of film.  But I don't remember much beyond that.  I'm looking forward to seeing it in theaters, as well as seeing it in 3D.  Should make for some fun times!


Bennett: 1993 was a good year for films, because I was born (these events, naturally, are closely related). I have great memories of Jurassic Park, and cannot wait to see it on the big screen for the first time--with the added effect of 3D! I consider this film a favourite, and I cannot wait to watch it again as it has been quite some time since I have. Hopefully it will be as good as I remember.


Simon's Take:


It's not every day that a film on our list gets rereleased theatrically.  Hence the temporary scrapping of the random draw system.  Normally I'm opposed to films being given another theatrical run,  especially if its for 3D.  I'm not opposed to 3D.  But it does seem like the smallest improvement possible to warent another theatrical run (Unless you're Avatar, in which case 20 minutes of extra footage qualifies).  In this case though it was also the 20th anniversary of the film.  So all is forgiven.  Now that I've got that out of the way... On to the review! Jurassic Park was a lot of fun.  I haven't seen the film in probably 6 years, and didn't recall it being particularly memorable.  Maybe it's just that I'm older now, but I did have a much larger appreciation for the movie this time through.   Making it a fun 2 hour romp through what could have been a run of the mill monster movie.  What I really loved this time through, was the amount of detail paid to the actual theme park itself.  What could have simply been a plausible setup was expanded into something that felt genuine and very real.  From the short animated presentation at the beginning, to the cars on rails, the gates, the guards, and the entire visitors center.  Even down to the shots of the logo imprinted on car doors, or on T-Shirts.  The entire film was built upon the theme park premise in a way that allowed it to feel much more realistic and interesting. It's hard to criticize the negative parts of the film at this point, because I honestly have no idea what tropes it reused from other films, and which ones it instigated.  But during the second half a lot of the moments felt very cut and dry from other films.  Time based risks, jump scares,   and cute monsters who turned out to later be terrifying are all things I've seen before in other movies.  Charecters making stupid moves like waving flashlights at a dinosaur they're trying to escape, and later not being able to turn said flashlights off.  It just makes you question the intelligence that the filmmakers think these charecters have.   And it felt like the only difference was it being dinosaur oriented scares.  I'm also still not sure how I felt about the kids in the film.  They didn't detract from the film at all.  And the actors turned in some truly great performances.  But I found it hard to shake the feeling that they were just there to appeal to a younger demographic. Or to be more sympathetic dino food.  Take your pick. Also one has to question the logic of putting the entire park in the hands of one computer programmer.  It seems like the largest security hole possible.  Even if he was the most reliable and responsible (which clearly he wasn't) lapses in judgement, bad days, or even just temporary moments of stupidity could put everyone's lives at risk.  I just didn't buy the fact that with all the security on the island, there were no failsafes that couldn't be easily overridden by a single person.  Still though, it was the early days of computing, and they needed someway to unleash terror on the island.  So I suppose under the circumstances it worked. I found myself feeling rather sad with the effects in this film.  These days CGI (Comuter Generated Imagery) is so prevelent in movies  that it almost completely eclipses traditional effects.  Looking back at a film like this, you realize how truly revolutionary it was in its time.  CGI wasn't being used as budget or time saver.  It was used to do things that traditional effects wouldn't allow, and therefore showed audiences something they'd never seen before.  It's rare to find a film that does that anymore.  Considering the film is 20 years old, its amazing how well the effects have aged.  In that they almost haven't.  It was also fun to see everything from Stop-Motion to Animantronics to cutting edge graphics on display to bring the dinosaurs to life.  The effort put into the effects may not be something we see to often these days.  But its nice to look back on a film that did it really well 20 years ago. All in all I enjoyed Jurassic Park, and it was a lot of fun revisiting a classic on the big screen.  Despite its flaws it remains one of the best monster movies out there.   And thank God using a Unix system isn't anything like playing a video game in real life.


Pros:

- Excellent special effects
- Great attention to detail with the Theme Park setup


Cons:

- Occasionally stupid characters
- Some of the setups felt reused from other films
- The entire park security was given to an irresponsible computer nerd?!


Bennett's Take:


Was watching the film in the theatres great? Yes, very much so. Did the 3D effects make it better? Negative. I have never been one to enjoy 3D films, unless they are animated in which case they are usually great. I understand the purpose of the rerelease of the film being it’s twenty year, but the necessity to make it 3D is beyond me. Anyways…
It was great having popcorn at my side, and all over me, as I watched Jurassic Park. Something about popcorn makes every movie much better. Jurassic Park however, did not need the aid of popcorn to be an incredible movie. The visual effects were impeccable, the acting, although shaky at times was well done, and the film had a memorable soundtrack. One downside I can see about the film is the lack of singing. Another pitfall is the convenience factor: I am no expert on paleontology, but I felt rather dubious of the expertise shared on the dinosaurs and plant life based only on the study of fossils.
Although it was fairly easy to determine what was real and what was computer generated, the scenery and dinosaurs were very well designed with the technology available twenty years ago. Using impressive animatronics, Jurassic Park brought the dinosaurs to life—in a very feasible way. At times it was easy to see they were fake, but for the most part, movements seemed natural and nothing like someone doing “the robot”. The acting was well done; I cannot imagine how difficult it could be interacting with robots, especially with evil ones. The kids especially did a good job in their roles. Tim’s humor was great for lightening the mood when dinosaurs wishing to tear them apart were chasing them. Lastly, the soundtrack will be stuck in my mind for quite some time. I put it on repeat for the duration of writing this review, as it soothed my soul and helped me remember what I had recently witnessed. However, a very disturbing fact for you that will put all of your subsequent viewings of the film into question…The sound design of the dinosaurs was produced mainly by animal fornication. Yes, that just happened. Knowing this makes watching, and listening, quite entertaining.
As for the downfalls, I think my cons to the film are in some ways nitpicky—especially the paleontology one. Although I do think it holds some validity. Having never experienced living creatures or vegetation, I am skeptical of how they knew so much, especially the habits of each dinosaur. Regardless, this is only a minor issue I have with the film, as it is necessary in order to provide the viewer with a more realistic experience. I also felt the ending was quite convenient, I mean honestly, how much does a t-rex need to eat in a period of two days?


Pros:

-Great soundtrack
-Effects convincing
-Funny moments and noises


Cons:

-Very convenient
-It was in 3D*
*Although this does not affect the film directly, I still really do not like non-animated films in 3D. It just costs me an extra $3.00 to see a movie.


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