Excitement was all around and the silver screen was to be no exception to this. Two years prior we had seen the origins of what was now possible with CGI thanks to Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the stage was set for the baseball cap wearing, blockbuster powerhouse that is Steven Spielberg to terrify audiences worldwide with a brand new form of monster movie, one that was 65 million years in the making.
Jurassic Park sent a ripple effect through both the film industry and glasses of water everywhere as it rampaged across the world with its stunning visuals, tremendous cast and of course its wondrous cinematic set-pieces, of which there are plenty. An incredibly quotable film, but not at all in an annoying ‘Anchorman’ sense, phrases such as “Must go faster”, “Hold on to your butts” and my personal favourite “Clever Girl” must have been recreated thousands of times over the years and most probably still feature in the daily lexicon of many fellow nerds and film fans.
What made Jurassic Park so exhilarating wasn’t just the effects; it truly was the complete package. The scene where Dr. Grant first looks upon the dinosaurs moving in herds across the plains of Isla Nublar was indeed an ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’ moment for that generation of cinema goers. Much like the seminal Lumière Brothers’ documentary Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, D.W. Griffiths’ The Birth of a Nation or even Henry Koster’s The Robe, there is so much more going on than just the spectacle of the unseen. Michael Crichton and David Koepp produced a screenplay that oozed charm, wit, danger and beauty; Steven Spielberg pulled out all the stops and managed to merge chaos and symbolism into every other shot, and then of course there is the John Williams score. He is the film score equivalent to The Beatles, with so many genres, styles and emotions being covered across his glorious career, his work on Jurassic Park just soars. We should also mention Jeff Goldblum. He’s in it, and of course he’s ace.
As with any successful Hollywood blockbuster these days, the sequels soon followed. Luckily Michael Crichton had also continued on from his first Jurassic novel, which left us with ample material to peruse. The Lost World: Jurassic Park was released in 1997, also directed by Spielberg, and the franchise expanded as we discovered that there was a ‘Site B’; another island which housed the dinosaurs until they were eventually transported to the location we had previously visited in the first film. The very welcome return of Jeff Goldblum, along with the glorious additions of Pete Postlethwaite, Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn assured a good second dino romp. Although it failed to match the first, there are still some fantastic moments as the universe expanded. Who doesn’t love a good ‘truck hanging from the side of a cliff’ scene!?
Jurassic Park III clawed onto our screens in 2001 with director Joe Johnston at the helm. Many scoff at the third instalment, and yet upon a recent revisit I found it to be much better than I had remembered. The many cuts from the frequently aired ITV2 version certainly don’t do it any justice and although it is very much the lesser of the three, it still has some new and interesting moments.
Fast track to 2015. Around this time last year the first glimpses of artwork started to be leaked online for Jurassic World and all of a sudden the hype has built and it is here with us. We are presented with a fully-functioning park for the first time in the series, a new pair of kids, new dino-dangers and also the reluctant hero, Owen (Chris Pratt). There are some lovely homages to the first in the series, such as Mr DNA and also a hologram version of the scariest critter of the entire franchise (Dennis Nedry’s nemesis anyone?). The film is far from perfect but I don’t think that we the audience wanted or even expected that; what we do desire is prehistoric carnage and we get a whole lot of that.
A true modern day monster movie with the wonderful Chris Pratt as the leading man, makes for a very enjoyable two hours. Jurassic World throws lots of excitement our way and once again proves just how dangerous it can be to have a British accent in world of Yanks. Get some snacks, take your friends, sit back and relax. The park is open.
Jurassic World is currently showing in 2D and 3D at FACT. Book tickets now.