Friday, April 30, 2010

Jurassic Park -- 1993

Jurassic Park

Rated PG-13 for horror and violence and some language
My Rating: 4 Stars

Sam Neill
Laura Dern
Jeff Goldblum
Richard Attenborough
Bob Peck
Martin Ferrero
B.D. Wong
Samuel L. Jackson
Wayne Knight
Joseph Mazzello
Ariana Richards

I have been startled into a slight reflex during a movie; I may have even made a squeak during one or two. But I've never, in all my days, screamed and nearly fallen off my chair. I have even less excuse than most audiences, because I had read (and greatly enjoyed) the book Jurassic Park, and suspected what was coming. Lol. Steven Spielberg outdid himself on this film.

Dr. Allan Grant is an archaeologist, working in the badlands of Montana with his co-worker, Dr. Ellie Sattler and crew of diggers. They had just made a new discovery of a fossilized dinosaur when wealthy and persuasive John Hammond. arrived on the scene. Mr. Hammond. has leased an island in South America and built a park with some unusual attractions on it. When asked what the attractions were, he merely smiled and said, “Why don't you come and see?”

There is never a project of that scale without investors and Mr. Hammond's had been asking questions. He needed favorable, authoritative opinions before he could go on with his building. Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler seemed like a perfect choice; they're doctors (so their opinions will matter), they are a little eccentric (therefore, just the people who might approve of what he was doing) and, of course, they love... dinosaurs.

Allan and Ellie weren't the only people Mr. Hammond. had enlisted. He had a mathematician, a representative from his lawyer and the man who had set up Jurassic Park's computer system. The latter was there to iron out the bugs in the system while the important visitors were making their rounds. All together, they made an interesting company of folks.

Jurassic Park was a theme park, but it wasn't just any theme park. With the aid of fossilized mosquito blood (whose donor had fed on dinosaurs then gotten itself stuck in tree amber, therefore being perfectly preserved) and frog DNA to fill in the gaps, Mr. Hammond's scientists had managed to reproduce dinosaurs of all kinds and sizes. When the visitors first got a glimpse of these magnificent creatures, there were mixed reactions. The lawyer was ecstatic, thinking of all the money they were going to make; Dr. Grant was impressed but wondered what he'd do for a living from now on. Dr. Sattler's feeling were similar. The only one unfavorably impressed was the mathematician. His comment? “I am horrified with the lack of respect shown towards nature.”

About this time, Mr. Hammond's grandchildren arrived. Here was the ultimate proof that he expected the visit to go smoothly. Two young children he cared deeply for were going to experience the same tours that the others were taking.

Probably everything would have gone smoothly and everyone would have gone on their way afterwards, praising Jurassic Park and their experience there to the skies. But Dennis the computer programmer had something up his sleeve. He had been paid money... and lots of it... to steal embryos from the lab. In order to this, he had to shut the security systems down. Unfortunately, if you shut down the security systems of Jurassic Park, it did more than turning off cameras and gates. Little did Dennis realize that his greed for money would lead to disaster... and the loss of more than one life.

What I Liked:
1: The special effects of this movie are spectacular.
2: The score – excellent!
3: How little offensive language there was.
4: How well planned the horror was. It was very effective.

What I Didn't Like:
1: There were quite a few untied strings when this movie ended. For instance, what happened to the staff of Jurassic Park? All the scientists? The chefs? Etc? They simply fade out of the picture and for all the viewers know, they stayed behind on the island. Btw, what did happen to the island? Did they simply leave the dinosaurs to reproduce and overrun their habitat? Obviously, the baby dinosaurs were not getting their supplements, so they were surviving without them... therefore, the adventure could continue on... and on. (In the book, the island was eradicated by the government.)
2: The romance between Allan and Ellie added a an element that I didn't care for.
3: The mathematician was much more of a play boy on the film than he was in the book. In the book, he was very solemn and somewhat of a philosopher. I liked him better in the book. ;-)
4: I felt that the character of Mr. Hammond was mixed in the film. He was rude, then kindly, then arrogant, etc, etc. In the book, he was egoistic, arrogant and had no room for advice/wisdom from anyone. By the time the end came along, he really was a villain who deserved his fate.
5: Some (mild) language.

With all the problems I had with this film, you are probably wondering why I gave it 4 stars. I must say that with all that I didn't appreciate, what I did appreciate was greater. :-) I do recommend this film. For me, it has found a resting place in the list with “Ben-Hur”, “Indiana Jones”, “Sound of Music”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Amadeas” and “The DaVinci Code”. These are all films that have something about them that made a great impact on me and the way I look at life.

Now, for all of you Jurassic Park movie fans: go out and read the book. Come back when you're finished and tell me what you think. :-)

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