Wednesday, 3 February 2016

My Favourite Films: Jurassic Park Movie Review


Often as a student you will find yourself skint. No money at all until the next pay day which is a horrible thing for me as that means I cannot check out the latest movies. I would really of loved to have seen The Big Short and Spotlight and give a review about those films but these circumstances won't make that possible. So instead of not doing anything at all I thought I would take this as an opportunity to start reviewing some of my favourite films of all time. May as well start off at the top with my favourite film of all time, Jurassic Park.


Now I'm pretty certain that everyone has at least heard of Jurassic Park. If not you've probably been living under a rock for the last 20+ years. A novel by Michael Crichton brought to life by the great mind of Steven Spielberg to create one of the biggest and most popular blockbusters of all time. 

The story features palaeontologists Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neil) and Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) being offered an all expenses paid trip to an island for their expertise by billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Little do they know quite what they are in for. They are joined by mathematician or 'chaotician' Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and lawyer of potential investors Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero). When they get to the island, it is beyond their wildest imagination as they realise they are literally in a theme park. The theme being real life, full size dinosaurs. All seems to be going well until the power is turned off by greedy and wrongfully trusted Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) and the beasts are free to roam the island. Whilst being out in the now dangerous wild, Grant has to return safely with Hammonds grandchildren- Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim ( Joseph Mazzello) before anything deadly finds them as they look to escape with their lives.

I don't even know where to start with this film. May as well start off with the elephant in the room, the dinosaurs. Of course in a film called Jurassic Park there are going to be a lot of dinosaurs and they most definitely play a huge role in this. What is amazing about this though is how they were able to do it and also to do it convincingly. If they couldn't make these dinosaurs look real the film would easily fall into a B movie standard. Steven Spielberg not only succeeded this but surpassed expectations. They were able to make you feel as if what you were watching was real. Who'd of thought that in 1993 you would be watching a movie with full size dinosaurs that looked like something you could go to a zoo and see yourself. What is even more amazing is that at times they used practical effects to bring these dinosaurs to life. They actually assembled a giant fully functioning T-Rex on the set to actually use. I bet the crew and cast got a few frights when seeing it for the first time but still probably not as much of a fright as the audience did in the final product. 



Obviously this wasn't possible for everything including the shots involving the herd of Gallimimus running and also the breath taking  first shot of the Brachiosaurus. The CGI does not disappoint though and everything looks great. Even 23 years later, it still holds up and looks very realistic. Some of the best CGI work ever used to phenomenal effect. Many of the dinosaurs in the film are created by CGI in a way to create the most life like creatures and to make them look full scale as well as seen with the Brachiosaurus. There's no wonder that it picked up an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. To be able to use CGI to bring a creature of this size to life is incredible and is a true triumph in film history. 



Although there is a great amount of wow factor from the dinosaurs alone, it would be easy to forget that this film has many great performances in it. There's a reason to why Sam Neil is known as the guy from Jurassic Park. He is incredible in this film as Dr Alan Grant, a dinosaur expert who has to survive and escape not only with his life, but the life of the helpless Lex and Tim. He does an excellent job as this character and is one of my all time favourites. Neil's great performance also comes with the fact that himself and Laura Dern who plays Ellie Sattler have fantastic chemistry. The two are a great pleasure to watch on screen together and are really believable as a couple despite not a lot of romance being involved. Dern also plays a very strong female character in this film and one that is very underrated in my opinion when talking about female characters. She more than holds her own with the rest of the characters and arguably does a lot more than most of them too.

Dr Ellie Sattler and Dr Alan Grant

The film also features good performances from the two child actors. Looking back both Mazzello and Richards as Tim and Lex both have very good performances. They both react great to the carnage at first which you would expect anyone would. You can also see them progress through the film as they start to become braver as the story moves on. They don't seem annoying which was a problem I found with the younger characters in Jurassic World which made their performances more enjoyable. 

Lex and Tim


Richard Attenborough is also great as the mastermind of the whole park who has good intentions but fails to see the danger that this creation could and then does cause. A more subtle Samuel L Jackson performance as Ray Arnold in which was possibly his first big break, still with great quotes and moments in the film. Wayne Knight is also great in this film and provides a comedic element to the film which works great. One of my favourite performances comes from Bob Peck as Robert Muldoon, a warden in the park who deals with the dinosaurs. He has great lines in the film and is very believable as someone who knows how to handle these amazing beasts.

Bob Peck was great as Robert Muldoon
Of course there is one character who I have missed out so far and that is Ian Malcom played by the great Jeff Goldblum. This is one of the most entertaining characters in the entire history of film. His mannerisms alone are worth watching and his smart alec, sarcastic humorous ways are great to watch and anyone will find enjoyment out of it. Jeff Goldblum's charisma really pulls this off and is a pleasure to watch. His character is also very clever and foresee's most of the events that happen. He is also very noble and brave as he takes action to protect and save other people. Full of memorable moments and quotes too. It's a shame that these traits weren't there in the vastly inferior sequel.

Great performance by Jeff Goldblum
The film is filled to the brim with great performances which is one of the main parts to why I love Jurassic Park.

One of the best things with Jurassic Park for me is how it presents the dinosaurs. At first they are represented as all good with all of the herbivores being shown which seems to be showing everything going smoothly and safely. The creatures are being looked at with no fear, just remark-ability. However when it becomes known that there are many carnivores and what we marvelled at has now become the greatest fears to all of the characters. It's great at showing what can seem great at first can turn out oh so badly.


I think something that makes this film even more special is the music composed by John Williams. The music is just magical and adds so much to the film. The scene with the helicopter approaching the island as one of the main themes plays is my favourite use of music in a film ever. It gives me goosebumps watching it and it's just amazing. Also the scene where we first see the Brachiosaurus, the reveal is made 10x better due to the wonderful music playing at the same time. The music from John Williams in this film is truly magical and is actually something I have on my iPod to listen to for recreational use. One of the best works from John Williams in a very illustrious career, 

Jurassic Park is full of incredible and memorable moments. One of these is the first appearance of the dinosaur which I've talked about in detail in previous points. There are much more to choose from. Including the terrifying T-Rex attacking Lex and Tim whilst in the car in the first scene we see it. This is the first time that we see the full T-Rex and immediately it is causing destruction. There is also a great scene involving a dilophosaurus. This is the scene where it attacks Nedry showing it's true capabilities.  Perhaps my favourite scene in the entire movie is the kitchen scene. After returning to where they thought was safe, Lex and Tim look to hide from dreaded Velociraptors. This then leads to one of the tense scenes I have ever seen as the pair try to hide for their lives as the raptors circle the room and look for them.  Definitely one of my favourite scenes of all time.

Tim hiding from the Raptors in the "Kitchen Scene"
As well as memorable scenes, there are many great quotes. Many quotes that I find myself on most days. One of my favourites from Jurassic Park is when Robert Muldoon is tricked by the raptor and turns and says "Clever girl". One of my favourites and I find myself saying it to friends whenever something has been done correct.  The blocking system on the computer set by Dennis Nedry that goes " Ah ah ah, you didn't say the magic word". I find myself saying this a lot too when someone asks for something.More comically there are quotes such as when Jeff Goldblum's character walks up to the Dinosaur droppings and says "That is one big pile of shit". Fantastic. Still makes me laugh every time. Even the way Goldblum talks with the stuttering and pauses is great to imitate and is recognised very easily. Many great quotes from this great film.

"Now that is one big pile of shit"
Now of course there are some flaws with the film. Mainly to do with the science side of things in the film. I wouldn't know any better to be honest and I'm not watching Jurassic Park for an accurate description of procreation and cloning.  There is also a bit where the T-Rex enters which would make it have a surface to walk on of some kind behind the wall but it then later is a huge drop. That's really the only problems I had but they are very minor. And when a film is this good you forget about minor things.

Final Verdict: Jurassic Park= A+
I grew up with this film and must watch it about 5 times a year. I think I've seen this more than any film I have seen before. I truly love this film. If it is on I have to sit and watch it. This film will never get old to me in fact my love for it seems to grow every time for it. This film is why I love movies. A true timeless classic. 

Now if you have seen Jurassic Park which I really really hope you have, what do you think of it? And if you haven't seen it, GO WATCH IT NOW PLEASE! Thank you for reading my review on my favourite movie of all time. I hope you can relate to the points I have made and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks again, it is really appreciated!

By Angus McGregor