Jurassic Park (1993): Then and Now

By Maryann O’Connor

When I sank back into my plush red cinema seat last weekend, I felt just as excited about the film I was about to see as I had been when I first saw it, eighteen years previously.

Many things have changed since then. The cinema in which I saw Jurassic Park all those years ago is no longer a cinema, like many ex-cinema buildings, it now houses a pub well-known as a purveyor of microwave curry nights and cheap booze. Dinosaur mania has passed by. And I no longer need parental guidance to see films (or visit pubs which used to be cinemas).

What hasn’t changed is the thrill and joy delivered by this Spielberg film. Entertaining performances by the whole cast, especially Jeff Goldblum, ably supported by a range of birdy ancestors (including the menacing Velociraptor and docile Brachiosaurus) means this film is still able to get the pulse racing even after all these years.

We are reminded of the dicey nature of its PG rating early in the film: on a tropical island just off Costa Rica, the park workers are trying to get an unseen but obviously dangerous animal out of its crate. Believing the crate to be secured, one worker climbs on top to release the animal into its pen. The crate is not secured and the creature drags him in amongst screams and a cry of ‘Shooooot herrrrrrr!’ This time, just like the last, I almost climbed up onto the back of my cinema seat in agitation.

In a last ditch attempt to save Dickie Attenborough’s genetically manipulated park of wonders from being labelled as a ‘health’ hazard, Dinosaur loving doctors (and couple) Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are called upon to pass judgement on the project. They seem sceptical but are willing to give it a chance for a few more years of research funding.

The dino docs are joined on the island by chaos theorist Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and the park investors’ lawyer who later in the film is crazy enough to try and run away from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Oh and Dickie’s grandchildren, whom Dr Sattler hopes will convince Dr Grant that he wants to abandon the dinos for sprogs of his own.

They tour the park in remotely-controlled cars, at first not seeing the dinosaurs and then seeing far too much of them for everyone’s liking.

The thought of seeing all these prehistoric animals is an enticing one and the special effects do the dinosaurs justice. They still look like they could be real. It is true that this is one park that everyone would flock to (like Pterodactyls). There’s something about dinosaurs and the legend of their extinction which brings out the excited child in us all.

We have so much power now when it comes to genetic manipulation; it is not inconceivable that someone could try to bring them back. Therein lies the ‘moral’ of the story – just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

We have been given the chance to see Jurassic Park on the big screen once more and there is no question whether or not you should. Everyone should see it in all its glory at least once (or twice) in their lives.

Maryann has awarded Jurassic Park four Torches of Truth

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