Jurassic Park (1993)   9 comments

title

Billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) owns an island. He wants to turn the island into an amusement park so he mines amber for the dinosaur DNA found in preserved mosquitoes and uses it to make dinosaurs. Of course he does. In the hands of any other director and cast this might come off as the nineties version of Sharknado, but since Steven Spielberg, Attenborough, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and JEFF GOLDBLUM direct and star, it works. Suspension of disbelief, you say? Oh yes.

huh
Say what again.

I believed every frame of every scene because Spielberg and company sold me. B.D. Wong plays a smug scientist in a lab coat? Check! Samuel L. Jackson sips a tasty beverage while chain-smoking and writing code? Check! Wayne Knight whines and annoys everyone while sabotaging decades of work? Newman! Check! Martin Ferrero plays a bloodsucking lawyer more interesting in the bottom line than safety or due diligence? Check! Sam Neill and Laura Dern play a couple of PhD dinosaur groupies? Check! Sam Neill and Laura Dern play a couple? Check! Jeff Goldblum plays a hip leather-clad chaos theorist? Check and mate!

goldblum light
Cue: angelic music.

The coolest member of the cast, Jeff Goldblum stars as Dr. Ian Malcolm who espouses chaos theory, teases Hammond, and questions everything. He even puts the moves on Dern when Neill isn’t looking. Brought to Hammond’s island along with Neill and Dern to give the park his seal of approval and assuage investors’ fears, Goldblum’s Malcolm is funny, skeptical, and charmingly irreverent. In the words of John Hammond to Ferrero’s lawyer, “I bring scientists. You bring a rock star.” Damn straight. Malcolm is a rock star. Fashionably intellectual and fatally attractive in black leather, Malcolm makes key observations about the fault in Hammond’s logic. When told that they control dinosaur breeding in the lab, Malcolm’s not buying it. After arguing with Wong about it Malcolm says “I’m simply saying that life finds a way.” Yup.

eggs
Oops. They bred.

Malcolm has the best lines all through the film. When Hammond asks his opinion of his scientific achievements, Malcolm says, “The lack of humility before nature is staggering.” Hammond mentions his advancements in DNA research to which Malcolm replies, “You wield it like a kid who’s found his dad’s gun.” Hammond points out that he’s created life to which Malcolm replies ”Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Brilliant. We’re supposed to care about Neill and Dern and Hammond’s grandkids played by Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello and we do, but honestly, I wanted to see dinosaurs and Dr. Malcolm. Fangirling much? You could say that, but how can you resist Goldblum, at his hottest I might add, cracking wise and asking Neill whether Dern is single. To explain his question he adds “I’m always on the lookout for the next ex-Mrs. Malcolm.” Fabulous.

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John Williams’ music adds to the mood of the film, as always, and the production values are stellar. Spielberg spared no expense in making the best ‘old rich guy wants to have the coolest theme park so he makes dinosaurs oops they’re eating a guy’ film imaginable. He picked a great crew, a great cast, and a great Michael Crichton concept. Together they made a cool film that never fails to get me hooked. And Jeff Goldblum.

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Goldblumathon3

I wrote this for the Goldblumathon hosted by Barry of Cinema Catharsis fame. Thanks, Barry! Here’s his blog. http://cinematiccatharsis.blogspot.com/

I can be reached on twitter @echidnabot

Please, check out https://prowlerneedsajump.wordpress.com/

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9 responses to “Jurassic Park (1993)

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  1. Fun review, Kerry! I’m glad you could join the festivities. A Goldblumathon without Jurassic Park would be like a cone without ice cream (or something like that – hey, it’s the only analogy I could think of). 20+ years later, this movie still kicks butt… and Goldblum has the best lines. Thanks again for taking part!

  2. With the benefit of hindsight this seems like a strange cast , Laura Dern , Attenborough and Goldblum, it doesn’t feel like a blockbuster. But perhaps that’s why I have never made a hit movie

  3. Last time I watched this film I was 9 in a movie theater in a very frighetning experience. I take it you watched this as an adult?

    Whatever happened to Sam Nell? The casting seems like somewhat of a time capsule into who was hot in 1992 but I hope Laura Dern gets some roles now that Enlightened was so good.

    And Richard Attenborough died yesterday.

    I think the debate here is Jaws vs Jurassic Park: Which one is more emotionally complex?

    • Yes, the first time I watched it I was an adult. I thought it was spectacular then and still do. I’m not sure what happened to Neill. I’ve always liked him. Jaws vs Jurassic Park. Hmmm apples and oranges. Jaws is more complex and a better film in my opinion, but outside of the director, I don’t think the two films are that similar.

  4. I tend to view Jaws as the precursor to a film like Jurassic Park or a textbook example of how to build suspense that other directors followed to make real blockbusters. I view Jaws’ main weakness as that the shark is mostly invisible and the characters interact in the shark’s absence, so Jaws is more theatrical. One could say that in the 1970’s they really didn’t have the technology to put a monster on screen effectively, like they did in the 1990’s, so Jurassic Park actually has the suspenseful character building with the actual sight of the threat. At the same time, Jurassic Park loses a little of that theatricality because the characters aren’t being developed as much. They’re more in a state of action.

    I will say that my 2nd cousin (or technically 2nd cousin once removed. His grandmother is my great grandmother) is one of the three principal actors of Jaws (won’t say which one) and I have a soft-spot for his filmography.

    • You’re absolutely right about Jaws’ being a template. Of course Them! was the template for Jaws. There’s Jaws with piranhas, Jaws with a bear, Jaws with a yeti, and so on. I know that one of the reasons Spielberg did not show Bruce a lot was that he didn’t work too well, but keeping the creature in the shadows works. Cat People (1942), directed by Jacques Tourneur did the same thing for almost the same reasons and it’s quite effective. It keeps you guessing. Even if they had a time machine, I would hope that they wouldn’t change a thing in Jaws. It’s an extraordinarily well done film. All three actors did some really good films. In the past year I watched Sorcerer and Black Sunday for the first time. That’s 2/3. 🙂

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