#203: Jurassic Park (1993)

When and how did I watch this?

October 22nd, 2015, on a friend’s Plex account.

Had I seen this film already?

Yes, but I think the last time I saw it was about 17 years ago.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

It’s a film I’d seen several times as a kid, and while I was pretty sure it wasn’t a perfect depiction of dinosaurs, it was vivid enough to kind of complete the pictures in my mind, along with invoking reverence and terror for these beasts. Many of the scenes are permanently stamped in my recollection.

What do I know about it now?

I watched a Blu-ray version, which is remastered and sharpened for HD presentation.  In some older films, the process makes special effects look worse, but this one is spectacular to watch.  Nonetheless, it’s essential to look at films like this in an objective manner, because obviously the newer films loaded with high quality CGI are going to have an advantage regarding special effects. Jurassic Park stands the test of time, in this case; like Jaws, the peril and tension skyrockets, and the time spent NOT seeing the beast(s) is just as important, if not more, than when the monster appears and starts eating stuff. The same level of panic remains today as it did over 20 years ago as the kids were trapped in the car turned about and squished under the heft of the T-rex, or when Dern’s character is racing through the halls of the circuit room after a velociraptor pops out.

What are some themes in the film?

God/nature/man, and our attempt to augment these things

Did this affect me personally?

I wasn’t even an adult the last time I saw Jurassic Park. The landscape has changed — now I have kids of my own, and I have a broader perspective of life than I did in my adolescent bubble.  Watching the adults get chomped up was still “satisfying”, but seeing the kids in trouble made my heart race.

Why is this ranked #203?

Spielberg has a knack for creating moments of “waiting” in his films.  The real action in Jurassic Park doesn’t arrive until about halfway through, and we’re forced to agonize as all of the circumstances come about: they’re trapped in vehicles they cannot move, in the rain, with a towering beast approaching from an unknown angle. It works, and it’s highly memorable.

Did my wife watch/like it?

This was her first viewing of the film, and it got her attention.

Would I watch it again?

This is a repeat viewing kind of film.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

It’s just as good as the first time I watched it, a timeless American classic.  Everyone should see it.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Certainly.  It doesn’t have anything terribly clever going on, but everything is important, and most scenes are dramatic and tense. Dinosaurs have captured the world’s imagination since they were “discovered”, and everyone fears the mega-beast emerging from who knows where. It’s a universally appealing film, and should be in the top 200 of every “greatest movie” list.

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