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Jurassic Park poster

A movie directed by Steven Spielberg

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It's not nearly as good as you think it is!

  • Nov 5, 2010
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Everyone loves Jurassic Park - it's like T2 for dinosaurs. But despite special effects that made our eyeballs bleed and Stan Winston making us soil ourselves every time a raptor showed up clicking its claws, it's actually a horrendous piece of shit. Horrendous! And yes, I have seen it about 8,000 times. Let me explain.


So let me get this straight: you're going to genetically engineer an army of dinosaurs and securely hold them on a secret island using fewer people than I have friends on Facebook? It's like the logic police have taken a donut break. Despite having these 10 presumably PhD-level smart meddlers, it's impossible to believe that a billionaire-dollar project would have no peer-level oversight whatsoever. Even Sea World has a zillion employees and they've only got Shamu, let alone T-Rex's running rampant.

I mean, think about the one computer programmer who built the whole thing by himself (yeah, the guy from Seinfeld). I work in computers and I can tell you that they have entire teams of people just to get minor things done like trying to reset passwords. There's no freakin' way that Nedry could be the only developer on the whole island. And then "Most Looking Like Santa Claus" award-winner John Hammond is surprised when there are bugs when there's zero project management or quality-control.

Even the security is handled by the one guy who actually looks like a raptor. One guy, one shotgun. Well that's fucking secure in an island full of dinosaurs, isn't it?! Morons!


Spielberg insists on giving us his screwed up family world view: some crap to do with men becoming fathers, which somehow they get to understand from irritating-as-itching-powder young girls that would deter most men from ever going on a date, let alone actually trying to make something pregnant.

Lex - the incredibly awful grand-daughter of Santa Claus - is so bad that Universal should release the UnLex Special Edition where every one of her scenes is cut. And her delivery is tuna-can packed with smugness: "I'm a vegetarian," she proudly announces with such a sense of superiority and smugness that it would make a Californian Prius driver blush. I wouldn't take that kind of shit from an adult, let alone a 12-year old who can't turn off a 3-billion candle power flashlight she's shining right into a T-Rex's eyeball. "F*** you, Lex!" is what Dr Grant should have said.

And it doesn't stop there. After causing the unnecessarily violent death of the lawyer through her inability to use a flashlight, our precocious little teen is called upon for the truly sloppy finale, which we'll cover later. Her brother isn't quite an annoying, but really adds little to the movie except to become a person to save again, and again. And again.


Act 3 is something that screenwriters really enjoy - it's usually full of all sorts of escalating tension and action, which makes it the easiest 30 pages to write. But Jurassic Park never gives us the payoff, despite the fact that it spends about 45 minutes of runtime laying down exposition in a very, very ploddingly dull sort of way - which we didn't notice the first time round since the dinosaurs were so awesome.

Up until the midpoint we learn:
  • Some waffle about DNA through a cartoon presentation explaining cellular mitosis.
  • Dr Grant hates children.
  • Lawyers are greedy and evil and need to be eaten by a T-Rex (probably not a stereotype here, guys)
  • A sentence-long explanation of chaos theory.
I'm parched for action when it finale breaks out a full 2-beers into the damned movie. So then we have the fun and games that we came for, and we limp into act three - literally, actually since that's the scene with Laura Dern limping. It's odd because Jurassic Park, even with its one-dimensional characters and enormous weight of exposition, should have had the sort of fight-to-the-end that would make the Shawshank Redemption guy look like he wasn't trying hard enough.

Instead, we have the T-Rex - which hitherto produced earthquakes whenever he twitched - tiptoeing to the rescue and appearing out of nowhere to eat the raptors just as they were about to dine on our heroes. Magically, he's about a half the size of when he was attacking the car, thanks to some CG scaling issues. More amazingly, our heroes just walk away from him, even though they spent 18 straight minutes of the main action set-up piece trying to evade him. Is he now trained or something? Bad Spielberg, bad!

Better yet is the the sloppy, lazy way that the park's computer systems are brought back online. Lex, my favorite character in the movie, announced in Act One that she was "a hacker". Whereas the audience might brush aside this oddly-timed admission as weak dialog, actually it was foreshadowing for the finale. "It's a UNIX system," she proclaims in that way that just makes you hate her, despite the fact that the computer program bears a greater similarity to Visio on an Etch A Sketch. There a 3D animation with a big button that may as well as 'Click to end film'. "F*** you, Lex!" is what her brother should have said.


When you think about it - and I have! - the whole theme of Jurassic Park is not so much an anti-science dinosaur-in-a-test-tube-tale but more about the state of order versus chaos. Sam Neill, our beloved paleontoloical kiwi, seeks to discover order through the discovery of fossils and is crapped all over by the chaos of the helicopter arriving. It's a very strong image that defines the theme of the film, only wrecked by the dreadful Scottish accent of Santa Claus.

It's a theme that hints at being significant through the film. Indeed, Jeff Goldblum's tissue-thin character exists only to spew-forth lines to make Dr Grant think about chaos and kids. We all love Jeff so much that it doesn't matter, but the theme gets lost in the Holy-Hell-It's-Spielberg schmaltz about fatherhood. Geez, Steve - couldn't you at least give us one chance to enjoy something intellectually more interesting than your father issues? Apparently not, so you can firmly expecting Schindler's List to be his last decent film.

Needless to say, I hugely enjoyed the nonsense of Jurassic Park when it first came out, but the next time someone tells you how much they loved it, you can quote me: "It's not nearly as good as you think it is!"

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November 10, 2010
Very few things are as good as you think they are--that's why I try very hard NOT to think about a movie like that. I was disappointed by it myself. The only things I enjoyed were the lawyer getting eaten by the T-rex and the the big game hunter deciding he WOULD go faster in the jeep when he looked in the side mirror. ("warning, objects are closer than they appear")
November 10, 2010
It is true that lawyers should be eaten by large animals while they're on the pot. The mirror gag was excellent -- almost as good as the venom-spitting dino than killed the guy from Seinfeld. Yay!
November 10, 2010
I appreciated the fact that the dino swallowed him correctly, head first. I asked my grandsons if they knew why things should be swallowed head first. They're very smart.
November 10, 2010
Indeed, though I would argue that an attorney should be swallowed cellphone-first, to prevent any billing.
November 11, 2010
That's one reason they go head first. It keeps the limbs and cellphones from getting stuck in your throat on the way down.
November 05, 2010
LOL! Highly entertaining write up. I liked the whole eye candy Dinosaur effects and all, but I didn't enjoy the film's story after reading the book. Nice review!
November 05, 2010
Thanks! I think it's fair to say the book will outlive the film.
November 05, 2010
I completely agree that Jurassic Park doesn't age well with repeat viewings. I was so excited when I watched this in the theater that I rushed out to get it the day it came out on VHS. But after the "wow" factor wears off from the initial viewing, you realize on repeat viewings that it takes a LONG FREAKIN' TIME to get to the dinosaurs. Now if you want to see dinosaurs, you're better off watching Discovery HD's Dinosaur Planet.
November 05, 2010
Exactly! I saw this a week ago and most of the week actually passed until the first dinosaur appeared. Now if James Cameron had made this one, there would have been BIG GUNS, military action, Laura Dern would have been the strong heroine, and the island would have been nuked from orbit because "it's the only way to be sure".
More Jurassic Park reviews
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Steven Spielberg's filmmaking career could almost be divided into two categories: adventure and drama. In 1993 he managed to release films in both genres. First came Jurassic Park, a science fiction adventure based on Michael Crichton's book and then came Schindler's List, a Holocaust drama based on the haunting book by Thomas Keneally. Spielberg's filmed versions of these two stories were groundbreaking. Jurassic Park set a new standard for special effects in moviemaking, while Schindler's …
review by . December 11, 2008
I don't know why I ended up to the point where I have memorized each line of the film. But let's accept it and move on.     Jurassic Park has provided my sister and I with countless hours of entertainment and multiple expressions that we use in our daily lexicon, including "Maybe it's the power trying to come back on," and "Where's the goat?" (No, we don't live in the middle of nowhere on a farm.) When the film first came out, it was way ahead of its time and my sister and I …
review by . March 28, 2009
I love all of the Jurassic Park series. I think the ideas of the movies is really nice if you love Dinosaurs, which I do! A lot of actions, thrills, and some scientific part of the prehistoric ages. Make sure you got your pop-corn before watching these movies.        
review by . September 01, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
JURASSIC PARK is one of the best, if not the best, movies made about dinosaurs ever. It's also one of only a handful of movies ever made based on a novel that was already in preproduction before the novel ever was released. It's also one of the first movies to use CGI in significant scenes throughout the film. It's also the movie that gave Sam Neill a break and reinvigorated the career of Jeff Goldblum. The movie (promoted by the release of the novel about a year earlier) got the general public …
review by . December 16, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Perhaps one of the best films ever to grace a big screen, "Jurassic Park" is a suspenseful thrill ride that I never tire of watching. It's hard to believe that this film came out over a decade ago and yet the advances it made in special effects are still influencing films today. I won't waste much time on describing the plot because just about everyone already knows what happens. For those not so inclined, here's a brief run-through: Scientist screws with dino-DNA, clones a few of the beasts for …
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James Beswick ()
Ranked #19's "token Brit".
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About this movie


Jurassic Park is a 1993 science fiction movie based on a novel by the same name written by Michael Crichton. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film grossed nearly $1 billion and is the 11th highest grossing film.

The film takes place on the fictitious Isla Nublar, where scientists have extracted the DNA of dinosaurs and brought them to life in modern times in a high-security zoo. Several members of the academic, business, and legal communities are invited to preview the park, but cut their visit short after the dinosaurs escape their enclosures.

The success of the film led to film productions of The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997, and Jurassic Park III in 2001. Jurassic Park IV, which was due to be in production sooner, as been postponed indefinitely as of December 2008.
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