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Jurassic Park poster

A movie directed by Steven Spielberg

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The Prehistoric Past Just Caught Up

  • Dec 23, 2008
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 List proved that Spielberg could tell a serious, emotional story.

Jurassic Park logo
With Jurassic Park Spielberg had to overcome the gargantuan challenge of creating realistic, believable, lifelike dinosaurs that would share the screen with actors. There were a number of approaches that he considered for bringing the prehistoric titans to life. His first idea was to use full-size animatronic robots for all of the dinosaurs, but this was too costly and too dangerous to do (not to mention highly unrealistic as it would have required years of technicians developing new mechanical elements). His second idea was to use "go-motion" animation (a variation of stop-motion animation, in which a model is photographed one frame at a time in order to create the illusion of movement) to create the dinosaurs, but this proved to be too time consuming and lacked the photo-realism that he was striving for. Spielberg then gathered together some of the greatest minds in the special effects field. He and Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett, Stan Winston, and Michael Lantieri discussed the possibilities. Dennis Muren, who had just worked on the revolutionary computer-generated T-1000 character in Terminator 2, suggested that CG (Computer-Generated) dinosaurs might be their best bet. Spielberg was desperate for a quick solution so he told Muren to show him what could be done with CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) and Muren shocked Spielberg with a film clip showing skeletal dinosaurs running through a field. A later test, which was even more impressive, showed a tyrannosaurus rex stalking for its prey in the harsh sunlight (one of the most difficult illusions to create because of the precision needed for believable lighting, reflectivity and shadows). Spielberg gave Muren the go-ahead and film history was made. Utilizing Dennis Muren's computer effects, Stan Winston's animatronics, and Phil Tippett's understanding of realistic movement they set out to create naturalistic dinosaurs. They even consulted Jack Horner, an esteemed paleontologist, to assist them in their efforts.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth!
In June of 1993 the highly anticipated film was released to eager audiences. Both audiences and critics were blown away by the most realistic depictions of dinosaurs ever caught on film, but not everyone was wowed by the film itself. Some critics felt that the story was oversimplified, that the philosophical subtext of the novel was lost, and that the characters were shallow and uninteresting. Even so, the film was a worldwide success and spawned two sequels (The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III) and a boom in movie merchandising.

The story focuses on an eccentric capitalist, John Hammond, who uses modern science to genetically engineer living dinosaurs from cloned DNA. He plans to open an amusement park on a remote island near Costa Rica, where people can observe and study these ancient leviathans for a price. However, Hammond is suffering from legal setbacks. His investors have doubts about the park's safety, so Hammond invites Alan Grant, a paleontologist and Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist to visit and endorse the park. Also along for the ride are Ian Malcolm, a charismatic mathematician and an expert on Chaos Theory and Donald Gennaro, an irritatingly skeptical and greedy lawyer. Hammond even invites his two young grandchildren, Lex and Tim, saying that they are the target audience and therefore perfect to prove the potential allure of the park. But it's not long before Malcolm is proven right and chaos engulfs that island. One of Hammond's employees, Dennis Nedry, betrays him and steals dinosaur embryos, which he plans to sell to a rival research company. In order to obtain the embryos, Nedry turns off the park's automated security system. Naturally the dinosaurs escape and Jurassic Park ceases to be wonder to its visitors and begins to terrify them. During a tropical storm Alan and the two children are separated from the rest of the tour group and their weekend excursion becomes a frightening struggle for survival. Can they survive monstrous predators from the prehistoric past?

The main characters.
Though the film doesn't match Spielberg's Jaws in its portrayal of complex characters facing a primal force, it does succeed as an intense sci-fi thriller that will stun its viewers. The talented cast includes Sam Neill as Alan Grant, Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler, Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, Richard Attenborough as John Hammond, Ariana Richards as Lex, and Joseph Mazzello as Tim. Other cast members include Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, B.D. Wong, and Wayne Knight.

The DVD includes the following bonus materials: "The Making of Jurassic Park" documentary, early pre-production meetings, animatics sequence, storyboards, dinosaur encyclopedia, production notes, cast and filmmakers' bios, and theatrical trailers for all three Jurassic Park films.
Logo Seeing the Unbelievable The Prehistoric Past Just Caught Up The T-Rex Attacks!!! The Prehistoric Past Just Caught Up The Prehistoric Past Just Caught Up

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July 10, 2010
This is one of those films that is just fun to watch, I watched all three films not to long ago. I may drop some reviews on them. Great review as always good Count.
July 10, 2010
I was so disappointed with the second and third films. This one is still great to watch though. I loved the book as well.
April 27, 2010
Didn't Pixar contribute CGI dinosaurs to this movie? I think that I saw that during a documentary on the company. But I could be wrong.
April 27, 2010
Nope. Pixar was pretty much working on "Toy Story" the entire time that JP was being made. The majority of the effects were all done by ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), which is George Lucas' company. Although, originally, Pixar was a small division of LucasFilm back in the late '70s - '80s.
April 27, 2010
yeh, this was pretty good but pales in comparison to the book (as usual) and to JAWS. If I had powers to create a theme park, I'll create one with mythological creatures and wenches LOL!
April 27, 2010
I'd go for sexy costumed super-heroines. Spider-Woman, The Black Widow, Elektra, The Black Cat, and Psylocke. Either that or Snoopy characters, but clearly for different reasons. : )
March 05, 2009
Great review. While the effects look decent when viewed alongside current movies, I had forgotten how groundbreaking they were at the time and I had no idea about the process that Spielberg went through to get it made. Thanks
More Jurassic Park reviews
review by . November 05, 2010
*** SPOILERS AND BAD, BAD LANGUAGE AHEAD ***      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.      THE ENTIRE ISLAND IS RUN BY 10 PEOPLE      So let me get …
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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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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