Jurassic Park (1993)

reviewed by
John Hagerman


                               JURASSIC PARK
                       A film review by John Hagerman
                        Copyright 1993 John Hagerman

Everybody is going to see this movie anyway, and I'm not much of a movie reviewer, so I'm not sure why I'm bothering to review it. But anyway, here goes. The plot is: Dinosaurs are cloned to make a theme park, auditors come to check it out, and they decide it's not a very safe place. By the way, the movie is not a very safe place for kids; you can imagine what hungry, carnivorous dinosaurs do to people.

As you would hope for $100 million, the special effects are superb. I came away feeling that I had some idea what it would be like to stand next to a live dinosaur. However, today's great special effects are tomorrow's run-of-the-mill effects. Since I wasn't impressed with the other aspects of the movie, I think that JURASSIC PARK will go down in movie history merely as another pioneering effort in special effects.

I've read the book and, as usual, it's better. (The only case I can think of where this was not true was BLADE RUNNER, but that's not even really fair since the movie was only loosely based on the book.) The problem with JURASSIC PARK is, as usual, that there are lots of good ideas in the book and too many of them were put into the movie. For example, if I hadn't read the book, I would have come out of the movie wondering just what the heck Jeff Goldblum's character was supposed to be doing, blathering about chaos theory. But that's okay, because only lip service is paid to this thread, and then it's quickly dropped. If you have read the book, you will know that Michael Crichton is pretty good about science. Unfortunately, science takes time, and time can't be spared in the movie, so don't expect to learn anything.

The movie has its gripping moments (how could it not with teeth like that?), but I think the guy next to me who fell asleep would agree: If you took away the special effects you would find a mediocre movie with a predictable script, flat characters, and uninspired acting.

I suggest that you wait until this movie comes out again in the dollar theaters next year after it has won Best Special Effects. Or better yet, just read the book; your imagination will do the effects just as well, and you will find a much better story.

- John
hagerman@ece.cmu.edu
.

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