Thursday, June 11, 2015

15 Reasons Jurassic Park Roars

This weekend the Park opens. Which park, you ask? JURASSIC PARK.

Exactly twenty-two years ago on this day (June 11th), the first glimpses of a zoo filled with dinosaurs became a famous tale to movie-watchers across the globe. Full of thrills, laughs, and, well, dinosaurs, Jurassic Park became a successful hit. But now it's back, promising to be bigger and better. At least dinosaur size and ferocity. Earlier this week, Rica gladly explored the ins and outs of the first three movies in the popular franchise. Then, The Fangirl Initiative Team gathered to envision our perfect dinosaur pets. Today, I bring you fifteen reasons (because it is 2015) why Jurassic Park is worth watching--even through the heart-jumping, terror-thrilling moments. This is why Jurassic Park roars.*

*In this case roars means it "rocks" (though not the petrified kind, ha!) or "rules" (like when the dinosaurs ruled the earth).

Since Rica already gave the run-down of the three movies, I'm going to be focusing solely on the first movie (though some of the footage may be from the other films) as well as giving some hopes for the new film, Jurassic World. So sit back, relax, and hold on to your butts during this danger-free (maybe) ride. 

1. The Plot
The thing about Jurassic Park is that it’s a unique idea. It’s amazing how many different strands of story are woven into the movies to bring the story together. From Hammond searching for people to approve his park to Nigel planning to sabotage the system to make money even to the expertise of the paleontologists to get through the park gives the story something bigger than just another block-buster film. It was a huge movie then; and it’s a huge movie still. The plot--a zoo of dinosaurs--is what brought people to the movie and what John Hammond (and the bloodsucking lawyer) hoped would bring people to his park. The possibility of resurrecting mysterious beasts we've only seen as petrified bone is glorious. It's ripe with adventure, thrills, and a sense of wonder.

2. Big Dinos

3. Characters
One of the high points about this series is the unique cast of characters in all three (or four) films. Whether it’s saving the day, being eaten by a T-Rex, or simply having the science expertise to maneuver through the park, the cast of characters each have a part to play. And none of them resemble each other too closely that we lose track of who is who. They’re all unique with their own personalities, their own dialogues, and their own ability to get through the movie (alive or dead). In the first film, we’ve got the opposing personalities of Dr. Grant and Dr. Malcom, we have the Lex vs. Timmy sibling rivalry, we have the ferocity of Dr. Sattler, and we have Mr. Hammond, who is eccentric and rich (oh, and the bloodsucking lawyer, the annoying park sabotager, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dinosaur-hunting John Riddell). Every character is important for the plot to move forward and for some of the characters to survive. 

4. Tiny Dinos

5. The Special Effects
How Spielberg and his team envisioned the first film is extraordinary. From clay models to animatronics to CGI, the vision behind the storyboards to final film is definitely an interesting aspect and a breakthrough in movie-making magic.  Each step helped get the movie to the final stages. The immense puppet/animatronics work helped the cast interact with the dinosaurs in a real, and believable, way. This was also the first movie to create a living, breathing, moving animal with CGI. It helped pave the way for the technology of film making in the 21st century. Hats off to you, Dino Tech Team. I'm curious to see how the movie makers decided to create the dinos for Jurassic World. Did they do only CGI, or did they do as Spielberg did: a blend of puppetry and CGI?

6. Scary Dinos

7. The Tension
These movies are full of fear-gripping moments (at least to me). I could watch them a hundred times (and I probably have because: DINOSAURS) and still get goosebumps when the Raptors chase the kids into the kitchen. From dramatic moments (that might feel completely unrealistic or illogical) to completely scream-worthy jumping, this movie has it all. I think I might squeal multiple time during one viewing. And from the looks of the Jurassic World trailer, that aspect of the franchise isn’t going away anytime soon.

8. Friendly Dinos

9. The Humor
While the film definitely has scary moments, there’s a lot of laughs to fill the theater/viewing space. Usually there’s one “funny guy” character in these types of films (and we can be sure to pinpoint Dr. Malcom as this role), but the thing with Jurassic Park is that multiple characters have funny lines. Tim—Hammond’s grandson—has some perfect quips that make up for the screaming ten minutes earlier. But Dr. Grant, Nigel, even Dr. Sattler, have their own moments of humor. There might be some cheesy lines, but overall, the humor is spot-on perfection for the film. My favorite part, Tim's dino joke:
“What do you call a blind dinosaur?” 
“What do you call a blind dinosaur’s dog?”
“Do-you-think-he-saurus Rex.”
(Disclaimer: you might need to say this joke out loud. And then laugh, a lot. Because it’s hilarious.)

10. Angry Dinos

11. The Dialogue
My previous point brings me to the dialogue in the films. Sometimes, it’s absolutely perfect-couldn’t-have-said-it-better-myself kind of dialogue. It’s fresh to see the dialogue being natural and flow with the events of the film. Nothing feels out of place, off, or trite. It works. And these movies have some of the best lines to quote, coming from all the characters instead of just one or two. 

12. Baby Dinos

13. The Music
Now we all know a film isn’t complete without a good score. And of course, Spielberg got the best of the best to compose a score for this film: John Williams. The Jurassic Park theme song is both elegant and fun. It’s brings the two together to reveal the depth of the movie: respect of nature and the creatures that thrive in it, but it also shows the dramatic side of the Park with the “spared no expense” aspect and the truly brilliant idea this film is. It wouldn’t be Jurassic Park without it. In addition, the first Jurassic World trailer perfectly used the theme in an almost sad, haunting tone, which gave me chills. I’m sure this foreshadows the terror and chaos the film will have. I’ll be listening to it for a while.

14. Flying Dinos/ Battling Dinos

15. The Dinosaurs
Of everything, this movie would be nothing without the dinos (duh). Spielberg talks about how they created the dinos in a behind-the-scenes making of the film. He wanted to sell the audience the idea that they were real. With his stop-go clay models, he could convince children it was real. But that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to build some life-size models to use on the set. He needed to make them real. And he did: which brings the movie to a whole. If for one second the audience didn’t believe the dinos were real, the movie would fail. But the team succeeded. I still cringe when I think of Raptors (which I used to be terrified for years because of this film). I’m still overwhelmed with the T-Rex and other big creatures in the films. And the tiny little dinos are just plain terrifying.

But Spielberg didn’t want to just create scary monsters: he wanted them to be preserved as wonderful creatures. And he does just that. In between terrifying, heart-jerking moments, there is a sense of respect and wonder at the other dinos. From the big sauropods eating breakfast or singing goodnight to each other, to the gallimimus running like a “flock of birds” to the other ones in between, the movies portray both the terror and beauty of dinosaurs.

Without any of these elements, Jurassic Park wouldn't be the movie or franchise beloved by many. Every aspect works together to bring a unique story of enormous proportions to life. Combined, blended, balanced together is what captures the story into the hearts of viewers. I guarantee Steven Spielberg spared no expense making sure his dinosaurs and his film truly roared. 

What do you love about Jurassic Park?

Special thanks to the Lego Jurassic Park video game trailer for inspiring the structure of my post (it releases this weekend too). Remember: You can BE the DINO. :D

1 comment:

  1. I know that in my case the tension in the movies is overwhelming! I hope the movie is as good for me as it was for you when I get around to seeing it!