Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Jurassic Park


In the same year Steven Spielberg released the acclaimed war drama Schindler's List, he also delivered the type of film one would expect from the director of E.T. (1982) and the then Indiana Jones trilogy (1981, 1984, 1989) - a big budget, effects boasting adventure of dinosaurs and disaster based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel Jurassic Park (1990).

Billionaire scientist and architect John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has created the ultimate theme park on a remote private island, and is offering a sneak peek to a select few: paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and his own grandchildren Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello). Behind fences (electric in some cases) are real-life dinosaurs, recreated using DNA found in pieces of prehistoric amber, roaming happily in their natural habitat. The perfect sanctuary! However, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight), a greedy computer technician/hacker hired by Hammond causes most of the island's power (electric fences included) to go during a tropical storm, and soon several Velociraptors and a T-Rex are roaming wild, and eating the park's staff and technicians.

Thanks to the incredible creation of CGI the dinosaurs are truly brought to a large bold, stunning and slightly terrifying life, with the CGI making them so realistic in every possible way, from the scale/size of them, to the incredible detail in their textured skin, beady eyes, and sharp teeth and claws. Even the growlings in their throats feels really authentic, sending tingles down the spine, while the roars and speed of dinosaurs like the T-Rex will have your heart pumping hard and bring you to the edge of your seat, and the tropical storm only makes the T-Rex seem even more powerful and really helps in creating the tension. As for the island - it is a truly magnificent setting, with some really breathtakingly beautiful shots. Add all of this to the film's fast-paced, action packed, exciting screenplay and you have one hell of an adventure on your hands.

However, in spite of the pace and action the film is truly carried by its cast of characters. The humans have a lot of fun as part of the cast, especially Goldblum, who is comic gold as the 'I-told-you-so' chaos theorist, and Neill makes Alan driven, determined and wise as both a leader and an adventurer. However, the dinosaurs are the real stars - immaculately created, powerful creatures, and very often fierce, cunning and even cold-blooded, though none more so than the T-Rex, who really steals the show thanks to his incredible size, ability to dominate, power and persistentness. Also, in a lovely little ironic twist, the hungry T-Rex becomes the humans' saviour in the end, showing up at the last minute and taking on three hungry Velociraptors in a savage, bloody-thirsty fight, giving the humans a chance to escape.

In short Jurassic Park is a spectacular, action-packed sci-fi adventure that boasts an excellent screenplay, and tremendous effects and mise-en-scene that truly bring the story and the stars to a gloriously stunning, tense and gripping life. At the worldwide box office it earned over $910 million, more than deservedly claiming the title of the highest grossing film in history from E.T., and maintained it until Titanic came along in 1997.

Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, B.D. Wong, Cameron Thor, Gerald R. Molen, Richard Kiley, Greg Burson.

Oscars: Best Visual Effects (Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett, Michael Lantieri), Best Sound Editing (Gary Rydstrom, Richard Hymns), Best Sound Mixing (Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy, Ron Judkins).

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