MOVIE OF THE MONTH – JUNE 2013
(Poster by Adam Rabalais)
People my age, or older, must be familiar with Jurassic Park. I guess it might even be our first introduction to the world of dinosaurs. I can’t remember too much about it except of it being a huge franchise back then, something we all wanted to see on the big screen. In the twenty years that followed from when it was first released, the movie has no doubt been screened on your local televisions numerous times but I don’t think I have seen it more than twice my whole life, so watching it again a few days ago on 3D, felt entirely new.
Mogul and science enthusiast John Hammond has created a theme park on Isla Nublar, a tropical island near Costa Rica. This theme park is nothing like anyone has seen before, filled with genetically engineered dinosaurs, gigantic creatures that are millions of years out of place. He invites paleontologist Allan Grant, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and rock-star mathematician Ian Malcolm to have a taste of the groundbreaking park, confident that they’re going to be impressed and provide him with approvals of the experts, needed for the park to officially open. Along with lawyer Donald Gennaro and Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim, they get in a pair of electric jeeps specially designed to take them on a tour around the park. Yet the park’s computer programmer Nedry has plans of his own. When he deactivates the park’s security system, initially intended for just a few minutes, all hell breaks loose.
Studios rerelease their movies to rake in more cash, but I actually enjoy them, especially when they released Titanic again after 15 years last year. Some movies came out when I was too young to fully appreciate them and watching those movies again now allows me to fully experience them as they are supposed to be experienced. Jurassic Park is another excellent example. In 1993 the movie was lauded for its cutting edge special effects, Spielberg showing people what the movies could really do. Movie technology has made huge leaps in the twenty years since then, and surely the effects shown in Jurassic Park does not take center stage anymore, and we come to appreciate what was then taken for granted—everything else.
Nowadays there are too many movies heavily decorated with CGI that it overwhelms the story itself. It feels like CGI is the main character, the main concern. In Jurassic Park we are reminded of what a wonderful storyteller Steven Spielberg is, how he communicates and transmits his sense of wonder to us. Equipped with an engaging storyline, likeable protagonists, the right amount of suspense and comic, and excellent pacing, Jurassic Park offers the exact entertainment people seek in summer blockbusters. I don’t know what present day youngsters think of this movie, they can probably find the ‘outdated’ special effects off-putting, but I can only hope that they will enjoy it as much as I did.
The topic of de-extinction in the movie actually comes at the right time. In 2003, a group of scientists brought an extinct animal back to life, a kind of wild goat known as bucardo. Unfortunately the clone only survived for ten minutes before it became extinct once more. In recent years, de-extinction has developed rapidly and while bringing dinosaurs back to life is impossible, some years from now, a revived, breathing mammoth is no longer a mere fantasy. The ethical and legal implications of de-extinction is of course still debated, much like Jeff Goldblum’s character Malcolm (who is undoubtedly everyone’s favorite character) once said to Richard Attenborough’s ambitious Hammond “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” But the amount of possibilities that technology has permitted is surely something quite extraordinary, something we should embrace.
Like other rereleases, Jurassic Park was converted from 2D to 3D, and StereoD spent a year doing the conversion. Although lacking the usual in-your-face 3D gimmicky shots we normally find in new movies, I actually find the subtle 3D very nice. Everything feels neat and carefully done.
So, go get your friends to watch it, take your kids, and re-experience movie magic.