Jurassic Park (1993) (PG-13)

"Jurassic Park" is one of my favorite movies. But it's also one of the best sci-fi/adventure movies to date. Steven Spielberg helped craft the sci-fi genre into what it is today with movies like this and "Minority Report". It's one of the first movies that utilized CGI technology to its fullest potential. It's the predecessor for many action movies that use a blend of actors and CGI and also drama pieces like "Life of Pi".
The movie opens to a shipment of live animals being brought in an island near the Caribbean. This scene brings back memories from "Jaws" because the way it is shot is very typical of the old Spielberg way. Very thrilling and very effective.
Alan Sheppard is a dinosaur expert working in the Badlands, digging up bones. He's smart and likable, but only once you get to know him. He can come across very aloof. His other half is Dr. Sattler, capable and sassy, she's enough to keep any man on his toes.
In the middle of a legal matter, John Hammond needs two experts to sign off on his amusement park in order to open it to the public. He offers the positions to Grant and Sattler (the two scientists are already receiving money from Hammond). Then they're off with an eccentric group of characters, including a trigger happy head of security, a sleazy computer programmer, a no-nonsense technology expert, a smarmy chaotician, and a greedy lawyer. This is one of the first reasons that makes this movie so amazing: each and every character is distinguished and has enough information given about them and are played well enough to make them intriguing. I argue that even though "Jurassic Park" is a classic adventure movie, it has one of the best casts in film history. When was the last time you saw a cast that rivaled Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Peck and Wayne Knight? The only movies that come to mind are "Pulp Fiction", "L.A. Confidential", "Glengarry Glen Ross", and "Network".
The amusement park is on an island and it soon becomes known (if it wasn't already) that the park is full of dinosaurs. This could have come off so cheesy and cliche but one of the driving forces of the movie is Michael Crichton (the author of the book) at the helm of the script. The dialogue is so superb and even though there are great one-liners in "Jurassic Park" they never feel forced or insincere. The thoughts of the characters, voiced by the actors, brings a realism and believability to "Jurassic Park". It doesn't hurt that Michael Crichton makes you believe that it's entirely possible to bring dinosaurs back.
When a hurricane knocks the power out of the park the beasts start roaming freely and soon it becomes a movie about who will survive. Even after 20 years "Jurassic Park" remains thrilling and fresh with each repeated viewing which is something that not a lot of films can lay claim to.
The suspense is amazing even if you know what's going to happen. This isn't a classic horror movie, it's much more family oriented than that but still edgy enough to terrorize some. Spielberg knows how to toe the line between extremes just right.
John William's score for "Jurassic Park" is also something to behold. Oh, and the CGI. Yes, of course. The dinosaurs maybe aren't as technologically advanced as Richard Parker from "Life of Pi" but by the end of the movie you are thoroughly convinced that they are as real as the rest of the characters.
Classic, beautiful, and great.

Score: 4 out of 4 stars

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