I was ten years old when I first saw JURASSIC PARK 25 years ago. It’s one of those rare films that has stood the test of time and spawned copious amounts of sequels (regardless of if we wanted them or not). I still remember sitting in the theater with my family, both horrified and in awe, of the masterful work helmed by director Steven Spielberg. To this day, JURASSIC PARK has continued to sustain itself as one of my favorite films of all time.
I’m sure you are wondering “Why is she talking about a film that isn’t directly correlated to that of the horror genre”, and it’s because, though not traditionally horror, these films have enough elements of terror and suspense firmly rooted within that one could argue that it belongs in that genre. The first time I watched JURASSIC PARK, as a bright-eyed ten-year-old, I was beyond traumatized by the velociraptors. So much so, I was convinced that one was living in my closet, patiently awaiting the moment it would attack and eat me (I had an overactive imagination, what can I say?). And that’s one of the many reasons why I love JURASSIC PARK so much, the horror is subtle but there is still enough to leave a lasting impression on someone such as myself.
Not only were there velociraptors to contend with, but we also had the King of the Cretaceous period, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Even though I’ve come to learn that how the T-Rex is portrayed in JURASSIC PARK is not necessarily accurate, that doesn’t deter from the fact that this monstrosity is something to be feared. Then there are the cute dinosaurs that give you a false sense of comfort, only to then pounce when the picking is good. What dinosaurs are these you ask? Well, there is the Dilophosaurus which spits poisonous venom at its adversary in JURASSIC PARK as well as the Compsognathus, small pack hunters that ripped a child to shreds in JURASSIC PARK II. Let’s just be real for a second, the whole notion of dinosaurs existing in modern times is horrifying enough, but when you really take the time to think about it and hear about how far science has progressed since 1993, it’s make the idea of them possibly existing once again that much more terrifying.
Recently, there was an article release in People Magazine where famed paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner stated that him and other paleontologists and geneticists believe that dinosaurs could come back into existence within the next five years. I’m not going to go into all the nitty gritty of what the article says, you can read it HERE, but what I will say is HELL. NO. We do not need to bring dinosaurs back, I don’t care how small they are (looking at you Compsognathus), because you know what? It doesn’t end well for ANYONE. We now have five movies in the JURASSIC PARK franchise that literally show us the blueprint of what could happen and every single time it ends the same way – death and destruction. JURASSIC PARK, as a theme park, is an outrageous idea because, as the brilliant Dr. Ian Malcolm puts it, “If The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists!”
JURASSIC PARK has educated us layman on how they brought dinosaurs back from extinction through the use of fossilized DNA and genetic cross-breeding and/or cloning. It also educated us on how absolutely shitty people can be when money is involved. Each of the films within the JURASSIC PARK franchise have given us an unsavory character to remind us all how bleak humanity can be. In the first film we are introduced to the lovely Nedry (played by Wayne Knight) who, quite honestly (and excuse my french) fucked everything up for all of us. His desire for money far outweighed the consequences brought on by sneaking out dinosaur embryos and because of that, well, we are where we are. Since then we have had a myriad of characters that ranged from hunters looking to capture the creatures (I didn’t forget about you Vince Vaughn) to more money hungry vultures (I’m looking at you Alessandro Nivola) and they just keep fucking everything up for the rest of us. Sure, Dr. Malcolm keeps reminding us that life finds a way, but it’s really only finding a way because us humans and scientists keep tampering with the DNA and/or trying to bring the dinosaurs back to the United States, and I mean really, how is that not horrifying? Life is finding a way with horrific consequences and it’s not really the dinosaurs fault, it’s ours.
*takes a deep breath*
My apologies for getting heated about these shady individuals, but it’s one of the reasons that JURASSIC PARK is so terrific. It’s not just showcasing the horrors that dinosaurs are capable of unleashing, but it’s also showing the horrors that humanity is capable of unleashing. I mean, scientists in these films are knowingly splicing the genes of velociraptors into new, genetically enhanced dinosaurs like it’s a good thing! Stop mixing the DNA of velociraptors with ANYTHING. For the past 25 years these films have been showcasing these elements and we brush them aside because they aren’t the traditional horror components that we are used too.
I know I’ve talked a lot about the horror and destructions but there is also a lot of good that these films have. One of those aspects being the practical effects, animatronics and slight CGI used to create the dinosaurs. As much as I love the new films, those CGI dinosaurs don’t hold a candle to what was created in JURASSIC PARK. The film also introduced viewers, especially impressionable young ones, to strong women icons such as Dr. Ellie Sadler (played by Laura Dern). She made it known that she didn’t need a man by her side to help her survive, as she is quite capable of doing that on her own thankyouverymuch. She showed viewers that not only is she incredibly smart but she can kick so much ass, whether it be in saving herself and loved ones from vicious raptor attacks or showcasing that she can be a mom while also still following her passion and dreams.
With this year being the 25th Anniversary, there were a lot of celebrations which took place to give thanks to this beloved film. A few months ago, I had the chance to visit Universal Studios Hollywood to partake in their 25th Anniversary Celebration of the film. Not only did I have the chance to see this iconic film on the big screen once again, I also saw the first 7 minutes of the new film, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, presented in person by JURASSIC WORLD director, Colin Trevorrow. After the screening we had the chance to experience the Raptor Encounter where guests could take a selfie with the vicious predator if they so dared. There was also a filmmaker panel hosted by Colin Trevorrow where he spoke with those involved in the making of the film with a surprise appearance by Jeff Goldblum (who I definitely met and had a very special moment with). Also on hand was director Gareth Edwards (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY) and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (KONG: SKULL ISLAND) who talked in length about how JURASSIC PARK was influential to them and their career. If that wasn’t enough, fans also had the chance to check out some of the incredible props from all five films, as well as a VR Experience that gave guests the ability to see the world through Blue the Raptor.
Along with on-site celebrations, companies such as Mondo released a 25th Anniversary 2XLP vinyl edition of famed composer John Williams memorable score of the film. This release has beautiful artwork done by artist JC Richards and each record is pressed on 180 gram black, red, and yellow swirl vinyl. While writing this article, I had the music on in the background, and the moment I heard those familiar chords I was instantly transported back to the moment where I first heard John Hammond say “Welcome to Jurassic Park!” Honestly, this vinyl is now one of my favorite, not just for nostalgia reasons, but because of the time and effort put into releasing such a beautiful masterpiece of music.
I know I’ve been rambling on for awhile now about my affinity towards JURASSIC PARK but believe me when I say it’s all true. I am very passionate about this film, the characters, and all it’s moments of beauty and horror. When it announced a few years ago that a new film was in the works, I was beside myself with glee. After JURASSIC PARK III, I never thought we would ever see another JURASSIC PARK movie, but the dinosaur gods were not content with that and on June 12, 2015 the world saw the next addition into the franchise, JURASSIC WORLD. Though some may have shaked their head at the continuous of this franchise, I for one, couldn’t have been happier as it has paved the way to give us more JURASSIC PARK films in the future, with the latest being JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. If you really want to be brave enough, you can visit CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood to feel what it’s like to stand in the presence of a 13’ T-Rex while catching a glimpse into the gyrosphere that was used in both JURASSIC WORLD and FALLEN KINGDOM.
To wrap this up, I will say once again, that JURASSIC PARK is a perfect example of a film that has stood the test of time. As a horror fan, I think of films such as this being the stepping stone into my love for the horror genre and for that I am forever grateful. There’s a lot to love and celebrate when it comes JURASSIC PARK, regardless of what genre you love the most, and is a film that will continue to be celebrated long after we are extinct. Here’s to another 25 years of JURASSIC PARK!