Steven Spielberg’s 1993 mega-hit rivals Jaws as the most intense and frightening film he’d ever made prior to Schindler’s List, but it was also among his weakest stories. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel about an island amusement park populated by cloned dinosaurs, the film works best as a thrill ride with none of the interesting human dynamics of Spielberg’s Jaws. That lapse proves unfortunate, but there’s no shortage of raw terror as a rampaging T-rex and nasty raptors try to make fast food out of the cast. The effects are still…
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 mega-hit rivals Jaws as the most intense and frightening film he’d ever made prior to Schindler’s List, but it was also among his weakest stories. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel about an island amusement park populated by cloned dinosaurs, the film works best as a thrill ride with none of the interesting human dynamics of Spielberg’s Jaws. That lapse proves unfortunate, but there’s no shortage of raw terror as a rampaging T-rex and nasty raptors try to make fast food out of the cast. The effects are still astonishing (despite the fact that the computer-generated technology has since been improved upon) and at times primeval, such as the sight of a herd of whatever-they-are scampering through a valley. —Tom Keogh
On remote Isla Nuba entrepreneur John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has built the ultimate theme-park, populated by genetically engineered dinosaurs painstakingly reconstructed from DNA extracted from prehistoric amber…and, of course, frogs! Adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel, Steven Spielberg’s classic blockbuster became a cultural and commercial phenomenon thanks in part to the enduring appeal of all things prehistoric. But the film’s extraordinarily realistic digital dinosaurs also showcased the spectacular computer-generated effects which have since become ubiquitous in Hollywood filmmaking. Indeed, in the years since 1993 it is debatable whether any film has revolutionised special effects to such an extent, and this DVD release offers the perfect opportunity to relive its visual and aural splendour (the film was also the first to be released with a DTS soundtrack).
Given the rather insipid team of experts (including Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum) sent to approve Hammond’s site, there is no doubt that the dinosaurs are the real stars of Spielberg’s film. From the benign majesty of the towering brachiosaurus to the reptilian menace of the velociraptors, the inhabitants of Jurassic Park were a radical departure from their stop-motion predecessors, and remain compellingly real in their animalistic pursuit of survival at all costs. Most memorable of all is the T-rex, displaying a spine-chilling combination of physical ferocity and child-like bewilderment in the face of its reincarnation in the modern world. It was no surprise that in The Lost World sequel the T-rex once again took centre stage, but this first appearance still retains a unique power and a seminal place in film history. —Steve Napleton
Barnes and Noble
With roaringly realistic digital dinosaurs courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic, summer blockbuster master Steven Spielberg tops even himself with Jurassic Park; not since Jaws have audiences loved terror so much. Michael Crichton’s script, adapted from his own novel, follows the team of two doctors (Sam Neill and Laura Dern) and a mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) on a tour through the experimental dinosaur theme park of eccentric Dr. John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough). The tour, needless to say, goes horribly wrong, as the wondrous cloned dinosaurs run amok and turn what should have been a delightful field trip into a battle for survival. Despite the movie’s impressive human talent pool, the real stars are the frighteningly lifelike digital dinos. Whether naughty or nice, they are the film’s most memorable characters. Considering that Jurassic Park is one of the most technically impressive releases in the history of film, it is only appropriate that the DVD release and its follow-ups The Lost World and Jurassic Park III would leave equally enormous footprints. Fans will love the laundry list of high-class DVD extras: “The Making of Jurassic Park” documentary, rare behind-the-scenes footage of preproduction meetings, animatics by Oscar-winning special effects creator Phil Tippett, production photographs, a dinosaur encyclopedia, storyboards, production notes, cast and filmmaker bios, and theatrical trailers for all three movies. Tony Nigro
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy….
In the low tradition of knockoff horror flicks best seen (or not seen) on a drive-in movie screen, Steven Spielberg’s sequel to Jurassic Park is a poorly conceived, ill-organized film that lacks story and logic. Screenwriter David Koepp strings along a number of loose ideas while Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, the quirky chaos theoretician who now reluctantly agrees to go to another island where cloned dinosaurs are roaming freely. Along with his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) and daughter, Malcolm has to deal with hunters, environmentalists, and…