Non Canon Review: Jurassic Park (1993)

MARCH 15, 2008


On my way home from Final Exam, my good friend Brad (aka Mr. Disgusting) called to inform me of a Jurassic Park revival screening at the NuArt in Santa Monica, aka the complete opposite side of town from where I was, starting in about 20 minutes. Needless to say, I sped the fuck over there. Jurassic was and remains one of my favorite movies ever, so seeing it on the big screen again was a necessity.

What’s brilliant about the film is how little dinosaur action there actually is in it. It’s a 135 minute movie, but of that maybe 20 minutes involves dinosaurs chasing our heroes. It’s a good hour before the first attack, in fact (not counting the opening raptor scene). Spielberg and writer David Koepp vastly improved on Crichton’s novel, which felt slow at times. Even when there’s not a single dinosaur on screen, the film still thrills almost non-stop from the second Nedry shuts the place down (for example the jeep in tree sequence).

It’s also hilarious. Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum are sadly separated for the 2nd half of the film, but when they are together (the whole “kids get scared” bit) they are funny as hell, and both get in plenty of good lines throughout the film. Goldblum is just playing himself, but it was great to see Neill get to have a little fun, something he’s barely gotten to do since (even in the third film, the only time he got a laugh out of me was when he made a joke at Malcolm’s expense).

The effects are still flawless. Even on DVD (which often betrays digital effects’ origins – poor compositing, faded/grainless imagery, etc), it’s impossible to distinguish the CGI from the puppets/animatronics. Considering that the film was the first to implement CGI on such a grand scale, it’s even more impressive that A. it was done so well and B. looks better than all of the films that have come since (including both sequels – which had occasionally poor effects despite bigger budgets and obvious advancements in the technology). Well played!

Also, never noticed that Gennaro’s pants are down from the dinosaur’s point of view, but up from the reverse angle. Jesus, if only a director who knew what he was doing had made this film....

I was saddened to read a fellow horror fan (I won’t say who and embarrass him) find it silly that Brad and I were excited to see a theatrical screening of a movie “we have at home”. First of all, this is JURASSIC FUCKING PARK. If there’s one movie you want to see on the big screen, it’s, well, Armageddon. But 2nd is Park, because it’s one of the biggest movies ever, and watching it at home just doesn’t quite replicate the experience. It’s like watching someone ride a roller coaster instead of riding it yourself. 2nd, revival screenings are pretty much the only way you can go to a movie anymore and have the same sort of theatrical experience you used to be able to have before cell phones. See, with some rare exceptions, the people attending these screenings are fellow film nuts, and thus they aren’t going to spoil it. Sure it was midnight, but I didn’t see a single cell phone even before the movie began. Everyone was just talking about movies. It was like the Horror Movie A Day experience, only live! To me, I’d gladly spend 10 bucks to see a movie “I have at home” if it means getting to see it in the optimal format (the print was beautiful, and in fact looked even better than the DVD, which to me always looked a bit soft) with a big crowd laughing and screaming at all the right parts. In the twenty or so times I’ve watched this movie since it first came to theaters, this was by far the most fun I had. And that is the case for almost every revival screening I go to, and I hope at least some of you feel the same way.

What say you?


  1. Man, I'm jealous! Jurassic Park is still one of my all-time favorite movies. I was 11-years-old the summer that it came out so seeing dinos brought to life was pretty much the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Unfortunately, where I live in South Carolina, we're not going to get any revival screenings of ANYTHING unless I go and open my own movie theater.

  2. Yeah one of my all time favorites too. I still remember seeing the midnight screening when I lived in Houston. I think I ended up seeing it 7 times in the theater!

    Whenever I found out a friend hadn't seen it yet I'd say "Well let's go now!" And it was so.

  3. If you ever have the chance to see the Original King Kong, Wow. That's wild.
    The new KK Movie is no match.
    Also: Forbidden Planet is even more astounding on the big screen. In 1933 my Mom was 11 years old and she was at the movies to see Frankenstein. I'll Quote "When that big head came on the screen, I hid under my seat."
    I saw The Planet of the Apes in 1969 on a huge screen. There are only a few really big screens around today. If I go to the movies that's what I paying for.

  4. In late 2006 the Marcus Oakdale (MN) Theater started showing revival films to boost attendance. They were 5 bucks on Thursday nights at 7-ish on the "Ultra Screen". Before each screening they would have trivia and hand out prizes. Sometimes they were a copy of the film on DVD, a poster, or some other knick knack related to what was being shown. Other time it was more random like pro basketball tickets or a duffel bag I won with "You, Me & Dupree" stamped on the side and crappy t-shirts and cleaning products inside. I don't care. It's a great gym bag and I've never seen that film. LOL.

    In January 2007 I noticed they would be showing "Jurassic Park". I just about had a fit. I LOVE that movie like you and have always dreamed of seeing it on a big screen. Now here comes a theater showing it on a screen 4 stories high?! hell yes I'm going! I'm cutting classes to do so. Thank God I graduated high school in 06! ha ha.

    I have a few good friends who also love that movie. There's Jim, who lives the next town over and went to high school with me, Beth, a year ahead of us in high school but best friends with my oldest friend Mark's older sister, and her me, and Jim came to be tight. We all live outside of the Twin Cities area. Me less than 10 minutes drive from the theater.

    So I called Beth who was going to college in Fargo. I told her about the show and asked if she'd be interested. She said "Absolutely. I'd need a ride though. No car up here". I estimated I could be to Fargo and back in 6-7 hours. I'd made the trip to visit her before and it always took far less than what the internet said it does. It is the same freeway through farm country the whole way there and you can go 70-80. Cops don't care. Well one cop drove up next to me and motioned with his hand to slow down. That's how lethargic it is. If I left in the early morning, I'd be back in time to cook a dinner for people!

    I talked to Jim and he said "Road trip time buddy!". So I met him at the theater and like 8 or 9 AM. He left his car there to get after the movie, we got some snacks at the gas station and ran to Fargo. We got Beth and brought her back. My buddy Mark got a ride to meet us there so long as I could bring him back. He lived farther out but it was on the way back to Fargo so I figured, why not?

    Jurassic Park was amazing on the big screen. Even my father tagged along and he provided the best entertainment. The first few minutes of the print were damaged visually and then there was no sound. So when they deal with the caged raptor he shouted out "Wind blowing! branches rustling!". Everybody laughed and another man said "people yelling! Dinosaur roaring!". Then when they start fighting with the dinosaur there was still no sound so Dad shouted out in a Croc Hunter voice "Crikey she's a feisty sheila!" and I swear the audience burst into tears and applause. Then the sound came back. WIth the music, effects, and size of the screen, I'll never forget it.

    Jim left for home after the movie. Beth, Mark, and I jumped in the car and drove the half hour to his place. I got run off the road turning on to his street (Winter and snow) and he and Beth had to push me out of some guys sloped down front yard. Mark told me a week later that he was in the car with his dad a day later and his dad remarked "Somebody had an accident!". Mark remained quiet. My pal.

    Now Beth and I had already planned to crash at a 2 bed hotel a few blocks away because it was almost 11 at that time and heading in the other direction was pointless. She couldn't stay with my family because we were all such good Catholic stock and she didn't want hers knowing she took 2 days off to come see a movie. We got in the room and hooked up my portable player to the TV to watch "BONES" on DVD. It got late and we turned in.

  5. Now Beth and I had already planned to crash at a 2 bed hotel a few blocks away because it was almost 11 at that time and heading in the other direction was pointless. She couldn't stay with my family because we were all such good Catholic stock and she didn't want hers knowing she took 2 days off to come see a movie. We got in the room and hooked up my portable player to the TV to watch "BONES" on DVD. It got late and we turned in.

    The next day we got a late start because we were so tired. Then we hauled ass back to Fargo. I dropped her off and spend out of town without even getting out of the car. I hit traffic but made it home by 7 PM on a Friday. My family made some pizza and watched the latest episode of 'Stargate SG-1'!

    So I drove 998 miles (two 2 way trips) in 2 days (and I drove all of them BTW. Nobody else was getting behind the wheel of my car. It was a year and a half old and my insurance didn't cover them) all for the love of that film. I don't regret it. The trip itself is one of my favorite memories and I've driven to Boston and back with Beth.

  6. So...did you get it on with Beth?!

  7. I'm already more invested in the story of Anonymous and Beth than I ever was in Michael Crichton's resurrected dinosaurs franchise...

  8. Me thinks Anon just wrote the synopsis for the next hit teen road comedy.

  9. Ha Ha. Very funny. Actually I did find this blog because I googled "Jurassic Park revival".

    You really think I could ride a teen road trip comedy? Oh boy let's see. Well we'd need to have my other friend along on the trip and the scene where we see Beth changing her clothes and then...

    Yeah I think I mistook this too much as my blog. I just wanted to let people know what I went through for a movie. Not that its your business but nothing happened with Beth and nothing ever will. She's my best friend, but how many girl geeks are really that good looking?


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