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?