Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jurassic Park

By Guest Journalist Shaun Bozeman

Just go ahead and admit it to yourself: the 90’s was the worst decade of moviemaking ever. EVER. When you think about 90’s movies what is the first thing that comes to your mind? That’s right…explosions. I guess directors felt if they threw in enough pyrotechnics and crazy-ass maniacal Russians that it would be a hit regardless of the script or storyline.

Not all movies from the 90’s fell into the aforementioned stereotype though and one in particular rose up and changed the world of cinematography forever. I give you Jurassic Park!

(Enter John Williams’s theme song)

John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has done the impossible; he has resurrected the extinct race of dinosaur for the entire world to see! For a price of course. Using breakthrough genetic technology Hammond’s team of scientists brought back every child’s wildest imagination and has put them on display in his aptly named Jurassic Park. With the park almost finished, all he needs is some good PR about the park. Enter Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil) a world class paleontologist, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) his PHD student, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) a famous mathematician. These guests could give his park the proper DAP.

On their tour through the island something went terribly wrong. A disgruntled employee Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight of Newman fame) has sabotaged the automated system for his personal gain. The whole park shut down and dinosaurs ran around unchecked. Our hero Dr. Grant must navigate through the island, back to the main control, reboot the system, and bring order to the park once again all while facing the most cunning predators the world has ever seen. Pretty intense huh?

What is the social commentary did uber-director Steven Spielberg/Michael Crichton (best author since Dickinson) have in mind? Well Jurassic Park conveys the danger of unregulated genetic testing. This has been a common theme in other MC books throughout the years (The Andromeda Strain namely). MC gets this point across mainly through the character Dr. Ian Malcolm. Malcolm repeatedly warns Hammond that nature is a living, changing thing… trying to control it is a fool’s errand. Nature will always find a way type deal. This is foreshadowed beautifully in a particular scene early in the movie. While descending on the island Dr. Grant attempts to buckle up but comes up with two female ended buckles. He then improvises by tying the ends together to strap himself down. We learn later that the scientists bred all of the dinosaurs on the island to be female to keep them from breeding, but they mistakenly add in amphibian DNA while filling in the unknown pieces of dinosaurs DNA. This allows the dinosaurs to change gender in an all female environment.

I would be amiss to do a write up on Jurassic Park and not mention the impact it had on cinematography. Before Jurassic Park , a movie about dinosaurs would have to be shot using animatronics, or claymation or something like that, but SS and his crew pushed the bounds and proved that CGI (computer generate imagery) special effects could carry a movie.

Basically Jurassic Park is the best movie ever made (take that Citizen Kane) so go out and rent/buy/steal/rip it and have a gander. Better yet - read the book and then watch the movie… you won’t be disappointed!!!

1 comment:

Samuel Leroy Jackson said...

Once again I find myself absent from this review. Don't you remember?!?! I'm the programmer!! Damn it! If this ever happens again, you can bet my doberman Cliff will find his way to your doorstep for an evening of pain, followed up with the dessert of choice: my foot up your a$$. Much love.