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“Life finds a way.”
– William Shakespeare
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster movie hit, Jurassic Park. This science fiction action film took the world by storm as the first installment of the Jurassic Park trilogy. The franchise has changed how moviegoers and filmmakers experience watching dinosaurs on the big screen. It also became the highest-grossing film that even surpassed the financial success of Spielberg’s 1982 film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The movie grossed $50.1 million in its first weekend showing.
The movie is based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 science fiction novel, Jurassic Park, and was released just three years after the book. Jurassic Park is a story about a wealthy tycoon named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), who creates a dinosaur theme park. He hires geneticists to clone and create dinosaurs, which become living attractions. The park is located on a remote island called Isla Nubar, approximately 120 miles away from Costa Rica. Hammond invites paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to visit the park. He also invites chaotician Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) on the trip to the island.
Prior to their arrival, a dinosaur handler was killed by a caged velociraptor. Little does the trio realize that they are in imminent danger. They are in awe of the jungle environment housing the dinosaurs. Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello), join the scientists on the tour. Everything goes wrong when the corrupt lead computer programmer, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight), deactivates the park’s security system in order to steal frozen dinosaur embryos. Most of the electrical fences in the park are turned off, which leads to the Tyrannosaurus rex escaping.
The film is action-packed and will have you on the edge of your seat. It will have you rooting and crossing all your fingers for the characters trying to survive the wrath of these prehistoric creatures. Watching Jurassic Park will even have you holding your breath throughout the entire movie. It is nothing short of all sorts of suspenseful twists and turns.
Jurassic Park paved the way for other films with its astounding and realistic CGI. It pushed the boundaries of filmmaking and even influenced the creation of Disney’s Dinosaur, which was released in 2000. This movie, in a way, foretold the future of science, with electric cars and cloned animals. The film has even influenced biotech companies to look into resurrecting woolly mammoths and other extinct species. Three years after the release of Jurassic Park, a sheep named Dolly was the first cloned mammal born into existence. She was survived by six of her offspring.
Unfortunately, we do not have cloned dinosaurs roaming the earth, but the closest thing we do have is the Jurassic World attraction at the Universal Studio parks. The dinosaur attractions at the Disney parks may have also taken influence from the Jurassic Park franchise. A theme park cannot go wrong with including dinosaur rides because I think dinosaurs are something that everyone has a soft spot for.
Many people associate their dinosaur fascination with their childhoods, especially if they ate pterodactyl-shaped chicken nuggets growing up. Or if they watched The Land Before Time, The Flintstones, or We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story. One of my favorite dinosaur-themed rides, which was created before Jurassic Park, was the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs dark ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. It was closed in 2004, but it will always be a memorable attraction.
This franchise shaped a generation of paleontology enthusiasts when the original trilogy was released in the ’90s and early 2000s. It will continue to shape generations for years to come. What I love most about this movie and the franchise itself is seeing dinosaurs come to life on the big screen. I also appreciate that the characters also questioned the ethics of resurrecting an extinct species that could potentially pose a threat to humans. I believe that Jurassic Park will always be a beloved classic and one of the greatest movie franchises of all time.