Jurassic Park-Like It or Not Spielberg This is A Horror Film!
I am rather vocal about the fact that I think Michael Crichton is terribly overrated. However, this is not to imply that I feel Crichton is some sort of Pauly Shore. Crichton is clearly prone to strokes of genius, I just don’t see the assertion that he is a genius materialized in all of his work. That said, Jurassic Park is a stroke a genius. An amusement park, secretly developed, that is full of dinosaurs. The dinosaurs were created using the DNA extracted from a mosquito that had bitten dinosaurs and then was locked away nice and snug in amber from millions of years. Nice concept and the execution by Spielberg and company really produced a great cinema experience.
It was genius by Crichton and Spielberg to say, “lets take advantage of breakthroughs in digital and visual effects to bring this world to life.” Obviously the real star of the film are the variety of dinosaurs and the visual effects that bring them all to life. The script is fun enough, a bit campy and silly at times, but overall the pacing is good and your interest is always held whether you are intrigued by the science, entranced by the visuals or scared by the idea of one of these monstrous beasts eating you some day.
The idea of being eaten by such a creature and the fact that they actually existed is at the core of why so many kids love this film. Most audience members will probably not notice the fear part of the film due to the effects, but at its heart what Jurassic Park happens to be is an extremely well done, big-budget horror flick. Instead of a retard with a chainsaw you have a T-Rex with an endless assortment of teeth. This fear is what makes the film so entrancing. Pretty brilliant to go from high-brow science to low-brow slaughter. In case you have not seen the film, I just outlined the plot for you.
A scientist goes to the island where the park has been constructed and, of course, the you know what hits the giant fan, as always. The real shocker would have been a movie where the scientist goes to the island and nothing happens. We see him examining dinosaurs, maybe tranquilizing a few to take stool samples, he goes to a couple of conferences, gets a hooker, wakes up drunk without his wallet, gets food poisoning on the free buffet and sits next to a crying baby on the plane ride back. Much less interesting movie and probably slightly less successful. Thus, while it is true that Jurassic Park is predictable, of course, the dino-monsters run amok, if they didn’t we, the audience, would have been seriously pissed off. Which brings up an excellent point. It is always crucial to meet audience expectations. In this regards, Crichton and Spielberg are tremendously successful. You get what you expect.
Strong acting, visuals and visual effects combine with a strong concept, excellent directing and a acceptable enough script to produce a rememberable and very fun film. When all is said and done Jurassic Park succeeds because it was a carefully cloaked high-brow horror film, which allowed it to draw on a very wide audience and a very wide age range. Few recent films sucked an audience in and keep their attention better than Jurassic Park. Yes, there are flaws, but as a fun summer-time blockbuster, the audience is given exactly what they want–a good time.
Acting B- (There is a fair amount of “paycheck time” but many of the performances are solid enough.)
Visuals A+ (There are some simply fantastic visuals in Jurassic Park.)
Enjoyability Grade A
Home Theater/HD Factor A (One buys a home theater to watch big-budget eye candy the likes of Jurassic Park.)
Overall Grade A