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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Thirty years later: JURASSIC PARK the motion picture

Thirty years ago today, I drove to Brassfield Cinema in Greensboro to catch the film adaptation of Jurassic Park on its opening day. A year and a half earlier during fall break of my high school senior year I bought a paperback copy of the novel by Michael Crichton at what used to be KC Books on Freeway Drive in Reidsville. Between getting the book and the release of the movie I read Jurassic Park six times. It was THAT good.

The cinema was packed. Lots of small children excited about seeing the dinosaurs. Some people said they were going back in to see it again after just getting out from watching it the first time.
I can still tell you which screen I sat down to watch it on. After nineteen months of build up, my patience was about to be rewarded.
The lights went down. The trailers began. And then the movie started...

Two hours later I left the theater... and I was possibly the ONE person who was disappointed!!
The book was soooo much better. Yes, the effects were magnificent. Pioneering, groundbreaking. But I had an image in my mind of what it would be like and the finished movie didn't meet the bar.
In years since I've come to be more forgiving. It was the first time a film had been so dependent on computer generated imagery. The crew of the movie had been faced with a seemingly impossible task. In the end, they stuck the landing and more. I can also better appreciate how such deep characters in the novel - like Ian Malcolm - did wind up translating as good enough to the screen as they were likely to get.
At the time I would have given Jurassic Park the movie 2 and 1/2 stars out of 5. There was just so much more from the book - like the pterodactyls - that I wanted to see. Thirty years later, I'd give the movie a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
An example of five star motion picture would also come from Steven Spielberg later that same year: Schindler's List. It was good that Spielberg made Jurassic Park first. Had the two movies switched places he wouldn't have been able to produce Jurassic Park at all. But that's a topic for another time.
It does not seem like it was thirty years ago. But it was. Wow.
So to end this little look back at Jurassic Park the motion picture, here's the song that "Weird Al" Yankovic released a few months later, his parody of "MacArthur Park"...