This week marks the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park. To celebrate, it’s being re-released into theaters (with 3D conversion), and Hypable is doing a second take on a childhood favorite.
Earlier this week, I saw Jurassic Park in 3D IMAX. It’s been a good 10 years since I’ve watched the film from start to finish in one sitting, so I was rather excited. While standing in the concessions line, I overheard two guys around my age (early-mid 20s) discussing their own excitement to re-watch the 1990s classic. One of them stated, “Jurassic Park will always stand the test of time.”
I have to say, I completely agree with that man’s argument.
I thought of that statement throughout the film. Although I saw Jurassic Park as a kid, and because it had been at least a decade since the last time I watched it in its entirety, many (usually scary) parts slipped from my mind – and was (frighteningly) reminded of those scenes – e.g., right after Ellie turns the park’s security back on, a Velociraptor jumps at her in the shed. I jumped in my seat, gasped so the entire IMAX theater could hear me, and nearly spilled my entire pack of M&Ms on the floor.
But that’s just it – because I nearly jumped out of my pants (as an almost 24-year-old) over this 20-year-old CGI dinosaur, it’s proof that the film still lives up to the level of a fictional reality it sought in 1993. While Jurassic Park was created with new computer technology to create the dinosaurs, quite frankly, I was extremely surprised how real they still seemed, from a 2013 perspective (as opposed to other films from the ’90s, for instance, Jumanji). The level of detail and innovative technology from the early ’90s Spielberg put into and used in Jurassic Park obviously paid off, because it’s still just as impressive today.
Like any film that is set in the same time period it’s created, Jurassic Park dates itself with ’80s-90s “Mom Jeans,” the red bandanna Alan wears around his neck, and the snazzy black leather jacket and sunglasses Ian wears that is Uncle Jesse from Full House-esque. Also, when the cast was separated for the second half of the film, I thought a few times: “this would be so much easier if they all just had cell phones.”
But, that’s the beauty of older films. It dates itself with the physical appearances of actors and lack of technology, and in doing so, it makes people nostalgic. It’s easy to equate older movies with “the good old days” – it forces the audience to remember where they were in their lives when a film first debuted.
For many people in the 20s-age time frame, Jurassic Park makes us think of when we were kids and the simplicity of life. Personally, I have many memories of watching Jurassic Park as a kid and watching my older brother nerd out – and then we’d play Jurassic Park and pretend to fight off dinosaurs.
For many adults, (e.g., my mom, who mentioned this to me) it makes them also think of simplicities of life two decades ago – when technology was obviously not as prevalent as it is now, and how different life used to be without all the technology we have today.
Although Jurassic Park is being re-released in 3D, there was no real added bonus to the film overall with the 3D aspect (as it is with many older movies being re-released in 3D). Sure, the dinosaurs were quite literally popping out of the screen, but at the end of the day, a film is critiqued about the writing, acting, effects, etc., and not the added bell and whistle of 3D.
To pull off the fictional reality of dinosaurs being on Earth with humans in the 20th century, Spielberg clearly had to do a lot of work to adapt Michael Crichton’s novel for the big screen. Writing a novel under the premise of dinosaurs on Earth alongside humans is one thing, as each reader can imagine the world for themselves, but transferring it to film is a whole other ballpark. The fact that 20 years later Jurassic Park is still as convincing, seemingly realistic, and just as entertaining as it was when it first debuted, goes to show that it truly does stand the test of time.