Ah, memories. There’s nothing quite like remembering the movies you saw multiple times in theaters as a youngster and their long-lasting impact on your moviegoing life. The sticky floors, the dusty seats, and the crowded theaters stinking of popcorn, pretzels, and fake cheese spread. Those were the days.
Jurassic Park hit theaters in 1993 which would have made me roughly 7 years old. I distinctly remember being super excited for this film and begging my parents to take me on opening night. My parents even seemed enthusiastic about watching it and who could blame them? Summer “popcorn” flicks of the early 90s always delivered the entertainment they promised. Even in the case of box office duds, the showmanship and production quality was still there. These films were always more than enough to satisfy the pre-teen action junkie in all of us.
On a distant Costa Rican island way out in the Pacific, a rich philanthropist known as John Hammond and a small team of brilliant genetic scientists have found a scientifically-impossible method of cloning dinosaurs from the blood inside of ancient mosquitoes trapped in amber. Instead of showcasing this marvelous discovery for the scientific community and doing some real good in the world, Hammond decides to open up a theme park. How American of him.
After a worker in the park is mutilated by a really badass Velociraptor, the park’s financial backers and their greasy head lawyer Donald Gennaro demand that experts are brought to the island to certify its safety. Mathematician Ian Malcolm and the paleontologist/paleobiologist combination of Ellie Sattler and Allan Grant are among the honored guests. Needing an element of wonder and bewilderment, Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim Murphy are thrown into the mix because what says quality family time quite like a pack of murderous dinosaurs?
Upon arrival, the group is sent out into the park in Jeeps on a rail system, but the tour turns out far more disastrous than Hammond could have ever planned. The T. Rex is nowhere to be seen and the Triceratops is found lying on its side next to a huge pile of its own shit. What a great tourist destination.
Anyway, a storm’s a-brewin’ and most of the park employees depart on a boat for the mainland before they’re swept away. The lovably fat, bumbling villain Dennis Nedry, Jurassic Park’s computer programmer, deactivates the park’s security systems in an attempt to gain access to the facility’s embryo storage room. In the beginning of the film, Nedry was paid by a shady looking character to steal the embryos and store them in a fake Barbasol shaving cream can so that the shady guy can deliver the embryos to Hammond’s corporate rival.
During the chaos of the security system’s deactivation, many of the park’s electric fences are brought down and a T. Rex manages to escape and attack the tour group, injuring Malcolm and biting the everlasting shit out of Gennaro as he sits on the can. It’s quite the dignified death scene as the T. Rex lifts his head and Gennaro’s mutilated corpse rolls down his gullet.
As for Nedry, on his way to deliver the embryos to the island’s docks, he becomes lost and crashes his Jeep. In a hilarious scene, he is outwitted by a pea-brained Dilophosaurus and eaten alive. The embryos never make it to their destination.
Meanwhile, Hammond and the delightful Ray Arnold attempt to reboot the park’s computer and electrical network. They shut down the park’s electrical grid and Arnold finds a maintenance shed to complete the process of rebooting the system manually. He never returns. Sattler and the park’s game warden, Muldoon, head to the shed themselves to see what went wrong. They discover that the shutdown has brought down the park’s remaining electrical fences and released the Velociraptors. Muldoon gives up his life to distract the raptors while Sattler turns the power back on, finding the severed arm of Arnold along the way.
Alone with the kids, Grant finds a way back to the visitor’s center and leaves the kids in the dining room while he searches for the others. The kids are attacked by Velociraptors in a nail-biting kitchen scene that gave me heart palpitations as a youngster, but they manage to escape and reunite with Grant and Sattler. Lex’s all-star hacking skills allow her to restore full power to the park. Cornered by the velociraptors, the group is forced to make a daring escape, but the T. Rex busts his way in and fights off the raptors. In the end, a helicopter arrives to transport the survivors back home.
Seen a landmark in the use of CGI, the film was one of the most successful examples of blending real-world animatronics with computer-generated imagery. The film grossed over $900 million worldwide and became the highest-grossing film released up until the release of Titanic.
Through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy, this movie is the tits. It had dinosaurs, death, destruction, mayhem, Jeff Goldblum, dinosaur boogers, and everything you could possibly want to see in a movie. I saw this film 5 times in theaters. After seeing it once at the nice Regal Cinemas nearby, I’d see it basically every weekend at the dirty $1.50 theater on the other side of town. I remember clenching the arm rests during the T. Rex attack on the children and I always nearly jumped out of my seat when the severed goat leg fell on top of the car.
If you haven’t seen this film, you’d have to be either blind or just plain stupid. Rent it, read it, watch it, love it. Jurassic Park is a feast for the senses and the perfect Saturday night movie. Microwave up some greasy ass popcorn, guzzle down some soda, and snuggle up with a friend or female and get ready to HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTTS!