By Charly SHELTON
“Jurassic Park” is one of the best movies ever made – from a technical viewpoint, an audience viewpoint, a critic viewpoint and a science viewpoint. It is a very well done film. And now, 20 years after its initial release, it is back on the big screen looking as good as ever.
When I saw the film on the big screen the first time in 1993, it was a spectacle. Granted I was 3, but it was still had an impact. I am in college now to become a paleontologist in part because of this movie. I always wanted to study dinosaurs and by the time I learned the real word for it (paleontology), I was 2 years old and already hooked.
This movie isn’t the sole reason I devoted my college life to dinosaurs, but I will admit that, in the back of my mind, I always hoped that I would be as cool as Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) in this movie. At the “Jurassic Park 3D” screening, my girlfriend (who somehow managed to live her 24 years without seeing this movie) said that I turned out to be a cross between Dr. Grant and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), which I hold as a high compliment.
For those of you who have also managed to miss this movie over the last 20 years, it is about a group of scientists who go to the first theme park that has dinosaurs as the main attraction. These dinosaurs are cloned from DNA found in blood drunk over 65 million years ago by mosquitoes, now fossilized in amber. The park, in its test phase, is hit simultaneously by a computer hacker and a tropical storm. This deadly combination ends up with the dinosaurs being released from their enclosures, putting all of the characters in danger.
I won’t lie – I cried. Seeing these dinosaurs on the big screen in 3D was moving. Especially during the first reveal of the Brachiosaurus eating leaves with herds of dinosaurs in the background and the music swells. Ah! I was hit with an overpowering emotion at the majesty of these creatures seen today only in skeletal remains.
I have obsessed over dinosaurs so much in the past 21 years that seeing them standing 25 feet tall on the big screen was impressive. No longer a child, I can pick up on the subtleties of the film and the implications of genetic engineering. I have seen it many, many times since 1993 and I have picked up on the message before. I have seen the dinosaurs, written papers on the inaccuracies of the film, even seen some of these dinos for real in Utah, digging in my favorite formation (Morrison, Jurassic era, 146-156 million years old). But something about seeing them on the screen, alive and breathing, brings back the child-like wonder that reminds me of the reason I got into paleontology in the first place – simply put, dinosaurs are awesome. Not just cool, they inspire awe. To think that something that massive ruled the earth for as long as they did is staggering … something that only seeing this movie on the big screen can inspire.
On a scale of Camarasaurus (lame) to T. rex (epic), I give this film a full T. rex. And don’t be surprised if this is the rating scale I use from now on.