Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Michael Crichton, David Koepp
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards
Original UK Release: 1993
Jurassic Park has a greater dynasty beyond its cinematic heritage. Upon arrival it reinvigorated study in the field of paleontology, and inspired generations that dinosaurs were not the lumbering coldblooded lizards we had once assumed they were; but hot-blooded animals of driven instinct, carnage and wonder.
Spielberg takes the characters and the audience on a journey of spectacle and awe, alongside dinosaurs rendered with photo real digital and practical effects the likes of which the world had never seen before – with a T-Rex that still astonishes to this day. Even John Williams’ score reeks of enthralled majesty at the benefit of these sights.
It’s a remarkable effort by any to elevate the text of a Crichton novel beyond its faux-cinematic foundations, but Koepp’s screenplay does just that by allowing all of the characters room to breathe and exert prominence outside of their traits.
The characters, though arch, are very aware of their predicament and much of the first half deals with the heavy ethical conflict of such a dangerous endeavour, all in their appropriate environments without feeling forced. The amount of restraint on the filmmakers’ part to reserve the monsters of their monster picture is admirable in itself, because once the dinosaurs do arrive it’s a perfect chance for Spielberg to exercise his immense talent of balancing tension in set pieces.
Sequences of unforgettable stress and excitement unfold over the second half, surrounding characters that we now know and care about. Characterised, animated figures with emotion, strength and natural arcs all brought to vivid life through memorable performances.
It's essentially a B-Movie in premise, it’s certainly not one in execution. While a groundbreaker in the industry it might not actually be one of Spielberg’s finest achievements, but it’s certainly one of the most entertaining and popular additions to his back catalogue.