Classic Intel: Jurassic Park - Blu-ray Review

'It's almost unsportsmanlike how effortless it seems to be for Spielberg to shift between so many genres - sci-fi, thriller, adventure, horror, and more - without ever missing a beat'.

As Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World lurks just around the corner, ready to transport its audience back to Isla Nublar once again, what better time to revisit Steven Spielberg's iconic blockbuster from 1993 which took us there the first time? Whilst the latest installment in the franchise has over two decades separating it from the first, along with all the technological and cultural shifts that come with that, if Trevorrow can manage to recreate the comprehensive entertainment of Spielberg's original adaptation of Michael Crichton's best-seller he'll almost certainly be onto a winner.

What makes Jurassic Park one of Spielberg's very best films is that it allows him to bring together all the strongest weapons in his directorial arsenal, weaving them into one incredibly satisfying whole. The childlike wonder of palaeontologist pairing Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) as they first behold the park's prehistoric inhabitants is as palpable as that of Elliot's extraterrestrial encounters in E.T.; the development from wonder to fear as the characters realise just what John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has unleashed is pleasingly reminiscent of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind; the sense of exotic adventure could only be enhanced if Harrison Ford turned up with a whip, a fedora and a boulder barrelling after him; and even if Jaws is likely to top the majority of lists as Spielberg's best monster movie, Jurassic Park worthily deserves recognition as Spielberg's most traditional attempt at bringing beastly behemoths to the big screen.

It's almost unsportsmanlike how effortless it seems to be for Spielberg to shift between so many genres - sci-fi, thriller, adventure, horror, and more - without ever missing a beat. The build-up to the arrival at the park itself is superb, introducing key players effectively whilst skilfully avoiding making matters at all confusing. The special effects (still breathtaking over twenty years on) perhaps make it too easy to forget how good the performances are throughout Jurassic Park. Neill provides the central character arc, believably developing Alan from child-phobic scientist to emotional rock for John's young grandchildren Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello). Similarly, Attenborough takes John through perhaps the counterpoint journey from fantasist to realist through a performance so warm and genuine it's even possible to ignore the questionable nature of his Scottish accent throughout. Jeff Goldblum as "rock star" chaos theorist Ian Malcolm is a constant hoot, getting many of the script's most memorable lines; and Wayne Knight's Dennis Nedry is suitably despicable as to make his ultimate fate satisfyingly deserved.

The dinosaurs are the true stars here, however, and Spielberg knows it. Each of the key players gets their own memorable moment: the majestic entrance of the Brachiosaurus as the group first enter the park; the rain-soaked Tyrannosaurus Rex attack perfectly placed and executed at the film's centre; and the gripping tension of the haunted-house-like scenes featuring the Velociraptors. It's a tour de force of blockbuster filmmaking by Spielberg, one which heartily deserves to go down in history amongst the finest cinematic achievements ever accomplished.




By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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