The upshot of the marketing campaign (and the carefully calculated trailers that only released brief glimpses of the dinosaurs) was that it manufactured a want. It begat a single anticipation of its audience the expectation that the film would produce dinosaurs. One can see it in the way the audience greeted the film they fidgeted through the first fifteen minutes and the lectures amiably disguised, nevertheless still lectures on the viciousness of velociraptors, whether dinosaurs were birds, chaos theory and dinosaur DNA in wait. This was clearly an audience that wanted to see dinosaurs. The entire success of Jurassic Park centred around whether or not Steven Spielberg could provide dinosaurs. The moment the first brontosaurus appeared on screen, lazily nibbling at the tops of trees, there with a stunning fullness of realization that up to that point had been unseen on the screen it produced a collective sigh of awe. The answer, of course, was a resounding yes Steven Spielberg had taken the audiences want and produced a banquet. With the first sight of the brontosaurus, it is a moment one realizes that Spielberg and the entire thrust of the film and marketing campaign has deliberately led one up to. It is a magicians trick making an audience want to see magic before it is provided, something that is even evident on screen in the way that Spielberg studiedly shows us the characters astounded reactions to the dinosaur before he allows us, the audience, to see them.
Jurassic Park marked a return to the type of filmmaking that Steven Spielberg made his name with at the start of his career the lean, economically stripped-back, seat-edge rollercoaster rides of Duel (1971) and Jaws (1975). It seems a conscious attempt to turn back away from the big budget-itis and increasingly woolly soft-headedness that has marked all of his films of the last decade about everything he has directed from E.T. onwards. More importantly for Spielberg, it was a decade that was marked by a string of either critical the Indiana Jones sequels, Hook (1991) or public failures Empire of the Sun (1987) often both Twilight Zone The Movie (1983) and Always (1989).
Jurassic Park is not free of budget-itis indeed, it was Steven Spielbergs most expensive film up to that point. However, Spielberg has set out to be scary and the film contains some of the best seatrest-gouging moments one has seen on screen in some time particularly the scenes with the velocraptors chasing the children through the kitchens. The most seat-edge set-piece in the film is undoubtedly the attack of the T-Rex on the stalled Jeeps, with it spinning the Jeep around with its snout and smashing through the windows to get at the terrifyingly vulnerable children inside, charging after a defenceless Jeff Goldblum as he stands in the open waving a flare to attract its attention, and crashing into a toilet and almost casually snapping up the cowering Martin Ferrero in its mouth. It is a sequence that is made all the more terrifying for Spielbergs willingness to break one of Hollywoods cardinal unwritten rules about not endangering the lives of children at any moment, one fully believes their lives are in danger. The full-blooded appearance of the T-Rex bursting through the electric fence in the rain, accompanied by a wonderfully thrilling digitally mastered roar, is also a stunning moment, one that explodes with all primal ferocity that the first appearances of say The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and Godzilla (1954) did in the early 1950s. It is truly like such creatures have been taken right out of the Cretaceous and let loose.
For all that, Jurassic Parks greatest fault is that it is a good film, but one is left feeling that it should have been more. Steven Spielberg, particularly in the Indiana Jones sequels and Hook, has a tendency to sketch his films in tones so broad that they verge on caricature. That is something that faults Jurassic Park too. It has a good cast, most of whom perform efficiently. Many of the supporting characters seem too broad as characters to ever be believable Martin Ferreros cowardly, Hispanic lawyer seems too nervous to ever emerge as someone capable of managing the finance for a multi-billion dollar amusement park; Jeff Goldblums playing of the chaotician is suitably flaky and intense and given to wry throwaway lines but the character never manages to impress us that he is a mathematical genius; similarly Richard Attenboroughs Walt Disney-inspired John Hammond seems too grandfatherly, too soft-headed, too naive and incapable of threat to convince us he is an astute billionaire businessman. Although, in the bad acting stakes, the worst offender period is Wayne Knights giggly irritable computer buff, an inane performance that more properly belongs as a villain in a childrens film. The kids scenes come with a surprising and tolerably small degree of sentiment. Indeed, the best performance in the film comes from this quarter Joseph Mazzello is anonymous, but Ariana Richards playing of the 12 year-old is welcomely tough and resourceful.
The film conducts a fair adaptation of Michael Crichtons 1990 novel. The book has been efficiently trimmed for the screen without losing any of the major aspects. It does gain, not too surprisingly being a Steven Spielberg film, a subplot about how the paedophobic Sam Neill character comes to like children. That said, the result does not always work on screen the ideas behind dinosaur-cloning and chaos theory require difficult concepts at the best of times and in trying to encapsulate these for its audience in only a couple of minutes, the film leaves behind almost all of those who do not have a working knowledge of either subject. (The great irony of the film is that its success and creation of the dinosaurs is dependant on a technology CGI animation that Michael Crichton predicted in his science-fiction film Looker (1981), but saw there as something sinister).
A more subtle difference that permeates the film is its moral message. In the book, Michael Crichton, the perpetual sceptic of the benefits of technology, made some characteristically potent points about the responsibility of science and latched onto chaos theory with an almost religious fervour to authenticate these. Chaos theory is a mathematical concept about the inherent unpredictability of complex systems but in Michael Crichtons eyes it becomes more of a justification for an inherent belief in Murphys Law. In the film, the finer points of explanation and much of the subtlety of Michael Crichtons argument have been pared away to an absolute minimum, meaning that all the chaos theory seems to be there to do is work up an old There are some things humankind was not meant to interfere with, presented with unsubtly bombastic regard. The fact that this is closely tied to several ponderous comments about over-reliance on computer systems leaves the film beating its Crichton-esque anti-technological tub with an unduly heavy hand.
Steven Spielberg followed this with the immensely disappointing sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). This was followed by the slightly better Jurassic Park III (2001) where Joe Johnston inherited the directorial reins. A Jurassic Park IV has been announced off and on ever since 2001 and finally emerged as Jurassic World (2015). Jurassic Park was re-released in 3D in 2013, the 20th anniversary of its release.
Jurassic Park gave a sudden boost to the career of the then declining career of Michael Crichton and in the next few years Crichton became one of the hottest film-adapted authors in Hollywood with the likes of Rising Sun (1993), a superior adaptation of Crichtons blatantly racist book about Japanese business practice; Barry Levinsons adaptation of Disclosure (1994), Crichtons novel about sexual harassment, which contains some science-fiction elements; the lost world film Congo (1995); Crichtons original screenplay Twister (1996) about tornado chasers; Levinsons underrated Sphere (1998) about the investigation of a crashed UFO; John McTiernans The 13th Warrior (1999), an historical epic about the meeting between Vikings and Neanderthals; Richard Donners dull adaptation of Crichtons Timeline (2003) about time travel to Mediaeval France; and the tv mini-series remake of The Andromeda Strain (2008). Crichton also created the hit hospital drama ER (1994-2009). Michael Crichtons earlier films as director were Westworld (1973) about an android amusement park that goes amok; the medical conspiracy thriller Coma (1978); The Great Train Robbery (1979) about a Victorian train heist; Looker (1981) about virtual models; Runaway (1984) about a police force to stop amok robots; and the courtroom thriller Physical Evidence (1989). Other films adapted from Crichtons books are the extra-terrestrial virus film The Andromeda Strain (1971) and the neurosurgical Frankenstein film The Terminal Man (1974).
Steven Spielbergs other genre films as director are: Duel (1971), Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Twilight Zone The Movie (1983), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Always (1989), Hook (1991), A.I. (2001), Minority Report (2002), War of the Worlds (2005), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and The BFG (2016). Spielberg has also acted as executive producer on numerous films too many to list here.
Trailer here (Its the 3D trailer but far better quality and shows far more of the film than the existing 1993 ones do):-