I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

Today is both the best and worst day of my life. Today, there is a new Jurassic Park movie.

(Before moving on, I’d highly recommend listening to this piece from the soundtrack while you read.)

When I was a kid, there were two things on my mind: aliens and dinosaurs. If there had been a way to combine them, it might have ruined me. Looking back at my youth, there are two moments in film that stand out to me, sequences that are forever burned into my mind.

One, the awful abduction sequence from Fire in the Sky, which remains scary as hell in 2015.

(My love for The X-Files sent me down some dangerous roads, readers.)

Two, the first time we met a dinosaur in Jurassic Park.

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

The lengthy build up seems to take forever. Movies these days would have cut right to the chase and showed you dinosaurs — any dinosaur at all — as soon as possible. Instead, Jurassic Park refuses to show off its main attractions until you’re well into the film. Steven Spielberg knows you’re here for the dinosaurs, but as he demonstrated with Jaws, it’s worth making the audience wait.

In the movie’s opening minutes, also known as “shoot her”, we’re given the biggest tease ever.

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

In both that intro and even more so during the big brachiosaurus reveal, the camera focuses on the people. Their emotions, their reactions. It’s The Spielberg Face, one of the director’s well-documented tricks.

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

When Jurassic Park came out, I was nine years old. I’m 30 now. As Dr. Grant took off his sunglasses, my prepubescent self was flipping out. I knew him to be cool, collected, and likely a big fan of naps. Not much would prompt him to break out the shock-and-awe face.

The camera never cuts away. It stays laser-focused on the characters taking in the scene, slowly drawing out their reactions, and putting the audience in a tizzy. Our imaginations are running wild.

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

I remember my eyes bugging out. My fingers were scraping against the theatre chair. My friends were looking around at one another, wondering what the hell was coming.

This was an age before computer generated graphics had taken over cinema, when it was still easy to be dazzled by filmmakers bringing your imagination to life. What made Jurassic Park special was that we in the audience knew dinosaurs weren’t imaginary. They were real, once. I’d read about them, seen their bones, touched their skeletons.

Then came the big moment:

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

God damn.

Even now, ageing CGI and all, it gives me goosebumps. Watching a clip on YouTube, I got a bit teary-eyed. I can’t quite tell you why. Maybe it’s nostalgia for years gone by, maybe it’s the way the music swells at just the right moment.Maybe it’s just because dinosaurs are cool as hell.

Some don’t hold up when you watch them as an adult. Turns out they weren’t all that good, they were better left as fond memories.? Jurassic Park isn’t like that for me. Every time I watch it, I’m transported back. Every time, my heart soars when I see that brachiosaurus walking around a world just like ours.

I feel about Jurassic Park the way lots of other people feel about Star Wars. Spielberg’s film drove me. For years, I was convinced it was possible to bring back dinosaurs using their spliced DNA. (While dinosaurs are out of the question, it turns out other animals are not.) The first major reading I did outside of school assignments was diving into Michael Crichton’s original novel, and soonI was having my first arguments with friends over what bits the movie screwed up. I devoured all of his other novels, too. Chances are Michael Crichton was the first author I could name that wasn’t R.L Stine. Jurassic Park even inspired me to pick up a video camera and try to make my own stupid videos with my friends, learning basic shooting and editing in the process.

Oh, and thanks to Jurassic Park, The Lost World was the first time I experienced crushing personal disappointment. I can trace it to a single moment: when that gymnast girl kicked a raptor in the face.

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park was everywhere in my life, whether it was video games or toys.

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

This one was my absolute favourite. I can’t remember if it made a sound or not, though?

I’ll Never Get Over The Original Jurassic Park

We even had our own Jurassic Park games. Not video games, mind you — games we made up ourselves. In the basement, we’d flip off the lights, and folks would hide. One person would be the T-Rex, waltzing around with your hands tucked under your armpits. The goal was to make it out of the basement without the T-Rex grabbing you.I can’t imagine what it all must have been like for my parents. I hoped they like dinosaurs too?

All that brings us to today. Jurassic World is now in theatres. I’m ready to be disappointed, and I’ve made peace with that. Jurassic World can’t match Jurassic Park; that’s a task that I doubt Spielberg himself could pull off. However good or bad it winds up being, Jurassic World couldn’t possibly undo the magic of Jurassic Park. I’m not nine years old. But I am 30 years old, and I still think dinosaurs are cool.


  • exactly how i feel. good write up.
    i saw jurassic park with my mum at the cinema, loved it!! & i still love it today.
    seeing jurassic world saturday.
    as big kev would say “im excited”

  • For someone who echoes your childhood obsession almost exactly Patrick (I was 11 though), I too was bracing myself for disappointment with JW. I’ve seen it twice already. It’s fantastic. I’ll go out on a very controversial limb and say that whilst it will never be as good as the original, it certainly lives up to it.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed it too. As long as you don’t think too hard about the story of the characters that take up screen time then it is a great ride.
      spoiler regarding story

      The whole divorced parents character development didn’t go anywhere even though they spent 2 minutes talking about it on the train. They could have, right at the end, brought it up even briefly and it would have closed the circle but they left it

      spoiler regarding scene
      The bird claw right at the start was fantastic
      The Pteranodon swarm was some god awful CGI, almost like crowd animations in sport games from 2000-2005 era

    • I feel the same way, went in thinking it’d be a decent action film but ‘no Jurassic Park.’ Was very happy by the end of it, I still didn’t think is was as good as the first but that’s like saying a supercar isn’t as fast as lightspeed.. does it really matter? =D

  • At least even from the trailers it looks like they’ve smashed the CGI, unlike the second and third movie which had woeful CGI (dinosaurs never in the entire two movies matched the lighting of the scene).

  • Intact protiens found in eleven samples of Dino bones…reality within my lifetime. And their closest living relative is a crocodile.

  • Jurassic World does not need to be better than Jurassic Park. What Jurassic World needs to do, is justify its existence as a sequel, it’s logical, natural, organic existence as a sequel and as a movie in its own right. Few sequels have truly done this. Aliens, Empire Strikes Back, Godfather 2, are all examples of movies that have done this perfectly. After last night, I’m happy to say, Jurassic World does this with aplomb. By refusing to acknowledge The Lost World and JP3, it returns to its roots healthily, even referencing with reverence, the incident on Isla Nubla, in its dialogue, with people treating it with the reverence one treats September 11. “People DIED!” one of them says with vehemence to another wearing a “Jurassic Park” shirt. It’s these little touches that totally make the movie.

    The pacing is on par with the original almost. The characters, while not quite as good, are almost up there. Pratt is Starlord again, but that’s not a bad thing, Pratt is a great appealing actor like Sam Jackon, he’s one note, but that note is appealing as hell. Bryce Dallas Howard is fantastic in her role, but the damn MVP award goes to Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani, head of the Masrani Corporation who have taken over the duties of Ingen, now a military contractor (for some unexplained reason, one of the few baffling points).

    Jurassic World thankfully is *not* a remake of Jurassic Park, it’s not a retread and the I-Rex is a thing of fearsome beauty. BD Wong as the only returning human from part 1 is endearing but a little slimy, the movie itself is no cheap cash-in and no half arsed remake or reboot. This is a full blown sequel to Jurassic Park that honours it’s roots, it pays homage in the best ways possible and doesn’t ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ as much as understand where it should pay respect to, what it owes to its predecessor and whwere it could easily go wrong, so it avoids all those issues rather grandly and thankfully.

    The best thing I can say for Jurassic World, is that it justifies its own existence, it earns its right to exist organically, naturally and logically as a sequel and as a movie in its own right. Better still, my 11 year old son who I took with me, adored the film just as much as I did when I was 15 with part 1 🙂

    So don’t take the attitude you’ll be disappointed, take the attitude that you have no expectations, you may just be surprised.

    • I watched it this afternoon and I wholly agree with this. I had my reservations but by god were they put away quickly. It was just a good proper sequel and homage to the original. My friend whom I went with couldn’t contain his excitement as it hit all the right nostalgic notes, or so he says haha.

    • 100% about everything you said. SPOILER ALERT FOR BELOW.

      Masrani was a great character who was still trying to live to the ideals that Hammond held and yet run a modern business. By not keeping his eye on the prize so to speak he signed off on things that ultimately led to his demise. Khan was great in this role.

  • when are people going to learn GIFs arent toys, sure they are fun but when put together on mass in a article you want people to read, they are less fun.

    The problem with Lost World (and a bit with the original). They completely miss the point of the books. The Lost World book was a cracking and fascinating read but movie felt like Steven dialing it in for a paycheck (but even when he is in that mood its still better than an average director).

    • +1 on the gifs. I couldn’t read more than a couple of paragraphs before I was too distracted/pissy to continue.

  • I would have enjoyed the original a hell of a lot more if the kids had been both eaten at some point. They bugged me.

    • I still call BS on the boy surviving an electric fence designed to stop Raptors and T-rex’s

      • i still say the 10,000 volts wouldn’t do shit to a T-Rex… Plus, how did the T-Rex get up to the correct height to take down the fence in the first place if there’s a massive drop from the fenceline that the car falls down?

  • I had that exact “dino damage” T-Rex!!! I also had the Stegosaurus!

    Even though I’m 35 and long since moved out of my parent’s place, they still have them. My eight and four year old nephews still play with them!

    And no… they didn’t make noise.

    • Yeah I had a heap of JP toys in my garage until a few years ago… sold most of them a few years ago – had an even bigger t rex that did roar and all the people (Nedrys arms came off as a feature lol) and some of the vehicles too. Awesome set of toys had way too much stuff though and my kid was too little to justify storing them for him for another 4 years lol. Did manage to hoard some star wars toys though, and a velociraptor and ellies grappling hook (lol) surfaced recently so the kid got those at least.

  • I can remember the same type of experience. 10 years old and in love with Dinosaurs at the time, i begged my parents to take as to see the movie as a birthday gift. I loved seeing everything for the first time… Till the point where everything went wrong. The roar of the T-Rex had me crying and scared as fuck! For months after that i thought that the T-Rex was going to escape from the movie somehow and burst through my window and eat me; something that was repeated 6 years later with the T-Rex bursting through the window scene in Dino Crisis for the Playstation (I know, overactive imagination at 16, what a pussy!) I had quite the imagination back then.

    Hell, when I finally bought the Trilogy on BluRay (The third time I’d bought the series. Had them on VHS, then DVD, then BluRay. Only other movie I’ve done that with is the 1986 Transformers movie.) and watched it on my 50 inch TV, it was like being a kid again. The Animatronic/CGI mix holds up extremely well to this day even in HD & 3D. I even saw the re-release in the cinemas… Without crying like a baby this time lol. It’s one of the few movies I can throw on every now and again and still feel like i did when I first saw the movie in the cinemas.

  • I also had a rather wonderful obsession with Jurassic Park when it first came out. The second movie was okay (not as bad as many people claim) but it was SO much better than the book it was based on. The third movie was just a waste of time, & achieved nothing.

    I just saw Jurassic World and was thoroughly entertained. I’d see it again. Loved it!

    • WHAT? The second book was great and the movie was pretty poor….

      Looking forward to Jurassic World though! 😀

  • I wonder if the author actually read the original novel?

    EDIT: Yes he did, I somehow missed that bit where he said it.

  • Jurassic Park is an example of Spielberg at the top of his game in producing big budget, blockbuster, successful, mass appeal film to a perfect mechanical formula where he gets everything right on the money.
    But on the other hand it marked the end of him as an interesting, creative film maker because it was such a “paint by numbers” example of his style.

    To me it was disappointing. The CGI was blurry, bad and just not up to the task of showing living creatures in live action film yet.
    The story was a hackneyed idea by Michael Chrichton that other writers had done before and better, so there was nothing new from that angle, the big screen adaptation was predicable and the Spielbergisims were trite and cliché by that time, not to mention the John Williams soundtrack…

    But if you were a young kid when you first saw it and this stuff was new to you at the time, it was pure magic. So it really depended on the audience.
    I would say it’s a very good young person’s film, a very good example successful big-budget film-making, but not a good film in its own right.

  • Jurassic World was pretty bad in my opinion.

    It was just ‘dumb’. Where Mad Max was an action movie that still managed to not treat you like a moron, JW was the opposite.

    A ton of tropes, shallow characters, grating editing, women treated like nothing but sexualised plot devices, lame ideas (militarised dinos? FML) and hordes of obnoxious product placement.


  • We saw Jurassic World twice in three days (do not recommend doing this, haha) and the second time only served to further highlight the problems this movie has. I went into this really hoping to be blown away, knowing that I wouldn’t be. There were a few fun ticks, but mostly it was just too trope-filled, and there were soooo many throwbacks to the original film that it was distracting and disappointing.

    After we saw it last night, The Lost World was on tv, and the trailer scene came on – that alone, in its 15 minutes, was better than all of Jurassic World :/

  • Must say, I got a bit teary eyed during JW. The moment they arrive into the park, the original theme swells, the gates open and we see the realization of Hammond’s dream. Damn, I got a little emotional.
    What is happening to me. Teary at the end of the new star wars trailer, teary during Jurassic World. All the dreams of my 12 year old self coming true.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!