Only one more week til the summer movie season begins. Unfortunately though, until then our cinematic options remain limited and if you're looking for something to do this weekend, I'd recommend Oblivion if you haven't already seen it yet....otherwise you should really spend some much needed time at Jurassic Park. I saw the 3D re-release of the Steven Spielberg 90's classic a couple weeks ago and I've got to say...it was a pure delight! The film marks its 20th anniversary this year and still holds up remarkably well. In fact, most of the special effects have barely aged and remain some of the most convincing in the history of film.
Let's go back twenty years and talk about why it was important then and how it's still important now on both personal and broader levels. First we'll go with personal. Twenty years ago, six-year-old little Emily was not allowed to see Jurassic Park on the big screen (and rightly so...for she would have been terrified.) Instead, she was dragged to see the utterly forgettable (well it WAS 20 years ago) Once Upon A Forest while three of her older siblings were treated to the cinematic experience of a lifetime. The tinge of jealousy immediately struck once they came home and RAVED of its sheer amazing awesomeness....an awesomeness I could only dream of.... Instead, I was stuck with this :(
An undisclosed amount of time later once the film had made its way to video and I was a little bit older, I discovered its greatness for myself and have watched it countless times since. Jurassic Park was and is just a solid reliable movie. One I could put on anytime and truly enjoy....a movie that you can truly get lost in. I've been thinking a lot about compiling my Top 100 favorite films of all time and listing them in installments here on the blog. I might have to look into it, but one thing is for sure...this film definitely has a place on that list, and might be as high as my Top Thirty or even Twenty. So what did it mean to me finally seeing it on the big screen? Even after all these years, it was an absolutely thrilling experience.. and something my younger self really thanked me for doing. You see, I found the biggest screen I possibly could by seeing it in IMAX 3-D. I'll be honest...the 3-D part wasn't what was cool (though a few moments it really added a lot, during others it looked distractedly unfinished,) it was seeing this film on the size of screen it was meant to be seen.
On a cinematic level, Jurassic Park was a truly important film too. It followed in the footsteps of Jaws, Star Wars and Indiana Jones in establishing that summer is the time for blockbusting thrills. Probably most importantly as I mentioned before, it was a milestone in the advancement of special effects. It challenged other films and pushed the boundaries of what could be put onto film...what an audience would be able to believe. From here on out, the sky was the limit. That limit has been tested time and time again, but as I said, the fact that even twenty years later the film is still as believable as the day it opened is really beyond impressive.
Okay, so it's a good film that influenced movies in general back in its day. But why is it worth seeing on the big screen today in 2013? Well for one thing it STILL dances circles around many of the big films released nowadays. Besides really awesome looking effects, the film provides genuine unparalleled thrills. It's been able to do that on a small screen for twenty years, but seeing them on that big screen (either again or for the first time) magnifies those thrills 100 times more. The story takes the audience on an incredible ride from being truly in awe to experiencing downright terror. But besides all of that, it has some pretty great dialogue and some really fun characters. Ian Malcolm and Dr. Grant are obviously awesome, but what about Dennis Nedry or the guy that's obsessed with raptors...or Samuel L Jackson!? Really everyone has their moment to shine in this film (as annoying as Lex is, even she provides her handiness occasionally!) So honestly, do your past younger self a favor and see this film the way it was meant to be seen...on a screen as big as those dinosaurs deserve.