The first of the Jurassic Park films is just a cult classic. I must have been about ten before I saw it for the first time though as I don’t think my parents were all that sure how I would react to it and I didn’t really have that much interest in it. I was one of those kids that much preferred to read books and watch nice unfrightening films like Disney and Back to the Future.
By the time I was ten though I was regularly watching things like Star Wars and Star Trek. Somebody at school must have mentioned the film though and were shocked that I hadn’t seen it, so I must have asked if we could watch it. (This is also how I ended watching American Pie for the first time, and was the last time I took a recommendation lightly and watched something because ‘just because I had to because popular culture demanded it.)
I absolutely loved Jurassic Park from the very first I saw it, probably because it really wasn’t the film I was expecting it to be. I think I had it in my head that all that would be happening would be a bunch of people running away from dinosaurs. Now admittedly that is a significant part of the plot, but what I really fell in love with as a kid was the wonder on Sam Neill’s face the first time he saw one of the herbivores. It was the wonder of that lost world (pun intended) that made me realise what the film is all about.
It is part of the human desire to recreate the past and display for public viewing. Jurassic Park is essentially an odd combination of museum and zoo. And like a museum there is a great deal of explanation of how it was done. Most people could probably credit Jurassic Park with sparking an intense curiosity about dinosaurs; I know many people who were already in their dinosaur phase (and are still in it) when they first saw the film and loved it because of the dinosaurs.
I loved it because it made genetics and science interesting. I love science, though I never pursued it academically, and this film was one of the first times I’d seen the possibility of what science could do for the world. I mean, not re-create dinosaurs, but that science is a powerful tool that needs to be respected and contained, but allowed to explore and be creative in order to better the world we live in.
Beyond that though the dinosaurs are really cool, and I love that at no point in the film are the dinosaurs portrayed as evil or malicious. They are very much just acting on natural animal instinct; they aren’t complex characters, though they aren’t simplistic either, especially the raptors. It is only the humans that are conflicted about what they had done and the consequences of their actions, though knowing what happens in the sequels, I know that they don’t learn from the mistakes made.
Jurassic Park is a cult classic and a must see. I also highly recommend Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton as well. The book is fantastic, though they are differences between the film and the book, it was thrilling to read from start to finish.