Fig. 1. Jurassic Park poster.
Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) is very much a film that demonstrates Spielberg having fun; it feels very much like an amusement park ride that you don’t want to get off and is full of iconic moments. Much like Jaws the monsters are shown sparingly, but the build up and tension is made without having to show them. It also has a strong family story that builds up into a heart-warming ending.
Spielberg opens up the film showing a Jurassic Park worker meeting his demise, without actually showing you what is killing him. He doesn’t need to reveal the Velociraptor to the audience, as by just showing the power and danger that it is capable of, instantly creates suspense. As Gritten states in his review ‘it takes almost an hour before the visiting humans are finally exposed to peril from the dinosaurs, yet every scene up to that point carefully makes their jeopardy increasingly inevitable.’ (Gritten, 2013). Gritten’s point shows that Spielberg allows the suspense to build from the start, it is clear to see that Spielberg was inspired by Hitchcock as the opening scene shows us everything we need, allowing us to know just how much danger the main characters are in.
Fig. 2. T-Rex attack.
Jurassic Park still looks and feels amazing; the film has aged very well and is very much still widely appreciated. It is a film, which is set in a world that is definitely fictional; we couldn’t just go and visit a dinosaur park, yet it doesn’t flood the screen with CG. One of its successes is that it doesn’t rely on its CG to impress the audience, as its story should already have you gripped. As Richards points out ‘only using CG when it serves the story rather than to obscure the lack of one.’ (Richards, 2013). Richards point shows that the story was the main point Spielberg wanted to get across to the audience, it is possible that this is hugely why the film and franchise is so popular. Spielberg didn’t need to show you the dinosaurs all of the time to create suspense, he didn’t need to flood the screen with CG; instead he only used the dinosaurs when the story required the audience to see them. This allowed the audience time to get immersed by the characters and story, instead of just being impressed by the visuals.
Fig. 3. Father figure.
The story and plot are very much two separate things in Jurassic Park, the plot is simply about trying to get approval to open a dinosaur park, after the power gets shut off it is about survival. However the story seems very much to be about the family and how a strong father figure will protect its family. It is a journey of a man who becomes a father figure, from a person who hated children to someone who is there to protect and care for them. As Ebiri states in his review ‘Jurassic Park shows us a director in transition, and the film captures his transformation in its own kind of cinematic amber.’ (Ebiri, 2013). Ebiri point suggests that this film is the start of Spielberg’s work changing into stories that are about the family, where as his previous films had a more child like view of the world, this film began to shape him as a director.
Without a question Jurassic Park is a must see film, it has so many skillfully executed scenes and is a joy to watch. It really demonstrates a director having fun and still looks great over twenty years later. It has clever use of CG, which isn’t over used due to the story holding the film together successfully.
Spielberg, S. (1993). Figure 1. Jurassic Park poster. http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/2014-08/12/12/enhanced/webdr07/enhanced-3859-1407860847-2.jpg (Accessed on 18/03/2015)
Spielberg, S. (1993). Figure 2. T-Rex attack. http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/jurassic-park-3d.jpg
Spielberg, S. (1993). Figure 3. Farther figure. https://tinselblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/2213_00104.jpg
Ebiri, B. (2013). vulture.com. http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/jurassic-park-3-d-review-lets-roar-again.html (Accessed on 18/03/2015)
Gritten, D. (2013). telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/10259543/Jurassic-Park-3D-review.html (Accessed on 18/03/2015)
Richards, O. (2013). empireonline.com. http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=138260 (Accessed on 18/03/2015)