Every once in a while, a movie comes along that you know you should see, but for one reason or another, you just don’t. Such was the case with the 1993 Steven Spielberg classic Jurassic Park, based on the book by Michael Crichton. Fortunately, life is all about second chances. So 20 years later, I can finally say “Of course, I’ve seen Jurassic Park – in 3D no less!” I went into the theater armed with the vast knowledge that the movie had something to do with dinosaurs. I came out of the theater armed with the knowledge that this flick is indeed really good, but scary as sh*t for young kids. It seems trite to yell “Spoiler Alert!” when a movie’s been out for 20 years and spawned two sequels (with JP4 due out next year). But just in case it’s new to you, I’ll tread carefully:
A billionaire philanthropist named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) hires a team of genetic scientists to clone dinosaurs using DNA extracted from the bellies of fossilized mosquitoes (or something like that). Then he builds a theme park – Jurassic Park – so visitors can get up close and personal with the awe-inspiring (killer) species that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. I mean, really, what can possibly go wrong?
After a fatal mishap involving one of his employees, Hammond invites a few renowned research scientists on a preview tour of the Park to prove to them – and the world- just how safe and spectacular the place really is. He choppers in Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to the remote island park, along with his grandkids Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) for the grand tour. But a computer geek with a grudge (Wayne Knight a.k.a. Newman from Seinfeld) triggers a series of events that results in a massive power breakdown at the Park and a bunch of killer dinosaurs running amok to terrorize the stranded guests – especially the kids.
Jurassic Park is an action adventure thrill ride that feels a bit out of place in 2013. The film is remastered in state-of-the-art 3D, which is cool, but the outfits are still vintage early-1990s. Samuel L. Jackson has a minor, undeveloped role. And there’s no way to avoid someone in the theater saying “Hello, Newman” when Knight comes on the screen. All things considered though, Jurassic Park holds up as a classic fright-fest with heart. And compared to the rest of the weekend’s “new” offerings, I dare say this PG-13 blockbuster is dino-mite.