Jurassic Park was the first PG-13 movie I ever got to see in the theater. Twenty-five years later, as the fifth film in the franchise is getting ready to lumber into theaters, the original still stands as one of the greatest blockbusters ever made. To honor those pesky dinos, WatchMojo has put together a list of the 10 best moments from the first four films of the Jurassic franchise. WM 90% nailed this one. The first film dominates the list, as it should. If I had to include every installment on the list, the only change between my list and theirs would have been to use the pterodactyl scene from Jurassic Park III instead of the Spinosaurus. The franchise is more notable for its ability to generate bank rather than its quality past the original film (the bomb that was JPIII aside). Fallen Kingdom’s early reviews don’t offer much hope that the fifth film will do much better than 2-4, but the original will always rank among my favorite summer films of all-time.
As the fourth installment in the Jurassic series prepares to stomp into theaters this weekend, we end our month-long look back at the series with one of the weirdest franchise sequels of all-time: Jurassic Park III. It’s not that JP3 is horrific. Some people will argue that it succeeds more than The Lost World did; at the very least being succinct. What I found most remarkable about the film when it came out, and still do, is how there was absolutely and completely no interest in it whatsoever.
Universal barely marketed the film. It had no buzz. After the initial excitement on The Lost World, most people settled to the opinion that it was pretty subpar, and no one was screaming for another visit to NOT THE ORIGINAL ISLAND, but the island from the movie that everyone agreed sucked, only four years later. Coupled with the “Spinosaurus” (and I’m not the paleontologist I was at age 8, but I still think that sounds like the most made-up thing ever) making the T-Rex its dino…..slave (there’s a better word but I try to keep this family friendly) and the whole film just seemed to have no reason at all to exist. It was nice to see Dr. Grant again, sure, but they kind of undermined his smarts by making him dumb enough to get shanghaied back onto a dino island in the first place.
So is there anything at all to recommend JP3? Yes, actually. Like some of the best parts of The Lost World, it’s a set piece mined from Crichton’s first novel and had actually been planned as part of the first film before being cut from the final script. The entire sequence in the aviary with the pterodactyls is just pretty freaking awesome. They’re completely different from any dinosaur in previous films and the way they shroud the whole enclosure in mist with the dactyls attacking in and out of banks of fog really is a great action piece. Does it save this film. Noooooooo. I am glad to see, though, from trailers, that we’ll be seeing our flying friends again in Jurassic World.
Jurassic World, the fourth entry in the Jurassic Saga, is three weeks away, so guess what we’re doing in this column the next three weeks? Oh it is time for a stroll down dinosaur memory lane beginning with the biggie: Jurassic Park. It’s hard to recreate today the amount of buzz this film had on all levels of the population. You had fans of the novel, you had Spielberg in his prime, you had a genius marketing campaign and you had every kid in the entire world from 3-103 who has ever gone through a “dinosaur phase”. By the time the film was released, I was vibrating at such an unbearable rate that even my overprotective parents let me go to my first-ever PG-13 movie.
It was one of the greatest theater experiences of my life, and not just because my best friend got so scared by the time the dilo attacked Nedry that he literally ran out of the theater. There are films that come along ever five years or so, that reimagine what we think F/X are capable of, and the true mark of one of those films is that the original effects hold up. The dinosaurs in Jurassic World look no better than the T-Rex, who took its place amongst filmdom’s greatest monsters, with its entrance and attack on the convoy. Everything still looks stellar 23 years after the initial release and oh my sweet Lord typing that made me feel old. That’s no knock on Jurassic World, but rather just a measure of how far a leap forward this was for special effects. The funny part about it, if you listen to interviews with Spielberg, is that out of the whole scene, the hardest effect they had was making the rings of water on the glass emanate outwards!
When a structural-security authority finds himself incarcerated in a prison he designed, he has to put his skills to escape and find out who framed him.
First of all, let’s just put aside the notion of Stallone as an architect. The possibility for the sheer amount of slurred catchphrases in this movie are endless. Arnold, Stallone and 50 Cent having an argument in front of a voice-t0-text app could possibly be the most amusing thing I can imagine, so I may have to see this just to covertly try to make that work on my phone. Escape Plan butchers the English language and makes its way to theaters on October 18, 2013.
How can it have possibly been 20 years since Jurassic Park was released? I can remember the first time I saw the teaser poster with the black and red Jurassic Park logo and the “65 million years in the making” and just the anticipation leading up to its release. They were so good in hyping it without showing you hardly anything at all. I can’t remember before or since a non-franchise (at that time) film having that kind of buzz about it before it opened. Plus, every boy goes through a dinosaur phase at some point and I was no exception.
Jurassic Park was the first PG-13 movie I was allowed to go see in the theater. My parents were…let’s just say strict about moviegoing and I was only able to go because it was my best friend’s birthday and his dad did some voodoo on my parents to get me permission. I, for the record, was perfectly fine throughout the movie. My friend ran screaming from the theater when the Dilo eats Nedry. Oh yes, I remember. YOU RAN, DUDE!
Revisiting it 20 years later, it really is a movie that demands the big screen. I’ve seen it a hundred times, but in the theater it really is just a whole different level of spectacle. The 3D is well-done. It’s not intrusive. The F/X still look fantastic. In fact, I’ve watched the other two (shudder) since and I think the dinosaurs look better in the first film still than in any since. The wonderful reveal as the jeeps pull to a stop on the hillside and you see the slow dawning dumbfounded expression cross the characters’ faces and then the pan up to the Brachiasaur. Still gives me chills
Steven Spielberg had in 1993 possibly the best year a director has ever had. He released this and Schindler’s List in one year. There’s no way he could make this movie now. Somewhere along the way he lost the ability to craft adventure pieces and tightly pace his films, but this was right at his peak. This stands beside Raiders of the Lost Ark for me as perfect adventure moviegoing fun. It’s a classic. It changed moviemaking forever and 20 years later, it’s still as good as the day it was released. Go see it and take your kids like so many adults in my theater did so they can be permanently scarred by the T-Rex attack. Or maybe they’ll break at the Dilo like a certain KT reader who’s swearing at me right now… 10/10