Jurassic Park: 27 Years Later, Life Still Finds A Way

“Life finds a way.”

Today, Jurassic Park turns 27 years old. The “adventure 65 million years in the making” was the start of several sequels, books, comics, video games, arena shows, and theme park attractions that are enjoyed by fans to this day. Jurassic Park is one of my favorite films of all time. I can still remember the first time I saw a clip of the film as my parents watched the news. I was only five at the time, so when I walked in the room to a clip of baby velociraptors hatching, I thought it was the real deal. Scientists had figured out how to breed dinosaurs! Of course, that wasn’t the case but it was all I needed to be hyped for the film.

Jurassic Park was directed by the great Steven Spielberg. By the time it was released, he had already done blockbuster films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It features a cast that included Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Peck, BD Wong, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, and Wayne Knight. It was based on the 1990 novel written by the late Michael Crichton that went by the same title.

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In a nutshell, the film takes place on the island of Isla Nublar that was located near Costa Rica. Here John Hammond and his team of scientists had created a wildlife park that was made up of dinosaurs. Before the park could open they wanted the opinions of specific specialists, including a lawyer. As well as the target audience, kids. While at touring the park, industrial sabotage leads to the complete shutdown of the park’s power. Now the small group of visitors that were meant to endorse the park would need to do all they can to survive and escape Jurassic Park.

This was such a beautiful film for its time. It featured a simple plot that allowed the dinosaurs to be the stars of the film. The opening scene as they attempt to move a raptor set the tone for how deadly these animals could be. Then a few scenes later as the tour group first enters the park and we see the brachiosaurus, the beauty of them is showcased. These scenes and so many others in the film come together thanks to the teamwork of many different components.

Jurassic Facts

Along with the great screenplay by Crichton and David Koepp, Spielberg made sure to “spare no expense.” The dinosaurs were brought to life by several teams that blended the past, present, and future of visual effects. This included a team led by Stan Winston, a special make-up effects creator that had worked on the Terminator series, Edward Scissorhands, and many other well-known films. They created life-sized animatronic dinosaurs for the film, including a T-Rex. They also had a team from Industrial Light & Magic, which used state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery for a lot of the dinosaurs. All these visual effects were complimented by an amazing score by the legendary John Williams.

Jurassic Park‘s release in 1993 was a huge hit. It grossed over $914 million worldwide and was the highest-grossing film of 1993 and until Titanic in 1997, was the highest-grossing film ever. After its re-release to celebrate its 20th anniversary, it was able to become the 17th film surpass the $1 billion marker in box office sales. At the 66th Academy Awards, it won three awards. These include Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects.

My Favorite Scene

My favorite scene in the film is, of course, the T-Rex scene. This was the introduction to the dinosaur that would be the star of many more films. A star of her caliber needed a grand entrance. It was set up with a dark, stormy night. The power was out and both tour vehicles were left stranded. Fear begins to creep in as the ground trembles with every step the T-Rex takes getting close and closer. The goat that was supposed to serve as bait was now gone.

Then came the sounds of snapping cables, the T-Rex no longer was confined to her pen. She walks finally stomps in asserting her dominance and going after anything moves. Probably one of the most frightening moments of the scene is the look and roar the T-Rex gives as Dr. Grant attempts to distract her. It’s such a great intense scene that solidified the T-Rex’s place in the franchise.

Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the raptors? They added a horror element to the film that kept you on edge until the end. Like the scene with Dr. Sattler as she attempts to turn the power back on. Or one of the very next scenes where Tim and Lex do their best to evade the raptors in an industrial kitchen. Just like the T-Rex, the raptors have become a must-have in future films. Any fans of Blue in the house?

The Sequels That Followed

The success of the first film led to many others. In fact, Crichton wrote The Lost World in 1995 because Spielberg asked him to. This was then adapted into the second film of the franchise The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997. The third film in the franchise, Jurassic Park III was directed by Joe Johnston and is usually considered the weakest of the first three films. Fast forward to 2015 to Jurassic World, directed by Colin Trevorrow. The success of this film proved that audiences still loved dinosaurs. The sequel to this film then came in 2018 directed by J.A. Bayona titled, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This for me might be my least favorite of them all. Now a third film is in the works which will once again be directed by Trevorrow is titled, Jurassic World: Dominion. This is currently slated for June 2021.

Experiencing Jurassic Park

This film franchise also inspired one of my favorite rides at Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic Park: The Ride. What is interesting about this ride is that its inception started years before the film. So it was inspired by the book, in a section where Dr. Grant, Lex, and Tim are attempting to get back to the park’s visitor center on a raft. It’s an amazing attraction that puts guests right into Jurassic Park. Everything from entering through the big iconic park doors to coming face to face with a T-Rex. The original ride shut down in 2018 and was renovated to fit the recent Jurassic World films.

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In 2021, Island of Adventures at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida is expected to debut a new Jurassic Park themed roller coaster. According to Orlando Weekly, this could be the most intense coaster that Universal has done. The multi-launch coaster is rumored to reach top speeds of 70 miles an hour and will feature multiple inversions. A trademark application by the theme park seems to indicate that the ride might be named, Velocicoaster.

Jurassic Park Film Rankings

Jurassic Park will always be one of my top favorite films as it transported me to a world where humans came face to face with the power of dinosaurs. Even though these creatures went extinct millions of years ago, franchises like this one have now kept them alive for the last 27 years. It would not surprise me if it continues to do so for many more. I will leave you with my rankings of all the films in the franchise. Feel free to agree or disagree with me down below!

1. Jurassic Park (duh)
2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
3. Jurassic World
4. Jurassic Park III
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

What’s your favorite moment in the Jurassic Park franchise? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Emmanuel Gomez

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