Film Review - Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park Poster

Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park features the same feeling of wonder from E.T and brings it from otherworldly into a time we had forgotten. A time where Dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

From the very beginining of Jurassic Park Spielberg pushes wonder and amazement onto the main characters.  Ellie Sattler (played by Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) are introduced as the "relationship" in the film, but what is great about Spielberg's handling of this is that they are already in a relationship instead of their relationship coming from the struggles and hardships of the film. A refreshing difference. John Hammond, CEO and park creator of Jurassic Park (played by Richard Attenborough) acts almost as a God-figure but with flaws. It's these flaws and the self-reflection John has on himself that brings Spielberg's 1993 feature film to life. A film that could have only been about Dinosaurs doubles as a story about family and abandonment.

Technically speaking, Jurassic Park shows a great use of CG. Originally meant to be using models and stop-motion techniques similar to that of the original King Kong (1933) , Spielberg actually wanted to hire Bob Gurr who designed the massive King Kong animatronic, but instead the team chose CG as stop-motion big budget movies were becoming a thing of the past. Every dinosaur blends seamlessly into each shot and it is obvious they did not try to cut corners with this approach. It shows "a sense of grandeur" (Ebert, 1993)The smallest detail was considered and because of this it only adds to the believability that there are actual walking dinosaurs in Jurassic Park"Delights in such details and presents his story as a fascinating, obsessively detailed treatise on both the possibilities and the evils of modern science." (Maslin, 1993) The only arguable fault to this, and the existence of Jurassic Park as a real amusement park, is how no other people are there. No one visits, and it's not open to the public. The only real way to get to the park is by helicopter so it is closed off from the mainland. When Dinosaurs get loose there is suspense and almost ironic terror, but could be elevated if the Dinosaurs were getting loose from not only their habitats, but the island.

Mentioning ironic terror, this comes from the lighthearted approach Spielberg took to Jurassic Park. The wonder and excitement tries very hard to carry on throughout the 127 minute film, but as the Dinosaurs break through the electric fences of their habitats and even eat a few people, it's not clear if you should laugh or feel sympathetic and terrified, too. It constantly jumps back and forth between an Adventure film and a Thriller, but never at the same time.

John Hammond is an interesting character. An extremely focused person who reinforces that he "spared no expense". A phrase that ends up becoming a very somber one as Ellie remarks on how nice the icecream tastes whilst Dinosaurs run rampant throughout the park. John piles his two grandkids off almost uncaringly to the group of visitors as they traverse the park. We then see him in a baseroom with technicians about. They all look extremely hesitant to start the tour as if they almost certainly know something will go wrong. - Even John knows this, and so it's very complex in that respect as to why he'd let his grandchildren go off with strangers on a tour where they are surrounded habitat to habitat with Dinosaurs that may or may not get loose. It is almost as if his own excitement of his Jurassic Park project gets the better of him and in turn risks the danger not entirely realizing the consequence. At the end, when he has been away from his grandchildren for some time, he hears the shriek of them as they run away from an incoming Dinosaur, it's only then that you see extremely raw emotion and response to the danger that they are in.

Steven Spielberg managed to create an instance of a world where an amusement park of Dinosaurs doesn't seem too farfetched to be real. There is wonder, comedy and lots of thrill in seeing the amazement of the characters at real, walking Dinosaurs and in turn we feel this too. "Jurassic Park is all about the big emotions: awe and terror, excitement and wonder." (Hawkes, 2014) Characters are developed from the get-go, and so there is no rushed development and realization from within themselves that pushes the Dinosaurs to the back, and there is no forgetting that. Whilst Jurassic Park does set itself up to have an undertone of family and abandonment, it stays as that, an undertone. It does however have a realistic approach to the typical film cliche of having the problem be the answer in the end. First and foremost, Jurassic Park is about Dinosaurs and the reality of bringing them to life.


Ebert, R. (1993). Jurassic Park Movie Review & Film Summary (1993) | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

Hawkes, R. (2014). Jurassic Park, review: 'swallows you whole'. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

Maslin, J. (1993). Movie Review - Jurassic Park - Review/Film;Screen Stars With Teeth To Spare - [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

Illustration List

Spielberg, S. (1993). Jurassic Park Poster. [image] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

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