Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Life Finds a Way

John Hammond: All major theme parks have had delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked, nothing.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: But, John. But if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.
Just pausing a moment to acknowledge the 15th Anniversary of the release of one of my favorite movies of all time, Jurassic Park.

One of the first Hollywood movies to convincingly showcase the power of CGI special effects and large-scale animatronics, Jurassic Park gave the world it's first taste of what live dinosaurs might really look like. No more stop-motion of the beloved Land of the Lost or merely live actors in suits or puppetry, but realistic, moving, running - and eating - dinosaurs.
Tim: What do you call a blind dinosaur?
Dr. Alan Grant: I don't know.
Tim: A Do-you-think-he-saurus.
Dr. Alan Grant: Ha ha. Good one.
Tim: What do you call a blind dinosaur's dog?
Dr. Alan Grant: You got me.
Tim: A Do-you-think-he-saurus Rex.
I have the John Williams soundtrack to this fantasic movie, and one of my favorite cuts from any soundtrack is cut #4, "Journey to the Island", the section where the helicopter flies in and lands, and Dr. Grant and the others see the herd of brachiosaurs for the first time. I sense the awe that Sam Neill and Laura Dern exhibit in the acting to be pretty close to what anyone would have seeing a giant dinosaur for the first time.

For kids of my generation, dinosaurs were a huge thing. We'd spent years watching old Ray Harryhausen movies, King Kong, and other attempts to capture the majesty of these creatures, but author Michael Crichton, director Steven Spielberg and producer Kathleen Kennedy truly brought them to life.

This is truly one of those movies you can come up on flipping channels late one night, and immediately have to put things down and watch it again. It's that fresh, engaging and enjoyable.

It spawned two sequels, the oddly dull Jurassic Park II: The Lost World which showcased a T-Rex running amok in San Diego and the surprisingly quirky Jurassic Park III that brought back Dr. Grant and somehow made Tea Leoni, William Macy and Michael Jeter (!) action heroes.

Reportedly, Jurassic Park IV is in production - although it's unknown precisely which actors may or may not be coming back, from what I hear Dr. Grant is out, but Ellie Sadler may be in. We'll see.

So happy, birthday Jurassic Park - thanks for bringing back a part of my childhood. In honor of that one of my favorite quotes from the movie:
John Hammond: There is no doubt that our attractions will drive children out of their minds.
Dr. Alan Grant: What are those?
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Small versions of adults, honey.

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