The following are two experiences watching Jurassic Park as a child:
One is a cherished memory of watching the thriller with your brothers and dad. Your dad would set up the event by dragging a table into the living room and draping a blanket over it to create a movie watching cave. Whenever the scary parts would come on the screen he would throw the blanket over the front of the table, protecting you from the child hunting dinosaurs.
The other is a vague memory of being terrified. Children were screaming. Dinosaurs were roaring. Little raptors spewed poisonous venom in a man’s face and proceeded to eat him alive. The movie was followed by nightmares of dinosaurs taking over the world and you running from a T-rex, just like Lex and Tim in the movie.
Both experiences were present for our double date night watching Jurassic Park.
The movie came out in 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a novel by Michael Crichton. I didn’t know that BD Wong (the amazing Dr. Huang from Law and Order SVU) was in this movie. I was happy to see him in the breeding lab (and he looks EXACTLY the same! I want to know his anti-aging regimen). Sam Neill and Laura Dern are two of the stars and Samuel L. Jackson plays a small role in the movie (no snakes or planes in this movie unfortunately). This popular thriller won three oscars and has been rebooted in a new franchise of movies starring Chris Pratt (swoon!).
So Boyfriend and I arranged a double date with two of our friends to watch this movie. My friend was the one who enjoyed watching the movie with her dad. I was terrified by the movie and hadn’t seen it since the childhood nightmares. However, friend’s girlfriend was joining us on this movie date (a woman who refuses to watch scary movies), so I had no excuse. We pop popcorn, sit down, and get the movie started.
Jurassic Park is well liked. The plot is exciting and intriguing; the dinosaurs are cool. Even seeing the movie in 2018, I felt like they were not fake and cheesy looking (the sick triceratops definitely looked animatronic, but I quickly forgot about that when Ellie went elbow deep into dinosaur poop). My favorite piece of the movie, though, is the score. I remember playing it in middle school band. It’s catchy and (excuse my cheesiness) really does seem to embody the forward thinking mindset behind Hammond’s dream for the park.
Throughout this viewing, I enjoyed Malcolm’s monologues of wisdom. He was like the audience watching a scary movie, but instead of shouting, “Why are you investigating the strange noise in the basement!” (shout out to the Geico horror movie commercial), Malcolm was foreshadowing the disaster this park would become. Hammond should have thought about the repercussions of wielding the power of his genetic discover (or even just realized how much power he actually had). The all female dinosaurs did evolve to reproduce. Jeff Goldblum’s character was so skeezy and obnoxious, though, I get why nobody listened to him. I haven’t seen the new Jurassic World 2, yet, but Malcolm continues his anti-dinosaur sentiment. I’m sure I would enjoy his monologues in the new movie as well.
Nobody listened to Malcolm, so they were all really lucky that Hammond’s grandchildren were joining this tour gone wrong. Neither Tim nor Lex were just helpless children. At first they were forced to take care of themselves after the useless Gennaro left them in the car (he got what came to him!). They continued to stick together all the way through the kitchen scene (Tim sliding on the icy floor of the freezer while the raptor was RIGHT behind him had me freaking out!) and finally to the control room where Lex saves the day with her amazing computer skills while Tim plays a panicky cheerleader. I am a crier in movies (and life, if I’m being completely honest here), so when Tim was electrocuted by the fence and Lex was beyond distraught after Grant announced Tim wasn’t breathing, I was a mess. The movie wouldn’t have made it if they had killed one of the kids off, though. They’re too awesome! Tim’s line after falling from the tree won me over. I’m team Lex and Tim.
Overall, after seeing the movie as an adult, I completely understand why child me was terrified by the movie. I was tense, waiting for the t-rex or the raptors to jump out. Lex was screaming the entire time (also keeping me on edge) and I remembered that Wayne Knight’s character (the guy even more driven by money than Hammond’s lawyer) was killed by the poison spitting dinosaurs. Every time he was wandering around the park, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for it to happen. The movie was great. The company was great. I enjoyed this viewing of Jurassic Park so much more than the last time.
And I am happy to report…. no nightmares!
What were your thoughts on Jurassic Park. Has anyone read the book? How do you think it compares? Anyone not on Team Lex and Tim? Do you also think Malcolm is a pretentious jerk? With science and technology advancing as fast as it is, I think we really should discuss whether dinosaurs should be brought back from extinction or not. Let me know what you think. I want to hear from you!
Next up is another thriller made about a decade earlier. I think this movie was an inspiration to Zombieland’s “double tap” rule. Like Rasputin, these undead just refuse to die!