Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Rereview

Hold On To Your Butts…

John Hammond: “…And there’s no doubt, our attractions will drive kids out of their minds!”

Dr. Alan Grant: “And what are those?”

Dr. Ellie Sattler: “Small versions of adults, honey…”

 

Can it really be a qurarter-century since tbe “Biggest Movie Of All Time”: Jurassic Park smacked gobs and broke records?!  

Rather than waste time and ticket fare on the latest instalment: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (uninspiring Reviews reassure me, alas, that nothing special is being missed) let’s celebrate, instead, the anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s classic dinofest. Luckily, in that Summer of ’93 – haha! When Jurassic Park Ruled The Earth! 🙂 – we were served a superior concoction of thrills, spills and chills – setting, in effect, the definitive template for the summer blockbuster.

For once, Size DID Matter.

Yep, sitting in a packed cinema watching the (then) cutting edge CG tech unfold proved to be a very special experience. 

Unforgettable? You’re telling me!

An insufferable nerk sat directly behind me (Jeez, isn’t that always the way?!), and EVERY TIME that sauropod lifted up on its hind legs to reach higher food; T Rex chased the jeep; T Rex (again) lunged out of nowhere to feast, or the velociraptors ran rampant through the kitchen, he had to utter:

“This is unreal! This is unreal!”   

Okay, that’s one extremely irritating way to admit that, undeniably, Jurassic Park turned out to be one of the game-changers of modern cinema.

Unlike the majority of summer blockbusters, the characters assembled here are well-defined; there is some snappy dialogue written by David Koepp; in addition, the casting is very commendable: considering how HARRISON FORD(!) was offered (and turned down) the role of Dr. Alan Grant; Sam Neill was great, but one can’t help wondering how that box-office-beating Spielberg alumnus (well-accustomed to jungle adventures himself) would have fared against these adversaries!

Interesting to learn that Spielberg wanted to recreate the Ford/Connery chemistry from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, envisaging Sir Sean Connery as first choice for the role of John Hammond(!) (so THAT explains Sir Dickie Attenborough’s dodgy Scottish accent!); and behold! There is my particular favand yours too, no doubtthat superior hunk of manflesh: Jeff Goldblum as chaos theoretician: Dr. Ian “Must go faster!” Malcolm.

Must have watched the trailer countless times back in the day. Note how there are only subtle hints of the dino-action in store – no spoilers in those days! Anybody else miss the guttural voiceovers…? 

“Steven [Spielberg] had me screen-test with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman for Hook. I was just too young for the role. ‘Don’t worry about it, Joey,’ Steven said, ‘I’m going to get you in a movie this summer.’ Not only a nice promise to get, but to have it be one of the biggest box-office smashes of all time? That’s a pretty good trade” – Joseph Mazzello.

“You feel that…?”

For the first time in several years, yours truly finally (for the benefit of this Post at least) got round to rewatching this movie.

Arguably the best sequence in the whole franchise (it has lost none of its terrifying potency 25 years later) is T Rex’s breathtaking entrance, at night, in the rain, as the two tour cars are stranded right beside her compound. (Hang on: didn’t they pass the Tyrannosaur paddock already during the day, and move on when she proved to be a no-show? What are they doing back there again, considering how those automated jeeps are irreversible??)

Never mind, it’s the tense build up – the sound of ominous, even-heavier-than-Dennis-Nedry footsteps heading the stranded tour party’s way, those ripples in the water cups (incidentally, the very first gif selected for this Post!sets one heckuva spine-tingling tone, especially if you dare to watch – and listen – during the early hours…  

It’s amazing how the obese guy (Nedry) and the lawyer (Gennaro) are deliberately rendered as thoroughly detestable characters so that we can all “enjoy”(?!) a guilt-free (and obscene) “pleasure” when they inevitably end up as dino-dindins…

The greatest asset of this movie is that it did not descend into a mindless, and relentless, dinosaur-chase B-movie, but opted instead to embellish the action and tension with more thought-provoking material, most evidently in that rightfully-revered classic scene of Dr. Malcolm discussing the ethics – and irresponsibility – of genetic tomfoolery over lunch.

Trust Brad to have loaded that vid already elsewhereguess where! Yay! A celebration of Jeff Goldblum right here!

To think that Jim Carrey was considered for the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm(!) Blimey… who would want to see his pecs…? 

Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Gee, the lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me.”

Donald Gennaro: “Well thank you, Dr. Malcolm, but I think things are a little bit different than you and I had feared…”

Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Yeah, I know. They’re a lot worse.”

Donald Gennaro: “Now, wait a second now, we haven’t even seen the park…”

 

And just when you consider how Jeff could play EVERY role from Jurassic Park, well, here is the vid that proves he can – Goldblum! Goldblum! We’ve got Jeff Goldblum here!: 🙂

It’s supposed to be Costa Rica, right? So things are hot and I’m sure I’m in some sort of fever. So all the logic is that we gotta get some of these wet clothes off immediately. As I remember, I don’t think anybody fought me on that” – Jeff Goldblum. 

And, of course, where would this epic be without John Williams? This renowned composer sealed his reputation by providing one of his most sumptuous music scores. 

Let’s not forget the phenomenal cultural impact the movie created a quarter-century ago.

While Raiders Of The Lost Ark (arguably Spielberg’s greatest movie) inspired Brad and many of his contemporaries to get into archaeology, Jurassic Park did its best to influence a new generation of palaeontologists.

Although a hefty bundle of the technic and genetic gubbins discussed/featured therein seemed quesionable, to the point of bonkers: i.e. the utility – and durability – of millions-of-years-old DNA; could/did sauropods balance on their hind legs? (and so on) at least it encouraged a wider, greater understanding of scientific principles. As delirious-for-dinosaurs as the next kid, Jurassic Park, for an albeit all-too-brief period during that Summer, resurrected that long-dormant palaeo-passion. 

Regrettably, though, the main aspect of this particular movie that comes back to my mind concerns those numerous continuity errors, most notably the one gaffe that baffles me with each viewing: why is the T Rex paddock predominantly flat during daylight hours, but after dark a sheer drop emerges -the scene in which Alan and Tim clambering as fast as they can down a tree before their own car falls on top of them is tense enough, but how – and why – does the script demand that such an absurd feat transpire at all?! 

And just what exactly did happen to Ray Arnold (Samuel L Jackson)…?

Finally, what of Jurassic Park‘s legacy?

Admittedly, my affection for the original movie has soured somewhat by the fact that its sequels – two lacklustre direct follow-ups, the imbecilic Jurassic World and this season’s unappealing tag-on: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom have come no way near to recreating the original’s ground-breaking impact of action and suspense. Rather, the makers of these wasted opportunities (including Spielberg himself, disappointingly enough!) were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should…

 

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: 

“That doesn’t look very scary. More like a six-foot turkey.”

 

Tim: “Well… we’re back… in the car again.”

Dr. Alan Grant: “Well, at least you’re out of the tree.”

 

My Dad would always take me to see the dinosaurs in Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute of Technology, with big dinosaur bones, and so I made Jurassic Park remembering how much fun it was to imagine, with such yearning, that some day wouldn’t it be great to run into a dinosaur… and for everybody who had ever wondered, or been fascinated with that whole era…” – Steven Spielberg.

 

The Land That 20th Century Fox Forgot: The Uncanny X-Men In The Savage Land!

At The Bottom Of The World. The Coldest And Most Remote Place On Earth.

Yet There Is A Hot Prehistoric Jungle. Where Time Stopped Tens Of Millions Of Years Ago.

Where The Dinosaurs Still Roam…

x-men-byrne-savageland

“STOP! Release my friend: Karl Lykos, costumed one, or face the wrath of Ka-Zar, Lord of the Savage Land!” – Ka-Zar.

“This guy owes me, Blondie… but since he’s your buddy, I’ll be glad to take on you an’ your pussycat, too” – Wolverine. 

Although X-Men: Apocalypse sadly failed to deliver the goods for me as hoped, nevertheless my penchant for Prof Xavier’s team remains undimmed– so another mutant Post had to be done.  

My introduction to Prof Xavier’s team stems back to 1987/88, when Classic X-Men reprinted stories that originally appeared in 1978, added extra pages of art, and included new bonus stories illustrated by the incomparable John Bolton! 

What an introduction! 

The X-Men’s adventures in the Savage Land – a spellbinding land that would look absolutely sensational if it ever reached the big screen – became an instant, mesmerising hit with me.

Writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne swiftly became my fave creative duo, delivering all the amazing mutant thrill-power one could eat. In fact, their awesome partnership made me seek out some of their other works. 

The concept of a lost world in Antarctica looked especially intriguing; as a kid, one of my fave fantasy films was The Land That Time Forgot (1974), starring the irrepressible Doug McClure, in which a First World War U-Boat inadvertently surfaces in Caprona, a primordial land located deep within – yes! – Antarctica. Although the indigenous name for the “Savage Land” is never given in the comics, part of me will always fondly accept this as Caprona.

Classic X-Men #21 was sheer class, and – by the wonders of the worldwide web – here is the cover:

classic-x-men-21-88cover

classic-x-men-21

classic-x-men-21-p17-alien city

“Mortal, in attacking me, you have sown the wind. Now shall you reap the whirlwind! I am the personification of forces that were ancient before your race was born! I have seen death and suffering enough to make God himself despair” – Garokk. 

The Savage Land has played a vital, recurring role in the X-Men comics universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it made its first appearance way back in X-Men #10, March 1965.

My introduction to this land that time forgot came with Classic X-Men #20. Having escaped the Antarctic lair of their arch-foe: Magneto, the tired and weary X-Men – mistakenly believing that Jean Grey and Hank McCoy are dead – seek sanctuary in this secret paradise. There they have to do battle with the evil Pterosaur-Man: Sauron. 

Classic X-Men #21, (a reprint of The Uncanny X-Men #115 (Nov 1978), was essentially an intriguing ecological sci-fantasy fable. Sauron, defeated, reverts to his human persona: Karl Lykoswho relates the tale of discovering the Savage Land. No sooner had he “become one with the land,” he stumbled upon a temple wherein the High Priestess: Zaladane was initiating a ritual to secure the resurrection of the Petrified Man – the living embodiment of Garokk, the Sun God. This powerful ancient being, craved control over this primordial enclave, and through slave labour, constructed a fabulous metropolis for himself.

“Somehow though, the city upset the delicate ecological balance that, throughout the aeons, had kept the Antarctic icecap at bay. Now, for the first time, the Savage Land knows Winter.”

Having met Ka-Zar – the Savage Land’s version of Tarzan – they unite the tribes of the Savage Land in a desperate struggle to oppose the oppression of  Garokk – the Petrified Man. 

Cue magnificent aerial combat: Garokk’s Slave Army riding on Pterosaurs, while Ka-Zar and Karl lead the attack on the city atop their flying sharks.

…Flying sharks?!

classic-x-men-22-p9

storm-rogue-savage-land

“This place reminds me of my home in Africa…” – Storm. 

Considering what a major fixture the Savage Land is, it only seems logical that a future X-Men big screen outing should feature this magical location. Will this green jungle ever emanate from a green screen?  

Come on: mutant superheroes and dinosaurs in the same movie(!) — now there’s a blockbuster worth watching! Who WOULDN’T pay to watch an X-Men/Jurassic World mash-up?! 

So, what are the chances of an X-Men movie like that being produced?

First of all, it would have to be determined whether either Fox or Marvel actually “own” the Savage Land, and then, in separate interviews, X-Men insiders have, annoyingly, been decidedly cagey about how much – if anything – they can reveal.

Garokk in particular would present a fantastic opportunity for Andy Serkis: Motion Capture King to weave his special magic… 

Interestingly, the bonus story of Classic X-Men #21: First Love told how Colossus found the love of his life: a member of the hunter-gathering Fall People named Nereel by saving her from a rampaging T Rex.

This stunning artwork by John Bolton (below) just had to be added here:

colossus-nereel-t-rex

classic-x-men-21-p26

“Back home, even at the height of our Siberian summers, I never sweated as much as this… All this greenery. So unlike the Rodina, my Motherland” – Colossus. 

Strangely enough, not just the X-Men have had adventures in the Savage Land. 

Even Spider-Man got tangled up in this jungle, going in search of Gwen Stacey who had been kidnapped by Kraven The Hunter. 

In The New Avengers, it was suggested that S.H.I.E.L.D. operated in the Savage Land mining vibranium, utilising various tribes as slave labour. Naturally this is classified information, of course; the mine was obliterated by a missile-strike from the Avengers’ Helicarrier. The Avengers survived by a force field energised by Iron Man. 

And in The Avengers vs. X-Men (Yes folks! There IS such a storyline!) Gambit fought Captain America in the Savage Land.

wolverine-sauron-670983-sa2

“Be proud, mutant! Your power will make Sauron invincible!” – Sauron. 

Mostly, 1988 was quite a crap year (pop music turned awful; nothing worth watching at the cinema the whole year(!); and school sucked big time), so the discovery of Classic X-Men could not have come at a better time. 

The work of Claremont and Byrne provided quality fantasy fare in which to escape; those were difficult times which made me wish that something could teleport me away to the Savage Land. 

Let me have fought dinosaurs instead of those teenage problems any day. 

Surviving in the jungle dressed in that classic pulp way: a pair of sturdy boots, some clean undies and a utility belt, armed with an impressive array of primitive weapons, Brad would be in his element.

Why, my pulsating pecs alone should ward off even the most curious raptor…

classic-x-men-21-ankylosaurs

“Eventually, I reached the Savage Land. In a strange way, I felt like I had come home. Over the months that followed, my wounds – physical and mental – healed…” – Karl Lykos.  

comments

Jurassic Lark: Curse Of The Raptor Whisperer

They just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea…

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DINOSAUR: Get yer Raptor repellent at the ready!
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DINOSAUR: Get yer Raptors at the ready!

“The last time Spielberg waited this long to revive a franchise, he blew Harrison Ford across the sky in a fridge” – Stuart Heritage.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to a Central American island…

In this long-awaited fourth instalment in the second-biggest franchise of all time, Jurassic World is the upgraded Park. Tourists are coming (in droves!) to see the beasts who have been thrust back into the evolutionary mix, supervised by the White Queen i.e. Claire Dearing, whose spirit is as unbreakable as her stilletos, but couldn’t care less about the two nephews who’ve come to visit her.

The star asset: the awkwardly-monickered Indominus Rex – part T Rex, part… something else – doesn’t want to be fed, she wants to break free and hunt. Obviously, if it wasn’t for her motivation, we wouldn’t have a potentially record-breaking blockbuster on our hands.

Fortunately, the only thing these Nublar nutters got right is to invest in the services of hero-for-hire raptor whisperer Owen Grady. Can he outwit the sibling-gobbling feral femme fatale? When that image of Starlord wrangling the raptors (above) first appeared on the net, fanboy here shivered something rotten. That has to be the most ridiculous idea ever! Has to be. (Either that or Claire outrunning T Rex… in her high heels.) For one moment there, the dreaded thought occurred to me: he was going to challenge his raptor-buddies to a dance-off. Mercifully we were spared that… 

jurassic-world-super-bowl-trailer-1

“Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun” – Dr. Ian Malcolm.

Quite simply, this picture lacks that sorely-missed Spielberg touch. One of the greatest strengths of Jurassic Park lay in its faithful adherence to the most reliable palaeontological data then available. What now? Sadly, the absence of some of the dino-research gained in the previous 22 years here leaves such a noticeable gap. Pity, ‘cos it prevents any engagement with this flaccid an’ flawed package on any sensory or emotional level.

What about that “single most transformative development in palaeontology”: the intriguing, yet still-contentious, notion that dinosaurs – especially Velociraptor and Gallimimus – were covered in feathers? Don’t tell me the CGI-guys can’t animate intricate dino-fuzz!  

Where there is insufficient biology, there is certainly no chemistry. Owen and Claire were crying out for some but it was woefully lacking. With a movie like this, expect nothing more than two-dimensional characterization, but here it was just as blandly predictable as the uncontrollable asset itself. Sure, this is fiction – of the most ludicrously contrived kind, regrettably – but where is the science? 

When the two Lost Boys – that blubbing moppet and his chick-crazy bro – stumble onto the overgrown set of the first film, John Williams’ legendary theme tune comes flooding back after all these years, offering a rare and necessary charming touch. However, this reliance on nostalgia merely emphasises the sheer paucity of originality on display here. You could count at least half a dozen of your fave movies amidst this mish-mash – a job as botched as the asset itself. 

fc6jc7ko974k7hdyinut

“I was in the Navy, not the Navajos!” – Owen Grady. 

After a record 511 million dollar haul in its opening weekend, the lure of those Mesozoic monsters remains as strong as ever. Basically, have a blast on Nublar… but leave your common sense in Costa Rica. My niggles with this blockbuster are as immense as that mosasaur. Apparently that GLARINGLY OBVIOUS “containment breach” was NEVER speculated?! Hey, life finds a way, an’ all that… 

Speaking of obvious: the squad of gung-ho go-getters armed with heavy-duty cattle-prods venturing into the jungle are no different than those huge hunks of meat lowered in at feeding time… couldn’t anyone realise that in the (laughably-named) control center? Yep, all the chaos Dr. Malcolm can eat…    

It really is good – not to mention reassuring – to see Chris Pratt carry a more demanding role, but for me, the real star of the show is Blue, who – apart from his keeper – is the only distinctive and engaging personality on the island… and is a Raptor. So, whaddya know? A blockbuster that’s NOT awesome – that makes a change…

Upon emerging back into the glaring early evening sun after this rather underwhelming viewing, a quick glance at the cafe opposite and the clientele sitting out on the the street were being dive-bombed by a flock of seagulls.

Is that a case of life imitating art, or vice versa…?

Jurassic-World-parody_article_story_large

WH-WHAT?! No rough-ridin’ Raptors? AOW, COME ON!! We want our money back!