To celebrate this year's Jurassic June, we have asked Jurassic Tom to take us through his thoughts on the film franchise more than 25 years after it first hit the big screen. You can check out more of his work on The Jurassic Park Podcast here.
Looking Back at Jurassic Park as it passes it’s 25th Anniversary
2018 marked the 25th Anniversary of a cult classic. Jurassic Park (created by Michael Crichton and adapted for screen by the legendary Steven Spielberg) debuted in 1993 to critical acclaim.
Now, over 25 years later, we wanted to look back – and think about what exactly keeps this cult classic attracting audiences today.
The first key thing that keeps Jurassic Park timeless, I feel, is the prevalence of several significant and relatable themes throughout the movie. The movie explores an assortment of ethically questionable topics – from the abuse of technology and scientific power, to the idea of profit outweighing ethical and moral concerns. These very deep rooted topics are ones which perhaps see more prevalence today than ever before – reflecting the delicate precipice which society often finds itself balanced on. Crichton’s real talent throughout his work (but particularly in Jurassic Park) was his wealth of foresight – looking at the issues which affected people during his time, and predicting the greater impacts which they may have in the future. This incredibly intelligent use of foresight allows Jurassic Park to be as relevant today, with modern audiences, as it ever has been before – helping to reinforce the idea that this film truly is a cinematic masterpiece which is relatable for all generations.
Another factor which helps to maintain Jurassic Park’s popularity as a cult classic is its innovative use of technology – especially during the early nineties. This film released at a time when technology like high-powered film cameras and state-of-the-art animatronics were still incredibly new. This high-end technology brought with it a high-end price tag – but Spielberg persisted, investing in some of the greatest animatronics to ever be brought to a cinema screen. Stan Winston’s truly incredibly T-Rex Animatronic from this film is still ground-breaking to this day – widely regarded for its range of movement and depth of detail. This really solidified Jurassic Park’s place not only as a popular piece of pop culture – but as a pioneer within the greater film industry. Since its successful use of animatronics technology, we have seen companies build bolder, more-interactive animatronics – and we have seen them utilised in live experiences, such as Jurassic Park: The Ride. This may not have been possible if Jurassic Park had stuck with its originally intended stop motion nature – but luckily, Spielberg took a gamble – and that gamble really helped to solidify Jurassic Park’s reputation as an industry-leading property.
We can’t offer you animatronics – but we can offer you a cool replica Raptor Claw which doubles up as a bottle opener!
World building is something which many Hollywood blockbusters use to good effect – with modern-day hits like James Cameron’s Avatar achieving incredible levels of depth within their finely crafted worlds. This is, arguably, something which Jurassic Park did well back in the nineties – immersing audiences in the tropical jungles of Isla Nublar for the very first time. Here, we get a clear-cut idea of the kind of world we are entering. Luscious, vivid and rich landscapes are contrasted with crisp, utopian-esque structures – perfectly building this idea of a slightly futuristic theme park which is clearly containing much more than roller coasters. Here, the world building is incredibly intelligent. Elements like the large electric fences hint at the dangers that animals like the T-Rex pose before we even see them on screen – whilst structures like the Visitors Centre feel more akin to a Safari Lodge, luring us into the false sense of security that often comes with familiarity. Jurassic Park does a great job at building its own fictional world which these characters and dinosaurs inhabit – and it is a world which I genuinely would love to take a tour of one day!
As a disclaimer – we can’t tour the world of Jurassic Park – but you can get close with this cool Limited Edition Pin of a Tour Vehicle which has seen better days!
Another key thing which Jurassic Park does well is the perfect immortalisation of the childish sense of wonder and excitement that we often feel when talking about Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are one of those special animals which we learn about from birth – and they are one of the few creatures which once dominated the planet in the way humanity does today. That forms a very deep-rooted relationship with these creatures which I feel we all have in one form or another – and Jurassic Park perfectly understands this. One of the first times we encounter these animals in the film is in a frame which could quite easily be taken from a history book – with the Parasaurolophus and the Brachiosaurus sharing a drinking hole in the middle of the park as the cast of characters look on in amazement. This frame highlights perfectly how Jurassic Park not only captures that sense of childish awe – but also emulates the relationship we have with animals today within the modern world. Love, and mutual respect, is an important part of the relationship with the creatures we co-inhabit the planet with – and Jurassic Park does a really great job at using these Dinosaurs as a vessel to explore those levels of natural beauty which are present within everyday life.
Nothing says Natural Beauty like a towering Brachiosaurus – right? You can capture your very own moment of awe with this great print.
Jurassic Park’s Legacy is also something of note. Fans connected with this film and the rich story beats and emotions that it evoked – allowing this immersive world which was crafted to be explored in sequels. Jurassic Park spawned four sequels (Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom) – with a fifth sequel currently being written by Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael. This speaks volumes to the real appeal of the story of Jurassic Park – and the hunger which it opened within audiences. It is exciting to think that now, as new generations of fans engage with the brand, they will once again discover Jurassic Park – re-experiencing those emotions and feelings which many before them have felt. Jurassic Park is one of the few films which still stands the testament of time today – building a strong foundation of good storytelling, stunning practical effects and incredible world building which will leave an incredible legacy for years to come. The film has immortalised itself as an icon of cinema – and is something which generations will continue to enjoy for years to come.
Why not get your very own immortalised film icon – with this great coin featuring the fan-favourite Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park?
There we have it – a few reasons why I feel Jurassic Park still stands the test of time today. It’s important to note that you may have very different reasons for still enjoying this film today – and that is OK! The beauty of cinema as a creative medium is that different projects can mean different things to different people – prompting different emotional responses and allowing us to connect with different elements and ideologies.
I, for one, know that Jurassic Park has piqued my interest – allowing me to relive my childhood fantasies in a film which has endless re-watch appeal to me. Jurassic Park has been essential in inspiring me as a creative – and it is a film which I think will continue to inspire the next generations of creatives for years to come.
The Jurassic Park collection by Fanattik includes a bottle opener, pin badge, jewellery, art prints, playing cards, and limited edition coins! All available to order here.