Jurassic Park, the Movie That Spared No Expense
In August, I’m bringing back my blog, should be updated every Sunday I will be writing an article. Today’s article and the theme for this month is Jurassic Park, and I will continue in September with reviews of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom (which I have yet to watch), and Jurassic World: Evolution. I’m going to start with the movie that started it all, the Michael Crichton novel adaptation that spawned the frog hybrid movie monsters of Jurassic Park.
Our film opens to a scene involving the introduction of a new dinosaur into it’s exhibit, but despite an army of security and park workers, something goes wrong and the rogue velociraptor bumps into the door, which was locked and somehow still opened and allowed the poor worker to get eaten by the ‘Big One’, which we end the scene with game warden Muldoon shouting, “Shoot her! Shoot her!”
Yep, we are going on a fun filled human feast from here on out people.
Despite problems that already see in the park, the next scene introduces Donald Gennar, a lawyer who wants to ‘shut Hammond down’. He discusses the dead worker whose family is going to suing INGEN. We see amber being mined in Costa Rica, by a geologist who apparently knows of Dr. Grant, who states, “Because, Grant is a digger just like me.”
We then segue to the American west where we meet Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler. Where Grant who touches any tech and it breaks, a trope in the film. They are digging up a "velociraptor", which any paleo fan knows is false. Velociraptors were the size of turkeys and lived in Asia. But, I digress it is a movie based on a book from the eighties.
Alan terrorizes a child who scoffs at the idea that dinosaurs evolved to birds. He describes the pack formations and how raptors hunt. Stating that the raptors will eat him alive, by spilling out his guts. This scare tactic is then interrupted by a helicopter arriving which causes the dig site to go into alert. Good going Grant.
Alan and Ellie go and find the intruder who raids their champagne that they were saving for some date in the future. The old man introduces himself as John Hammond and invites them to go on a tour of an island. Grant and Ellie don’t know why he has asked paleontologists and paleobotanists to go to an island. They quickly change their mind when Hammond agrees to fund their digs for the next several years.
"Point is, you are alive when they start to eat you.", Alan Grant
We then skip to the film’s antagonist. Well, sort of at least the person that is responsible for things to come. At some café in Costa Rica ,Dennis a computer and IT worker for INGEN is eating his meal. He is joined by Dodson an inconspicuous man who works for a rival company. Dodson gives Nedry half of the money and will pay him for stealing dinosaur embryos from the facility. To do this, Nedry is given a shaving cream can with a faux bottom to place embryos with a thirty-six hour coolant period. Enough time to get the embryos off the island, presumably.
We meet with our paleo experts on the flight to the island, where Hammond introduces Donald Gennar our lawyer from earlier with the others who will be going on this trip that spared no expense. It is then we are introduced to another character, the chaotician Ian Malcom who is quite the eccentric. After some flirting and turbulence, we get to see how old fashion and practical Alan is as he can’t even fasten a seatbelt so he just hog ties it. Because, you know apparently Alan Grant and technology don’t match well, a common theme in the movie.
Everyone is ready for the tour of the island and hop into their jeeps head towards a lake. At the lake Sattler looks at a plant that should be extinct, but is interrupted by Grant who shows her a brachiosaurus walking not but a few feet from them. After everyone in the group seeing dinosaurs, it is revealed that this is why he has brought the paleontologists to his island. After seeing the dinosaurs are obviously warm-blooded and move in herds we get some more information from Hammond who agrees to show them how he accomplished this. Hammond says,
“We clocked the T-Rex at 32 miles per hour.” Where Grant replied, “You have a T-Rex?”
We are then brought to the Visitor Center where we see a tour of the facility with videos and human animatronics. Oh, wait, never mind- “There are no animatronics in Jurassic Park. Those are the real miracle workers of the park.”, John Hammond. The scientists are working in the lab, and the ride keeps on going on. So, we get a scene where Grant, Sattler, and Malcom all get off the ride and go see the scientists doing their magic. With a funny comment by Grant, “You can’t interrupt the phases of mitosis.”- because you know you can see that through the windows.
Anyway, in the lab we are introduced to Wu, as well as some dinosaurs being hatched. Hammond wants it to imprint on him, because reasons? Malcom does his famous line that has become a meme, “Life… uh, finds a way.” We are then introduced to the species of the dinosaur which is velociraptor. This forces Alan to go to the raptor paddock as he is excited. It is here we are re-introduced to everyone’s favorite Game Warden who replies, “They should all be destroyed.” And explains that he is the expert on raptors in the park. The bromance between Grant and Muldoon has started as they bond about raptors.
After a feeding scene where the raptors destroy an entire cow, we are seen a delicious plate of fish in the shape of a dinosaur foot print. The group discusses the morals of the park with everyone except the lawyer making critiques about Hammond’s plans. We also get another one of Malcom’s iconic meme worthy quotes. “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Which could also be what everyone is thinking about the kitchen staff and their food selection.
The tour is about to begin and Hammond is informed that the target demographic have arrived, in the form of his grandchildren. The kids are attracted to Grant, mostly due to Sattler pushing them on them. Timothy especially is a fan of Grant and paleontology in general. Despite this the kids are trapped with the lawyer, so he has got to be an important character right?
So the tour begins, without the star attractions. No dilophosaurus, no T-Rex even though they bait it out with a goat. In the distance they see a sick dinosaur and everyone leaves the safety of the jeeps as there are no locks on the doors. Oh, this park and security, its almost like it doesn't have any. Anyway, they go out and see a sick Triceratops. After some poop jokes Sattler stays back with the vet to help the Triceratops. While the others head back to the cars thanks to a storm the tour is now to return to the Visitor’s Center.
“God Creates dinosaurs, god destroys dinosaurs, god creates man, man creates dinosaurs.” Ian Malcom
“Dinosaurs eat man, woman inherit the earth.”- Sattler
But, this is where our lovely antagonist Dennis unleashes hell. He is trying to get off the island after the evacuation and steal the embryos. To do this he needs to shut off the power for some reason. Despite the fact he is an expert hacker, he shuts down the power and hacks the system to cover his tracks as he steals the embryos.
This effects the parks and the storm agitates the dinosaurs. The T-Rex breaks out not long after the cars stop in front of its paddock. Oh, yeah it eats the goat. Our brave lawyer leaves the kids behind and hides in the outhouse while Malcom and Grant try to help the kids. But, the kids are well quite stupid and attract the T-Rex which busts into their car forcing Malcom and Grant to play hero. Malcom leads the T-Rex away only to be crushed by foliage and the remnants of the outhouse and our brave lawyer is eaten by the T-Rex. What a shitty day for him.
Grant utters some of the stupidest phrases in Jurassic Park history, “Don’t move! It can’t see us if we don’t move.” when he rescues Lex from the jaws of the T-Rex. The dinosaur can't see them apparently and attacks the car instead. The T-Rex then pushes the car, while Timmy is still trapped in the car, off the cliff. Lex and Grant Tarzan vine climb down the cliff. This cliff was somehow next to the T-Rex paddock, convenient. Because plot reasons. Alexis and Grant can climb down the cliff, but Grant races to save Timmy trapped in the car. Grant and Timmy climb down the tree while the car anticlimactically follows them in a chase. Is this a dinosaur movie or Maximum Overdrive.
“Well, we are back I the car!”- Timmy
“But, at least we are off the tree.”- Grant
Sattler returns with Muldoon to the site looking for the children and Grant. They find Malcom under debris and then go down to the location of the car, but don’t find them. Sattler does find tracks, believing that they are alive. But, that is when the T-Rex appears and the most iconic and epic chase scene in film history is depicted.
It is also around this time that the totally not- Samuel Jackson cameo IT guy, fixes Dennis’s disaster by shutting down the system. He finds out that he accomplishes the impossible, but needs to go boot up the power from the generators. He says it will take only fifteen minutes and he will have the power back on. This is important. Also Dennis is killed by Cobra Commander, I mean the Dilophosaur at some point.
Grant and the kids find shelter in a tree with Brachiosaurs in the distance. Lex is scared about the dinosaurs, but Grant and Timmy explain that they are plant eaters or as Timmy calls them, “Veggiesaurus”. Grant calls them over and one of the Brachiosaurus sneeze on Lex. Probably traumatizing the poor girl even more than she already is. Good going Grant.
Back at the Visitor Center, Sattler and Hammond get into a moral argument. This argument starts when Hammond is still delusional his park can still function after this debacle. He keeps saying he spared no expense, but people are dying out there. Which leads to a moral crisis in which Hammond is finally shut up and Sattler makes some good points. Making, pretty much everything Macolm said become prophetic.
“You never had control. That’s the illusion.”- Sattler to Hammond.
Grant and the kids wake up and head towards the Visitor Center. Along the way they find eggs and confirm that the dinosaurs are breeding. It doesn’t matter if the animals were all female. Grant, discusses frog DNA was used to fill the gaps, and some amphibians can change sex in single sex environments therefore the dinosaurs are doing the same. Let’s ignore that isn’t how evolution, works but it proves Malcom’s point and that is why this scene is thrown in. Life did, uh, find a way. Movie magic more like it.
Now at a massive field, Grant with his loving family encounters a herd of Gallimimus. He is amazed by the creatures as they are moving like a flock of birds evading a predator. Grant apparently missed context clues as a kid in elementary school as he doesn't put two and two togehter. They hide behind a logl as they see the flock of Gallimimus run away. Suddenly, the T-Rex comes out and eats a Gallimimus and roars in triumph.
It has been more than fifteen minutes, so Sattler and Muldoon go investigate. Muldoon’s fears are realized when they pass the raptor paddock only to see that the raptors have escaped. They get to the generator where Muldoon finds the "Big One" up ahead and are being hunted. He tells Sattler to make a run for it while he tries to kill the big female pack mother. Only to be caught in a trap by the clever girls.
“Clever Girl”, Muldoon’s last meme worthy words.
At the generator, Sattler fixes the power, but is attacked by velociraptors, because she was an idiot and didn’t lock the door or close it for that matter. Yes, we find out later raptors can open doors, but woman why didn’t lock the freaking door if you knew you were being hunted? Stupidity aside, she manages to turn the power on. She isn't a horror movie protagonist is she?
Before all of this Grant and the kids go on a rock-climbing excursion, and by rock climbing I mean an electric fence, which is out of power. Grant and the others climb, with Timmy who isn’t a very fast climber and afraid of heights. That is when the power goes on and Timmy is shocked by the voltage. He is revived by Grant, but again this is why he should never be near kids.
Eventually, a tearful reunion between Grant and Sattler occurs while the kids who were left unsupervised, good going Grant, back at the Visitor Center. The kids have a Bugs Bunny moment with the raptors who can open doors, but don’t know what a reflection is. After the iconic cartoon scene ends, the kids met up with Sattler and Grant. Kidding aside the kitchen scene is one of the best scenes in thie film.
The raptors appear again, trying to open the door. Everyone is back together in the computer room. the raptors try to open the door while the adults push the door back leaving the gun a bit away. But, Lex is a computer hacker genius who knows about LINUX and saves the day by locking the doors. Too bad the windows are glass are not computer operated and the raptors break through. Rolls Eyes.
The cast of heroes and kids escape through the air ducts and make it out to the lobby landing on the dinosaur fossil exhibit. Where the raptors once again terrorize them, only for Rexie to come in to the rescue, because apparently velociraptor tastes better than human. The humans use this chance to flee and Grant meets up with Hammond and Malcom. Where we get the answer, we have been waiting for. Hammond realized he did spare expenses and won’t be continuing his park. I mean, he must pay for the deaths his incompetence caused, not to mention to silence all the survivors.
“Mr. Hammond after careful consideration, I have decided that I won’t be endorsing your park.” – Grant
“So have I!”- Hammond
So, Jurassic Park is a fun film about the morality of cloning dinosaurs and about the problems with unchecked capitalism. No, seriously half the problems in this film occur, because there are no rules or regulations in what the INGEN is doing. This isn’t anti-capitalistic, its anti-stupid business decisions. Most of these problems could be solved with better protocols, but since Jurassic Park is a private island owned by INGEN leased by the Costa Rican government, no actual precautions were used. Like the fact the dinosaurs can’t produce lysine and die. Which is pointless since all animals can get lysine by having a lysine rich diet. Movie magic aside, it is quite hilarious that the film's problems are chocked to bad decisions by Hammond. Dennis was the bad guy, because he had finanicial problems, and apparently wasn't paid good enough to stay loyal to Hammond. Although, Dennis is pretty sleazy.
I love the film, it has some interesting characters, and is an action-packed fun-fest. The best scenes include human-dinosaur interactions and the morality play is an important aspect of the film. Dr. Ellie Sattler, Lex and the female dinosaurs form the cornerstone of strong female characters of the film. Sexism is addressed in a very 90’s type of way, and we see some tropes being broken from the 80’s action hero. Overall, the film isn't very revolutionary today, but it had some ground-breaking CGI that still looks good today.
Beyond that it’s just a fun movie with dinosaurs that talks a bit about morality like all the great science fiction works of old be it Frankenstein or even the novel which it was adapted. There is an idea, I might have to do a book review of the OG Jurassic Park novel. Maybe another time, and it won’t be 65 million years in the making.
My main gripe is not a lot of humans die, which is sad. Next, week we will review it’s sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and how Hammond’s mistakes continue to replay itself, this time on a larger and much more epic scale.