Sunday, 8 March 2015

Film Review - Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

Fig 1. Jurassic Park Poster.

One of the most notable points to make about this film is about the strides it took into early CGI. It was, of course used to create the dinosaurs in the film. Computer generated imagery was certainly needed for the film, as mechanical puppets would have to be worked around. If they had used puppets they would have had to find the right angles with the camera that made it look the most realistic. The camera also wouldn't be able to linger too long on it as the viewer could find its flaws easily given enough time. CGI enabled the film to stand out from the crowd and wow its audiences (See Fig 2 & 3).

Roger Ebert states in his review of the film ''It's clear, seeing this long-awaited project, that Spielberg devoted most of his effort to creating the dinosaurs. The human characters are a ragtag bunch of half-realized, sketched-in personalities, who exist primarily to scream, utter dire warnings, and outwit the monsters.'' (Ebert, 1993). Steven Spielberg clearly knew that the strength of the film was to be found in the quality of the dinosaurs, not the protagonists who stumble around them. That is however, one of the film weak points. With a focus on the visual, the plot and character developments are thinly spread. The plot itself is fairly predictable, it has a steady build-up that the viewer can overtake quite easily. The more you are introduced to the park, the more flaws you can pick out. As Roger Ebert suggests, the characters are far too unrealised and unpolished.

Fig 2. T-Rex Scene Still.

Caroline Westbrook states ''So the script and the performances aren't exactly Oscar material, but it scarcely matters given that the real stars here are the ILM-created dinosaurs, a miracle of modern moviemaking...'' (Westbrook, s.d.). This is another good point about the film, because the dinosaur's are so breath-taking visually, the haphazard character development isn't the focal point of the viewers attention. All eyes are on the dinosaurs. When you do focus on the characters, it is only in the brief moments between the dinosaur appearances. It is certainly something to consider, that this film was produced with a single focus and it worked as a film. It is because that single focus was ahead of the curve at the time of its release.

Fig 3. Jurassic Park Still.

Rebecca Hawkes states in her review ''Those who sneer at the simplicity of the storyline – a basic “don’t mess with nature” parable, during which Grant discovers his latent ability to act as a father figure – are missing the point. Jurassic Park is all about the big emotions: awe and terror, excitement and wonder. It feels very much like a big-screen film, even when watched on TV'' (Hawkes, 2014). There are clearly many sides to the story when it comes to the balance that was struck between the wonder of CGI, and the simplicity of the plot-line. It could be perceived as a mistake to focus so wholly on a single aspect of a film, it could also be perceived as a well thought out and well executed move. When it comes to Rebecca Hawkes review of the film, the simplicity of the plot could simply be the director not wanting to push boundaries he's not comfortable with. To leave the story in a safe place and push harder on the visual aspect. Overall, the visuals are undeniably strong and while the restraints on character development and story are acceptable, they still feel under-worked.

Illustration List

Spielberg, S (1993) Figure 1. Jurassic Park Poster. (Accessed on 08/03/15)

Spielberg, S (1993) Figure 2. T-Rex Scene Still. (Accessed on 08/03/15)

Spielberg, S (1993) Figure 3. Jurassic Park Still. (Accessed on 08/03/15)


Ebert, R (1993) (Accessed on 08/03/15)

Hawkes, R (2014) (Accessed on 08/03/15)

Westbrook, C (s.d.) (Accessed on 08/03/15)