Logan J. Fowler walks the dinosaur…
20 years ago, when Nirvana was being played on teenager’s CD players and Full House was still on the air, a movie was released that would become not only the epitome of special effects to this day, but also successfully balance substance with spectacle, forever stomping its way into our hearts.
Jurassic Park, which is based on the 1990 Michael Crichton novel of the same name, was a feature given to us by Steven Spielberg, a man who knew a thing or two about how to bewilder us with the sense of grand scope but seamlessly bringing it right back to the basics and not losing a moment. Released in the summer of 1993, the movie dominated as it damn well should have, earning over 900 million dollars.
I was 10 years old when this movie came out, and I specifically remember my brother going to see it on a field trip with his 8th grade class. He had to read the Crichton novel during the year or previous summer, of which I can’t remember, but I do recall his adoration of the film when we went to go pick him up.
Now, as a youngster, I couldn’t quite figure out which I wanted; to see Jurassic Park in the theater, or wait till I was more comfortable with the imagery. I mean, as a kid, dinosaurs? Big fricking deal. But dinosaurs eating people or thrashing stuff about in a purely visual sense in that it wasn’t still imagery but actually happening before my very eyes kind of terrified me a bit.
But that didn’t mean I did not have the people and dinosaurs interact this way in my backyard or living room. Oh no. I had a good number of Jurassic Park toys, humans and dinos alike, all certified movie toys as they had the classic JP stamp branded right on them. My imagination let me create dangerous elements for the poor visitors of this theme park, but I did not see the movie until a year later, when I think my mind was ready for it.
We rented it and the Fowler family gathered around the television, and I certainly remember my eyes went wide with a “childlike wonderment,” a term I have used only when it can apply to things that most kids should probably not be watching. The visuals mostly made this process happen, as Spielberg crafted a world where the dinosaurs, whether CGI or created by tactile means, looked almost effortless. It is amazing that two decades later, Jurassic Park is still setting the bar for how good special effects could look. The combined effects of puppetry and computer worked together to create something magical, and those dinosaurs still amaze me (and millions of other people) no matter how many times we look at them.
From that viewing on, I fell in love with Jurassic Park. I love it so much that it has now become a staple of my movie library to watch when I am not feeling well (well, along with all the times I watch it when I’m healthy as a horse). I consider it movie medicine, always bringing an inner joy, and while it can’t match the pills or the antibiotics I take to ease myself of the pain, there is no doubt that the film doesn’t work its own internal magic. Call it superstition if you must, but something about this movie just always brings a smile to my face, always makes me stare at the TV, and it always unlocks the kid inside, the one who was too scared to give its chance in the theaters, but ultimately falling in love with it like I knew I would. But I won’t miss out on seeing it in theaters again; 20 years later Jurassic Park will be coming back to the silver screen for a 3D release. I guess it’s my chance now to take an opportunity that I missed out on two decades ago. Life indeed finds a way.