Monday, December 29, 2008

Jurassic Park Trilogy

On a remote island, a wealthy entrepreneur secretly creates a theme park featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA. Before opening the attraction to the public, he invites a top paleontologist, a pale botanist, a mathematician/ theorist, and his two eager grandchildren to experience the park-- and help calm anxious investors. However, their visit is anything but tranquil as the park’s security system breaks down, the prehistoric creatures break out, and the excitement builds to surprising results.

Based on Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel, Jurassic Park stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough. It’s a breathtaking adventure you’ll want to experience again and again.

Title: Jurassic Park
Release: June 11, 1993
Genre: Science Fiction/ Horror
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Writer: David Koepp, Malia Scotch Marmo, & Michael Crichton
Director: Steven Spielberg
Music By: John Williams
Produced By: Kathleen Kennedy & Gerald R. Molen
Distributed By: Universal Studios
Run Time: 127 minutes

Michael Crichton's cautionary science fiction novel from 1990 was adapted into a film three years later that was immediately the most successful film about dinosaurs ever made: Jurassic Park. This movie was directed by one of the "most powerful and influential figure[s] in the motion picture industry, used the best special effects -including the then new computer-generated imagery, and was not only the highest grossing film of 1993 but also number 11 on the list of highest grossing films worldwide- not taking into account inflation (adjusted for inflation it falls at number 17).

There has always been a fascination with dinosaurs but this film and its book “generated a lot of interest in the study of paleontology [which] has been at an all-time high ever since-” and that’s not the only way this film has inspire people either. The amazing special effects made films that would have been “impossible” to make actually possible like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there are spin-off novels and continuation comic books, and there is even a ride called Jurassic Park River Adventure at the Universal Studios Hollywood and at the one in Orlando, Florida in the Islands of Adventure theme park (there is one in Japan too).

This movie was one of the very first films I remember seeing in the theater- and I remember being so scared! I have to admit that I yelped once or twice this time too. Despite the fact that it is now 15 years old, all of the special effects hold up very well and they continue to earn those three Oscars that film won for special effects and sound too. What amazes me is just how real that those dinosaurs still look (and sound)! You can almost imagine that you could go the zoo tomorrow and see them. I’ve been told that the films (and its sequels) are quite a bit different from Crichton’s books but I haven’t had the pleasure of reading them before but I would love to someday.

Links: Film Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia,, Jurassic Park Game, Tribute Page, Fan site
Interviews: Sam Neill (Good Morning America- 1993), Stan Winston on making dinosaurs (text), Michael Crichton on adapting his novel (text)


Making of Jurassic Park:


Director Steven Spielberg takes us back to the scene of Jurassic Park in The Lost World, the blockbuster sequel with even more dinosaurs, more action and more breathtaking visual effects than its record-breaking predecessor. The Lost World remains among the most successful films of all time and features an all-star cast including Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore and Pete Postlethwaite. It has been four years since the disaster at Jurassic Park and two groups are in a race against time that will determine the fate of the remote island's prehistoric inhabitants.

Title: The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Release: May 19, 1997
Genre: Science Fiction Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: The Lost World by Michael Crichton
Writer: David Koepp
Director: Steven Spielberg
Music By: John Williams
Produced By: Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R. Molen, & Colin Wilson
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Run Time: 129 minutes
Official Site

The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the sequel to the critical and commercially successful Steven Spielberg science fiction thriller made four years previously. Like the original, it is based on a book by Michael Crichton who was in fact urged to write it by the director himself (Crichton had never done a sequel before or since). Unlike the first Jurassic Park though, the sequel had mixed reviews and it didn't win as many awards either. It was the second top grossing film of the year (Titanic holds the first position) though!

One of the main reasons there were so many mixed reviews was because of the fact that one of the minor characters, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is practically the only returning character from the original film. Since he was one of my favorite characters, I had no problem with him as the leading male (Vince Vaughn plays a tiny part as Nick Van Owen and nearly outshines him in a couple of scenes). The lead female is played by the gorgeous Academy award nominated actress Julianne Moore but her co-stars (including the non-humans) do manage to outshine her a little bit.

I felt as if the film wasn't quite as subtle as its predecessor in some aspects nor did it have the same "grand" feeling but if possible it does look a whole lot more real! Generally what The Lost World is, is a "creature-feature" with tons of chase scenes/ dire circumstances with a few funny characters as comical relief. However, the film is so interesting and spectacular; it is very hard to mind at all.

Links: Film Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia,, Fan Site



Adventure runs wild when renowned paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) agrees to accompany a wealthy adventurer (William H. Macy) and his wife (Téa Leoni) on an aerial tour of Isla Sorna, InGen’s former breeding ground for prehistoric creatures. But when they’re terrifyingly stranded, Dr. Grant discovers that his hosts are not what they seem, and the island’s native inhabitants are smarter, faster, fiercer, and more brutal than he ever imagined in this heart-stomping thriller.

Title: Jurassic Park III
Release: July 18, 2001
Genre: Science Fiction Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Writer: Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, & Jim Taylor
Director: Joe Johnston
Music By: Don Davis & John Williams (theme)
Produced By: Larry J. Franco, Kathleen Kennedy, & Steven Spielberg
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Run Time: 93 minutes
Official Site

Jurassic Park III is the third and currently the last film in the dinosaur franchise that has thrilled audiences once every four years since 1993. However, it is the only film in the franchise not based on Michael Crichton’s books nor was it directed by Steven Spielberg. Instead, the former director passed the reins over to Joe Johnston who had directed another big budget film: Jumanji.

Thanks to the new director’s expertise and his love of the first film (he had asked Spielberg if he could direct the sequel but the former director wanted to do it so he promised him this one), a lot of the majestic feeling makes it into the third film- along with even more chase scenes with bigger dinosaurs! To be honest, this was the first Jurassic Park to actually give me nightmares and its all thanks to those Velociraptors.

I thought the actors were great though, especially Sam Neill (who returns as Dr. Alan Grant) and William H. Macy (who plays Paul Kirby). I was also impressed that for once in the series the female (Amanda Kirby played by Téa Leoni) was given a more pivotal role. Most people have either loved or hated the film but almost all agree it is better than the previous sequel. For the most part, the film is not really necessary to the storyline but I still thought it was good even if it was the only film of the franchise to not be recognized at the Academy Awards.

Links: Film Wikipedia,, Jurassic Park Wikia
Interview: Composer Don Davis (IGN), Cast Interview (Science Fiction Weekly), Téa Leoni ( & Leoni JP videos


Behind the Scenes:


  1. As much as I love Michael Crichton's work, I've never read these books or seen these movies.

  2. I love these movies! The only thing is, I haven't read his books yet!

  3. I loved all the movies, but have no desire to read the books, which is odd for me ..but in this case I think the movies were enough.

    when i saw the first, Jurassic Park I remember thinking that now they could do justice to the Anne McCaffrey Pern books if they so chose to do so.. sure wish they did!

  4. Bermudaonion: I truly loved the first one, thought the second was okay, and liked the third. Hope you get to try them soon!

    Melody: I haven't read anything by him either but I was still so sad to hear that he had died this year :(

    DesLily: Good news, I found something online that says Dragonriders of Pern (2011) so that might make it into theaters after all!

  5. I need to watch these movies's been years. They're such fun, especially the first one.

  6. I loved all these films, I saw all of them in the theater.
    The first and second are the best.
    Great reviews!

  7. I remember the first scared the daylights out of me!

  8. It's been ages since I've seen these films, but I do think of them fondly. They're so much fun. :-) The first one is definitely my favorite of the three, but I do like them all.

  9. I loved Jurassic Park 1!!! I think I was 13 when it came out.

  10. Nymeth: It had been years for me too! I could only remember what happens in the third one so the first two were like watching it for the first time.

    Naida: I think I only saw the first one in theater but I could be wrong. Thank you!

    Samantha: Hubby kept laughing at me because I would yelp at the "jumpy moments" when we watched these lol.

    Wendy: I agree, the first one is the best. I just have a natural fondness for movies made between 1990- 1997.

    Bluestocking: I think the first one came out the summer before I turned 7

  11. I feel the same as you, Tink. I loved the first, enjoyed the second and really enjoyed the third. I hope they make another one.

    I read both Jurassic Park books. Crichton is a great writer. Jurassic Park and Lost World are wonderful reads. Try them if you get a chance.



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