Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Summer is the time for blockbusters, and this week Reel Speak pays tribute to the godfather of modern blockbuster films, Steven Spielberg, with two blogs covering a pair of his most iconic films. Read the first one HERE.

“I own an island…”

This month marks the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s JURASSIC PARK.

The year that was 1993 was a life-changing, one-two punch for director Steven Spielberg. Having already cemented his name in cinematic legend with hits such as JAWS (1975), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), and E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTIAL (1982), he would deliver not one, but two films in 1993 which would make history. In November of that year he would release his WWII holocaust drama SCHINDLER’S LIST; a film which would earn him seven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture. But only five months before he sent audiences into a sobering reminder of the horrors of war, he would get those same audiences drunk with childhood glee with living, breathing dinosaurs in JURASSIC PARK.

Based on the popular novel by the late Michael Crichton, JURASSIC PARK told the story of a billionaire and his team of genetic scientists who brought dinosaurs back to life, and populated a theme park with them before things started going wrong. The challenge to resurrect dinosaurs in the film was a great one, and it appropriately was an equal challenge for Spielberg. Just like in the film, Spielberg grasped a new technology, called CGI, and suddenly it was possible to see, play with, run with, and run away from dinosaurs. By using a combination of new tech and classic animatronics, JURASSIC PARK immediately separated itself from the old, choppy dinosaurs that populated B-movies for decades. The usage of the tech would change filmmaking forever.

With an excellent cast of Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, B.D. Wong, Wayne Knight, Bob Peck, Joseph Mazzello, and Ariana Richards, and a script which brought the thrills as much as thoughtfulness, JURASSIC PARK instantly captured imaginations in adults that had been long buried; perhaps extinct since they stopped playing with toy dinosaurs in the back yard. The results on screen were spectacular, and the world reacted. JURASSIC PARK became the highest grossing film of all time; a position it would hold until TITANIC arrived in 1997. To this day, it is the 24th highest-grossing film in North America, and the 27th highest worldwide; it is still Spielberg’s biggest money-maker, and a 3D re-release in 2013 would add more to its tally. The film was a hit with critics, and would win three Oscars for Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects. At that same ceremony, Spielberg, his editor Michael Kahn, and composer John Williams would win for SCHINDLER’S LIST. In the long run, the film would inspire several books, video games, and ongoing sequels.


The legacy of JURASSIC PARK is an ongoing one. The film would be the swan song to the early part of Spielberg’s career, as he would move away from blockbuster filmmaking into serious works for over 20 years.  And box office numbers, Oscar, sequels, and longevity from one generation to the next only begins to scratch the surface. It has that elusive power to awaken the dormant kid in all of us; the one that ran around the back yard chasing creatures and building worlds out of sofa cushions. JURASSIC PARK embraced that. Spielberg himself has been quoted as saying that he dreams for a living, and no other film in the last quarter-century as dropped us into a dream like JURASSIC PARK.

“Life found a way…”

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