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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.13%
Average: 12.87%
Pretty Bad: 5.85%
Total Crap: 4.09%

5 reviews, 141 user ratings

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Jurassic Park
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Spielberg at about 75%."
4 stars

When you think of Steven Spielberg, you do not immediately think of humans. You think of E.T., the shark in 'Jaws,' the aliens in 'Close Encounters'; you may have to remind yourself to think of Henry Thomas, Roy Scheider, or Richard Dreyfuss.

A few hours after seeing Jurassic Park, I had to remind myself that Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum are in it. The stars, clearly, are the dinosaurs. They're what you visit Jurassic Park to see, and Spielberg unveils them like a master showman. You pay about as much attention to the actors as you would to the tour guides at Disneyland: They're there, and they're saying things, but you're listening with half an ear.

Jurassic Park, from Michael Crichton's bestseller (he wrote the script with David Koepp), would seem to be the ideal Spielberg project. It has men in wide-brimmed hats making amazing discoveries in lush jungles and harsh deserts; it has children; it has a hearty John Williams score; it has special effects that outdo God. Most of all, particularly during the last 45 minutes or so, it has the old Spielberg snap. After the bloated, rhythmless Hook, Spielberg has stopped trying to improve us and returned to a more basic goal -- to get us so worked up we can't breathe. Sometimes he drops the ball: The opening sequence, in which a dinosaur chomps a Jurassic Park worker, makes our hearts pound until Spielberg blows it with a dissolve. Maybe Spielberg isn't 100% back on track, but he's getting there. Jurassic Park places him at about 75% -- perhaps 90% when he's rolling.

Crichton, who obviously wrote Jurassic Park with Spielberg in mind, is himself a director; his debut was Westworld, about robots in an electronic resort that go awry. Jurassic Park is Westworld with dinosaurs. For all the technical jargon, the story couldn't be simpler. Billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has populated an island with genetically engineered dinos that his scientists have cloned from dinosaur DNA. He invites paleontologist Alan Grant (Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Dern), and chaos theoretician Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) to the island for feedback and support -- inspectors are breathing down his neck, and he needs reputable endorsement. When the dinosaurs run amok, Hammond can kiss any endorsement goodbye.

As he demonstrated in Duel and (of course) Jaws, Spielberg is an ace at building suspense and dread. (He didn't always need state-of-the-art effects to do it, but...) Yes, Spielberg lets his critters do a lot of the work for him, but he also gets a lot of mileage out of simplicity: water trembling in a glass as a Tyrannosaurus rex thunders closer. The movie has almost no gore, but it's intense enough to make columnists worry whether young children should see it. This fretting is needless: Jurassic Park is scary, but in a healthy, exhilarating way -- no worse, finally, than King Kong or Godzilla. Spielberg doesn't rely (much) on shock; his monsters alarm us because of their savagery, their sheer physical awesomeness. When a swift velociraptor lunges after children -- skittering over steel tables, hellishly eager to rip them apart -- your blood freezes. And, thanks to the computer-generated animation, these beasts don't move like the jerky dinos you've laughed off in many bad horror movies. They move with nightmarish speed, fluidity, and efficiency. Death machines.

The film, however, pays a sad price for its razzle-dazzle: At about the halfway mark, Jurassic Park becomes less and less a people-in-danger movie, more and more an extended chase in which it hardly seems to matter who's being chased. Remove the people from the people-in-danger equation and you're left with very little danger -- and very little dramatic impact. Chase! Run! Jump! All of this is undeniably exciting, but I wish that Spielberg, having assembled such witty actors as Neill, Dern, and especially Goldblum, had come up with more for them to do besides chasing, running, and jumping. Goldblum, whose every cynical mutter gets a big laugh, all but disappears after the first hour -- but then you'd never know from Dern's open-mouthed, typical-Spielberg-woman performance here that she was capable of Wild at Heart or Rambling Rose, either. Spielberg also wastes Samuel L. Jackson (so brilliant in Jungle Fever), who gets stuck with dialogue like "I can't get Jurassic Park back online." I mean, why hire Jackson if you're only going to feed him to a raptor?

None of this really dims the pleasure of the spectacle, though. Jurassic Park earns its spot in fantasy-film history. When a herd of Gallimimuses stampede across a pasture in perfect integration with the live actors in the shot, or when a vicious T. rex engulfs another (seemingly) live actor, it's pure movie sorcery.

At its best, 'Jurassic Park' makes your jaw drop lower than it dropped at 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' and 'Terminator 2.' The idea of man coexisting with dinosaurs may be a nightmare, but in Spielberg's hands it's every moviegoer's wildest dream.

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originally posted: 01/23/07 14:35:56
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User Comments

11/17/19 FireWithFire With a GOOD actor instead of the unctuous jeff goldblum, it's a FAR better film 2 stars
10/30/16 morris campbell good not great the dinosaurs are awesome 4 stars
12/11/12 Jamie Boring, the book was better. 1 stars
2/16/12 stanley welles jurassic puke 1 stars
8/06/11 tomA I still enjoy watching this movie over and over 5 stars
7/01/08 Outhouse Crapper Instant classic indeed!!!!! 5 stars
5/22/08 Husna I just fell in love with T-rex 5 stars
5/17/08 Abrar Ahmed not only a MOVIE, but high INSPIRATION 4me 2get into d ANIMATION field. Thanx Mr.Spielberg. 5 stars
1/30/08 Matt Way cool! Still love it after all these years- 65 million of them. 5 stars
4/23/07 David Risser Carnosaur looks worse than Barney compared to this masterpice. The dinosaurs look real! 5 stars
4/02/07 Stanley Thai A great spectacle with a great story. 4 stars
3/07/07 man terrific FX. Who cares about the humans? 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega There is no other movie like this in years, or ever. 5 stars
1/29/07 action movie fan one of the greatest films ever!!!! outstanding in every way 5 stars
1/24/07 Christopher Obviously a very well done film. Always exciting ,amazing a fairy tale thriller that awes. 5 stars
12/06/06 Dude Amazing 5 stars
11/10/06 Austin Wertman ONE OF MY 10 FAVE MOVIES OF ALL-TIME!!!! THE CGI DINOS WERE FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist Another childhood classic of mine, great FX, I love it!! 5 stars
7/18/06 David Cohen Nice special effects almost make up for the garbled script, almost 2 stars
7/15/06 MP Bartley Cold, but efficient, rollercoaster ride. 4 stars
6/28/06 joe koski love it 5 stars
4/22/06 Jack This is an instant classic 5 stars
3/11/06 Sam Quite possibly, the best film ever made 5 stars
3/09/06 Dk My favourite ever movie. Great effects, Great story , Great everything!!!! 5 stars
2/11/06 Anthony The best perhistoric flick the world will ever see 5 stars
1/30/06 the laughing man Rather Spectacular in Every Way in Every Scene 5 stars
1/17/06 cody a very good adventure flick with dinosaurs! what else more fun! 4 stars
10/11/05 Wisamane How come the animation Looks better than movies that we see now days???JP IS THE SHIT!!! 5 stars
9/08/05 Quigley this is one of the best movies ever made. so, so classic. velociraptors forever! 5 stars
9/04/05 Steven Brady A Must-See Movie 5 stars
9/02/05 Zack this film alone changed they way props are used in movies 4 stars
8/23/05 Eden The t-rex breakout and the kitchen scenes are some of the best pieces of film ever 5 stars
8/20/05 Derek Morse Solid movie that has great action and also asks some deep questions... 4 stars
7/28/05 Wc Never seen any dinosaurs movie like this before 5 stars
7/25/05 Luke BlackAdder Dinosaurs Rule! 5 stars
5/27/05 tony Unbelivaly spectacular film! One of the best sci/fi ever made! 5 stars
5/25/05 The shizz Wow, one of the best, if not THE BEST movie ever. 5 stars
5/19/05 Mark Radburn Jurassic Park is the greatest movie of all time. 5 stars
4/29/05 haha Unbelievable story , great cast and non stop action, a keeper 5 stars
4/23/05 Quigley one of the greatest films ever made! not joking! those dinos will freak you out, man! 5 stars
3/28/05 Emma A decent film, fun to watch on a rainly night. 3 stars
3/27/05 indrid cold Ultimate example of style over substance. It really is a b-movie with revolutionary fx. 3 stars
3/23/05 clinger26 really good movie 5 stars
2/14/05 Pinkline Jones Plastic kindergarten shambles - for tots 1 stars
1/31/05 Bonnie James Non stop action 5 stars
1/03/05 t-1000 this is really scary s%$# 5 stars
12/17/04 sbpat21 a very fun popcorn film 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams One of the best movies I've ever seen 5 stars
11/20/04 Mark Jurassic Park is the greatest movie ever 5 stars
11/05/04 Naka An absolute classic, one of the best movies of the 90s. 5 stars
10/23/04 ODH Good ideas, boring movie that lacked an ending 2 stars
9/04/04 Aaron Smith Best of the three, great FX, one of the best SciFi ever. 5 stars
8/02/04 Anthony G Fuck, this movie owns so much ass! 5 stars
7/19/04 Benjamin Petrofsky My absolute favorite movie! 5 stars
6/30/04 Sean Scanlan Great and nice special effects 4 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot what great movie..get it on your speakers!goldblum rules! 5 stars
4/23/04 Ray Dinosaurs are honored by this movie 5 stars
4/21/04 M Spielberg does it again! 5 stars
4/10/04 American Slasher Goddess Wonderful popcorn fun. 5 stars
3/18/04 Umbrella Corporation. PLZ! Remake this into an Anime.... Uh, or something... T-REX RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/27/04 new yorker king kong is great but so is this 5 stars
11/27/03 John very very good 5 stars
11/26/03 Gi Gi haha, Newman from Seinfield is now dino-crap! 5 stars
9/06/03 Dimitri Aubert A remake of pirhanas, the movie, with better special effects and actors...nothing great. 3 stars
6/10/03 Vicious Still a favorite of mine, still cool. 5 stars
4/26/03 Mr. Do This movie relies too much on those monsters'n'FX 3 stars
4/08/03 Mystique AWESOME 5 stars
2/19/03 Matthew Jones Saw this 9 times in the theatres and still have all the action figures. LOVED IT!!! 5 stars
2/03/03 Turtle I saw this the day it opened, and it has lost NONE of its awesomeness. Spielberg's best! 5 stars
12/29/02 rotten s. milk The best dinosaur movie ever made. 5 stars
12/19/02 C.reeves A great movie and awesome rollarcoaster ride 4 stars
10/29/02 Josť I went to the cinema in 1993: stunning 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Overrated Spielberg "magic" 3 stars
9/29/02 CVJ Excellent !!!! Just simply Excellent 5 stars
9/24/02 dan awsome 5 stars
9/09/02 Ramblin Wreck one of my all time personal favorites!!! 5 stars
8/19/02 jurassiraptor A record-breaker, a crowd pleaser, and a modern classic, all well deserved titles. 5 stars
8/16/02 Shaun I dont know how many times I saw this movie in theaters as a kid, but I loved it every time 5 stars
7/21/02 Croweater Very good! However i hated Laura Dern who overacts terribly (everyone else is great) Enjoy! 5 stars
5/15/02 Stud Everybody should love this movie. 5 stars
3/03/02 Unagiboy A groundbreaking movie. Not as good as the sequel. I really wanted the boy to die. 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Some fun and novelty. The book is better. 4 stars
1/23/02 Some Guy Best Movie I've ever seen. Well it was at the time I saw it. The graphics were great!! A+++ 5 stars
1/13/02 Andrew Carden Attenbourgh Gives An Overwhelming Performance, but He Didn't Save It. 3 stars
1/03/02 Turtle Wonderful story, great acting, brilliant special effects! TWO THUMBS WAY UP! ^_^ 5 stars
12/08/01 Waylon Roundtree This film isn't supposed to be a well-acted character study; it's first-class entetainment! 5 stars
11/21/01 Chris K. Unimpressive from Speilberg! Should have called Ray Harryhausen to create the dinosaurs! 2 stars
11/11/01 I love movies this was star wars for 90's! a crowdpleasing milestone! 5 stars
9/25/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome... To Jurassic Park!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/09/01 Gary Brilliantly made, thrilling fantasy/action movie, but poor acting & weak characters. 3 stars
8/21/01 Monster W. Kung Well, it's ok. I always loved dinosaurs as a kid, so... no stunning story, though. 4 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Good stuff. 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk It was a milestone in special effects and moviemaking, I loved it. 5 stars
8/02/01 KC Au Read the book instead! I hate Jeff Goldblum. 2 stars
7/28/01 Steve Never read book. Thought movie was very overrated and slow. But lawyer+outhouse+Trex = fun 3 stars
7/28/01 Turtle A splendid adaption of the book. Actually, it's almost better than the book. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg Great effects and storyline .Not as good as the book . 5 stars
6/28/01 Geebo The book was better, but still an excellent movie to say the least. 5 stars
4/24/01 JP Animal Control Great Movie! 5 stars
2/16/01 James What's all the hype about? 3 stars
2/16/01 Michael Nicholls Proof that special effects-reliant movies can work wonders... 5 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi See this or I'll body slam you and do the wicky-wacky all over your broken body. 5 stars
2/01/01 jordan i read the book and went to the theater expecting greatness. very disappointing. 2 stars
1/14/01 Invader The special effects are amazing,the dino action just grabs you with teeth. 5 stars
12/27/00 Turtle They say dinosaurs are dead. But in this movie, they look pretty dang real. 5 stars
12/14/00 David Marriott The bomb! Not as good as the book true, but still pretty good. 4 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla Fuck the sequels, just watch this masterpiece!!! 5 stars
11/24/00 Connoisseur if you've never seen this movie, you have never seen REAL dinosaurs! 5 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin Spielberg's worst EVA 1 stars
9/21/00 Jed Overrated & average at best. 3 stars
7/11/00 J. Andrew Hefner This is the most exciting cinema experience I've ever had, to date. 5 stars
6/01/00 Bruce An extremely entertaining edge-of-your-seat aventure 4 stars
5/30/00 danilo the best movie i've ever seen, period 5 stars
5/18/00 Keith This movie stank like Danny DeVito's feet. 1 stars
5/13/00 erica great must see! 5 stars
5/12/00 Steve Layne It's pretty good with thrills and excitement, but still isn't as "great" as some people say 4 stars
3/19/00 Richard Wright A good dinosaur film, effects are amazing and the script is surprisingly thought-provoking. 3 stars
3/09/00 David Rogers I hate it when people call Godzilla JP3. 'Zilla was way better. But this is good. 4 stars
2/28/00 Jedi An entertaining movie, much better than "The Lsot World" 4 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski Decent cast & great FX made up for uninspired dialogue & such... 4 stars
9/19/99 Aaron White It's Doctor Who with a budget. Ariana Richards is luscious...(god I need help...) 3 stars
8/19/99 Matthew Bartley Not great but picks up at the end 4 stars
6/15/99 Dylan This film is so fucking overrated its untrue. SFX and thats it. 2 stars
5/25/99 iyu You always notice the little things.. Like was the fucking Rex on stilts? Wheres the cliff? 3 stars
5/15/99 lucas jackson I like this movie,because the dinosaurs look so real 4 stars
4/04/99 Albert T-Rex attack alone is worth mega praise. 5 stars
2/01/99 Vick Di Brecci They should've remade the 20 minute dino section of Fantasia into a wordless 2 hour CG spec 2 stars
11/16/98 Jules Crichton sucks but Spielberg saves the day. I wish the kids died tho... 4 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob Sorry! It works for me. (If only they coulda included the Pteradactyl sequence) 5 stars
10/18/98 Babylon Bounce Yowza! Waaay ovrerated. An amusement park would do. 3 stars
9/29/98 katherine boring crap 1 stars
9/28/98 Johny mucho overrated 3 stars
9/24/98 Jeff Hayward This is one of the few movies I've ever walked out of. It's worthless. I'd give it 0 stars. 1 stars
9/17/98 MR HOLLYWOOD ! SPIELBERG IS MY GOD !!! (Directing is S U P E R B ) 5 stars
9/06/98 Admiral Mung Bean Soda (+/- 12db) Animatronic lizards devour Michael Crichton novel. Film at 11. 2 stars
9/02/98 J-Guy me likey movie. me say "see it!!" 4 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress hey i got an idea, let's big an amusement park with dinosaurs, it's safe i swear! 3 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Anyone who sees it and doesn't just expect big monsters and effects is stupid. 4 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} As a huge special effects film it was great, but it was no brainstrain 4 stars
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  11-Jun-1993 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005



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