Jurassic Park Franchise (1993-?)

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knives
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Jurassic Park Franchise (1993-?)

#1 Post by knives » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:00 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
zedz wrote:Though Archaeopteryx, being Jurassic and long extinct before whatever wiped out the rest of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, is a less pertinent example of a bird antecedent than the late-Cretaceous feathered velociraptors, which even to the dimmest Creationist are really obviously part-dinosaur / part-bird creatures (so generally they have to dismiss them as evil Evolutionist hoaxes).
If they even believe they have feathers in the first place, given that everything people know about velociraptors comes from Jurassic Park (even tho' they were actually depictions of Deinonychus).
To be fair to JP wasn't the feather discovery a few years after the movie came out.

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#2 Post by zedz » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:26 pm

Why would you want to be fair to a film as shoddily assembled as Jurassic Park?

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#3 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:52 pm

Dayummm, huge slam on an 18 year old film out of nowhere

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#4 Post by Brian C » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:00 pm

If Jurassic Park was shoddily assembled, what words can describe The Lost World?

Anyway, this conversation inspired me to read the Dawkins book. So thanks, Grand Illusion, for bringing it up.

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knives
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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#5 Post by knives » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:17 pm

I think Zedz prefers it actually.

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#6 Post by zedz » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:12 am

Just to get way off topic (let the mods sort it out), but actually yes, though neither are particularly great. At least The Lost World has the chutzpah to actually be a remake of The Lost World, and has one excellent, completely arbitrary, suspense sequence. Jurassic Park is fine while the CGI switch is on, but otherwise it features some of the clumsiest exposition of any Hollywood film (just let the enormity of that sink in for a second), along with about half a dozen narrative dead ends that are only there as transparent set ups for the inevitable sequel - none of which the sequel actually uses! So much dead air.

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#7 Post by John Edmond » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:30 am

Those are bold words. Have you seen the remake of Assault on Precinct 13? Wait, you're using a flashback to establish that Ethan Hawke has leadership issues? Ethan Hawke?

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:12 am

I prefer Jurassic Park III myself! :P

(That actually is an example of a third film going back to a few characters that were absent from the original sequel. Sam Neill of course, though Laura Dern gets a brief cameo too)
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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#9 Post by Brian C » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:22 am

zedz wrote:... otherwise it features some of the clumsiest exposition of any Hollywood film (just let the enormity of that sink in for a second),
That would be a very bold statement even if you limited it simply to Michael Crichton projects, much less the entire history of Hollywood. The man's entire career was built on clumsy exposition (but oh how I loved it when I was a kid!).

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#10 Post by MichaelB » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:46 pm

Jurassic Park's title is fundamentally flawed - it should have been called Cretaceous Park. But I dare say it was considered too tough to pronounce.

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zedz
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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#11 Post by zedz » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:44 pm

John Edmond wrote:Those are bold words. Have you seen the remake of Assault on Precinct 13? Wait, you're using a flashback to establish that Ethan Hawke has leadership issues? Ethan Hawke?
Okay, I must confess I have dodged many a bullet in my time.

Still, isn't there a moment in Jurassic Park when the script basically throws up its hands after it's already crammed its characters mouths with so much expository sawdust and says, "Oh screw it, here's an animated film that's going to explain all this shit. I promise you, the movie's going to start right after that."

But still it comes: "Oh bugger, I forgot we've got a whole franchise to set up here. Just sit tight for another ten minutes and I'll clear some space for the movie. I promise. Okay, twenty tops."

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#12 Post by swo17 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:48 pm

In any case, doesn't Steven Spielberg's career disprove evolution?

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#13 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:57 pm

zedz wrote:
John Edmond wrote:Those are bold words. Have you seen the remake of Assault on Precinct 13? Wait, you're using a flashback to establish that Ethan Hawke has leadership issues? Ethan Hawke?
Okay, I must confess I have dodged many a bullet in my time.

Still, isn't there a moment in Jurassic Park when the script basically throws up its hands after it's already crammed its characters mouths with so much expository sawdust and says, "Oh screw it, here's an animated film that's going to explain all this shit. I promise you, the movie's going to start right after that."

But still it comes: "Oh bugger, I forgot we've got a whole franchise to set up here. Just sit tight for another ten minutes and I'll clear some space for the movie. I promise. Okay, twenty tops."
I don't know - I love that animated film as it's such a perfect parody of pre-show filler that Disney uses for its theme park attractions to keep guests entertained while they wait for the real show. Since the purpose of "pre-show filler" is to take up time, I have no problem that JURASSIC PARK digresses for this superfluous exposition.
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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#14 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:57 pm

First off, congrats to zedz for having the most posts in the forthcoming Jurassic Park dedicated thread. I too greatly prefer the Lost World to Jurassic Park, but more because it completely throws away the book it allegedly is adapted from and becomes a freeform action film, rather than a watered down version of a genuinely terrifying source material (albeit source material that is still airport fiction, but nevertheless), which is a huge detriment Jurassic Park never overcomes... when they decided they needed to sell toys, that's when all hope went away of it being faithful even in spirit. What's funny is that Crichton wrote Hollywood essentially a novel-length screenplay for the sequel, complete with insane set pieces like a roving cage that moves amongst the dinosaurs and a chameleon dinosaur, and Hollywood still insisted on doing its own thing for no particular reason. Still, the Lost World easier for me to enjoy on its own virtues as a film. However, as I believe I've said before, the Emmerich Godzilla trumps all for the giant lizard action movie of the mid 90s crown

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#15 Post by knives » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:07 pm

Wouldn't that make Godzilla 2000 the king of the giant lizard action movie of the mid 90s crown (hey if '98 counts as mid '90s than so can '99).

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#16 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:08 pm

Pretty much all of the nineties is the mid nineties

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#17 Post by Brian C » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:12 pm

Criticizing Jurassic Park for its excessive exposition is a bit like criticizing a haunted house for being too dark to see the ghosts. The whole idea was to give people as real an approximation of dinosaurs as the Hollywood machine was capable of giving them (or at least, as close to the popular conception of what dinosaurs really looked like). Explaining semi-plausibly how it might actually be possible to make real dinosaurs in the most advanced Crichtonese pseudo-scientific gibberish was the basis of the appeal.
domino harvey wrote:However, as I believe I've said before, the Emmerich Godzilla trumps all for the giant lizard action movie of the mid 90s crown
Highly pedantic, but dinosaurs weren't really "lizards". The Lepidosaurs (lizards, snakes) and Archosaurs (dinosaurs, crocodiles, birds) had already diverged during the Permian or at least early Triassic, well before, as MichaelB helpfully pointed out earlier, the animals of Jurassic Park came on the scene.

So I'm not sure that the JP movies are really eligible for this particular crown in the first place. Which actually more or less confirms your statement, but strips it of much of its meaning. :-"

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Re: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Nathan Frankowski, 20

#18 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:53 am

I kind of agree with domino's comments on The Lost World (and definitely on Godzilla - a far more satisfying city-destroying action film!) - it is as if Spielberg gives up on the dinosaur island angle part way through (leaving it up to Jurassic Park III to half-heartedly tackle some of the dropped material from Crichton's sequel book) and turns it into the 'King Kong rampaging through the city' flick he always wanted to make. It also kind of prefigures his mass panic War of the Worlds film too.

But then that final section is also a way to move away from the domain of private groups of individuals (who really all deserve to be eaten, even Julianne Moore's character stupidly taking a wounded dinosaur back to her trailer parked next to a cliff) in order to foist dangerous predators onto innocent civilians. Even then in the first half of the film a cute kid has to be shoehorned into the plot to give us someone we can at least maybe care about. The Lost World is kind of empty of the wonder of discovery in that sense, which at least was something Jurassic Park III recaptured a little of.

The problem is also that I have found most of Spielberg's films that try to add humour into the mix to either be outright failures (his official comedies) or at worst showing a creepy, rather off-key and cruel sense of the humourous. The Lost World is not in the same league as the alternately nasty and cruel humoured Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but its getting pretty close to that territory in the broadly played scenes of dino rampage. (Temple of Doom for me is also one of the most scrappily made Spielberg films, papering over the cracks with set pieces, so this problem has always been present in his work to a certain extent).

On the aminated exposition section of Jurassic Park I also thought that was perfectly appropriate in the way it turned a scientific tour into a theme park ride, which gets ruined when Dr Grant, unsatisfied with the brief glimpse of the labs that has been allowed, breaks the rules and climbs off of the ride part way to get a closer look. Which sort of gets at the way the whole enterprise is trying to contain behaviours that will not be constrained both in terms of the dinosaurs as well as those involving human curiosity or greed.

This also reminded me of that rapture episode of American Dad which featured an animated explanation of the concept (apologies for the poor sound quality of the video, that is the only one available on YouTube)! According to the commentary on that episode quite a few Christian groups have co-opted these kinds of video explanation methods (including using dinosaurs!) into their lessons for children.

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#19 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:29 pm

Revisited the first two Jurassic Park films for the first time since I was a kid ('tis the season) and wow did I get these wrong in my adult memory! I remember loving both when they first came out and then growing up and thinking somehow the Lost World was better, probably because it wandered further away from its source material and therefore wasn't a bad adaptation, it was no adaptation. Watching now though it's almost comical how much better the first film is than the second, and my earlier comments are a great example of discovering cringe-inducing posts you yourself made in the past (And now I'm real nervous to revisit Godzilla!)

Jurassic Park was criticized at the time by most critics for being too action-oriented and not instilling an adequate amount of awe into the proceedings, but I disagree. The slow-burn zedz criticizes is essential for the film's movement from a passive entertainment not unlike the amusement park itself (sit back and enjoy safe and not particularly gripping small moments) to a dangerous parade of crises and obstacles. I remember going to see this on opening day with my grandmother and then going back the next day with my mother, who had no idea I'd already seen it and was warning ten-year-old me that a lot of adults were walking out of the film because it was too scary. Like all kids who saw this at the right age, I probably was scared and enthralled by the proceedings, and anyone around my age will forever associate the Summer of 1993 as the Summer of Jurassic Park, a film event the likes of which I'm not sure I've ever experienced before or since as far as the wide-reaching popular effect it had on everyone and everything around me. I assume those who were kids around the original Star Wars can relate. Watching it now, though, the famed T-Rex attack sequence, which comes exactly halfway through the film, holds up fabulously-- I'd go as far as to say it's a perfect example of an "attack" action sequence, with absurd theatrics, changing dynamics, increasing dangers, and witty execution. It's also incredibly intense, even to a jaded adult who vaguely remembers the outcome!

Compared to the fully-formed structure of the first film-- even with its narrative and character shortcuts, Jurassic Park remains an efficient beast of a pic, armed with a dozen quotable soundbytes and an armful of unshakable images-- the Lost World is a dozy joke. Things start off bad with the bougie family on the island and only get worse when Jeff Goldblum makes a drowsy visit to Richard Attenborough, especially with regards to the useless and tonally askance cameos by the kids from the first film, who are there for no reason and are actually escorted out of frame in the background as an afterthought, never to be mentioned again. The Lost World does that a lot, actually-- Vince Vaughn and Goldblum's daughter just disappear at the end of the film without so much as a line of dialog to explain their absence. Even the lame provocation of giving Goldblum a black daughter is completely unaddressed by the film and just adds to the myriad of distractions from the weak material in play. It's testament to the sloppiness of the sequel-- it's almost like Spielberg heard the complaints of the first film not having enough awe and said "I'll show you what a film with no sense of wonder really looks like!" And so we get a lot of dull action scenes, none of which hold a candle to anything in the first. Even moments I remembered liking, such as the trailer sequence, seemed unnecessary and poorly executed. The special effects in Jurassic Park look as good or better than anything in films today twenty years later due to the integrated use of CGI among practical effects, but in the Lost World almost everything is CGI and in stark contrast to the first film, almost everything is shot at night to mask the deficits of its effects. And while I'll defend the representational characters of the first film even though they too are commonly criticized, Spielberg again proves the critics wrong in the Lost World by giving us some of the least-interesting "characters" in motion picture history-- great actors like Pete Postlethwaite and Julianne Moore are utterly stranded and the lesser actors on the sidelines fare even worse. By the time the finale comes, with a plethora of narrative gaps and shortcuts within even the action sequences, I was counting down the clock. Jurassic Park made me feel like a kid again, but the Lost World made me want to grow the hell up.

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#20 Post by Moe Dickstein » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:00 pm

Yeah I think Jurassic Park was our Star Wars for sure. I was 13 and still remember seeing it in the Chicago burbs in a HUGE barn of a theater that held like 1500 or 2000 people with the first DTS soundtrack too, the theater SHOOK, and having read the book it was even better. I believe I saw it around 30 times in first release in the theater, by the time it came to the dollar theater I sat through it 3 times in one day very late that summer.

Then I had to wait for that black CAV LD box to come out...

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#21 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:17 am

JURASSIC PARK remains a fine film for me with some truly well-directed suspense sequences (the whole stretch showing the T-Rex breaking out through the vehicle descending through the tree; raptors in the kitchen). A number of folks have been commenting on how PACIFIC RIM brings back some authenticity to the classic summer action film; JURASSIC PARK is the film that fills that spot for me. I was nearly thirty* when it originally came out, but I got a kick out of it then and still do. THE LOST WORLD I saw once on cable and never returned to it since it seemed so disappointingly scatter-shot.

*Given my age, STAR WARS was my STAR WARS...and I'm sorry to say it left me quite unimpressed. The effects were clearly the best since 2001, but the story seemed warmed-over, the action bland. I guess I was a snob since I discovered KANE and STRANGELOVE around this time and that's all I wanted to talk about!

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#22 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:49 am

I'm surprised people get so dewey-eyed over what's still an unremarkable film. If anything, it just shores up the triumph of commerce over art for me. It was an "event" because it grossed $800 million worldwide, a record at the time, and dominated cross-marketing on every level, from fast food treats to toys. It was never a real cultural event, not even on the same level of 1989's Batman film (which did far less business at the box office but felt much more ubiquitous in the culture), because nobody, and I mean nobody, I knew, either in school or grown-up, really felt any passion for the movie.* To me, that defines what Hollywood films are now: doesn't matter if people are indifferent, as long as they go to the theater like mindless cattle. The fact that the film's story is structured around an amusement park ride only solidified this feeling to me. Doesn't help that Spielberg openly admitted that he nearly phoned in the direction, just to get to Schindler's List quicker.

*(Well, Moe says he saw it 30 times, and I grew up in the Chicago suburbs too, but that's definitely not what was going on where I was.)

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#23 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:46 am

I absolutely regret not seeing this in the theater. I remember hearing specifically the first night it did play it got a standing ovation. My two memories of that summer, theater-going wise was seeing Dennis the Menace and a triple play at the drive-in (my first and so far only time experiencing that at what is one of the few that still exists in Indiana I believe) of Son-In-Law, Another Stakeout and that Disney witch movie with Bette Midler that was out, too.

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#24 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:56 am

I saw it in Florida in July in a theater where the air conditioning was broken, and I was eight years old. It was nuts, and I had nightmares for months afterwards, but it was very exciting.

Revisiting it as an adult was a letdown, though- it's one of those movies where, if you don't get caught up in what's happening, it's too easy to see the very A-B-C screenwriting at play; not necessarily a problem, but it made it feel cheesy and of a kind with Independence Day more than, say, Jaws.

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Re: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

#25 Post by cdnchris » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:09 am

I did not like this film when I first saw it, and hated the second one. I felt there was nothing to care about when dinosaurs weren't on screen and have to agree that at that time I just saw it as a pretty generic commercial movie with really strong effects. My wife loves them and I bought the Blu-ray set when it was $20. My daughter was looking at it and really wanted to watch the first one at least and I kept telling her "no." I finally gave in but since she's 4 I would have to watch it with her and cover her eyes where I remembered that some sort of dismemberment happened.

I actually loved it this time around. I still think the characters are weak but the build up is very good and the action sequences are thrilling and well done. Maybe I also got a kick out of watching it with my daughter who was just glued to the screen and loved it when the T-Rex finally shows up. I had to turn it off when the Raptors were chasing the kids in the kitchen; she was freaking out and asking me to turn it off. I did but finished watching it later. I'm not sure what changed really, but I was far more entertained by it now. And the effects have really held up well I think, that mix of old-school effects with computer effects making things seem at least a bit more "organic" to the film.

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