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Jurassic Park (1993)

An adventure 65 million years in the making

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 127 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: PG


For creatures that became extinct over 65 million years ago, it’s amazing how dinosaurs never really go out of fashion. Given their popularity, come to think of it, it’s more than a little surprising that it took Hollywood the bulk of those 65 million years to finally make a really good dino romp. But, credit where it’s due, this one’s just about worth the wait.

Ol’ Dicky Attenborough stars as John Hammond, an eccentric dinosaur nut who’s somehow managed to finance the creation of a prehistoric theme park – with real, albeit genetically engineered, dinosaurs as the star attraction. He’s a bit like Walt Disney, only with a passion for prehistoric beasts instead of cartoon mice. And fewer links to Nazism.

In order to get the green light for the opening of his park, Hammond needs the endorsement of some outside expert opinions. So step forward child-hating palaeontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), leggy palaeo-botanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and chaos-daft mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).

It’s all oohs and ahs from the gang until, inevitably, the system goes Pete Tong, the beasties get loose, and the screaming begins in earnest. Director Steven Spielberg knows a thing or three about how to up the frighteners, and parts of this movie – most notably those involving either the T-Rex or the Velociraptors – surpass even ‘Jaws’ in the scary stakes.

The jaw-dropping CGI effects used still look sublime even 10 years on – in fact, a re-watch of this one almost seems to suggest the technology has since gone backwards. Certainly the FX used in both of JP’s substandard sequels appear inferior by comparison.

The fact that the whole thing’s outrageously far-fetched never seems to matter. Neither does the lack of characterization or the deviations from Michael Crichton’s original novel (he also co-wrote the screenplay). It’s the monsters that are the stars here and, let’s face it, everyone loves a good monster flick. And ‘Jurassic Park’ is without doubt the T-Rex of all monster flicks.

It's Got: Sharp claws and row upon row of pointy teeth.

It Needs: A sledgehammer to get John William’s infuriatingly catchy score out of your head.

DVD Extras 50-minute‘Making Of’ documentary, weblinks, early pre-production meetings, storyboards, location scouting, animatics, ‘Raptors in the Kitchen’ feature, production photos, design sketches & concept paintings, theatrical trailers (including one for JPIII), dino encyclopaedia, production notes – it’s all here. DVD Extras Rating: 9/10


The movie the dinosaurs themselves would recommend. If they didn’t have tiny pea-brains and weren’t all dead, that is.