Seemingly Irrelevant Intro
My son recently turned a year old. It is absolutely incredible how much baby humans change physically in one year. I have noticed something quite interesting about baby physiology as I have observed Jonah grow. I’ll illustrate this way: take your arm and wrap it over your head to touch the shoulder of the opposite arm. You can pretty much touch your other shoulder can’t you? Your arm length has a certain proportion to the size of your head. But babies? Not so! When Jonah puts his hands all the way in the air and tries to wrap his arms over, he can pretty much only put his hands flat on top of his head. Perhaps this is what makes them cute. But think on this! What else has short arms, a huge head, and likes to put things in it’s mouth???
This blog post is 65 million years in the making, so hold on to your butts….
The year 1993 is emblazoned on my memory because of Jurassic Park. 1993 serves as my point of reference in terms of movie release dates. Ghostbusters? Before Jurassic Park. The Matrix? After Jurassic Park. Star Wars? BJP. That was THE MOVIE for me growing up and I would say it was one of the first movies that made me love movies. And dinosaurs.
Upon this reflection, I realize now that I was only about 10 years old when I saw Jurassic Park in the theater. Thinking about the movie now, was I really old enough to see this?? Oh well. I went with an older friend that was a family friend/neighbor/occasional babysitter. I don’t remember a whole lot about my theater viewing other than that it was a daytime show during the summer and there weren’t many other people in the theater. I also remember during the “reboot the park/kids on the electrified fence scene”, when the raptor attacks Ellie, that I had both hands with a death grip on my friend’s arm because it was SO SUSPENSEFUL!!
I GREATLY anticipated the home video release on VHS!! (For you young kids, a VHS is like a cassette tape for your TV. And a cassette tape is like plastic CD shaped like a box….and a CD is like an MP3 on a little frisbee.) I was so excited about the VHS that my mom bought it the very first day it came out and brought it to school during lunch just so I could see it! (This was during elementary school. Again, was I old enough for this movie?) In the subsequent days, I watched and re-watched this movie MANY times. I remember keeping count on a dry-erase board on our refrigerator. The number 10 sticks in my head which makes me think that I watched it 10 times in one week. Yeah, think about that considering how many days are in a week.
Time passed and more Jurassic Park movies came out (which were also quite awesome) but the first has stuck with me the most. Fast forward to grad school. Grad school, mind you! I’m in Orlando, Florida for a professional conference with my wife and a couple classmates. Obviously we have to hit up the big parks, so we go to Universal Studios. Which ride immediately turns me back into a 10 year old boy??
I only allowed myself one souvenir during this trip and I saved it for this moment. I got the most awesome mug that has ever been conceived by man:
Recently, on a random whim. My wife decided that it would be fun to use internet quizzes to test my knowledge of the Jurassic Park franchise. Many a trivia question was thoroughly defeated that evening!!! I got basically every question right, except the ones that were dumb. Needless to day, this movie is still deeply etched in my memory.
Why Jurassic Park?
Dinosaurs. That’s why. If my memory serves me well, it seems that there was a surge of dinosaur movies in the early 90’s, much like how superheroes and zombies dominate the media today. But Jurassic Park was by far the best dinosaur movie of the time. The visuals were amazing, the characters were interesting, and there were MANY quotable lines. As a 10-year-old boy, the island and the dinosaurs were all so awe-inspiring. There was this perfect balance of suspense, drama, comedy and adventure.
And the soundtrack!! How brilliant is John Williams??? I got the soundtrack (on one of those CD thingys) around the same time I got the movie and I listened to it EVERY NIGHT to go to sleep. This was partially because I liked Jurassic Park, but also because symphony music puts me to sleep. But then it became a challenge to fall asleep before it got to the part of the soundtrack with the suspenseful music, because then sleep would be nearly impossible as I would then start imagining raptors coming out of my closet.
The dinosaurs were real-looking enough to make it truly suspenseful, such as anytime raptors were involved. I think I can trace my love of stealth-action games back to that scene in the industrial kitchen when they’re trying to evade the raptors. This was good training for sneaking around dark church buildings during capture-the-flag lock-ins. And speaking of raptors, I remember back in the day thinking up contingencies in my head for how I would avoid or escape a raptor attack. That’s right, the raptor pre-dates the zombie as the imaginary creature that we would pretend to prepare for. (Side note: I just realized our new house is far too vulnerable against raptors- too many windows.)
So Who’s in This Movie?
Guys, did you know that Samuel L. Jackson is in this movie? Because he is.
This movie also made me a life-long Spielberg fan, which in turn led me to the awesomeness of the only three Indiana Jones movies. And in typical Spielberg fashion, the adults are getting eaten by dinosaurs left and right while the kid is the one hacking computers and saving the day. What happened to those kids, by the way? We may never know…. Or we may look in IMDB.
In reference to a recent CB post, Jurassic Park has many unchangeables for me, those two kids, for example. Joseph Mazzello will always be “big Tim, the human piece of toast,” not that kid from Radio Flyer (which also had Jayne!), nor some guy from The Pacific, which I have woefully still not seen yet. And Ariana Richards will always be the vegetarian hacker, despite a strong appearance in Tremors.
The best actor discovery from Jurassic Park for me was Jeff Goldblum. His performance was just classic, although now I’m convinced he was just being Jeff Goldblum. He was probably a big reason I got so excited about Independence day. Also, aliens.
And finally we have Sir Richard Attenborough, whom some of you may remember from his next film, the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Curiously, he fits SO well as both Santa and John Hammond that you have to wonder if Santa makes dinosaur theme parks during his off-season. “Why yes, Virginia, brachiosaurs do move in herds. And sorry if your name is Charles, VIRGINIA!” But I digress. Attenborough really brought a warm, grandfatherly presence to the maniacal billionaire mad scientist character. It made it hard to hate him for tinkering with nature. But we have to forgive him. I mean, he made dinosaurs!
Let’s Wrap This Up Buddy
In conclusion, dinosaurs are awesome and Jurassic Park is the best movie about dinosaurs. THE END.