There are defining films for each generation that children tend to grow up with and look back at with delightful nostalgia. Some with Star Wars in the 70s, others with Ghostbusters in the 80s. I grew up with Jurassic Park. I was only 2 when it was released in the cinema but it soon found its way into our household in VHS form (oh god, do I have the right to feel old right now? There could be people reading this who have never even seen a VHS!) And so instead of watching The Lion King on repeat, I watched Jurassic Park. Seriously. On repeat! Look at the state of the video now…
Yep, I did manage to root that out and find it for the purpose of this article. You’re welcome. (Please ignore the chewed edges, I think that was how my 4 year old self dealt with those T-Rex scenes).
The characters in JP are essential to its success. As an impressionable pre-teen, Lex was the clever computer hacker who I pretended to be when I ran around the garden looking for dinosaur bones. In addition Ellie Sattler was the girl I wanted to be when I grew up- actually, I still want to be Ellie when I grow up. She quickly became a type of feminist icon to me when I was younger and taught me that women can be scientists and intelligent and ‘inherit the Earth’ and not have to be half naked while they do it.
Over 20 years on and JP is still a pop culture phenomenon. Those special effects aren’t outdated in the least. JP shows the difference between films which rely on CGI and ones who use it to simply enhance particular moments. Using Star Wars as an example, the original trilogy was heralded as a success in 1977 as far as CGI was concerned- however the same cannot be said for the prequel. Six years on from Jurassic Park and The Phantom Menace exhausts its use of CGI to the point where it is no longer seamless or used for enhancement; you are brought out from the narrative because the special effects are so obvious.
I went to see the 20th anniversary re-release of the film in 3D and the feelings of wonder and awe that I felt all those years ago were still present- the theatre was sold-out which helped intensify the feelings of an event. Spielberg used 3D as brilliantly as he used simple CGI 20 years ago- at essential moments to enhance the spectacle. With Jurassic Park feeling so timeless 20 years later, can we say the same for a modern day success such as The Avengers. Will that still be relevant and timeless in 2033? I doubt kids would have been chewing their DVD case with tension thats for sure.