Monday, April 22, 2013
I can still somewhat recall the events of me seeing Jurassic Park for the first time one June 11, 1993. I was 13 at the time, and in 7 days it would be my birthday. My brother took me as a birthday present to see the movie at the Century 21 theater in San Jose. This was back before I could find out all I wanted to know about the movie by hopping on the internet, so all I knew is what I saw from commercials on TV, movie previews, or magazines including comic book advertisements. I remember that they wouldn't show the entire dinosaurs head in any print or commercials because they wanted to keep it a secret, something I am not sure you could get away with in todays show me everything now media. So going in all I knew that is the next big thing from Steven Spielberg and that it had dinosaurs, who I had yet to see an entire one of. Spielberg was coming off of Hook, a movie that was pretty much a big disappointment in 1991 even though it had found a cult following with people around my age.
In fact my wife just bought it. Here is that story: It was buy one get one 50% off at Toys R Us. They had a great deal on Close Encounters of the Third Kind on bluray for only $9.99! This is the 3 disc edition version. So we looked for another bluray that we could get and I didn't see anything I wanted but my wife wanted Hook, fair enough as it completes a Spielberg double feature and is a movie that appeals to kids and adults, well mostly kids. It was the same price as the Close Encounters so it all worked out. I took the movies up to the guy who was working the movies/video game section to buy. He said he didn't even know they had Close Encounters on bluray for so cheap. I was thinking I must look pretty smart to this 20 year old guy working at TRU! But then he saw the second movie and he just had to give his two cents on a movie I was actually buying from him! He pretty much went onto say that it was one of the worst movies ever made, up there with the Super Mario Brothers movie in the pantheon of shitty movies. I started feeling bad for Hook now, OK, it is not the best movie ever made but come on! This is not Super Mario Brothers bad! I mean you have Ruffio for fucks sake! Anyway I still bought the movie, it was after all 50% off.
So I was saying Jurassic Park was big return to what Spielberg could do well, an action adventure movies with frickin dinosaurs! The Century 21 was a once screen theater and from what I was told has one of the biggest single screens in all of the bay area. People would often camp out and wait in line for hours. It was something people used to do more before all the midnight screenings and online tickets, and I miss some of that. We waited in line for what seemed like days, mind you we couldn't just pull out a smart phone but had to talk or read a newspaper or magazine. I even remember the friend who I decided to take bought me a soda waiting in the line as an early birthday present (not the worst bday gift I ever got!). Finally we got to go inside...
As for the movie, well what I can recall was how loud it was. For some reason they sound seem to be extra awesome for Jurassic Park. They had the digital sound and I recall the seats shaking when the T-Rex roared, it was just so cool. The movie was just a perfect blend of special effects and practical effects, showing that CGI was the wave of the future that it has now become. It was just a pure exciting thrill ride of a movie, one that you get out of and want to go right back inside and watch again. I do not remember a lot of movie experiences as well as I remember the time I saw Jurassic Park for the first time, I guess it just goes to show you how special it was to me. And the following Monday me, my brother, and my dad all went to the Century 21 to see it again. The movie was just as amazing on that Monday as it was a few days ago on that Friday. I believe I went onto see the movie 2-3 more times in the movie theater altogether
I recently saw the Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D and I am happy to say it play just as well now as it did those twenty (wow) years ago. The 3D is actually very well done for an older movie and really does add to the overall experience of the movie, something that most 3D is lacking in todays market. I was happy to see that Jurassic Park is one of those films that will forever be a fun thrill ride (like Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark). I also watched the sequels to complete the trilogy since I had them on bluray. Each sequel does get progressively worse but The Lost World: Jurassic Park does have a lot of the fun elements going for it after the half way mark it just becomes a non-stop thrill ride. The third one has a nice nod by bringing back Sam Neil (Alan Grant from the first movie) but overall the movie falls flat.
While Jurassic Park is not a classic movie it is one of those movies that I will easily be able to watch over and over again and one day share with my children. I will always remember the experience of seeing the movie and all the things that went on that day twenty years ago in June.