Greetings to anyone who still visits my page! Thank you for checking back even though I hadn't posted stuff in such a long time. My last journal entry is from almost 4 years ago. Shame on me! hahaha. I thought it was time to update it with some random thoughts!!!... yay!
I just saw Jurassic Park 3D on IMAX for the fourth time this past weekend! It was such an incredible experience to see my favorite movie back on the big screen. Everyone is writing about it, and fortunately the reviews for it have been great! So different from what critics said 20 years ago when it was originally released. I still remember reading a terrible review on the newspaper when I was a kid, saying the movie was way too frightening for kids to see, and that the rating should be bumped up to R, etc, etc, (they compared it to "Batman Returns", which came out around the same time). Thankfully my parents ignored all these "potential post-traumatic disorder" warnings about the movie and took me to watch it anyways because they knew I loved dinosaurs so much. My life was never the same, because after seeing Jurassic Park and simply not understanding how it was possible to make such a movie, the question "How did they do that?" became the biggest and most important. I think it helped me get through some rough times, because no matter how bad things got, there was always a goal to look forward to, a higher purpose that meant more than any difficulty I went through - to figure out the enigma of Jurassic Park.
I still haven't figured it out. As interesting as technical answers about animatronics and animation software are, I think they are only part of the answer to how they gave the dinosaurs such an awesome presence. It is the whole movie I think, the way it is paced, the music, sounds and the careful staging of the dinosaurs. The first T-Rex appearance is foreshadowed by the rippling water and the mauled, bloody goat's leg falling on the roof of the car creates an authentic sense of danger. The Brachiosaurus is revealed with a triumphant musical score (none other than the Jurassic Park theme itself!) and timed perfectly after a second of silence as Grant and Ellie look off-screen in awe. The Dilophosaurus has an interesting twist to its introduction. It is first presented as a harmless, playful character - only to shock the audience when it suddenly reveals its deadly, predatory nature. The raptors have the longest introduction in the movie, and when one finally makes an unexpected appearance (quite literally) it makes for a scene worthy of a horror movie and a perfect jump-scare. In contrast, when the Triceratops is revealed, the feeling is the opposite, it is pure awe and wonder. There are not many movies that can combine wonder, suspense and horror as well as Jurassic Park did (I think "The Neverending Story" did this very well too).
The lighting in some scenes is much darker than in most movies of the same genre nowadays. The Dilophosaurus scene is set at night in the rain, and the Dilophosaurus itself is mostly seen as a shadowy figure, speckled with glossy reflections. The T-Rex main road attack sequence has a similar dark look, with the huge dinosaur sometimes seen only through rain-splattered windshields. I think they left more to the imagination, and it had a powerful effect. But whenever the audience couldn't see a dinosaur, the filmmakers made sure they could still hear it, and the dinosaur sounds created for the movie are among the most recognizable of all time - the awe-inspiring T-Rex roar, the blood-curling Raptor shrills, and the haunting trumpeting sounds of the Brachiosaurus.
John Williams' score is a classic masterpiece with a wide range of moods, like the movie itself. The "Theme from Jurassic Park" has become an anthem of movie magic, and the music written for the raptor scenes is just as terrifying and effective now as it was 20 years ago.
Another thing I noticed watching the movie this time is how it doesn't down-talk to the viewer at any point. The filmmakers of Jurassic Park were not afraid to speak to the audience in a technical language and pull the curtain on the science behind the premise: The latest theories on dinosaur evolution (the dinosaur-bird connection), the astonishing bio-engineering procedure that brought dinosaurs back to life and the mathematical theory that ultimately predicted the park's demise. This all added up to create an incredible sense of realism.
I could go on writing about how amazing this movie is, but I think this is already a really long journal post! If you got this far, thanks so much for reading!
Listening to: Jurassic Park SNES Score
Reading: Jurassic Park (again!) and The Neverending Story