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Mace & Crown | September 26, 2017

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Future-Retroism: 'Jurassic Park' Becomes 'Jurassic World'

Future-Retroism: ‘Jurassic Park’ Becomes ‘Jurassic World’

George Plank
Staff Writer

With the overwhelming success of “Jurassic World,” audiences showed that they were excited to see that after a 22-year wait, the park was opened at last. But how does this new jaunt through the park compare with the thrill ride audiences were taken on with the release of “Jurassic Park” in 1993?

Based on the manuscript of the Michel Crichton novel, “Jurassic Park” shows what can happen when science goes unchecked. A philanthropist named John Hammond, played by the late Richard Attenborough, has created an entire theme park on an isolated island centered on dinosaurs.

Hammond selects a team of professionals to assess and hopefully officially endorse the park. Among their ranks are two paleontologists fresh off of a raptor dig, a chaos theorist, a lawyer and Hammond’s grandchildren.

At first, everything seems business as usual, but after a run in with a sick triceratops things begin to go downhill. None of the dinosaurs can be seen from the cars and when they try to coax the Tyrannosaurus Rex into appearing, the trams shut down.

Meanwhile, an agent from another company is trying to steal company secrets from Hammond and manipulates the automated computer systems to shut down, resulting in the failure of the island’s security.

The security collapse coupled with an inbound hurricane spells disaster for the guests as the Tyrannosaurus Rex escapes and begins to terrorize those on the tour. The paleontologist and Hammond’s grandchildren are separated from the others as they are forced to walk back to the visitor center.

The chaos theorist is picked up by a company jeep and the lawyer has an unfortunate accident in the bathroom. The rest of the film is a suspenseful rollercoaster while the parties try to make it back to the welcome center and restore power to the island, all while avoiding raptor attacks.

While it was not the first movie to use computer-generated animation, it showed what was possible on another scale. As a rule of thumb, any time a full dinosaur was seen on screen it was computer-generated.

Spielberg, being completely devoted to the craft, fully utilized animatronics, puppets and had a strong respect for practical effects. In total, there are only 15 minutes of screen time with dinosaurs; six minutes are computer generated and the remaining nine minutes are completed with practical effects.

“Jurassic World” is the sequel that Jurassic Park deserved. It returned to the basic concept of an amusement park filled with dinosaurs. The other two sequels delivered on the presence of dinosaurs, but almost never even mentioned the existence of the park. While the newest episode had a tendency to rely heavily on computer animation, it kept the idea of the theme park alive and well.

With the box office success of “Jurassic World,” a sequel is already in the works. Hopefully, the series will continue to innovate and future iterations will continue to bring something new to the table each time. All the while, as Hammond put it, sparing no expense.