I read the book about a month before the movie came out, and was a little disappointed that some parts were left out of the movie, but these missing elements were added in the theme park ride down at Islands of Adventure, so Universal did its best at capturing Michael Crichton’s vision from every angle. This amazing movie was the biggest movie draw worldwide until 1997 with the advent of Titanic, and deserving of every penny it took in. It took us to a place featuring creatures most everyone has been fascinated with since they learned about dinosaurs when they were little kids. The only other truly successful franchise to use this premise of bringing dinosaurs and humans together is such a manner is the BBC’s Primeval.
We open in a jungle on Isla Nubar, an island off the shores of Costa Rica, and there are several workers attempting to transport a wild animal in a very secure steel cage. A man that looks to be a game official, Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) is supervising them. Something slips up, and we see a close-up of a giant lizard-like eye, and part of the creature’s face. We hear squeals and screams as one of the workers is pulled into the cage and attacked. The game official tells the workers to shoot the creature, and after several shots, the scene cuts to a man in a suit drifting on a raft to an amber mine somewhere in the Dominican Republic. The man is Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) a lawyer representing the family of the man whom was attacked at Isla Nubar, as well as some investors who are having doubts about a new project, a theme park, that is being developed on Isla Nubar by InGEN and Hammond Industries. Gennaro tells the paleontologist, Juanito Rostagno (Miguel Sandoval), that he is looking for some experts to sign off on Hammond’s new project. He has chosen a mathematician, Dr. Ian Malcomb (Jeff Goldblum), and is looking to get Alan Grant (Sam Neill). Rastagno tells him that he will never get Grant out of Montana, because he is old school, and that he’ll put his own project before anything Hammond can bring him.
Cut to the Badlands of Montana. Paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and paleobotanist, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), are just learning how computers can enhance their science, but they still don’t really trust them. They are on a dig with a group of students and assistants. They find the fossil of a Utahraptor, then compare it to the skeletal structure of a large bird Alan explains how dinosaurs, especially Cretaceous period dinosaurs, were more in common to birds than reptiles. A boy of about twelve in the is not impressed with the find, and Alan gives him a quick rundown of how raptors hunt, and gives the kid a good scare. Later than day, an InGEN chopper arrives, doing some damage to the dig. Grant and Sattler are upset, and Grant goes to the trailer where they keep the sample. An old man in tropical clothes is raiding the fridge and pulls out a bottle of Moët & Chandon. The old man is John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), an entrepreneur that builds wildlife refuges and animal theme parks. He pops the bubbly, telling the scientists that the project he wants them to see is exactly what they are looking for. They go with Hammond to Isla Nubar, and meet Gerrero and Malcomb along the way.
As they take a jeep ride to the visitor’s centre, they encounter a brachiosaurus. Grant and Sattler barrage Hammond with many questions, and he takes them to the labs to show them how making dinosaurs by cloning is done. The whole of the park is automated, and one man, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight), can pretty much run the whole of the park from his computer station, but Nedry has many debts to pay, and intends on stealing dinosaur embryos and selling them to InGEN’s competition. The park is secured by miles and miles of electrified fences and some biological security measures. All the dinosaurs are bred as female, so there is no unauthorised breeding. They are also bred lysine-deficient, so that if there is ever an break from the island from the dinos, they will go comatose and die, unless they are fed lysine by the engineers. Nedry has a way to bypass all the security to the frozen storage units that holds the embryos. His timing in this is very bad. Not only are the scientists on the tour of the park in automated cars, but there is a tropical storm bearing down on Isla Nubar. It is a Friday, and the boat to shore is leaving for the weekend. Nedry gave himself an 18-minute window to get the embryos off the island. While this is happening, security fences are going down all over the park, and the scientists and Hammond’s grandkids, Lexie (Ariana Richards) and Timmie (Joseph Mazzello) are coming to the Tyrannosaur paddock. Earlier, then encountered a sick triceratops, and Dr. Sattler stayed with a ranger to help him find out what was making the dino sick. Once the lines go down, that’s when all hell breaks loose on Isla Nubar. Hammond and computer specialist, Ray Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson) can only help from the control room, where they really have no control.
This is by far one of the greatest family action movies made, and was the first to use very realistic computer generations. The story is non-stop, and will keep you on the edge of your seat and fascinated with dinosaurs all over again, just like when you were a little kid, and the largest word in your vocabulary was “tyrannosaurus rex”. It is no wonder that this franchise put at at least two more movies, with a possibility of a fourth. We never tire of dinosaurs and they mystery they hold over us, even from over 65 million years ago.
I give this film a Musing review of