In the absence of cable and internet in my apartment, I’ve come to rely much more on my DVD collection to keep me entertained on these increasingly lengthening autumn nights. And while I do indeed have an impressive collection of films, a large percentage of them don’t necessarily warrant repeat viewing (“The Last Picture Show,” “Happiness,” and “Schindler’s List,” just to name a few off the top of my head). In periods without the comforts of network programming, one must rely on those DVDs in the collection that can be watched over and over again and still be enjoyed to the fullest. At the top of this list is Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece, “Jurassic Park.”
Now, it’s important to give honorable mention to some other films that withstand the test of multiple screenings—“Maverick,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “Men in Black,” “That Thing You Do!” etc—but none of these films continue to enthrall and delight with the same visceral power that “Jurassic Park” so effortlessly wields, time after time after time. Why is “Jurassic Park” so consistently re-watchable? Well, I’m glad you asked. After the jump, a breakdown of why “Jurassic Park” will never, ever, ever get old:
1. Bad-ass special effects
Ever notice how movies that came out like two years ago have the shittiest CGI when you go back and watch them on DVD? That shit’s the worst, man. Alternatively, “Jurassic Park” continues to look great, a full fifteen years (!) after its original release. Relying on a combination of CGI, mechanical dinosaurs, stuntmen in dinosaur suits, and the creative brilliance of Stan Winston, Spielberg and co. were able to create dinosaurs that look as real today as they first did when they dazzled audiences on the big screen.
(NOTE—If you’re wondering about how I knew all that shit about the special effects, it’s because I had a very informative “Making of Jurassic Park” book that I read multiple times as a young lad, enamored with the visual spectacle of the film. I didn’t even have to Wikipedia that shit—not that it really matters, since this is Modern Jackass and all, but still, I thought I’d just aggressively tote my “Jurassic Park” knowledge for a second. In fact, assume every other pseudo-factual thing I say for the remainder of this article is off the top of my head—I mean, yeah, maybe I’ll get some of the details wrong, but you’ll get the idea. Who cares, right?)
2. Quotable dialogue
Even if you haven’t seen “Jurassic Park” seventy five times, chances are you’re familiar with several of the classic catchphrases that Michael Crichton and David Koepp deposited all over their ridiculously taut screenplay. Try to tell me that you’re not familiar with at least half of the following lines from the film:
“Hold onto your butts.”
“That is one big pile of shit.”
“Allen!” “Dr. Grant!” “Allen!!!”
“Dennis, our lives are in your hands and you’ve got butter fingers?”
“Must go faster. Must. Go faster.”
“Well, we’re back in the car again.”
“Spared no expense.”
“You stood on the shoulders of giants, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and you packaged it, and you slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now, you’re selling it, [bangs table] you’re selling it…”
“I really do hate that man.”
“Where’s the goat?”
“And now I’m sitting in the car by myself, uh, talking to myself. That’s chaos theory.”
“Uh uh uh. You didn’t say the magic word.” “Please, goddamnit!”
“How did you do this?” “I’ll show you.”
3. John Williams
While John Williams’ trademark is writing ridiculously catchy pop-classical hooks for movies that are usually directed by Steven Spielberg or George Lucas, he really outdid himself this time, providing iconic melodies that correspond perfectly with the iconic images onscreen. Remember that sequence at the end of the movie when they’re leaving the island in a helicopter, and they see those pelicans flying over the water, and that simple, beautiful melody is just making the moment incredibly poignant? Me too.
4. The cast (with a special acknowledgement of the high caliber of child acting)
I’d be hard pressed to find another action movie with a premise as crazy as an island filled with genetically-engineered dinos that features a cast of such accomplished actors. Jeff Goldblum? Ridiculous baller. Laura Dern? I don’t think you can have more indie cred than a starring role in “Blue Velvet.” Sam Neill? Sexy, distinguished and credible as archaeologist Dr. Allen Grant (not to mention how well the Aussie murders his American accent). Richard Attenborough? A living legend. Further, Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards (ok, I had to look up their names) portray their characters with depth and complexity, more than holding their own in an ensemble teeming with such expert thespians. Throw in Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, B.D. Wong, Bob Peck, and Martin Ferrero to round out the cast, and you’ve got one of the most impressive collectives of actors, not just for an action film, but for a film, period. Yeah, I said it.
In conclusion, “Jurassic Park” is sick. Siiiiiick. Go watch it again, and relive the magic like it’s your first time.