JurassicPark1Before The Lord of the Rings swept me headfirst into cinematic euphoria, there was Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which first introduced me to what movie magic can be. When Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil) and Dr. Ellie Sadler (Laura Dern) first see the brontosaurus’, when the velociraptor’s intelligence is gradually revealed…it’s difficult to not get tingly as a 13-year old boy, and it’s equally difficult now as a 30-year old man. Dinosaurs represent something special to children, a simultaneous portal to the past and to the grandiose, and I’m convinced that a trace of that sense of wonder remains in most of us as we grow up. And there wasn’t a better choice to helm Jurassic Park than Spielberg, who does the spectacular better than anyone. While the aforementioned moments are special, the real highlights are the first encounter with T-Rex, Dr. Sadler’s mad dash to get the park’s power back up-and-running, and a tour-de-force of framing and lighting in the Visitor Center’s sterile, stainless steel kitchen, where two beyond-crafty raptors stalk the Park founder’s grandchildren. Spielberg’s dinosaurs, revolutionary for their time, hold up extraordinarily well 17 years later. And on top of it all, Jurassic Park is a warning about the dangers of too much power, particularly too quickly: as Dr. Malcolm (a superbly snarky Jeff Goldblum) says, “you spent so much time trying to figure out if you could that you didn’t stop to think if you should.” Touché. A must-see for action lovers and youngsters (but not too young) alike. Also, a special thank you to my lovely mother, who endured me dragging her to this one about six times in theaters. Oh, what a parent will do for their child!

74/100