In an adventure 65 million years in the making, Gulbenkian and Gulbenkian Uncovered funded by Film Hub South East and BFI Audience Network present a special outdoor free screening of Jurassic Park as part of Welcome Week 2017.
Approaching the 25th anniversary of its initial release, Jurassic Park still holds up as a solid film today. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it was bound to do well at the box office, and with a relatively modest budget of $63,000,000 it has made a whopping $1,029,153,882 to date and is now a household name.
Jurassic Park is about the Icarian endeavours of a very wealthy industrialist, John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough,) the immense island dinosaur attraction he and his company create, and the disaster that befalls the park and its palaeontologist visitors during a preview tour. Rather ambitiously, the park is filled with real, living, cloned dinosaurs. Hounded by lawsuits, and at the request of his investors, Hammond invites palaeontology experts Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to spend a weekend scoping out the park before providing testimonials of its legitimacy, but they quickly discover that “life will always find a way” as the park’s security is compromised and the dinosaurs roam free.
Jurassic Park is the ultimate example of a solid modern blockbuster, and a well-made one too. A strong cast, distinguished and interesting characters, and clever screenwriting make for an enjoyable and mostly unawkward experience. Realistic dialogue is hard to come by in more recent blockbuster productions, so re-watching films like Jurassic Park is often a breath of fresh air. The writing provides clues and foreshadowing early on in the film that pay off later on, and unlike some other films, the dialogue isn’t forced or out-of-place when these hints are first suggested, so they complete the audience’s understanding of the story without compromising immersion.
Much of the credit for the film’s longevity goes to Spielberg for his decision to use animatronics instead of shying away from placing the dinosaurs front and centre. Using animatronics has the benefit of giving the actors something physical and tactile to respond to, resulting in a more naturalistic performance. Almost 25 years on, the result on screen is still believable and impressive, unlike so many films made during the early stages of computer animation, which are now sometimes laughable due to poor quality by comparison.
Finally, and in my opinion the greatest thing about Jurassic Park, is the incredible soundtrack by the legendary John Williams. The sweeping and dramatic score gives me tingles every single time I watch the helicopter arrive at the island. It brings the tension and excitement of the film right to the forefront, and more importantly, helps the audience comprehend the sheer awesomeness of seeing dinosaurs alive for the first time in millions of years.
by Jack Wierenga
The free screening will be on Tuesday 19th September 2017 on the Registry lawn at the Canterbury campus.