Reading the RT reviews— the reaction to the film from critics in 1993 is demonstrably different than 2013 (re-release). Critics in 2013 adore the film. It’s not quite on the level of like Big Lebowski in terms of the 180 from the critics but “68/100” original score (metacritic) turned into mostly “genre classic” and plenty of “masterpieces”— climbing on the TSPDT top 1000 list as well- in the top 800 as of today.
It is part horror film (and what a horror film), part technical fx achievement and part Jaws (more specific because of Spielberg) and King Kong reboot- Goldblum even references “King Kong” with those doors entering the park
The build-up is from Jaws—it actually takes an hour into the movie before we see T-Rex (except here unlike the 1975 film the actual monster looks terrific) or a Raptor—I feel like the water shaking effect is like a shark fin
The characters and performance are great- Attenbourogh is affable and arrogant- Goldblum’s Malcolm is a brilliant character. Yes- they are archetypes (some compare it to a teen horror movie with a nerd (love Wayne Knight’s Oppenheimer pic, jolt, etc), outdoorsman, girl, jock, etc but it’s really well done- closer to like the architypes used in John Ford’s Stagecoach
Crichton’s screenplay (adapting his own best seller) is so good- economic, entertaining, quotable
I can’t call it a meditation on the subjects but it’s surely a cautionary tale on ambition and greed—and I think there’s an interesting read of the film and layer of subtext with Attenborough as Spielberg- he’s a theme-park dream-maker, big PT Barnum-like spectacle and pleasing kids—he’s in that room with his editor and cameraman taking the audience for a ride like Attenborough is with Samuel L and Wayne Knight (I don’t know what to make of the comment about merchandising (Jurassic Park’s and Spielberg’s merchandising of this film is legendary) from the sleazy lawyer—haha).
That score by John Williams—one of his best… the font from the film titles, the logo/poster—all perfect
Spielberg puts his kids in the film and the subject of divorce (even if it’s just brushed past)—it’s a great touch
It’s epic filmmaking as well- great establishing shot work with the helicopter arrival on the island and first shot of the dinosaur
It’s not a flawless film and Spielberg isn’t ambitious in his stylistic choices. Part of the plot suspends my belief a little that this is the weekend that they are having all the employees off the island or that if they are evacuating that they don’t evacuate everyone—– it’s transparent plot mechanics— also- from a production standpoint a few shots out in the wild look like a studio backlot at best (some could argue a high school play papier-mache) specifically I’m talking about the tree where Grant and the kids sleep in the see and see the brontosaurus—but I could be guilty of nitpicking here- this is a film I’ve seen 50 times.
It’s a stunner of a finale- I love the composition and the shot with the T-Rex of the “When the dinosaurs ruled” banner coming down. It’s gorgeous
Must-See film— maybe with a lean more towards HR than Masterpiece
How/Where would Spielberg’s 1993 rank among the best singular years for directors? (for example Coppola in 1974, Bergman 1957, Hitchcock 1954 etc).
@Azman- I know, what an amazing year. He’s third out of those four (ahead of Hitchcock). I think Preston Sturges has Sullivan’s Travels and Lady Eve in 1941. Can’t be many others that are close.
Buster Keaton with Sherlock Jr. and Navigator in 1924
1930- von Sternberg with Blue Angel and Morocco
Great examples. These are a few slightly inferior ones:
There are many average one
Villenueve 2013 and soderbergh 2000 for example (there’s more but some made 1 decent and 1 bad movie so i haven’t included them. the most famous is Oliver Stone in 1991). Kurosawa in 1950 and 57 also.
From my previous list I must add Hitchcock 1940 and Bergman 1963
Clint Eastwood: Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: All About Eve and No Way Out (1950)
Kielowksi 1988 (short film of love and killing and 8 decalogue episodes).
Ford (1939 and 1962), Fleming* (1939), Godard (1965), Renoir (1936), Eisenstein (1925)
Mel Brooks in 1974 is another good one(though not even the best example from 1974. That would be coppola). There are quite a few such examples, however very few are at the level of Spielberg in 1993.
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