Jurassic Park

Ah, dear Jurassic Park. What a truly great movie. Released in 1993, it became an instant success, a phenomenon, a merchandising juggernaut and a lot more. It rekindled the interest in paleontology and moved the goalposts in the field of special effects.

I was nine years old by the time it reached Belgian cinemas and I was blown away. Living, breathing dinosaurs! It's remarkable : Jurassic Park's CGI is still awesome, 17 years on. Even today, very mediocre movies featuring very mediocre computer graphics get released. Few movies since have managed to equal or top the production values of this saurus fest.

Reviews at the time were quite harsh and called the movie "style over substance". How wrong they were! The cast is excellent, and special mention must go to Jeff Goldblum. The screenplay provides each character with memorable lines. "That's chaos theory!", "The future ex-miss Malcolm", "Women inherit the earth", "I bring scientists, you bring a rockstar", "Dodgson! Dodgson! We've got Dodgson here! ... Nobody cares!", "Ah ah ah! You didn't say the magic word!" etc. You could play a drinking game quoting all the classic lines.

Jurassic Park products were literally everywhere : lunchboxes, bed sheets, candy, ice cream, books ... I, for one, was mostly interested in the action figures and the sticker book (from Merlin).

Nowadays, whenever a movie gets released, a huge offering of action figures is ready to be sold. But back then, a tiny selection of just 5 characters was up for grabs. Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Denis Nedry (far too skinny, by the way) all made sense, but why opt for Robert Muldoon and Tim? Sure, Tim is a major character, but you can't have Tim without Lex. Or without Mr. Hammond. Where's Ian Malcolm? Where's Mr. Ray Arnold (a detachable arm was a must)? Where's Gennaro (ready to be eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex)?
Kenner did release a Stegosaurus, a Dimetrodon and more dinosaurs that are never seen in the movie. They even made a helicopter for Alan Grant to use. When did that happen in the movie!?

I still need stickers 61, 71, 82, 97, 113, 125, 129, 158 and 180 for my book. If you happen to have them, I'll be glad to buy them. Come to think of it, I never ever completed any sticker book. How sad.

Jurassic Park is still a major Spielberg triumph. There's not a single false note in the flick. It oozes quality from every pore. And don't forget John Williams's rousing, sweeping, emotionally captivating music!

Julian De Backer, 4 September 2010

5 September correction
According to the excellent JP Toys website, a fatter Nedry and an Ian Malcolm were eventually released in a second wave of action figures. Sadly, this line never reached Europe - which explains my oversight.