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 While you can't exactly claim that Jurassic Park is an under-appreciated movie, I tend to forget how good it really was. I saw it once in the theater, and believe that I have seen it two or three times on TV. But having just watched it again, I suspect I actually just watched the last half or 2/3 when I ran across it on a hotel TV and COULD NOT TURN IT OFF.  As a result, my memory has mostly fixated on the last 2/3 of the film: the brontosauruses grazing in their pasture, the ground shaking as T-Rex approaches, the terrifying scene in the kitchen, the climactic Tyrannosaurus Ex Machina moment at the end. These set pieces are so powerful that it's easy to forget how well-crafted the whole film is.

Characters are introduced with perfect little scenes that combine painless exposition with vivid windows into their personalities (as when Dr. Grant 'splains velociraptors to little Pugsley, simultaneously tipping us off to his attitude towards children and setting up poor Muldoon's final scene. Oh shit, they attack from both si....)  By the time the whole cast comes together at the park, we know exactly who they are and we're ready to roll. The pacing of the movie is exquisite, rolling in smooth parabolic curves from swelling sensawunder to absolute terror, to glorious relief of tension before starting the next round of wonder/terror/relief. I had forgotten that the beautiful scene with Dr. Grant and the children in the tree watching the brachiasaurs came right in the middle of the movie, just when the audience desperately needed a break. Do they even make movies like that any more? Seems like nowadays it just gets faster and louder the closer you get to the end.

And I am totally a sucker for the type of monster movie that doesn't actually show you the monster until half way through the movie. Who could forget the glass of water quivering as Rexie lumbers towards her first appearance? But I had completely forgotten the opening scene (possibly we got to the theater late and I never saw it?) -- a 5-minute teaser that gets your hair standing on end without actually showing you anything but reaction shots. Definitely sets you up for the kind of movie this is going to be. 

I enjoyed Jurassic World (hey, DINOSAURS!) but Jurassic Park is so very, very much better: the characters, the pacing, the scary parts, and of course the ineffable John Williams score. The first 3 Jurassic Park movies are available on Netflix streaming for just a few more days (end of April and they're gone). Don't pass up this great chance to re-experience one of the great movies of all time.



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