Much like Jay-Z had 99 concerns, I had two when heading into to see ‘The Park’ for the first time in years. And they went a little something like this:
- The CGI, that I’ve been using as a standard-bearer (“the effects aren’t even as good as Jurassic Park’s, and that came out in 1993”) wouldn’t hold up over time
- Jeff Goldblum would be really annoying
Yes, sadly, the CGI isn’t quite as good as I remembered. It’s still very impressive though, it’s just more like 93.3% good than the 98.9% it was before. And the visual effects still looked top class.
Somehow Goldblum isn’t annoying at all, except in the deliberate way that his character wants to be (and that I aspire to). There is something distinctly Spielbergian and Nineties in the idea that Goldblum could play a sexy, rock-star chaotician. Yet, even with my biologically-enhanced 2011 eyes, Jeff still does a good job. In retro-fitting my memories of J Park, I made his character far more Jewishy than he really is. The quips and sarcasm aren’t grating in that way. The most Jewishy character of Hollywood blockbusters is Goldblum’s on-screen dad in Independence Day. It’s as if I had tarred Jeff’s JP character with the same yiddish brush. Sorry, Mr Goldblum.
Spielberg is the master of cool ish. From the water ripples in the cups to the car in tree scene to a Raptor’s beady eye, he knows how to make it all look iconic and awesome. There was a tense moment where I thought “I’m on edge here watching a goat standing about, and I’m 32 years old”. Developing the Raptors as cunning and strategic is a nice touch too, lending them some personality. Even the barely-seen dilophosaurus (a blog-favourite) is shown as a curious, dog-like animal. Until it kills the fat guy from Seinfeld.
It may require revisiting, but there seems to be something spatially wrong with the scene in which the T-Rex attacks the jeeps. Though the people are supposed to be leaving the park, they seem to be passing in the same direction that they came in. This would mean that the Rex and the goat are on the same side that the car slides off. And that has an enormous drop. So there must be a narrow and incredibly steep hill there, one not obvious in any shot. Again, I shouldn’t really mention this until I inspect it. I’m normally so overwhelmed by the cinema experience that my sense of logic goes awry. But I’ve mentioned it now. Good thing no one reads this or I’d be setting myself up for embarrassment.
To restate, I was about 14 when JP came out. I’ve seen it several times since, at least a few times as an adult, and I’m ashamed to admit that I never noticed the Grant character arc before. When his other half berated him for not wanting kids, I wondered what that had to do with anything, except for fleshing out the characters. Only when Hammond’s grandkids arrived did I realise that they allow Grant to develop his fatherly instincts. God I’m stupid. Note to potential parents: if you want to feel more like a father before becoming one, try saving some kids from formerly extinct killing machines.
I often fear Spielberg Schmaltz when I rewatch one of his films with my lousy, cynical, adult mindbrain. JP luckily wasn’t too cheesy. The scene in which Grant and the kids take refuge in a tree was so sugary as to be uncomfortable to watch. Despite being thisclose to being eaten by a dinosaur, the kids soon accept close contact with another, because they’ve been told it doesn’t eat meat. It’s a necessary quiet moment, but one loaded with ham (and cheese and sugar of course). The boy cracks bad jokes while Grant realises that he’s a de facto dad and the audience sighs.
And, eh, that’ll do. Jurassic Park, still good, bitches.