Until I became a self-sufficient consumer, there was only one movie I had ever watched on opening weekend. In fact, until I could buy my own tickets, it was the first film I’d seen within the first few weeks of release: Jurassic Park.
It was wet. It might have been raining when we arrived or at some point during the film or earlier in the day, but that’s how I remember it. What I know for sure is that I was 10 years old and going to the drive-in with my parents to see Jurassic Park on the big screen. That kind of memory sticks with you.
Since that time, I was gifted the VHS, and it became one of my go-to, home-sick-from-school movies. It was one of the first movies I converted to DVD when I bought the DVD box set of all three of the original Jurassic Park franchise films.
However, the memory gets a bit fuzzy around Michael Crichton’s book. Doing a little homework and knowing that it was one of the first mass-market paperback versions of the book that I took to camp means that I did read the book probably a year or two after I first saw the film. As a very young 11- or 12- year old at summer camp, yeah, I was that kid.
All of this was pre-established. I was that dinosaur kid with an interest in the paleontology of it all, soaking up all the real-world influences I could from a yet-to-be-poisoned TLC and Discovery Channel with names like Robert Bakker on the television, probably in promotion for the book he had just written, but I didn’t care. It was dinosaurs.
If you are willing to stay interested in dinosaurs after the science is handed to you, you’ll probably enjoy Jurassic Park in the 90s in both its film and novel versions. I sure did. Until I recently reread Jurassic Park to review it for this site, I hung on to the vivid memory of Dr. Grant using eggs from the laboratory to escape the velociraptors. The scene still brought a smile to my face when I reread the book.
I was hooked early. Perhaps, too early, but that’s not for me to say, because, despite my age, I’m happy to have been hooked on it. I think that the franchise I have basically grown up with has given me plenty of popcorn moments.
Except for the first Jurassic Park film, they’re likely not for everyone. For me, though, The Lost World and Jurassic Park III are still great popcorn movies. While Jurassic World was just a kind of linear update to the original Jurassic Park, it did incorporate a little more InGen from the books. When it came out in 2015, everyone was doing it. Jurassic World was a repeat much in the way that Star Wars: The Force Awakens basically repeated Star Wars: A New Hope.
I, unlike many others, am willing to say that I’m alright with it because it was enjoyable. The original Jurassic Park was game-changing for me. It’s the Speilberg and Williams collaboration that may be my personal favorite, even above Indiana Jones. All that has come since is still very fun, especially Netflix’s Camp Cretaceous series which is the most “fan fic” series I have seen in recent memory for any fandom.
I have to drive home just how amazing the original Jurassic Park score is. John Williams created such a masterpiece with that music that I own it, and it’s also on many subsequent playlists. It’s the score that I hear most often because it means that much to me.
The point is I feel like I have a very positive relationship with the franchise, and it all starts with a film that debuted on June 11, 1993.
Thirty years on, I still love that movie and probably always will. I don’t rewatch it nearly as often as I should, but when one of those television stations – be it TBS, TNT, FX, or any other you can think of – does a Jurassic marathon, you can bet I have it on in the background no matter what I am doing.
Do I want more after last year’s Jurassic World: Dominion? Probably. But I’m happy to revisit the six films I’ve already received from a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed, including its follow-up novel.
I’m not ashamed to love the franchise. I love the books. I love the films. I love Jurassic Park and all that it is evolved into, and I’m not sorry about it one bit.
Will there be more of it? Probably. As Malcolm would say, “Life, uh, finds a way.”
But if it should end, which I think is unlikely given what we can glean from Hollywood’s apathy of fresh, new things, I would be OK with what I’ve been given.