I love dinosaurs. Love them. When I was a kid (physically, still there mentally) I loved nothing more than to be left alone for hours at a time with my plastic dinosaurs and let my mind wander to a time that was all but forgotten.
As I got older I devoured everything dinosaur and prehistoric life related that I could find. I learned the names of famous paleontologists. I learned how to properly say the mostly Greek inspired names…I learned that to this day if you say the word “Brontosaurus” I get filled with an unhealthy rage…but I digress.
My father peaked my interest one day when he said that he was currently reading a book about dinosaurs called Jurassic Park, but unlike the ones I was currently reading, there were no pictures. He spent a few moments telling me about this particularly vicious dinosaur in the book, something called a Velociraptor, and then proceeded to crush my curiosity by telling me I was too young to read it. Seeing that I was distraught about being told I couldn’t read a book with dinosaurs in it, he promptly mentioned that it was being turned into a movie. What now?!? A movie? With dinosaurs? I was more than intrigued.
I couldn’t wait for this movie to come out as my VHS copy of The Land Before Time was on its last legs and, frankly, I wasn’t so sure Littlefoot was for me anymore…but these raptors? Those were right up my alley. While I anxiously awaited the release of the film, I pestered my mother to order everything with that now iconic skeleton logo on it from the Scholastic Book Club and absorbed everything I could. Then one day, my father had to go to Target. Sounds harmless, right? WRONG!
As with every trip to a store, I had to look at the toys. Keep in mind that I didn’t always get a toy, but I still had to look. We turned the action figure aisle and I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw nothing but dinosaurs. Dinosaurs as far as the eye could see and I’m pretty sure my father let out an audible “shit”. Toys were never discussed when I was told about this movie and my dad knew he wasn’t getting out of this one free. After he calmly explained to be he wouldn’t be getting me the electronic Tyrannosaurus Rex…and by calmly I mean looked at the price and laughed…he grabbed me a raptor…and the rest as they say is history.
When Jurassic Park was released on June 11, 1993 I was there. And three days later when a late birthday card (May 27th if you wanna plan now) arrived with cash in it, I was there again. When we get our first full-bodied look at the Tyrannosaurus Rex, I honestly feel that is some of the most heart-stopping footage ever. The immense scope and majesty of this film is what makes this film so enduring. I was hooked and to this day when the tourists see that first Brachiosaurus, I can’t help but smile. The movie takes me to my proverbial happy place. Isn’t that what we want from our films, an escape? Aside from the dinosaurs on screen looking more real than anything I’d ever seen before, and the score from John Williams was both soothing and terrifying, something was different. It took me a few years and may viewings later to realize what it was. I wanted to make movies.
When I entered film school (yes, dad, I know you wanted me to be a mechanic), the professors asked everyone what movie hooked them on film. The answers were all usually Star Wars, JAWS or that one odd choice of Encino Man, but I had to give credit my end-all. While in school, I dreamed of what it would be like to see the dinosaurs that Steven Spielberg brought to screen 20 years ago again. It seemed that every time a rumor of a new Jurassic Park hit the blogosphere, it was met with disdain (I’m looking at YOU raptors-with-guns script!) or flat out denied.
And then, as Dr. Ian Malcolm so eloquently put it, life found a way. After spending the last decade plus in Developmental Hell, Jurassic Park 4 found an army of writers including but not limited to Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and an upstart director in Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed). Some fans have expressed some disdain that a seemingly unproven, independent director was given the keys to the castle. Rather than sit back and let people complain, Trevorrow took to Twitter where he has answered as many questions about the upcoming film as he legally can.
Without Jurassic Park I wouldn’t have completed film school…of course I wouldn’t have $60,000 in loans either. I wouldn’t have worked for Kevin Smith, I wouldn’t have made the leap of faith (or fall from grace) to give Hollywood a go and I wouldn’t have found something that ignites such a vigorous passion in me. As a die-hard fan of the franchise, I can’t wait to be first in line in June 2015 ready to watch cinematic dinosaurs do what they do best…eat people.
P.S. Ladies, it’s totally uncool to deny a guy sex by quoting Dennis Nedry: “Uh, uh, uh! You didn’t say the magic word!” Not that I’d know or anything.