Growing up listening to punk rock, there was one very important rule: when a band becomes popular, they are no longer good. Once a band makes it big, they’ve sold out on art and no longer care about making good music. Rather than celebrating that an artist we like has been accepted, we would cast them out to the mainstream.
This week I went to see the IMAX 3D re-release of 1993’s Jurassic Park and was convicted of how we so often take this sell-out mentality and apply it to film. I don’t think there are many people who would call Jurassic Park a bad film, but too often it gets lumped in as a generic “popcorn movie.” While it may have had a big budget, miles of special effects, and been a massive success, it was also an unbelievably captivating and well-crafted film.
Jurassic Park revolves primarily around two very different, and very powerful emotions: wonder and fear. After 20 years as a part of the cultural zeitgeist, it is easy to forget just how entrancing it was to step into the incredible world created by Steven Spielberg 20 years ago. The scale of the theatrical experience, along with an above average 3D conversion, allows you to experience the same amazement displayed by the characters on-screen.
As the wonder in the film is replaced by fear, we are truly able to see the mastery of Spielberg at the height of his game in the early 90’s. He forgoes flashy camera tricks or snarky dialogue, and instead builds a masterpiece with precise pacing, powerful character relationships, and solid, sturdy cinematography. While Jurassic Park may not have been an avant garde art house picture, it was a master class in cinematic craftsmanship; guiding our emotions with a sure hand, never compromising on entertainment or quality.
Steven Spielberg didn’t rewrite the rulebook in 1993, nor did he discover the voice of a generation; he showed us that a movie can be entertaining and accessible and at the same time be powerful and beautiful. While there was no new footage or extensive remastering, Jurassic Park still has plenty new to offer, even after two decades of familiarity. As blockbuster season begins to kick into high gear, remember that art can still be found in a big budget, and quality can coexist with mass appeal.
My Rating: 4 Stars