Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jurassic Park: The Definitive Movie of My Childhood

I was thinking recently about what it would be like if I could take a time machine back to 1993 and have a conversation with my 11 year old self. What would we talk about? Star Trek, almost definitely (The end of Star Trek: TNG is going to blow your mind, little Me). Girls (you are going to get SUPER into girls). School (ummm, high school is going to suck almost as much as Middle School). And probably movies.

I assume you have a list of favorite movies. We all do, right? If I had to put together a top 5, it would probably look something like this:

-Lord of the Rings (I consider the whole Trilogy to be one movie)
-The Royal Tennenbaums
-the Avengers
-Who Framed Roger Rabbit

This list changes at least once a week, by the way. Right now, my logic is that these are the movies I re-watch (or would re-watch if they were out on DVD/streaming) the most.

My 11 year old self's list would look very different. It would probably look something like this:

-Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
-Who Framed Roger Rabbit
-Jurassic Park

That last one is probably the most important one. I remember Jurassic Park the way I think kids of a previous generation remember Star Wars, and/or Indiana Jones. It was- without a doubt- the definitive film of my childhood. I was OBSESSED with Jurassic Park. I read the book, I had some action figures (even though I was kind of too old for them at that point), I read every magazine article I could get my grubby paws on about the movie.

True story- as an incredibly uncreative 11 year old, I created my own version of Jurassic Park called Cretaceous Park (after the Cretaceous era when most of the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park ACTUALLY lived) wherein I was one of the people working at my Jurassic Park analogue and I had to round up dinosaurs, and whatnot. I would draw pictures of myself riding stegosauruses and fighting pteranadons.

Why did I like Jurassic Park so much? Why did every eleven year old in America love Jurassic Park so much?

Well, first and foremost, it's legitimately a great movie. Go back and watch it again. It holds up. Of the five movies I have listed as my 11 year old self's favorites, the only one that holds up better is "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" because it's actually a really smart film that you can probably appreciate MORE as an adult than you did as a kid. But it's an awesome movie.

On top of that, it's a visual spectacle. One of the coolest experiences you can have at the movies is seeing something you have never seen before. At the time it came out, no one had ever made film dinosaurs that looked as real as the dinos in Jurassic Park. When you watched that film, you really believed that the T-Rex was a real, breathing creature. When the brachiosaurus stood up when Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and co. show up at the park, you could almost see that beautiful sauropod walking across the plains.

Plus, um, dinosaurs. Who doesn't love dinosaurs? I mean, other than Young Earth Creationists who think that God hid dinosaur bones in the Earth to test their faith? I was OBSESSED with dinosaurs as a kid.

It's just a fun, awesome movie. It's Steven Spielberg at the peak of his powers. When I go to the movies, when I shell out $10 plus (or the equivalent of $10 in 1993 dollars) I want to see something big, and over the top that I have never seen before. That's what Jurassic Park is/was.

I was talking to my brother (Tommy) on the phone recently, and I said "I think I had more fun watching the Avengers than I have had watching any movie since Jurassic Park" and I realized as I said those words that they were 100 percent, totally true. Jurassic Park was/is awesome. And more importantly, whenever I think about it, that warm, nostalgic memory of childhood just washes all over me.

1 comment:

  1. Our 11 year old selves would have totally hung out. My top 5 movies were almost identical at that age.