2h 8m / PG-13 / Sci-Fi Adventure
The interesting thing about seeing Jaws (Steven Spielberg’s other best film about big-toothed animals devouring people in an otherwise idyllic vacation-land) so many years after its first release, is realizing how subversive it was in its own time — an evolution of the ‘50s drive-in creature-feature, combined with uniquely ‘70s auteur-era snappy dialogue and the sincere intention to surprise its audience. The same way Star Wars was a re-evaluation of the cliffhanger action serials Lucas loved as a kid, Jaws is covered in the fingerprints of a filmmaker who grew up loving being shocked and scared by big, goofy monsters. And yet 28 years after its release, what resonates about Jurassic Park is how purely itself it is. It's unafraid to be almost reference-free. Jurassic Park couldn’t exist without Jaws, but where Jaws was a surprise, Jurassic is merely a success.
Michael Crichton made a career out of imminently readable novels that were tailor-made for film adaptation, but even in that context it is the quintessential movie-lover’s movie: a technological marvel with special effects that famously still hold up, it's full of action, tightly plotted, with memorable dialogue and an incredible John Williams score and those perfectly Spielberg-ian precocious kids, the kind of movie that appeals to adults but entwines itself deep in children's brains — there is almost nothing not to like about Jurassic Park. That’s probably why they keep making them.
Stick around after Sunday’s screening for a FREE post-show Film Talk audience discussion and Q&A with retired Tampa Bay Times film critic Steve Persall.
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