Top 10 Film Showcase: “Jurassic Park”

Few filmmakers in history are able to have an impact that spans decades. Few filmmakers have had their hand in numberless films that strike that chord of nostalgia, that make people reminisce, that make people…remember. Steven Spielberg who has both lasted decades as a Hollywood powerhouse, and has drawn out the emotions of viewers like no other filmmaker could. In 1993, Spielberg’s film “Schindler;s List”, an intense account of the Holocaust, took home honors for the Academy Award Best Picture. But that wasn’t the only impact he had on that year’s awards. His other film of that year took home awards for best effects and best sound. That film was “Jurassic Park”, one of the pillars of the film industry, in terms of revolutionizing the art of filmmaking, and bringing to audiences something they had never seen. Stan Winston, Dennis Muren, John Williams, and countless others teamed with Spielberg to bring Dinosaurs to life in a way that had never been brought to the big screen. The film made a big move from stop-motion elements to a stunning display of CGI that would push forward the art form, never to look back.

As a 9-year-old, I already had a firm grasp on different movies that I really liked, at least for a 9-year-old. However, I had no idea what I was headed into when I went with my family to see this film. To this day, “Jurassic Park” is the most exciting theater experience I have ever had. It was really one of those films that made me the fan of movies that I am today. The curiosity of my young mind went absolutely nuts. I wanted to know how they brought these Dinosaurs to life! I was also completely mesmerized by John Williams’ score. The music was the perfect companion to what I was watching on screen. It is, to this day, one of the premiere playlists on my iPod. After seeing this film, all I could think about were Dinosaurs. Having drawn my whole life, I naturally picked up a pencil and some white printer paper, and started draw, what else….Dinosaurs! I would sit for hours trying to recreate the Velociraptor that I watched terrorize the characters in the film. But my Jurassic Park obsession didn’t end there. My parents bought the movie when it was released, we had the Sega Genesis game (something I couldn’t go without), and my brothers, my cousin and I would act out scenes from the movie. I was so fascinated by something that could take over my imagination with such force.


I was recently watching this wonderful and exciting film with one of my sons, and he now asks on a constant basis, “Can I watch the Dinosaur movie?” How can I say no to that?! It is so cool to see how something I loved so much as a kid is being enjoyed by my kids. To see the same look of awe on his face that I had when I was a kid, really brings it full circle for me. This is one of the reasons we watch movies. It brings us joy like nothing else can.

Needless to say, I have owned the film on every available format since it was released. I was very excited when the newest edition (BluRay) was released. It was a day one purchase for me, and sits on my shelf with my other collectible box sets. It is really neat to see some of the new features that were included, and of course to see the film like I had never seen it before, in crystal clear 1080P HD.

     This is one of those films that I will always own, always watch, and always enjoy every time I do so. I owe a lot of my childhood movie-watching memories to Mr. Spielberg. I am just happy that I am in a position that I can continue to enjoy them even long into adulthood. Richard Attenborough owns one of the best lines in film history, something that will always send chills down my spine, “Welcome to Jurassic Park”.

-David B. Harrington

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Brave

Pixar forever changed the face of animation, when in 1995, they released their debut feature film “Toy Story”. It was the first film to ever be made entirely through use of CGI. The film grossed nearly half a billion dollars and set a very high bar for Pixar and other animation studios to live up to, not an easy task. That being said, Pixar has managed to turn out a plethora of successful films from two more installments of the Toy Story franchise, to “A Bug’s Life”, “Monsters, Inc.”, and my personal favorite, “Wall•E”. I remember as a kid, going through some of my Dad’s old things in our home storage room, and blowing the dust off some old VHS tapes. Among the items were some of Pixar’s original demo tapes for their animated shorts, namely their first entry, “Andre and  Wally B”. My Dad was involved in some of the early graphics in films. He worked on arguably the most popular of Star Trek titles among fans, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”. So, to say the least, Pixar has a very special place in my heart, which started long before “Toy Story”.

Pixar’s latest entry, “Brave” brings a different feel to the long list of titles. The studio was off their game for “Cars 2”, really the first time the studio stumbled, and for me, this film doesn’t fully return to the glory of Pixar perfection. The story has some strong points, and is, for the most part a satisfying feast for the eyes, but the originality that Pixar has consistently brought to the table, lacked. At times I felt like I was watching a revamped edition of “Brother Bear”. Those who have seen that film, and watch this will know what I am talking about. There were borrowed elements that stray from what Pixar is usually able to do, and that is, give us something we have never seen.

(Slight spoiler alert) Merida, our heroine in the film is faced with the challenge of averting the expectations of her mother on her growing into a proper woman. She is faced with several suitors who are trying to win her heart. She wants nothing to do with it, and so she sets out to prove that she can be her own person, and that she doesn’t have to live under the scrutiny and expectations of her overbearing mother. In the process, what is first advertised as a journey of self discovery becomes the story of a mother and daughter understanding and coming to accept one another.

I wouldn’t put this in the category of a film not worth seeing, but for those going to see “Brave” should be prepared to see a film that strays from some of the more key elements of previous successful Pixar masterpieces. It is definitely worth the time to take your kids to. Adults will most likely enjoy the film as well. There are a couple scenes that are a little more directed toward the adults, where you see a little bit of bare booty, but other than that, there is nothing to be wary of when taking the little ones with you. I give this film a thumbs up with some reservations.

-David B. Harrington