1993 was the year that Steven Spielberg unleashed his biggest worldwide grossing hit ever. “Jurassic Park” was a game changer. The special effects were ground-breaking. Its success rivaled that of the director’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” from 1982, as well as 1975’s “Jaws”. To date, the movie “Jurassic Park” has collected over one billion dollars–which represents the largest unadjusted tally of Mr. Spielberg’s career. The blockbuster, based on Michael Crichton’s best-selling book, was a monster smash.
Of course, later that year, Steven Spielberg also released his “Schindler’s List”. Finally garnering the full respect of the critics and the Hollywood community (to add to his already overwhelming financial success), he grabbed his very first Best Director Academy Award, after more than two decades of hit feature films. What followed was a 3 and a 1/2 year hiatus, before burgeoning back, in the early summer season of 1997, with “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”.
The dinosaur sequel was wildly popular and record smashing too. Critics weren’t as kind–the film was darker in tone, and the “surprise” of the dinosaur creations was past. Audiences flocked anyway. “Jurassic Park III” arrived in 2001. Spielberg was only listed as a producer this time around, and although the ticket sales numbers were still excellent, the third dino trip was not quite as exciting as its predecessors. It’s not a horrible movie, but the awe was gone, and the story was lacking.
Is the world finally tired of rampaging, genetically reproduced dinosaurs? We will soon see, as “Jurassic World” hits North American multiplexes on June the 12th–almost 22 years to the day of the original release. After a decade and a half of “development hell”, “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow will bring the “Jurassic” franchise to a whole new generation. It’s only his 2nd feature, after his low-budget indie “Safety Not Guaranteed” grabbed around 4 million in 2012. Talk about a promotion.
Colin has his work cut out for him. Steven Spielberg is an executive producer, just as he was for installment number three. Chris Pratt is our male star, less than a year after becoming BIG, by headlining Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Ron Howard’s girl, Bryce Dallas Howard, plays Claire Dearing…the dinosaur park’s “operations manager”. The trailers sure look thrilling, and fine character actors like Vincent D’Onofrio, Judy Greer and B.D. Wong have prominent roles too. My excitement for this one has been steadily growing–let’s hope it lives up to expectations.