Remember when dinosaurs graced our screens? It may hurt some of you to know that it was thirty years ago when the original Jurassic Park film was released.
For those that don’t know about this famous film, Jurassic Park was released on July 16th, 1993. It’s a science fiction action film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton.
The film is set on Isle Nublar, a fictional island off Central America’s Pacific Coast. A wealthy businessman named John Hammond and a team of genetic scientists uses this island to make a wildlife park, bringing dinosaurs back from extinction into the modern world. However, problems soon arise when the park opens to a small group. The power goes out, and the security is shut down. This group of tourists then has to struggle to survive against some of the world’s most feared and notorious predators.
If you haven’t already watched it, then there will be no more spoilers – though I would highly recommend adding it to your watch list.
How Were The Dinosaurs Made?
The iconic dinosaurs were made through a combination of animatronics and computer-generated images (CGI), which were groundbreaking for the time. A company called Industrial Light & Magic handled all scenes including CGI. Throughout all the different films, it’s said that they studied animals such as elephants and rhinos for references in dinosaur design.
In the original Jurassic Park film, Steven Spielberg wanted to use practical animatronics for the dinosaurs as much as possible. The models were metal skeletons powered by electric motors. Latex was then fitted over the skeletons to create the skin of the dinosaurs. Most of these models required a team of twenty or more puppeteers. CGI was then used for scenes that simply could not be done with puppets, such as scenes with herds of dinosaurs.
Dinosaur nerds will also notice something else about the film: only two dinosaurs from the Jurassic time period actually feature in the film. Many of the famous dinosaurs, such as the tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptor, and gallimimus, actually originate from the Cretaceous period. This is acknowledged in the film itself – though Cretaceous Park doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as perhaps Jurassic Park does.
What Else Has Come Out Of The Franchise?
Following the huge success of the original Jurassic Park film, there has been much more to come. For example, the series became a trilogy with The Lost World: Jurassic Park coming out in 1997 and Jurassic Park III released in 2001. However, the series didn’t end there with the more recent releases of the Jurassic World series. The first movie was released in 2015. The second Jurassic World movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, was released in 2018, and Jurassic World: Dominion followed in 2022. Not many franchises can say they produced two separate trilogies.
The series doesn’t just remain in the world of film. For example, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous was released on Netflix in 2020. This was an animated series following dinosaur fanatic Darius Bowman getting the chance of a lifetime: to travel to Isla Nublar and take part in Camp Cretaceous. However, once the dinosaurs start to escape, Darius and a group of other teens must use their skills to survive their time on the island.
There have also been countless Jurassic Park games – both digital and board games alike. The digital sphere has games of the survival genre, pitting your wits against escaping dinosaurs, or management simulators, putting you in charge of managing your very own dinosaur park. And, of course, there is also the Lego version of the game.
The cultural impact of the original Jurassic Park film is immense, and only continues on – even thirty years later.
Other Trivia About Jurassic Park (1993)
A lot went into the production of this movie – which paid off considerably, considering how it continued into a two-time trilogy through both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. While there are many things to say about the franchise in general, here are some additional titbits behind the original movie.
- Despite being called Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs have only 15 minutes of screentime. This means only 11% of the movie is actually dedicated to the dinosaurs.
- According to the Behind the Scenes book, the famous roar of the tyrannosaurus rex was a mixture of a dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and a baby elephant.
- Both the original book and movie created such an interest in dinosaurs. Subjects like paleontology had a record increase in students enrolling.
- To make flies swarm around the fake dinosaur dung in the movie, the crew covered the props in honey and papayas. The prop itself didn’t smell of anything at all.
- Jurassic Park was Steven Spielberg’s most commercially successful movie and also briefly held the box office record. It was beaten by Titanic in 1997.
- Dr. Alan Grant was modeled by paleontologist Jack Horner, who also teaches in Montana. Horner was also a technical advisor on the movie.
What are your thoughts on Jurassic Park? Do you have any memories of when you first watched the movie for yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments!