Jake’s Movie Review: Jurrasic Park

“I just do not like Jurassic Park as much as history does.” -Jake “The Movie Guy” O’Bannon. (Photo by José María Pérez Nuñez used under CC BY-NC 2.0)

By Jake O’Bannon, Columnist

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to honor the life of Roger Ebert, who passed away last week at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer. Known as one of the greatest film critics of all time, Ebert’s words were a key factor as to why I began reviewing movies myself.

The idea of a movie critic can seem quite off-putting for most, but Roger Ebert made it fun. He had a way of looking at each movie he watched and finding something good. 

I think Tyler Huckabee put it best in his April 5 article on relevantmagazine.com when he said of Ebert, “He had a way of taking an unbearably pretentious field and making it accessible, relaxed, funny, and even exciting. And, unlike many critics, Ebert was not afraid of loving movies.” This characteristic once inspired me to begin looking at movies in a new way, and I will always thank Mr. Ebert for that.

As far as my review for this week goes, I must tell you something up front. But before I do, I want to remind you of something. You and I are pretty good friends, right? I mean… you’ve known me for a year now, and some of you for two. And because we are such good friends, there is no way you could be mad at me when I tell you that I don’t like Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, right?

Okay, I am sensing some hostility from you. I feel like you all lost a bit of respect for me just now. But I am being honest with you; I just do not like Jurassic Park as much as history does.

Though I don’t really like it, I chose to review this film because it is currently out in 3D in celebration of its 20-year anniversary.

This is the part where I have to admit something else to you: last week was the first time I ever watched Jurassic Park.

I know, I know, any respect you may have still had for me is gone now. Just think of it this way: I was still a dinosaur-loving kid like all of you, I was just more of a “Land Before Time kid” than a “Jurassic Park kid.”

Now, I am not here to completely trash this movie. In fact, there are some extraordinary aspects present. The most prevalent is how advanced the computer animation was for 1993. Honestly, if that movie came out today it would be something you would find on the SyFy network. But at the time, this film was groundbreaking and set the precedent for years to come. For that I have genuine respect.

Another positive quality of the film is that Samuel L. Jackson says, “Hold on to your butts,” twice. Saying it once just wasn’t enough, it had to be in there twice. And that’s more than okay with me.

I think my biggest issue with this movie is that there is really no message present or no redeeming values being articulated. Our friend Roger Ebert said it well in his review of the film when he stated, “The movie delivers all too well on its promise to show us dinosaurs. We see them early and often, and they are indeed a triumph of special effects artistry, but the movie is lacking other qualities that it needs even more, such as a sense of awe and wonderment, and strong human story values.”

He was right in this critique. I could not agree more. But I believe the lesson I learned while watching this movie is that I need to get over myself and not expect every movie I watch to have an awesome message that is going to affect me, and accept that some movies are just made to entertain an audience. “Jurassic Park” is certainly one of these movies.

So if you’re a big fan of the classic, or you just want to be entertained, go check this one out in 3D. It’s a wild ride, so hold on to your butts.