It’s the 20th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s last good film: Jurassic Park. Yes, it’s actually been that long since everyone’s favorite dino-sci-fi-adventure blockbuster hit screens. The VHS version—which is probably still the best way to watch it—followed an excruciating 15 months after its debut, and had kids cooped up inside their TV rooms for weeks. My own surviving tape is so warped from rewatchings that I hesitate to expose it to daylight anymore.
So, how are we marking the blessed occasion? First, to get into the mood, you should definitely take a “Journey to the Island,” John Williams style. My advice is to play this song with your eyes closed, and then imagine what your face looks like during it. If you’re human, it’ll put a gigantic grin on your face.
A perfect complement to this song, of course, is the immortal Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) laughing:
For those who want to dig deeper, there’s some fantastic fan art over at the blogDino-DNA, and reigning Jurassic Park expert Becky Ferreira, who has called the movie her “first religious experience,” tackles some errors as well as the philosophical brilliance of the piece. But as always, the true lesson here is quite simple: don’t get cheap on Dennis Nedry—that was Hammond’s mistake.
I love this. Out of all the absurdities presented in the Jurassic Park franchise, there is one bitter pill that is harder than any for genuine dinosaur experts to swallow. What they want to know is, Where the hell are the feathers?
Colin Trevorrow, director of Safety Not Guaranteed and the upcoming Jurassic Park 4, blithely tweeted that the new installment will continue to ignore the discovery that Velociraptors, for example, were covered in elaborate plumage. Even the T-Rex is supposed to have some feathers, apparently.
Those concerned with dino verisimilitude have been vocal in their insistence that the movies catch up with established science, and lament the existence of a middle America that would probably find feathered dinosaurs to be “totally gay.” Sorry dudes—I think the FX department is busy designing giant mounds of shit anyway.
There’s really not much you can do to influence the course of politics this week besides canvassing a neighborhood now intricately booby-trapped to keep away more canvassers. Time is up and yet you’re still here, waiting. Here are a few thought exercises to keep the mind off your ultimate powerlessness in matters of federal government.
For instance, what kind of dinosaur would make the best pet? Contrary to their depiction in the Jurassic Park franchise, I believe a velociraptor might work quite well. They’re not as big and fearsome as all that, though they’d be tough enough to act like watchdogs. And you could take them for runs in the park! Herbivore-wise, I’d go for a microceratops, only about five pounds and less than two feet tall, for the sheer ugly-cute factor. But there’s no wrong answer!
Or then, which would be scarier: blasting into the cold vacuum of space in a space shuttle or descending to the crushing blackness of the Mariana Trench in a little submersible. I say the ocean is way worse—to the best of our knowledge, space isn’t filled with creepy eyeless alien creatures. And, as a kid, I found The Abyss far more traumatizing than Apollo 13.
Finally, if you were a monarch of some kind, what title would they give you once you’d died? For me it’d probably be “Miles the Beneficently Bearded” or “Miles the Inhumane.” Go ahead, list some of yours! And think up some other thoughts to have, while you’re at it. I’m already back to tracking final state battleground polls.
Are any of your family members huge fans of Jurassic Park? How about lovers of terrifying beetles? Well, kill two birds with one stone and buy a collection of dead beetles dressed as your favorite characters from the dinosaur flick.
Artist Erin Pearce is selling the pieces over at her Etsy page. She’s offering three different characters: Dr. Ellie Sattler (played in the film by Laura Dern), John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough), and Robert Muldoon (played by Bob Peck). Each comes with handmade clothes and props, "each pattern painted with the utmost attention to detail." It’s probably not a good gift for your nephews (each is priced at $100 and seem particularly delicate), but perhaps your weird uncle would like a reason to leave his parents’ basement and join you for Christmas dinner?
You can see the John Hammond and Robert Muldoon beetles below:
Ariana Richards, who played the precocious computer genius Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO (reminder: we are all old), is currently an artist living in Portland. What has she been up to since she defended herself from a gigantic Tyrannosaurus rex with just a piece of plexiglass?
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Richards says that she took a break from acting (after Jurassic Park she was in the 1995 teen flick Angus) to study art at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. While she still has an agent and remains "on the the pulse of what’s happening in Hollywood," her primary focus is working as a portrait artist who owns her own gallery.
Interestingly enough, however, she still keeps in touch with Steven Spielberg:
Of all the people she worked with on the film, Richards says the person she’s most in contact with is director Steven Spielberg. “He never fails to send me something around Christmas,” she says. “When he finds people he likes, he’s really good at keeping in touch.”
In return, she recently sent Spielberg a limited edition copy of her watercolor self-portrait of herself from a crucial “Jurassic Park” scene entitled “Raptor Vision.” The limited edition print now hangs in his office.
Raptor Vision, by the way, is the greatest piece of art I have ever seen. THOSE BANGS: