RANKED: Steven Spielberg (#3 — Jurassic Park)

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Universal Pictures

Chris Luckett


Release Date: June 11, 1993

Chronology: Released two years after 1991’s Hook, Jurassic Park was followed by Schindler’s List six months later, before Spielberg took a four-year break from directing

Box Office: $402 million ($632 million, adjusted for inflation)

Oscars: 3 nominations, 3 wins

Premise: Eccentric billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) creates an island zoo of genetically recreated dinosaurs and invites a team of scientists (including Sam Neill’s Alan Grant and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm) to perform an evaluation — during which all hell breaks loose and the dinosaurs start hunting everyone

Over two hours?: Yep

John Williams Score?: Yes

Father Issues?: Children Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) are coping with their father divorcing their mother; Grant becomes a surrogate father figure to them. Also, in the grand sense of the concept, Hammond feels a paternal responsibility to the dinosaurs his geneticists have created

War?: No

Aliens?: Not this time

Special Appearances: Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, and Wayne Knight

Fun Fact: Harrison Ford turned down the role of Alan Grant, Jim Carrey was originally wanted for Ian Malcolm, and Laura Dern beat out Sandra Bullock, Teri Hatcher, Helen Hunt, Elizabeth Hurley, Julianne Moore, and Gwyneth Paltrow for the for of Ellie Sattler

Best Line: “Life… finds a way.”

Best Scene: 

Verdict: While there are shades of King Kong, Gojira, Them!, and WestWorld in the movie, Jurassic Park is a wholly original take on the premise and masterfully executed. Spielberg presents moments of pure awe and wonder, as well as intense action and terror, with aplomb. It’s hard to overstate how revolutionary the visual effects were and how influential the technical advancements made during Jurassic Park have been to the movie industry. (It’s no small feat that the movie looks just as good today as it did in 1993.) Everything from the memorable score to the excellent performances is pretty much perfect, bedazzling viewers with spectacle while also raising important moral questions that most similar movies don’t take the time or responsibility to ask.

Rating: 5 stars / 5