In the Summer of 1993 I lived in what was once a small quiet town in the Mojave Desert and my Dad had just moved out.
Now this is not a "woe is me, having a pity party" article and my Dad eventually moved back in. But in order for me to make my point, I need to share just a little bit about my childhood. It wasn't what I would call happy. It wasn't exactly terrible either. I guess I would describe it as thunderstorms with occasional periods of sunshine. However, at the time it seemed like things were always tough. If it wasn't one thing, then it was another!
My family VERY rarely went to the movies. And if we did, we certainly didn't all go together. But that changed when Jurassic Park was released. Keeping in mind that this movie was made over 2 decades ago, has spawned 3 sequels, and was re-released in theaters a couple years back; you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn't at least seen it once and doesn't already know the plot. So I wont waste any time summarizing the film. I simply want to share why it means so much to me. To this day it marks the ONE and ONLY time that my family went to the movies together. My Mom piled all us kids into the car and off to Cinemark Theaters we went! Seeing Jurassic Park in theaters with my family that summer day was a period of sunshine that has lasted in my heart and in my memory for over 20 years.
How did a big-budget, summer blockbuster about dinosaurs wriggle its way into my heart? Good question. Going to the movies may not seem like a big deal. It's a past-time most people probably take for granted. To actually have the money to go to the movies. Not just me, but enough money to take my whole family. To be able to get out of the house and do something fun together. To forget and escape the sometimes harsh realities of life (at least for a couple hours). To me it meant everything.
I could barely contain my excitement for what I was about to see.
I won't ever forget the look of sheer terror on my sister's face when the T-Rex made her grand entrance. Or that fact that she wet herself a little bit! She doesn't even know this site exists so I don't feel too bad about sharing that.
And a special shout out to Jeff Goldblum and what my Mother and I refer to as his "GQ" pose. Let me specify that at 9 years old, this shot completely went unnoticed by me. But as I grew older it really stood out and that is simply because it just doesn't fit in with the rest of the movie. It's kind of become a long running joke between my Mom and I. I mean, it's almost gratuitous. Not that I'm complaining.
In 2013 Jurassic Park was re-released in theaters in honor of its it's 20th anniversary and that coincided with my husband's birthday. So what did we do to celebrate? You guessed it! We saw Jurassic Park in 3D
And I once again felt like this:
I carried a torch for Jurassic Park for many years, I was so loyal to the original film that it wasn't until I was grown up and married and at my husbands request that I ever saw its sequels; The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. I have only seen those movies maybe two times each. I think Lost World is better than Jurassic Park III, and the only thing Jurassic Park III has over The Lost World is the return of Dr. Alan Grant. I enjoy watching the sequels and I appreciate them for what they are (although my husband will tell you that The Lost World is under-appreciated). But I can honestly say they just don't do it for me. Due to lingering disappointment from those last two films, I naturally wasn't all that excited when I heard about Jurassic World.
I stayed up late one night to watch David Letterman's final show. I never really cared much for Letterman, but we don't have a lot going on for us right now and his last show was giving me some much needed chuckles. The lights were off, my husband was asleep and I had the TV on low when I saw this teaser trailer:
I immediately felt that old familiar shiver of excitement as chills ran through my body. I had to see this movie! The next day I suggested to my husband that we go see it on Father's Day. I didn't even have to ask him twice! As I mentioned earlier, we don't have a lot going on for us right now. In all honesty things are hard and life kind of sucks. We needed this. We needed to get out. To have a good time.
Father's Day rolls around, we take our daughter and we go see Jurassic World and boy did we have a good time. I tell you what!! This movie more than made up for it's less than stellar sequels. I know there are likely some people who haven't seen it yet and so out of consideration for those people, I don't want to spoil too much. But near the end of the movie things aren't looking too good and up until this point we've only caught a glimpse of the T-Rex, while the Indominous Rex (a genetically modified hybrid of several dinosaurs) is killing off park-goers left and right. Having disowned their "trainer" Owen, the Raptors are also making a mess of things. Open gate 9. Enter T-Rex (for those of you who don't know this T-Rex is supposed to be Queen Rexy from the original film). Older and slower, the T-Rex is having difficulty fighting off the Indominus. The filmmakers do a really good job of making you believe that all is lost. Once and for all. At the last second we hear the calls of Blue, a Raptor who is loyal (or as loyal as a dinosaur can be) to Owen his trainer. Together the T-Rex and Blue defeat the Indominus with some help from an under-water dinosaur called a Mosasaurus. The Sun rises, families are reunited and the film closes with T-Rex stomping the island, letting out a roar and taking her rightful place as Queen of Isla Nublar.
Of all the times I've seen Jurassic Park I've always enjoyed myself. Never tired of it. Always had a good time. Never once did I shed a single tear. But there was something about seeing Jurassic World that tugged on my heart strings and I wont lie, at the end of the movie I was sobbing! It really made me realize just what this means to me, what its meant to me for the last 20 plus years. They're more than dinosaur movies. I needed this. I needed to get out. To have a good time and just like Jurassic Park did for me back in 1993, Jurassic World gave me just that. A good time! An escape! When life is hard and you don't necessarily have a lot to be thankful for its the little things that mean the most.
On a side note the score for Jurassic World is composed by Michael Giacchino. He does a wonderful job of incorporating the signature Jurassic Park theme with a fresh beautiful new score. This piece played at the end of the movie led my husband and I to YouTube to listen to the soundtrack.
It was upon listening to this track and reading through the comments that I found I am not alone in my love and admiration for this movie. I read comments from people like me who see more than just dinosaurs running amok and wreaking havoc. I realized that it means a lot more to a lot of people. People like me who have such fond memories of seeing the original in theaters (for one reason or another). And to kind of come full circle and see a movie trigger that old familiar feeling again. It's priceless.
Is it silly to have such a strong reaction to a movie about dinosaurs? Maybe. But I guess you just had to be there...