Thursday, April 10, 2014

There's much to criticize in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, but not when it comes to the effects. The 1990 novel was based on cutting-edge science, but as with a lot of cutting-edge stuff -- a lot of it turns out wrong. The "don't move" and the velociraptors being lizards and the whole idea of chaos theory are junk-science now.

But the FX in this film? Outstanding. For example: When Dr. Grant and the kids make a run for it while being chased down by a herd of Struthiomimus, their eyes actually focus on the heads of the pursuing dinos. That's something you may not consciously notice while in the theater, but the brain notices it -- and it makes for a far more realistic film than one in which the view is "off".

Even when they used a mechanical dino, as they did with any scene in which the T. rex is not depicted walking, it worked.

I like The Lost World, which largely replicates the pattern of the first but has some things going for it: New dinos, some inventive scenes (the tall grass, the escaping dinos, the dog by the swimming pool), and not quite so much "cute kid" effect.

Jurassic Park III isn't so bad, either. I thought the attack on the airfield at the start of the film extremely effective. The pterosaurs were good, the "Capt. Hook" theme fun, and Alessandro Nivola is quite the hunk

I think it would be so much more cool to show dinosaurs as they really were -- feathers, flying, fast, etc. -- and make them the real threats they were rather than Hollywood versions.

It's easy to make fun of the dinos of the original King Kong. But they are as far removed from science fact as the dinos of Jurassic Park are now, too.

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