The premiere of one of the most famous feature films about dinosaurs - "Jurassic Park" - took place 30 years ago, on June 9, 1993. Director Steven Spielberg was fascinated by dinosaurs as a child: in his youth he even had a collection of metal figurines of ancient lizards. The director admitted that in the films about King Kong, dinosaurs attracted him much more than a giant ape. At the same time, he noted that he would never have been able to turn his love for prehistoric reptiles into something whole if it were not for Michael Crichton and his book.
This fact has never been a secret, but until now, many fans of the Jurassic franchise are not aware that the original film was based on the novel of the same name by the American writer. Spielberg and Crichton discussed making a feature film based on the latter's script. The plot was to be based on a story from the life of the writer, which occurred during the period when he worked as a doctor. Subsequently, according to this scenario, the series "Ambulance" was filmed.
Crichton told Spielberg about another of his ideas: a science fiction novel in which geneticists recreate extinct species of animals. One of the sources of inspiration for him was the book of another American writer, Gregory Paul, - Predatory Dinosaurs of the World ("Predatory dinosaurs of the world"). The director, given his love for ancient reptiles, became interested in the idea, but, as it turned out later, he was not alone.
According to Spielberg, several directors claimed the post of director of the film, including Tim Burton, Richard Donner and James Cameron. The author of "Titanic" later said that Spielberg was the best choice to work on the film, not least because his own version of "Jurassic Park" would have been closer in mood to "Aliens" - that is, much darker, more tense and "adult".
The rights to the film adaptation of Crichton's novel were put up for auction. Several studios took part in them, including Universal. As a result, the rights and the first draft of the script were bought from Crichton for $ 2 million even before the publication of the novel itself - largely due to the friendly relations between Spielberg and the writer. The director began to draw the storyboards, according to which "Jurassic Park" was subsequently filmed, even before the script was ready.
Differences from the original source
In the story, the head of InGen, Professor Hammond (Richard Attenborough) finds a way to revive dinosaurs using genetic engineering - the necessary material is extracted from mosquitoes that have drunk the blood of ancient animals and are "preserved" in wood resin. Gradually, on the island where the experiments are conducted, a real dinosaur reserve is created. When transporting one of the predators, an incident occurs, as a result of which an employee of the park dies. Investors require Professor Hammond to conduct an examination and invite competent specialists for this, including paleontologists Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill). As a result of a chain of both accidental and pre-planned incidents on the island, protective barrier systems are turned off, reptiles are free, and the heroes who, together with the professor's grandchildren at that moment, were on an excursion, are forced to save their lives.
In the film version of "Jurassic Park" filmmakers made a number of changes, which is why it at some points began to contradict the book. For example, Hammond's granddaughter Lexi in Crichton's story is 6-7 years old, and her brother Tim, on the contrary, is a teenager. The professor himself in the novel, unlike the hero of the film, does not realize the destructiveness of the idea of recreating dinosaurs and dreams of opening a whole network of parks around the world. There is no relationship between the characters of Neil and Dern, and the "bookish" Alan, unlike his film version, loves children. A number of characters in Crichton's text do not die, and some quite successfully fight with dinosaurs. Well, the main difference lies in the finale - in the book the island is bombed, destroying all life on it, but in the film this episode is not.
The creation of dinosaurs and the difficulties of filming
Initially, dinosaur models were planned to be "revived" with the help of time-lapse photography of miniatures, but Spielberg was not satisfied with the result - the movements of the animals turned out to be too sharp and did not correspond to the task. Then a revolutionary decision was made for 1993: to use computer graphics in combination with animatronic figures. Models of dinosaurs, including a tyrannosaurus rex (six meters high and 12 meters long) were created by Stan Winston, who worked on the images of xenomorphs in Aliens. And the CGI effects were handled by Dennis Muren from ILM, the one that made the graphics for Terminator 2, in particular, the metamorphosis of the T-1000 from liquid metal.
"The fear was this: we created the main characters here - the stars of the picture were just these dinosaurs - and if it didn't work out, then nothing would have happened with Jurassic Park. So it was an unsettling moment - after all, I used Universal money to create an experimental picture about dinosaurs, "Spielberg was quoted as saying by Entertainment Weekly.
The whole idea looked rather adventurous: the capabilities of computers in those days could not be compared with today. The director decided to take a chance - and he did not lose. The film's producer and future president of Lucasfilms, Kathleen Kennedy, recalls the incredible shock that the authors of "Jurassic Park" experienced when they saw the fruits of Muren's work.
"I remember Dennis calling me and saying, 'I think I have something that you and Stephen should take a look at.' We saw this wireframe model of a dinosaur running across the screen - from this we five or six literally jumped, because it was so unusual and noticeably beyond everything that we had seen in the camera motion control system up to this point, "the producer quotes Entertainment Weekly.
At the same time, it is impossible to overestimate the animatronics of Stan Winston, created for the tape: the graphics are graphics, but the dinosaur dolls were made at an incredible level.
"When I saw Triceratops, I couldn't believe my eyes. Sam Neill couldn't either—we were both stunned. And like Sam does in the movie, we really tilted over the belly and felt it move back and forth. I climbed inside - the puppeteers allowed me to climb into the belly of the dinosaur and watch them work, "Laura Dern told EW.
"This thing breathed – Stan Winston's dolls were so incredible. Touching them was something stunning," Sam Neill recalled.
Most of the filming took place on the island of Kauai (Hawaii) and in California from August 24 to November 30, 1992. In early September, Hurricane Iniki hit the archipelago, causing $3 billion in damage and leaving thousands of people homeless.
The film crew was forced to leave Kauai and move to Oahu, where a scene was filmed with a tyrannosaurus rex devouring Gallimimus.
By the way, with the largest of the predators in "Jurassic Park" during the filming there were many difficulties. In one scene, a Tyrannosaurus rex is in the rain. Everything would be fine, but the "skin" of the six-ton model was made of foam rubber, which absorbed water, after which the "predator" began to tremble quite strongly. The film crew bought a huge number of towels and with their help, as well as using huge air cannons, dried the victim. In the continuation of the scene, the dinosaur smashed the car window with its muzzle and lost a tooth. The authors of the picture argue that if you pause the film at this point, the absence of one of the fangs will be noticeable.
Of course, Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the main features of Jurassic Park, but fans of the film remember very well that the main antagonists were nimble and smaller velociraptors.
In Spielberg's film, this predator was depicted as a relatively large lizard, the size of a man, fast, vicious and very dangerous. However, when creating the beast, the authors made several mistakes at once. True velociraptors were feathered half-meter creatures that lived in the Late Cretaceous period. And Spielberg's predators are strongly grown Deinonychus, also birds, armed with sickle-shaped claws.
Another inaccuracy was the poisonous spitting of Dilophosaurus, which in the film was significantly reduced compared to the real one. And Brachiosaurus, as the Guardian columnist writes, did not have the habit of standing on its hind legs. However, his ability to make screams similar to those that sounded in Spielberg's tape was also questioned.
Post-production, criticism and sequels
Despite the mistakes made, the success of the picture was deafening: the incredible visual component, the sci-fi plot, the acting and the work of Spielberg did their job. And this despite the fact that the shooting managed to complete 12 days ahead of schedule (even despite the hurricane), keeping within the budget, and the director did not do post-production at all, switching to Schindler's List.
To complete the final stage of work on "Jurassic Park" had another legend of cinema - the author of "Star Wars" George Lucas, whom Spielberg called his best friend. Lucas directed, among other things, sound effects editing and mixing. As a result, two of the three Oscars that went to Jurassic Park were awards for Best Sound and Best Sound Editing. Spielberg's film received the third statuette of the American Film Academy for Best Visual Effects.
Critics reacted to the picture ambiguously: on the one hand, many praised the visual effects. On the other hand, Spielberg was criticized for excessive cruelty and the emphasis of the advertising campaign on children who watched such bloody films early (one of the marketing directions in the promotion of "Jurassic Park" was the production of children's dinosaur toys).
At the same time, the tape was very popular all over the world: it broke Spielberg's previous records ("Jaws" and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" became the highest-grossing film of all time, grossing more than $ 1 billion at the global box office. The leadership of "Jurassic Park" lost only four years later - the palm was intercepted by Cameron's "Titanic".
In the same 1997, Spielberg returned to the history of recreated dinosaurs with the film "Jurassic Park: The Lost World". The picture was generally successful and collected an impressive box office, but could not achieve an effect comparable to the first film. "Jurassic Park 3" was directed by Joe Johnston ("Jumanji"), and Steven Spielberg switched to the role of producer - as well as in the subsequent trilogy "Jurassic World", in which the main role was played by Chris Pratt.
Curiously, the worldwide fees of each of the films with Pratt exceeded $ 1 billion, but the ratings of critics and viewers on popular aggregators were less admiring in comparison with the first tape of the franchise. It is possible that the reason is the audience's habit of an abundance of CGI graphics - the drawn dinosaurs in 2015-2022 could no longer surprise anyone, while the original "Jurassic Park" turned out to be a genuine breakthrough and technical innovation for its time, which conquered the world.