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Jurassic Park (free)

  • Memorial Union Terrace 800 Langdon Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

"God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs." Info

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Based on the 1990 Michael Crichton novel, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) has cemented itself as the most enduring blockbuster of the 1990s. Spielberg appeared to be at the height of his powers in the '80s, but Jurassic Park has aged quite well in our modern era of special effects. We may not be able to say the same thing for the still-expanding Jurassic Park franchise, but there is nothing like the original, which breathed new life into extinct velociraptors (with some embellishment). 

Most of the film takes place on a fictional island near Costa Rica, where a team of scientists has managed to harvest dinosaur DNA and birth a new generation of the magnificent lizards. The scientists have financial support from an eccentric billionaire (is there any other kind?) to create an amusement park filled with dinosaurs so the entire family can come, relax, and see these majestic beasts from the safety of remote-controlled SUVs. Well, as the sultry nerdbomber Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) puts it, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." And indeed, the ill-advised venture goes wrong, and the carnivorous thunder lizards soon have everyone running for their lives.

It is a shame Jurassic Park wasn't able to spawn the caliber of sequels that, say, Spielberg’s Raiders Of The Lost Ark did. Some classics are better left untouched and un-franchised. John Williams' score manages to make a moving, dead-solid-perfect contribution to every scene it accompanies. What makes the adventure compelling is the fact that Spielberg invests so much humor and heart into the thrilling dinosaur chase sequences, and the story arc comes to a satisfying conclusion. Remember Avatar (2009)? Yeah, neither do I, but I'll never forget Jurassic Park. —Edwanike Harbour