By Tara Fowler
One of my earliest memories is going to see “Jurassic Park” with my father (my parents didn’t believe in little things called “ratings restrictions”). I don’t remember much of the actual movie from the T. rex attack on because I spent it with my arms wrapped around my dad’s neck staring at the back of the theater.
And yet, despite traumatizing my 4-year-old self, “Jurassic Park” has since managed to become one of my favorite movies (and books) of all time. In honor of this weekend’s 3D re-release, I’ve cobbled together seven facts about the film. Read on, dinosaur aficionados!
1) It owes its existence to “ER”: Director Steven Spielberg was initially working with “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton to develop a film version of what would later become “ER” when he heard about Crichton’s dino-park horror show novel and decided to make that instead. But Spielberg did help Crichton get the TV version of “ER” off the ground afterwards (off the ground might be a bit of an understatement — the show ran for 15 seasons).
2) Spielberg hired Stan Winston to build the full-size mechanical dinosaurs based on his work on the alien queen in “Aliens”: “Steven figured that if we could build a fourteen-foot-tall alien queen, we’d be able to build a twenty-foot-tall T. rex,” Winston said at the time. Unfortunately that was a naïve assumption. “The queen was exoskeletal, so all of its surfaces were hard,” Winston explained. “There were no muscles, no flesh, and there was no real weight to it. The alien queen also didn’t have to look like a real, organic animal because it was a fictional character — so there was nothing in real life to compare it to.” But, Winston signed onto the project anyways despite the fact that he didn’t have a clue how he would build a full-size dinosaur. It was just too great an opportunity to pass up. For more on how he and his team assembled the T. rex, check out this video.
3) The obnoxious kid in the beginning was right: At the beginning of the movie, a kid quips that the velociraptor looks more like a “six-foot turkey.” Alas, he was actually correct. The velociraptor was only the size of a large chicken, and the version seen in “Jurassic Park” was really modeled after a larger raptor known as Deinonychus. But who knows what a Deinonychus is?
4) After the crew got trapped on Kauai due to a hurricane, they were rescued by the pilot from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”: Seriously. Fred Sorenson not only flew the “Jurassic Park” crew to safety; he also rescued Indiana Jones years before as the pilot Jock in the opening scene of “Raiders.”
5) Ian Malcolm’s moves totally worked on Ellie Sattler: You know that scene where Ian explains chaos theory to Ellie by essentially fondling her hand? Well, take note guys because Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern ended up dating afterwards and eventually got engaged before breaking up. I like to think the allure comes from this painting.
6) Sandra Bullock could have been your Ellie Sattler: And Christina Ricci auditioned for Lex. The role of Alan Grant was offered to William Hurt and Harrison Ford, who both turned it down, while Dylan McDermott and Tom Sizemore tested for the part before it ultimately went to Sam Neill. Sean Connery was wanted for John Hammond.
7) You can’t actually bring dinosaurs back: So this seems fairly self-explanatory, but I can’t be the only one who thought that explanation about the amber and the mosquitos sounded somewhat plausible. But as Berkeley explains, it’s almost impossible to find intact DNA (even if it is encased in amber). Let’s say we did — we’d still have to assemble the DNA into chromosomes, then plant it in an intact dinosaur egg, and finally incubate it under the optimal conditions for that — Whatever, Berkeley. Thanks for raining on our parade.
I leave you with this heavy metal cover of the Jurassic Park theme
Will you be seeing Jurassic Park 3D this weekend?