A couple weekends ago, some friends and I watched Jurassic Park (1993) for the first time in mumble-mumble years, and the experience brought a few things to mind.
First of all, I remembered reading Michael Crichton’s novel, and while the helicopter was flying to the island, I pondered how the movie took us back to a more innocent age, when the world and we were young, while in retrospect the book seems to look forward to Crichton the global-warming denier, Crichton the anti-scientist, Crichton the general jerk. (Yes, looking forward in retrospect is an odd feeling.) What do I mean by “innocent age”? Well, consider: back then, dinosaurs were just cool because they were dinosaurs, but if Jurassic Park came out today, in Year Two After Dover, the Young-Earth Creationists would bitch and moan on national TV that the movie accepts a 65-million-year gap between dinosaurs and people, and of course, the national media would give them equal time with the real scientists. Meanwhile, over at the Discoverup Institute, we’d have Dembski, Egnor and Behe saying, “Cloning dinosaurs from DNA is really Intelligent Design,” to which O’Leary and Cordova would add, “Yes, and Charles Darwin was a flatulent puppy-killer who didn’t know algebra and who was directly responsible for the Holocaust. Uh-huh. Jesus came to me and said that if I said potty-mouth things about Darwin, I’d get a pony in Heaven.”
We also noticed a few things which had passed us by when we had last seen the movie, years before. The girl, Miss “It’s a UNIX system!,” only has one or two facial expressions; I am now much more sympathetic to Sam Neill’s character and his discomfort with children than I was ten years ago. Furthermore, by Poseidon’s beard, Ian Malcolm is such a poser! Smug, irritating, jumpy and swaggering.
A few moments, like Richard Attenborough reminiscing about his flea circus and Sam Neill saying “Bet you’ll never look at birds the same way again,” seemed to belong to another movie, a better movie, where the children were real instead of cute — Jurassic Park as restaged in the Globe of dreams.
Also, midway through the second act, somebody noticed, “Hey, isn’t that Samuel L. Jackson?”
“Hey, that’s Samuel L. Jackson!”
For the rest of the evening, the air turned blue with remarks like, “I am tired of these muthafuckin’ raptors on this muthafuckin’ island!”