J is for “Jurassic Park”

In case you’ve just come out of a coma that’s lasted since 1992 and need a refresher, 1993’s Jurassic Park tells the story of an island that contains a dinosaur theme park, complete with real dinosaurs. After extracting dinosaur DNA from mosquitos encased in amber, the genetics team, headed by B.D. Wong, combined the dinosaur with frog DNA to produced cloned dinosaurs. I don’t really get how that works but that’s probably because I got my degrees in English and not science.

Here's the extent of my skills. That, and I can make a mean cup of coffee.
Here’s the extent of my skills.
Well that, and I can make a mean cup of coffee.

After a Velociraptor kills and eats someone because it’s a fucking Velociraptor, the park’s creator, John Hammond, is forced by the legal team to bring in some experts to prove the park is safe for families. Hammond invites child-hating paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and his lovely girlfriend/paleobotanist with a ticking biological clock, Dr. Ellie Sattler ,while the lawyer invites a mathematician specializing in chaos theory named Dr. Ian Malcolm.

"I'm always on the lookout for an ex-Mrs. Malcolm."
“You were so busy asking if you could that you never asked if you should.”

Honestly, I could’ve called the article “J is for Jeff Goldblum” because he’s responsible for 90% of the memorable lines in this movie. This could be due to the fact that after the initial kerfuffle with the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Malcolm is injured and spends most of the movie doped up on morphine but that seems like we’re splitting hairs. He functions somewhat like a Greek chorus, making snarky comments and pointing out the obvious. Unfortunately, no one is paying attention because he’s comes off like the creepy dude in a club who wears too much cologne and won’t stop asking you to dance even after you say no.

“Life finds a way, baby.”

Related, I saw this on Facebook last week and needed an excuse to use it:

If you don’t love this, you should stop reading now.

Anyway, our three experts are flown out to Jurassic Park and given a tour behind the scenes by Hammond who explains the whole mosquito-dinosaur-frog thing which clearly left a lasting impression on me. They witness the birth of a baby raptor and B.D. Wong assures them that they’re only creating females to prevent rogue breeding. Dr. Malcolm tries to warn that this isn’t a good method because “life finds a way” but everyone essentially tells him to shut up and they move on to the tour of the park itself. Hammond bows out of the tour and instead decides to watch from the control room like a rent-a-cop at a mall. He does, however entrust his grandchildren to strangers, one in particular who hates children and spent an early scene of the movie pretending to eviscerate an 11-year-old with a raptor claw on an archeological dig.

Yeah, this is totally a guy to whom I'd entrust a child.
If you believe the fan theory, this punk kid grows up to be Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.

Ellie, however, is happy that Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim, are joining them and hopes that this will give Grant some practice with kids so she can hurry up and get pregnant already. They’re also joined by sleazy third wheel Dr. Ian Malcolm and they embark on their journey around the park. However, while on the tour, they discover a sick Triceratops and Ellie figures out why (plants or something? I don’t know, no one cares) after getting elbow deep in a literal pile of shit.

Jeff Goldblum is still DTF.
Jeff Goldblum is still DTF.

Ellie stays behind with the park veterinarian while a tropical storm approaches, leaving the children alone with Grant and Malcolm which seems like one of the poorer choices made in the film.

Meanwhile, the park’s computer programmer accepted a large corporate bribe for dinosaur embryos. This colossal douchebag who is responsible for all the subsequent events of the film is none other than:

Sure, his name was Dennis Nedry in the movie, but literally no one cares because it was the 90s and he’s forever Newman so shut up.

Sorry, I'll get it together.
Sorry, I’ll get it together.

Anyway, Newman shuts off the security system so he can steal dinosaur embryos from the cooler or wherever the crap they’re kept. In shutting down the security system, Newman also ends up freezing the tour vehicles when the power goes off and our quirky party of heroes is stuck. But they soon realize they’re about to be in more peril than just simple boredom and having to entertain two kids who won’t STFU.

The most suspenseful glass of water in film history.

With the power off, the electric fence that separates them from carnivorous dinosaurs is also deactivated and they the party is face to face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Keep in mind, this was in 1993 before there was possible evidence of a T-Rex having feathers or full lips which now makes it sound less like a walking nightmare and more like a drag queen.

Just replace the dinosaur roar with "YAAAAAAAAS!"
Just replace the dinosaur roar with “YAAAAAAAAS!”

At this point in the tour, the lawyer thinks this is an appropriate time to poop so he runs into the nearby bathroom. The T-Rex then comes by and, after ripping apart the bathroom, eats the lawyer while he’s on the toilet which sounds a little unsanitary to me but I guess to each his own–just because I’m not going to eat someone in the middle of pooping doesn’t mean a T-Rex can’t.

Bet he’s regretting that last burrito.

Grant and the kids escape by staying very, very still since the dinosaur’s vision is based on movement. The boy, Tim, sneezes or something and they’re all about to be eaten when Malcolm intervenes and saves the day by leading the T-Rex away as a distraction. He’s then injured, but not killed, and gets to spend the rest of the movie heavily medicated and saying Jeff Goldblum-y things.

While all this is happening, Newman drives off the road in his attempt to get to the boat waiting for him so he can sell the dinosaur embryos. While sloshing through the rain and mud, he encounters what he thinks is a cute little dinosaur . . . until the Dilophosaurus puffs up its built-in Elizabethan collar, spits venom into his eyes, and then eats him.

Before anyone starts complaining, yes, I know this dinosaur is scientifically inaccurate. Spielberg just wanted it to look cool while it was killing Newman.
Before anyone starts complaining, yes, I know this dinosaur is scientifically inaccurate.
Spielberg just wanted it to look cool while it was killing Newman.

Concerned for the well-being of her boyfriend and the two children, Ellie teams up with Muldoon, the park’s game warden, to look for them. Instead, they find a half-eaten lawyer and the injured Malcolm whom Ellie pretends to be relieved to find. In the meantime, Hammond is trying to reboot the park’s security system but encounters this instead:

The height of 90s computer technology.

Hammond and his chief engineer realize the only way to get everything up and running again is to do a hard reset of the entire park–which entails temporarily powering off the fences enclosing the Velociraptors. Hammond gives the thumbs up and takes off as fast as his cane will allow him to hide in an emergency bunker while the engineer is left to navigate the increasingly dangerous park to complete the reboot in the maintenance shed because that seems like a really well thought out design. Shortly after this, Ellie and Muldoon arrive at the maintenance shed and find only the engineer’s severed head because if you work for this park, you’re pretty much fucked. Muldoon offers to distract the raptors while Ellie shuts off the power and, in essence, signs his own death certificate in doing so. Earlier in the film, he explained how raptors hunt in packs and use distraction to disarm their prey. But when faced with the raptors, he forgets all of this and is eaten.

While all of these bureaucratic shenanigans were going on, the child-hating Grant was left in charge of the survival of the kids but he’s not a monster so he does what he can to keep them safe. They spend the night in a tree and make friends with a Brachiosaurus who proceeds to sneeze on them because apparently it’s allergic to cheesy bonding moments. The next morning, Grant attempts to navigate their trio back to safety an on the way, they discover dinosaur egg shells and Grant hypothesizes that because certain kinds of frogs can change gender when necessary for breeding, infusing the dinosaurs with frog DNA gave the dinosaurs the same ability, which proves Malcolm was right all along.

"Told ya so."

Grant and the kids continue on but they’re quickly ambushed by dinosaurs who want to eat them because the humans are soft and squishy and no longer at the top of the food chain. They climb over a defunct electric fence but just as Tim is climbing over, the last to do so, Ellie flips the switch to turn the power back on and Tim is flung from the electric fence, presumably electrocuted to death.

Nice catch, I guess?

Luckily, a fence designed to take down massive dinosaurs does no lasting damage to a 10-year-old so all three move on with their day like nothing happened. They finally reach the visitor’s center at which point Grant ditches the kids to go look for Ellie. The kids decide to find something to eat which leads to the most nerve-wracking moment ever had with lime jello when they realize they’re not alone in the visitor’s center.

I wanted to make a Bill Cosby joke but I think I’m going to pass on this one.

The kids have to hide in the industrial kitchen to fend off the raptors hunting them and if you saw this as a kid and this scene didn’t give you at least one nightmare, you’re probably a sociopath.


Grant and Ellie come back to rescue the kids but fuck up royally because they’re no match for raptors and just as they’re all about to die, the T-Rex shows up in a brilliant moment of dino ex machina.


All’s well that ends well, yadda yadda yadda.

On a personal note, I thought I’d share my own connection to the movie . . . although I might have just made it sound way cooler than it actually is. When I was in high school, I was involved with my church’s youth group and twice a year, we’d go on weekend retreats. Each retreat had a theme and in the spring of my senior year, the theme was “Beatification Park.” Instead of bringing back dinosaurs, the guy in charge of the park brought back saints, lessons were learned, spiritual growth occurred, etc.

As a promo for the upcoming retreat, I, along with several other teens in the program, were invited to participate in a reenactment of the opening scene of “Jurassic Park” when one of the employees was eaten by a raptor.

Guess who got eaten by a saint?

If you guessed me, you’re correct.

Ultimately, this video doesn’t really make sense in regards to the rest of the videos that were made for the retreat because the saints want to help everyone, not eat them, so my death was kind of pointless for the story (but entertaining all the same). It also seems worth pointing out that one of the bored-looking guys that was half-heartedly poking at the saint to free me before I died was my then-boyfriend. Needless to say, our relationship didn’t stand the test of time but that’s okay, because my heart belongs to another.

“I’m always on the lookout for an ex-Mrs. Malcolm.”

Hold onto your butts and happy Throwback Thursday!

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