Making the Grades
Jurassic Park is the brainchild of wealthy entrepreneur John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) who is creating what he believes will be the world's most unusual theme park. Hoping to calm nervous investors, he invites a group of carefully selected people, along with his two grandchildren, to come and experience then endorse his attraction, which is filled with live, genetically engineered dinosaurs.
Amongst the visitors are palaeontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and palaeo-botanist Dr. Ellie Satler (Laura Dern). After years of studying fossilized remains, it is little surprise that the two scientists are wonder-struck by seeing these creatures living and breathing (as will the audience). However, they have some reservations regarding the wisdom and incurred responsibility of introducing the global co-habitation of dinosaurs and man. And well they should, because a plot to steal Mr. Hammond's research is about to bring these two species a little too close for comfort.
As in all good monster flics, the script includes several characters destined to be devoured. You can rest assured that the stereotypical nerdy computer technician (Wayne Knight) and whiney lawyer (Martin Ferrero) are on the top of the list. Some of the others are less obvious choices, which helps add to the suspense.
While many of the scare tactics (like the dark and stormy night) are typical for this genre, director Steven Spielberg uses a scientifically plausible premise, good pacing, and incredible special effects to achieve a very convincing, action packed adventure which capitalizes on the dinosaur craze.
Despite the marketing strategies that may suggest otherwise, this is not a film for children. Although it is true that the violence is derived from characters fighting for their lives, portraying that conflict is the only motive for making the movie. Even with a minimal amount of gore and a smattering of profanities, there are still many intense and frightening depictions sure to elicit nightmares in young viewers. While this may be an acceptable risk for older teens, those with dino-crazy little ones need to remember that they won't find any cuddly purple plush critters at Jurassic Park!
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Jurassic Park.
Universal Studios’ marketing department has capitalized on the dinosaur theme with all sorts of paraphernalia bearing the Jurassic logo. Most of this merchandise is aimed at young children. How does this strategy help to create the false impression that this is a film appropriate for all ages? Do you think that studios should do this?
Dr. Ellie Satler tries to explain to Mr. Hammond that controlling his creation is impossible, and that he should have considered the moral and ethical implications of what he had unleashed. Why do you think he neglected to weigh the responsibility of his decision? What factors may sometimes tempt you to overlook the consequences of your choices.
Can extinct species be brought back to life? Scientists in Queensland have done just that with a frog that bears its young through its mouth.