Jurassic Park is not only the greatest dinosaur film of all time, it’s one of the best films Spielberg has ever directed. Not only did the film resurrect (fictionally only, unfortunately) an extinct race of giant reptiles for the silver screen, it also bolstered an already amazing premise – borrowed from Michael Crichton’s novel – with a cast of actors that performed their characters with the utmost care and attention. From Wayne Knight’s performance as the oafish programmer of the park’s security systems to Richard Attenborough’s almost godlike presence as the park’s owner and creator: John Hammond – there’s little wonder why Jurassic Park is considered an outright classic in its own right.
But the real stars of the show were the dinosaurs, and while there was only 15 minutes of screen time for the prehistoric beasts, that made them no less prominent or memorable within the film. In fact, their brief time with audiences in relation to the overall running time of the film may have even added to the tension that each scene featuring them brought – too much action would have desensitized us to their ferocity. But do you know everything there is to know about the quintessential dinosaur flick? From craftily hidden scenes from Spielberg’s Jaws, the relationship between black and white and some rather laughable injuries; considering the subject matter of the film, there’s sure to be at least one entry on this list that will make you want to watch the film as soon as you’re done reading.
10. Steven Spielberg Sneaked In Some Footage Of Jaws
This entry is the epitome of the phrase; ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. Wayne Knight’s performance in Jurassic Park as the disgruntled and treacherous Dennis Nedry wasn’t exactly the most physically demanding role in the film (well, except for when he tries to tow his car through monsoon weather), and his constant proximity to several computer screens obviously gave Spielberg an irresistible opportunity to sneak in footage from one of his other films.
In the scene where Nedry is getting berated by Ray Arnold (played by Samuel L. Jackson) for being a lazy, complacent oaf, the computer engineer’s surrounding wall of computers have various windows open, but one of them has a sneaky little video of Jaws playing out of direct focus. For a park that’s the first of its kind, populated by prehistoric, dangerous dinosaurs, you’d have thought John Hammond would have been able to find a more competent computer engineer that didn’t want to screw over its owner. But hey, at least the traitor had a good taste in films.
9. Harrison Ford Turned Down The Role Of Dr. Alan Grant
This one is oddly surprising considering Ford’s past acting credits. Having played Han Solo and Indiana Jones, (both of which were film series directed by the tag team of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg) you’d think that Ford turning down a starring role in another film directed by Spielberg would be as sure as the sun shining in the day. But alas, Ford turned down the role of playing the paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant in the dinosaur epic.
Whether the actor regrets the decision today is anyone’s guess, but we’re sure he had his reasons for rejecting the role in the first place. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he turned the role down for fear of being typecast as an actor that starred mainly in films directed by Lucas or Spielberg, and while the actor already had past film credits before starring in his most famous role of Han Solo, nobody would blame him for that train of thought. After all, when casting for Indiana Jones began, Lucas was hesitant to cast Ford in the role, not wanting to make the actor his “Bobby De Niro” – a reference to Martin Scorsese’s frequent collaborations with the aforementioned actor. If only the cast of Jurassic World hadn’t already been confirmed… We’d still be able to hold out hope that Ford could eventually appear in a film about dinosaurs.
8. Jim Carrey Auditioned For The Part Of Ian Malcolm
At first, if you imagine Jim Carrey had replaced Jeff Goldblum as the pessimistic antithesis of the enthusiastic, optimistic John Hammond, you’d probably breathe a sigh of relief that Carrey’s unique brand of comedy wasn’t incorporated into Jurassic Park. However, if you dwell on the idea for more than just a few minutes, you may start to think that the part would have actually been a great fit for Carrey. Obviously, Goldblum did an absolutely stellar job of playing the character, but Carrey could have played the chracter well too. He’d have to tone down his goofy side slightly, but the actor could have added more to the sarcastic and skeptical side of Malcolm than you’d think.
Ultimately, the part was obviously given to Goldblum, but Carrey’s efforts never went unnoticed. The casting director for the film noted that Carrey did a great job of auditioning for the role of Malcolm, but that they ultimately decided to cast Goldblum. It’s hard to picture another actor playing an already established role in a film with as much recognition as Jurassic Park, but this is one that we can actually envisage.
7. George Lucas Took Over Post-Production Duties
Directors are busy guys. Spielberg was so rammed with work when he wrapped up shooting for Jurassic Park, that he didn’t even have enough time to oversee post-production on his latest film. Spielberg was extremely interested in filming Schindler’s List around the time of Jurassic Park’s creation, so much so that he left post-production duties to his pal Lucas so that he could jet off to Europe to begin filming on his World War II epic.
What influence Lucas had on the finished product of Jurassic Park is debatable. Lucas may have been left in charge of post-production on the film, but chances are, Spielberg left behind some sort of brief for Lucas to adhere to. Although with that said, considering the well-known friendship the two share, it wouldn’t be surprising if Lucas was given free reign to a certain degree. Whatever the case may be, Jurassic Park still ended up being one of the most successful films of all time, and Lucas must have put at least a little effort in – he’s actually credited at the end of the film.
6. There’s Only 15 Minutes of Dinosaur Footage In The Entire Film
It really is bizarre to think that a film with a running time of 127 minutes that’s entirely about the dangers of resurrecting an extinct race of reptiles only actually features said extinct race on-screen for a total of 15 minutes. Not even a seventh of the film’s entire running time is devoted to showing dinosaurs on screen, yet it’s the most famous film ever to feature them. Perhaps it’s a prime example of less is more – after all, the impact of seeing the most accurate representations of dinosaurs (at the time) in cinema would probably have been lessened if every scene featured one trying to tear the face off of someone.
Considering the short amount of time that the beasts appear on-screen and the subsequent amount of time the cast spend running away from the T. rex, there’s little room for doubt as to why the giant dinosaur is the most famous of them all. The only species that comes close to its popularity is the Velociraptor, and there’s little wonder why that is; poor Ray Arnold, we wonder where the rest of his body went after losing that arm.
5. Joseph Mazzello Auditioned For Spielberg’s Hook, But Was Turned Down
Known to audiences the world over in the 90s as the annoying kid that wouldn’t leave Dr. Grant alone and got electrocuted by a giant electric fence, Joseph Mazzello’s role in Jurassic Park wasn’t the first directed by Spielberg that Mazzello had auditioned for. The then child actor had auditioned for Spielberg’s Hook prior to landing a part in Jurassic Park, but was turned down by Hook’s casting directors for being too young. Spielberg commented at the time that he promised to give Mazzello a part in a future movie of his – the film subsequently turning out to be Jurassic Park.
Mazzello must have been ecstatic in retrospect. While Hook is often cited as many people’s favourite childhood film, it was considered a disappointment by TriStar Pictures and received less than glowing reviews from critics. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, received critical acclaim and was the highest-grossing film of all time upon its release, only being topped by James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997. Mazzello still performs today, most notably appearing in The Pacific and The Social Network.
4. Sam Neil Injured Himself While Filming Jurassic Park
Okay, so which fake dinosaur was Neil injured by while filming Jurassic Park. Was he sliced open by the T. rex teeth, hurt by an overzealous man in a Velociraptor suit or almost crushed by the Tricerotops? Unfortunately, it was nothing as glamorous as any of those, Neil injured himself while waving a flare around in the scene where he tries to draw the attention of the T. rex away from the overturned car.
Some phosphorous from the flare fell onto Neil’s arm while filming, the injury being exacerbated by the substance getting caught under his wristwatch. Neil was quoted after receiving the injury as saying “It took a chunk of my arm out”, a phrase that the actor must have exaggerated as his arm still appeared to look quite normal in subsequent films. Apparently Neil now has a scar on his arm as a result of the incident – a great (if painful at the time) memento of his involvement on the film. There aren’t many people in the world that can tell a story of when they received a scar while trying to distract a T. rex, now that’s a belter to tell the grand kids.
3. Jurassic Park Was The Third Film That Spielberg Had Attempted To Get Richard Attenborough To Star In
It’s common knowledge that the sadly departed Richard Attenborough came out of self-imposed retirement to play the role of John Hammond in Jurassic Park. What you may not have known however, is that Spielberg had approached Attenborough twice before, trying to secure the actor’s signature for two other films. Those attempts obviously fell flat though, as Jurassic Park was Attenborough’s first on-screen role for 14 years.
Attenborough went on to star in only a handful of films following the release of Jurassic Park, opting instead to focus entirely on his directing career. Funnily enough, when Attenborough directed Gandhi in 1982, the film won academy awards for best director and best picture, beating out Spielberg’s own E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Clearly, Spielberg had an enormous amount of respect for the acclaimed actor and director; we’re just glad he decided to say yes to Jurassic Park.
2. Malcolm And Hammond Say A Thousand Words With Their Clothing
It’s one of the most basic connotations in cinema, but the use of black and white clothing in Jurassic Park goes beyond the concept of black being sinister and white being pure. The characters of Ian Malcolm and John Hammond constantly come to verbal blows during the film over their views and ethical concerns of resurrecting an extinct race for the purposes of entertainment. Malcolm’s black-clad character is the complete antithesis of Hammond’s blindingly white attire, and as the only two chracters dressed in one uniform colour, their purpose is clear: to serve as opposite sides of a debate.
Hammond believes that he’s creating something that the human race can learn from and enjoy as a spectacle – a revisit of the past so to speak. But he has commercial interests and summarily dismisses Malcolm’s more skeptical views. Malcolm has an almost morbid curiosity of Jurassic Park, choosing to accept Hammond’s invitation to visit the park to see just how ridiculous the notion of resurrecting dinosaurs and parading them in front people would be.
1. Jurassic Park Gave Birth To A Meme
You can’t force the creation of an internet meme; they’re just the result of something humorous found in popular culture that explodes into a viral phenomenon either through repeated citation or mass exposure. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a meme is generally a piece of pop culture that has been noted as humorous by various people and subsequently repeated and replicated across the internet at an extremely fast rate. Jurassic Park is part of this culture, giving birth to a meme that pokes fun at Phil Tippett – credited at the end of the film as the film’s Dinosaur Supervisor.
Jokes focused around the credit began to circulate, and eventually the image above came to be. The humorous meme pokes fun at the job title, blaming Tippett for not properly supervising the giant reptiles that subsequently run rampant throughout the titular park and eat half the humans present there. You did have one job Mr. Tippett, and many should thank you for not doing your supposed job properly, because Jurassic Park wouldn’t have been as entertaining if you had!
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