Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

All this said, I still want a pet dinosaur! (Jurassic Park at the Bagdad)

Would not have been surprised to wake up to a world with actual rampaging dinosaurs after my late, late, late night watching Jurassic Park with several hundred people. Damn, the dinosaur special effects still look good.

I'm kind of more and more of a stick-in-the-mud about that film, though. I liked it but didn't love it when it came out; I never emotionally connected to it the way I have with many other films (even summer blockbusters: my love for, say, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Terminator 2 remains strong and true), so I enjoyed it mainly for the spectacle.

And for the reactions to it, too: the Merrifield (VA) multiplex that I'd go to when I lived in Northern Virginia had enough of a sense of flair to build a surprisingly large dinosaur upper body on top of the theater roof! That's where I saw Jurassic Park, more than once, in the summer of 1993 between my freshman and sophomore years of college. And as I wasn't really one for scare films when I was growing up, it may have been the first movie I went to where I saw someone (my friend Leo) literally jump out of a seat at a scare in the film.

Then Peter David explained my ambivalence better than I could: The plot of the film version of Jurassic Park is basically Murphy's Law, and all the Chaos Theory justification in the film doesn't hide that. (He also contrasted Dr. Alan Grant's character arc with that of Ripley in Aliens, and that REALLY cemented my opinion of Jurassic Park the film. "Oh, that's why I liked Aliens better.")

Last night I watched the film and cheered and laughed along with hundreds of others but kept thinking If the park can collapse this way over one weekend, when the similarly conceived San Diego Wild Animal Park has, um, collapsed in such a way NEVER, then it's horrendously badly designed! And if anyone accuses me of being contrary just because I'm not a fan of this flick, remember my goofy, doofus-y enjoyment more than once of Independence Day. I can get into big, stupid, explode-y entertainment. I've gotten into it more before.)

I do appreciate that even Michael Crichton once basically said This book and film aren't meant to be realistic. They can have verisimilitude -- and I'll cut in to add that Jurassic Park the novel, which I've read at least twice, pulls off the verisimilitude better than the film -- but they're exaggerated to make a point about being cautious with scientific discovery. (I'm remembering an article that ran sometime after the film came out, so I'm going on 17-year-old memories.)+

Meanwhile, last night was a good night. Good food (yay special chorizo burger! A good use for pork!), good crowd, fun with Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories episode "The Mission" which showed before the film (we cheered more than once (and were surprised to find Anthony LaPaglia had a small part in it)), and fun hanging-out time afterward. I hitched a ride with Ryan and Stacey Pollard, who I've met via Twitter and the Cort and Fatboy screenings, and I and a friend of theirs rode to downtown to eat late-night food at Big-Ass Sandwiches. The Pollards were then nice enough to detour slightly and drop me off at home.

Next Midnight Movie: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, on Friday, September 3rd. And I already know what the October film will be, and it makes me smile. It's one I've never seen before, despite being in one of the right demographics for it. Seeing it with drunk geeks may be a GREAT way to first see it. :-)




+ Feel like I should say what Michael Crichton works I've experienced: ER, obviously, and of his novels I've read and liked The Andromeda Strain, The Great Train Robbery (especially so), Eaters of the Dead (much better than its movie adaptation) and Jurassic Park. When it became clearer how much of a mean crank he was becoming -- going after a writer who disagreed with him by naming a PEDOPHILE after that writer in his next book? Great way to make me NOT RESPECT YOUR FREAKIN' OPINION -- that torpedoed my desire to read more of his work.
Tags: midnight movies, portland
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