Itís sobering to remember that Steven Spielberg was in early stages of
pre-production a decade before this DVD release of his enormously successful film of
Michael Crichtonís novel, Jurassic Park. It was still the early days of CGI in
movies, and the 50 minute doco on the Making Of Jurassic Park gives us a backward glance
at the enormity of the filmís achievements in CGI work.
This was the time of Terminator 2, and the giant strides made in CGI on that film,
helped propel the craft on this one.
Narrated by the eminently suitable James Earl Jones, this is a great, passionately made
documentary, and whether you hire or buy this DVD, you are urged to see it, even if no
other special feature grabs your fancy. There is Spielberg talking about the intensity of
his interest in the subject matter from the moment he accidentally discovered that
Crichton was working on the novel. Spielberg says the mythology of dinosaurs, stirred by
fact, is a powerful force for story tellers. There is also his confession about what he
considers to be the high watermark of creature features, King Kong, and the humble
admission that Jurassic Park is not in that league.
The details of how the dinosaurs came to the screen is fascinating and I wonít
spoil the fun by telling you. There is also interesting info about the scientific accuracy
Spielberg sought so intently; the notion of dinosaurs being more bird-like than
lizard-like, is one of those factors.
The biggest surprise is the smallest effect: how they got the water in the plastic cup
on the dashboard of a park vehicle to vibrate with the footsteps of the T-Rex.
Other items worth a look: the Foley Artists piece is very brief but terrific. You
wonít believe the diversity of fruit used to create dinosaurs hatching.
The Animatics is worth a peek, and donít be surprised that it has no sound. This
is effectively a 3D storyboard.
There is also a funny bit with Spielberg looking at a herd of cows and joking about
casting them as dinosaurs, wearing dino suits. The cows trot off, disinterested in
The menu is based on the entrance foyer to the Jurassic Park HQ in the film, with a
raptor on the loose; very effective. Just a word of warning about the weakspot in the menu
design: bottom right corner of the main menu has the Play Movie option, with a right arrow
next to it. Itís not the right arrow you need to play the movie: the arrow takes you
to the rest of the extra features, with things like the foley piece and trailers, dinosaur
In language options, I checked out Sam Neillís Hungarian and found it flawless!
But the biggest audio buzz is the extraordianry soundtrack, cranked up in 5.1, which adds
immeasurably to the enjoyment of this adventure/creature feature. The coffee in my cup
vibrated. And so did I.
Andrew L. Urban
We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.
Publication date: October 19, 2000