I remember the summer of 1993 well; I was twelve years old, having just moved from central to south Florida, and only about a year out from a major car accident. In fact, I was actually still recovering from my most recent surgery when I went to go see Jurassic Park, the then-new summer blockbuster from legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
Originally released on June 11, 1993 and based off the book by Michael Crichton, it was the new action-adventure film that everyone was talking about at the time, and you simply had to see. Which is exactly what they did in droves, topping the then-highest grossing film of all time, 1982’s E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (also directed by Spielberg), a record it would only briefly hold onto until James Cameron’s Titantic four years later in 1997.
The plot is set around a wealthy tycoon (Richard Attenborough) who re-creates the unthinkable – actual dinosaurs – on a far off tropical island. But in order to get approval from his investors to open a theme park with the animals at the forefront, he seeks the “okay” from a group of scientists – Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Of course in the midst of their tour of the would-be new park, all hell breaks loose as things quickly go from hopeful to horrifying, turning the seemingly cute family movie into a Jaws-sized carnage fest.
Being still just twelve-years-old at the time the film was released, I was still young enough for some of the film’s massive marketing techniques to apply to me, collecting such items from trading cards to action figures, many of which I still possess to this day or have passed down to either my son or nephew (who is quite possibly the biggest Jurassic Park fan I’ve ever met).
The franchise itself has far from slowed down, producing five sequels (which somehow I’ve managed to still catch each and every one on the big screen, the later few with my own family now), and the original film eventually surpassing the one billion dollar mark at the box office when it was re-released for its twentieth anniversary in 2013. Judging by this, something tells me we’ll still be getting more chances to visit Jurassic Park.
The author (left) and son/photographer Jacob Striewski at a Jurassic Park-themed set at Spookala on 6/10/23 (photo by Brooke Striewski).