When I was a young kid, I had two major obsessions. One of them was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The other? Dinosaurs.
As a kid, I was shy and introverted, with a fervent passion for learning. I wanted to be a ninja, and I studied the ways of Master Splinter and the Turtles. Heck, I pretty much thought I was a Ninja Turtle. (Jonatello, to be precise). I also had countless books about dinosaurs and studied all of the various species. Though I wouldn't go so far as to say that I wanted to be a dinosaur, but I did dress up as one for Halloween in like the third grade, so then again maybe I did. I read these books so often that I'm still able to recognize the artwork today (see below). I was completely fascinated with anything and everything about dinosaurs.
In addition to all of that reading, I remember learning even more about dinosaurs in school, including theories about what may have caused their extinction. (Anyone who's anyone knows it was the aliens in Independence Day that wiped them out.) But my exposure to dinosaurs surely didn't stop there. You might recall an awesome, animated dinosaur movie by the name of The Land Before Time. Who doesn't love that timeless classic? Talk about a tearjerker! I'm experiencing nostalgia overload over here!
Then of course, there's these bad boys hanging out along Interstate 10 in Cabazon, California. Any of you fellow Californians remember Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex? I can recall the excitement I had when I'd see them on the way to our family's favorite vacation spot. I think I can even vaguely remember us stopping there once to get a closer look. Pretty cool!
However, as great as all of that dinosaur stuff was, none of it could compare to what happened in 1993, when Jurassic Park hit theaters. This movie changed my whole world. Steven Spielberg had done the impossible. He brought dinosaurs back to life!
Can you remember all of the excitement and wonder you felt when watching Jurassic Park for the first time? Do you remember looking on with amazement as the first dinosaur, a towering brachiosaurus, was finally revealed? Spielberg perfectly channels that feeling through his memorable characters, who are just as astonished as we are. Then John Williams' legendary score kicks in at just the right moment to create one of the most awe-inspiring movie moments I've ever seen.
Even without watching the scene, I can hear the sound of that grand musical score blarring in my head right now. It was an unforgettable moment, and better yet, it just the beginning! I can't even imagine how ridiculously excited I must have been in this iconic moment. For the first time ever, I was seeing what looked like a living, breathing dinosaur!
The more I look back on the film, the more I remember what a masterpiece it really is. None of us had ever seen anything like it. Watching Jurassic Park was a completely surreal and mesmerizing experience. Although, of course, all of that joyous wonder quickly turned into true horror with the inclusion of the Tyrannosaurus Rex...
All of the scenes with the T-Rex were sensational. The jeep chase, the car attack, and that incredibly epic ending too. Spielberg turned the T-Rex into an unforgettable movie monster. It's attack on the two cars during the tour is undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite movie moments. The terrifying kitchen scene with the raptors ranks high up on my list too. Jurassic Park is filled with so many great scares and thrills, and Spielberg demonstrates an impressive attention to detail. It's an all-time classic and I love every minute of it. As a child, it was literally the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I still get all giddy just thinking about it now as an adult. Perhaps most importantly, though, it spawned the greatest piece of fan art the world has ever known. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, "Ian Malcolm: From Chaos"! Behold it's glory. Life finds a way, indeed!
Needless to say, Jurassic Park was one of the defining films of my childhood, and now, 22 years later to the day, I'm heading back to it with the release of Jurassic World. As a child, my dad took me to see Jurassic Park in theaters three times! A personal best record that it held for nearly 20 years! The Dark Knight Rises ended up tying it at 3. At least that was until I saw Jurassic Park again in theaters two years ago when it was re-released in 3D. That pushed it back to the top! An all-time 5 Minute Movie Guy record four times on the big screen! I seriously don't imagine any movie will ever be able to take away that crown from the legendary T-Rex. Not even Batman, the world's greatest superhero, could share it for long!
As you can guess, I'm totally stoked to relive that childhood nostalgia when I see Jurassic World in IMAX 3D tonight! (IMAX 3D? I'm sparing no expense!) I'd love to talk in more depth about all of my love and appreciation for dinosaurs and Jurassic Park, but you're just gonna have to hold onto your butts and wait for that to come later. I've got a ticket to Isla Nublar, to return back to the place where it all began. A trip 65 million years into the past, and I have no intention of being late!
This blog is in the refrigerator! The door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter is getting hard, and the JELL-O IS JIGGLIN'!