Illustration: Adeline Pericart
Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summers past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Ciara O’Brien wanders into ‘Jurassic Park’.
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Now lash on the sunblock…
There is something about the beginning of the summer blockbuster season that gets my heart all a-flutter. There are times when the summertime really sneaks up on me (rainy summer days anyone?) and the first moment I realise that it is, in fact summer is the onslaught of trailers and posters for long-awaited movie treats. The problem with summer blockbusters is that there is so much hype, so much build-up, that there is an inevitable level of disappointment. That superhero turns out to be kind of a jerk and that alien turns out to be a creepy little mess who will haunt your dreams forevermore. When I was asked to write about summer movies, there was only one which came to mind. The one which lived up to the summer blockbuster hype, the first real summer blockbuster that got the adrenaline going as I shuffled into the darkened room, delighted to be allowed to have my own tub of popcorn. Jurassic Park.
For me, Jurassic Park is the original summer blockbuster. Released in July of 1993 it heralded the beginning of a lifelong love of the Blockbuster, and remains one of few not to disappoint. I was lucky enough to be too young at six years old to associate movies with their respective directors, as if I had known then that Spielberg had also directed the E.T. of my nightmares, I may not have been so quick through the cinema doors. As it was, life as a six year old was hard, having just graduated to ‘big sister’ territory, I needed something to take my mind off the harsh realities of life, and enormous dinosaurs were the only thing for it. Within minutes of entering Richard Attenborough’s unique world, Spielberg and I became firm friends again (the same cannot be said for a certain extra terrestrial).
Jurassic Park was a place where reality need not apply, new scientific rules were set out from the beginning and here was my first experience of suspending disbelief. There was no doubt in my mind that they would reopen the park at a later date when they had cleared off all of the corpses and hosed down the blood, and on that day I would pay a visit. Sam Neill was the lovable grump who would rescue me from danger and Attenborough was my grandfather, much to my actual family’s dismay. It remains a near-perfect blockbuster, covering every necessary angle from sci-fi to comedy thanks to Goldblum’s dry wit. To this day I find it difficult to find fault with this movie for entertainment factor.
Jurassic Park had a profound impact on my interaction with the big screen. Each time the first flutters of the summer movie season make their way to the screen, I am excited regardless of how the movie itself looks. The hopes of the perfection of my original blockbuster experience remain intact. It is however unfortunate for my parents that their little girl turned into a tree-climbing, plastic dinosaur toting tomboy overnight.