Friends, I can not put it any more clearly than this – when Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was released in the Summer of 1993 it truly changed my life. I was 21 at the time the film hit theaters and at that point, while working at a local video store – my goal in life was to possibly be a writer… but I felt that what I really wanted to do until then was make sure that I was working in the movie business in some capacity. As I’ve shared in the Saturday Frights podcasts and on the former Retroist site many times before – some of my happiest memories have been made sitting in a darkened movie theater with my Father or friends. Surrendering to what I believe the late Roger Ebert called ‘consensual dreaming’ – thanks to films like Star Wars, The Muppet Movie, The Howling, Blade Runner, TRON, The Last Starfighter, Robocop, Predator, Halloween, Raiders of the Lost Ark and so many more. I have probably spent more time in a movie theater than most folks you know… but then Jurassic Park opened and I found myself and my friends sitting in a sold out auditorium and everything changed. Never in my Life had I witnessed how a film could affect an audience – at least not like this – laughs, jump scares, and screams. There were many, many screams as the characters in the film did their very best not to wind up chow for the rampaging T-Rex, Velociraptors, and a few Dilophosaurus. Obviously some characters fared better than others… but when I left the theater that night I was buzzing with a vision that I had not had when I sat down in my seat 127 minutes earlier. After seeing Jurassic Park I had it in my head that I would become a film Director – because I wanted to feel the magic of affecting an audience like Steven Spielberg had that night in my neck of the woods.
I think it is fair to say that I had a pretty good film education growing up – but as I’ve shared before, especially in my youth, what I saw was dictated by what my Father wanted to see. While I always have loved movies – when I walked in that video store the next day I realized I had the greatest film school at my disposal and I like to think I was an attentive student. The first thing I did was step out of my comfort zone with horror, sci-fi, and animated films – plunging into film noir, romance, drama, and foreign films. At the video store I worked at we had a suggestion board for the customers – each week I would climb up a ladder and using a dry erase marker write down the suggestions of my fellow co-workers… which is how you ended up with everything from In the Name of the Father to Krush Groove. After a couple of years I left the video store and found myself working at that very movie theater I saw Jurassic Park in and while my dreams of becoming a Director didn’t totally vanish – they became something else, I decided I wanted to be a screenwriter instead. While my intended vocation had altered slightly the main goal most assuredly remained the same – I wanted to entertain others.
All of this, yet again, thanks to Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Crichton’s 1990 bestseller… and the Jurassic Park franchise has not slowed down in the last 26 years. 1997 saw the release of Jurassic Park: The Lost World, with Jurassic Park III four years later. While there were games, comics, and toys still produced to keep the Jurassic Park franchise chugging along it wouldn’t be until 2015 when Director Colin Trevorrow delivered a new film with Jurassic World – the global success of that film begat 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. An as of yet untitled third picture in the Jurassic World franchise is supposedly scheduled for 2021 – with Trevorrow returning to helm the picture.
Each film, especially the Jurassic World films feels like it has taken a much larger step in delivering a promise on the title – a World where we will see how Humanity handles Dinosaurs walking among us. That promise has taken a huge step forward with the recently released short film Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock which I think is a taste of what we can expect in that new Jurassic World film in a couple of years. This short film which is Directed by Colin Trevorrow introduces us to a Family that is camping at Big Rock Nation Park… which just so happens to be near where the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom occurred. So strap in and enjoy this truly incredible and entertaining short film – definitely make sure to stick through during the credits for more moments of when Humanity and Dinosaurs cross paths.
By the way, friends, since I started this article talking about my desires to be in the film business… I thought I should go ahead and state the obvious. That didn’t happen – at least it hasn’t happened so far. I think there is a pretty good reason for that too, the most obvious one being I’m a hack – I have no pretension about that. There is evidence to back this up in regards to my podcasts… those download numbers do not lie. However, having said that… I realize that while I may not be entertaining the masses like I used to dream about I am fortunate enough to have found like-minded fans of pop culture – just like yourself – and I am so very, very grateful for that fact. It’s like the esteemed Dr. Ian Malcom said in 1993’s Jurassic Park…