Twenty one years ago today, dinosaurs came back to rule the earth; and the dreams of the young at heart as well as the nightmares of the young. Not to mention toy boxes, scrap books, play dates and clothing sections. Not since the invention of the automobile had under-ten fashions for boys seen such an upheaval. Where you were once limited to having one car or two trucks(if you were a show-off) on a tee shirt, now you could have a T-Rex roaring on your chest even if you were a meek mouse at heart. For mothers of boys, this meant our children could look less boring than they usually did. For most parents, it meant we could now have claw marks and Triceratops shaped dents on the more tender parts of our bodies rather than the plain old rectangular bruises we had been collecting thanks to the odd Lego block in the middle of the night.
For Spielberg, it meant he could comfortably have retired back then as the film continues to be among the twenty top earners of all time. When I see Falling Skies, part of me wonders why he didn’t. But that is another story. Three Oscars, amazing advances in animatronics, the use of science in how dinosaurs were shown – the film brought all of this and more. The use of experts like Jack Horner led to the dinosaurs being shown as more anatomically correct than we had ever seen them before and more closely related to birds than to lizards. The benefits to television viewers and countless little people since then have been all the spin offs of the films, programs such as Walking With Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Park.
Interestingly, Spielberg was either planning or shooting two other completely different films at the same time. These were Hook and Schindler’s List. That I find almost as amazing as the dinosaurs themselves. For a man who apparently said all he “was really just trying to make a good sequel to Jaws, on land,” I would say he succeeded.
Happy Birthday Jurassic Park!
IKEA does dinosaurs.