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Jurassic Park

Year: 1993
Production Co: Amblin
Studio: Universal
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Steven Spielberg/Frank Marshall/Kathleen Kennedy
Writer: Michael Crichton
Cast: Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Samuel L Jackson, Wayne Knight, Bob Peck
The result couldn't have been anything other than astounding.

Despite his overt commerciality, Michael Crichton is among the most intelligent thriller writers of the 20th century. It's such a beautifully simple idea – cloning dinosaurs by extracting their DNA from fossilised mosquitoes – it's a wonder nobody thought of it before.

And when I read on the ad for the first hardcover UK release that Steven Spielberg had bought the rights, I knew even then it would be another worldbeater.

And as history shows, it was. It not only showcased the highest level animatronics available (even still) courtesy of Stan Winston, but Spielberg (again) bought about in a new age and revolutionised the way movies are made - in this case ushering in the CGI era.

Who can forget the thrill at seeing the T Rex first crash across the roadway in the rain or the sound of its roar (all the dinosaur' calls were mixes of everything from lions to elephants' calls played together)?

Spielberg again has a special rapport with his child actors, somehow prompting performances way and above what any other director can get out of a kid. And while Sam Neill plays the strong silent type a bit too much and Richard Attenborough is on the hammy side, then virtual unknown Samuel L Jackson showed the charisma that would carry him for the next decade and Jeff Goldblum plays another iconoclastic individual.

The basic story is folklore. A billionaire science buff buys an island, assembles a team of geneticists and creates a combined zoo and theme park with real live dinosaurs. Inviting some top scientific minds (paleontologist Neill, paleobotanist Dern, chaotician Goldblum) for the weekend to get their opinion of the park before it opens, things go pear shaped when storms (and the subplot involving fraudster Knight) let the beasts loose.

Astounding visual and sound effects (both of which won Academy Awards), groundbreaking technique, a soundtrack by John Williams, appeal across the ages, moments that make your breath catch in your throat – this is vintage Spielberg as young-thinking and fresh as if he'd just stepped off the Jaws lot, and as his return to the director's chair after a long absence, it's a gift to moviegoers everywhere.

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