Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jurassic Park


Mr. Brad, my private interior designer, has been encamped at Chateau Maine for several days. He’s helping me give the house a fabulous makeover that is sure to make the Architectural Digest centerfold. The dining room is now a lovely shade of teal with upholstered poufs to sit upon and a table constructed of laminated surfboards, rather than all that dreary Heppelwhite. He was also kind enough to take Patrick Flanagan, my ever so elegant pet cat, and dye him to match. At the moment, Mr. Brad is helping me co-ordinate Norman's sheets and pajamas in contrasting shades of plum silk brocade. The first choice we tried, a nice paisley in Indian red, was jettisoned when Norman woke up and screeched about the bugs crawling all over him. Mr. Brad has done some experimenting and feels that a nice fern patterned jacquard would be the most restful for dear Norman. Recovering from partial lobotomies can be quite agonizing.

Mr. Brad then attacked my private dance studio and rehearsal hall. He’s decided upon a raw African feel to give all the visitors to VickiCam a truly unique experience. Rolls of zebra skin, ostrich plumes and fetish masks surrounded him for days. The result, however, is absolutely stunning, inspired in equal parts by the savannah and by a Las Vegas Timbuktu revue. I’m just thrilled and, in celebration, I am putting on a special solo performance of my tap dance version of The Lion King this coming Saturday. It will be webcast on VickiCam at 10 EST. I called dear Julie Taymor and she has promised to construct some wonderful new quick-change masks for me in which I can thrill all my fans.

After a few days of inhaling turpentine and tile cleaner (one of Norman’s favorite combinations as well), Mr. Brad was ready for a movie so I slipped the DVD of Jurassic Park into the home theater system. The sound system was obviously working as Norman, who was attempting to sleep on the couch, would keep mumbling 'Quit galumphing down the stairs' every time one of the dinosaurs walked across the screen.

For those few of you too young to remember, Jurassic Park was the summer movie of 1993; a Steven Spielberg popcorn romp based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel. It concerns evil capitalists cloning dinosaurs as amusement park attractions. Chief villain, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough who softened the character considerably for the film), rounds up a bunch of dino experts including paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), his paleobotanist girlfriend (Laura Dern), and a chaos theory mathematician, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to prove that his little pet reptiles are safe for public consumption. It doesn’t take long until the little dears are rampaging after humans in Hammond’s futuristic Costa Rican theme park when human foul ups, industrial espionage, and the weather come together to ensure that everything that can go wrong, does.

The true star of the movie isn’t any of the actors, but rather Steven Spielberg, who put together a beautifully directed roller coaster of chase sequences, narrow escapes and dinosaur snacking that races by. It's full of his little visual touches that would not have been thought of by a lesser director and which keep the movie fresh, even on repeat viewing. The human actors play types rather than characters and are basically around to provide potential Tyrannosaur meals and ratchet up the tension as they get picked off one by one. The one exception is Richard Attenborough. He provides a wry twinkle to his demented old elf of a character that’s entirely his own.

Several sequences are standouts. The scene in which a Tyrannosaurus rex escapes from its pen to terrorize people trapped in a rainstorm is a masterpiece; small little sounds and visual images build up to major moments of terror. Another scene where Velociraptors stalk frightened children through a commercial kitchen is another gem. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of rancid 'human interest moments' between the set pieces that tend to be sunk by inane dialogue and indifferent acting.

The DVD has decent picture quality and great surround sound. I kept jumping at noises creeping up behind the couch. There are not a lot of extras other than a 'Making of' documentary that is fascinating in its exploration of the technology and in how they used small models to film many of the scenes in miniature to determine the look and feel of cinematic moments prior to the actual shoot.

Cow eating. Severed limbs. Evil computer nerd. Sick Triceratops. Dino droppings. Gratuitous B. D. Wong. Egg hatching. Electric fence climbing. Gratuitous dinosaur snot. Collapsing Tyrannosaur skeleton.

No comments:

Post a Comment