I’m sure everyone alive at the time remembers where they were when they heard about of the fateful Jurassic Park catastrophe. Over two hundred scientists and technicians dead. An entire island nuked into oblivion. And the unkindest cut of all: after all the hype and teasing, we were never going to see those badass dinosaurs. What a rip off.
Of course, every filmmaker worth their salt jumped on the chance to tell the story. One way or another, people were gonna see some goddamn dinosaurs. After several trivia-based preliminary rounds, it was down to only two: me and Robert Zemeckis. We were tied together and given switchblades. The winner got to make Jurassic Park. The loser would be banished to cartoons for the rest of their career. Poor Zemeckis. I was brought into this business by John Milus and Walter Hill. I know my way around a switchblade and I do NOT make fucking cartoons.
So I got to make Jurassic Park, the first movie to ever feature dinosaurs. In honor of scientists who lost their lives in the tragedy, I vowed that the only scientist who would die in my film would be Chinese. Instead I’d focus my dino violence squarely upon the real villains of the world: lawyers, wily park rangers, and computer nerds.
Jurassic Park begins with a box filled with dinosaurs being moved around for no apparent reason. One of the wily park rangers gets a little too close and becomes dinosaur food. It’s weird because the box was well fortified. It had a ceiling, a floor, and four walls. For the dino to grab the dude, it would’ve had to phase through solid metal. No one there seriously considers that as a possibility, but they should have. Life wanted to eat that guy and life… found a way. I wanted to establish right off the bat that along with dinosaurs, we were dealing with life itself as a villain.
Next we cut to a couple of old school dinosaur digger-uppers, Laura Dern and Alan Parsons, as they dig up a new specimen. Due to budget cuts, their can only afford a field team staffed with children. One of these children starts getting mouthy with Alan, a notorious kid-hater. “This dinoswah ain’t scary, Mister! Looks like a gigantic chicken to me! BAWK!”
Alan rolls his eyes and grabs one of the “gigantic chicken’s” claws. With truly scientific patience and precision, he explains to the boy how this particular dinosaur used its claw to gut its victims and eat them alive by gutting the boy and eating him alive. This makes the other children forget their mothers and work twice as hard.
Suddenly, a helicopter flies over their work site, instantly re-covering all the bones with a nearly invisible dust that will take nearly two whole months to lightly brush off with a tiny paint brush. Pissed, Alan prepares his dino claw for another victim, but the dude who exits the helicopter is far too fat to gut with a fingernail.
In their dusty trailer, Alan and Laura hear the guy, John Hamm, out. “I have an island. I’d like you to see it.” Alan and Laura start celebrating immediately by hugging and opening their special champagne. “We love islands! Count us fucking in, bitch!”
On the way to the island, they stop to pick up various characters. First, they grab a slimy lawyer because they need someone to make fun of without feeling guilty. Next they grab two kids because nothing improves a film like children. And finally, they pick up Ian McAlcom, a rock n’ roll mathematician hired to help keep track of how many people die. This awkward slab of genius is played by non other than Bono, who immediately cries about the potato famine, then sexually harasses Laura Dern. He may be playing a genius, but Bono’s clearly not smart enough to realize that the seed of Bruce Dern is unsexual-harassable. Yeah, she sleeps with him, but it’s her fucking choice, man.
With the motley crew assembled, the helicopter can finally head to the island and the movie you paid to see. “This is a very special island,” John Hamm instructs. “It’s filled with dinosaurs. Real ones.”
Everyone prepares to call bullshit on the old man, but before they can a Pterodactyl gets smeared against the windshield. For the next five minutes, I let the camera linger on each character’s awed face as the pilot engages his windshield wipers to clean off the miracle juice and miracle beak. It’s a truly beautiful bit of filmmaking.
Instead of showing the dinosaurs like a normal person, John Hamm makes everyone sit through a slide-show like an old person. In a cheesy cartoon, we learn that the dinosaurs were cloned from mosquito blood. Bono has some problems with this, which he raises when they get to the Chinese doctor leg of the tour. “How can you control them?”
“They’re fenced in with electronic fences. Dinosaurs are afraid of electricity because it wasn’t invented yet when they still roamed the Earth.”
“Life will find a way to get them through those fences,” he warns. “How do you control their population?”
“We make sure they’re all female through traditional Chinese methods.”
“Life will find a way to get them mating again,” he warns. “You can’t control life with science. That’s the chaos theory. It’s a scientific formula which ends with a question mark.”
“Hmmm…with all respect, that sounds like bullshit.”
“Mark my stuttered, awkward words: Life will find a way to make it not bullshit.”
Finally, they go to see some dinosaurs, starting with the main attraction: the T-Rex. Of course, the amusement park occupies an entire island. There’s no way to guarantee the T-Rex will actually show. To entice it, John Hamm has a goat flown in from New Zealand. It promptly goes to sleep along with everyone else
Meanwhile, a nerd named Dennis Nerdry begins his plan to fuck everything up. See, John Hamm doesn’t pay Nerdry enough, so Nerdry is going to sell dino DNA to someone else. To do this, he must escape the island. To do this, he must turn off the electric fences. See? Life found a way.
Nerdry almost gets off the island, but life finds a way to kill him for being an asshole. His car gets stuck in the jungle. While fixing it, a dino shows up. This dino is called Clownasauras and it was invented specifically for the film. First, the dino plays with you like a dog. Then it barfs on your face. Then it shakes its neck skin at you. Then it disappears. Meanwhile, its partner hides in your truck and eats you. That’s the punchline.
Now that the fences are off, the T-Rex can finally show up. At first, we used a robot T-Rex, but it didn’t look so good. We then went with CG, but it didn’t look good either. In the end we just cloned one like in real life and had it put down after filming. The results speak for themselves. Sadly, these things are unpredictable, so the remainder of the film is a bit more of a documentary than I care to admit. I’d especially like to apologize to Martin Ferrero’s children who had to watch their father not only act cowardly but also get eaten off a toilet. He died for his art, kids, and gave the film its biggest laugh in the process.
Alan Parsons gets the kids to safety by inventing some lucky science on the spot. Apparently, if you don’t move a T-Rex can’t see you, so they all stay still, and the T-Rex gets all confused. Bono, on the other hand, will not be silenced, so he makes a run for it. Instead of eating him, the T-Rex just kind of nudges him with his nose and leaves. I guess life found a way to save Bono because it still likes “The Joshua Tree”.
From this point on, the film span out of my control. I had many wonderful set-peices planned but the rogue T-Rex sabotaged nearly every one of them by just showing up and eating stuff whenever it wanted. It killed far too many grips for our budget. But it worse than that, it totally upstaged the film’s intended star.
See, everyone loves the T-Rex, but I wanted to say something about the future of action films by introducing the Velociraptor, a small, extremely agile and intelligent killing machine. This was 1993. The reign of meathead action beefcakes wasn’t done yet, but it was on its way out. The velociraptor was meant to represent the scrawny white ninjas that would dominate action films throughout the coming decade. But the T-Rex blew it. I mean, the film was supposed to end with the velociraptor eating the kids, but then the T-Rex jumps in and saves everyone. What the fuck, man! Of course, now that I’m all sick of skinny white ninjas, I’m more inclined to see Jurassic Park as a last hurrah for the Arnold and Stallones era, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Life found a way to make Jurassic Park even better than I thought it was.
So none of the fences work and we find out that the dinosaurs have been breeding after all. Just as Bono predicted, Life gave the dinos dual sex organs so they could privately and quietly impregnate themselves just like real hermaphrodites. Life is a little gross but brilliant all the same.
Anyway, everyone who’s not a computer nerd, wily park ranger, or lawyer lives through the dino attacks. They leave the island and have it nuked from outer space just like we saw on the news that fateful morning. I sincerely hope all the Jurassic Park families out there feel vindicated by the film. I also hope some other rich dude tries the idea again. A dinosaur amusement park just sounds too cool to pass up.
After getting the last shot, John Milus, Walter Hill, and I killed the T-Rex and ate it. Milus proclaimed it: “Better than pussy.”