The Creation of a (Jurassic) World According to Steven Spielberg

  • Writer Michael Crichton has puzzled over the motive behind cloning a dinosaur for a long time. The script changes imposed by Spielberg made the film more child-friendly
  • From the spot “Jurassic Park” dethroned “ET” as the greatest financial success of the cinema. Spielberg’s film was a strong foundation for a vast pop culture empire
  • All indications are that “Jurassic World: Dominion” will also conquer cinemas
  • You can find more such stories on the Onet.pl homepage

Both humanists and scientists from dawn to dusk have been brooding over various problems, because that is also their job, but probably no one ever bothered to ask anything abstract why we should clone a dinosaur. Michael Crichton, a man of lithe pen and considerable imagination, a recognized writer who picked up and sold at least a ton of books from many inkwells, over 40 years ago also pondered the absurdities.

But as the author of the best-selling books we used to call science fiction back then, the more he thought about it, the more he seriously looked for a solution. He considered the peculiar experiment of a curious student who, like the famous medic named Frankenstein, revived an extinct species, but soon abandoned this idea, born not as a novel but a film script. But he did not give him peace, and Crichton thought until he thought. If a human had the technical and scientific background to clone a dinosaur, he would do it for one reason only – for money.

The novel “Jurassic Park” was sold to Universal before its release, although the author himself stated that the book is long, complex, dense and it will not be easy to transfer its content to the screen reasonably; eventually he did it himself. The studio risked a lot then, because it was not necessarily troubled by temporary financial problems, and not only that Crichton was paid a fortune, but also, for obvious reasons, the film needed a lot of money.

Ultimately, his budget amounted to over $ 60 million, which is, somewhat simplifying, today’s $ 120. The production of the adaptation of the novel was also joined by Steven Spielberg’s company, who had sharpened his teeth for Crichton’s book much earlier, when he revealed to him during the meeting, about which he is currently working, although his thoughts were on “Schindler’s List”. But the decision-makers needed a commercial hit and they made a deal with the director: if he agrees to stand behind the camera of “Jurassic Park”, they will give the green light to the other project. The door handle has fallen.

Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, Richard Attenborough as John Hammond, Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler and Sam Neill as Alan Grant in the film "Jurassic Park"Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, Richard Attenborough as John Hammond, Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler and Sam Neill as Alan Grant in Jurassic Park – Press Releases

It was not, let us remember, no blackmail, not at all. Spielberg was delighted with his friend’s novel and believed that the vision of an exotic island adapted by an extremely wealthy man into an educational amusement park with dinosaurs was somewhat credible. At the same time, he did not want to make another film about giant monsters chasing people. Therefore, he invited to collaborate on the film not only experts in special effects – both traditional and computer – who were to create miracles for him on the screen, but also consultants from the world of science. The basic assumption accompanying Spielberg was to show dinosaurs as animals, not bloodthirsty monsters straight from a horror movie. In order to make the film friendlier for the younger part of the audience, he insisted on a few plot changes, toning down the violence and a slight character facelift of some characters. He was not mistaken even once.

From today’s perspective, the bombastic “Jurassic Park” was almost doomed to success even before it was even screened. While the initial work on the film was underway, Universal licensed more than 100 films that produced toys, games and gadgets at full speed, and the McDonalds network proposed themed sets. In fact, there was even a literary adaptation of the film for children.

The trailers, in line with Spielberg’s strategy to show as little as possible, whetted the appetite to such an extent that the audience stormed the cinemas, wanting to see the fresh blockbuster as soon as possible. “Jurassic Park”, which had recovered its budget before the end of the week, quickly dethroned “ET”, which had been reigning for over a decade, also directed by Spielberg as the best-earning film in the world. But it is not everything.

The public at the beginning of the 90s witnessed a breakthrough, as the title in question was an unsurpassed technical achievement at the time, which exceeded the intangible limits of the imagination, discovering, especially for high-budget cinema, completely new lands. Directors such as George Lucas and Peter Jackson did not hide that the success of “Jurassic Park” was a kind of proof for them that even the most fantastic vision can materialize on the cinema screen. Of course, we are talking about non-objective and immeasurable things, but Spielberg’s film also left a quite specific legacy.

Not to mention the impressive financial result (over a billion!), He gave birth to a real pop culture empire and one of the strongest cinema brands. Crichton, who consistently refused to write a sequel, agreed to take the story further, having received a personal guarantee from Spielberg that he would film the book.

"Lost World: Jurassic Park" - film frame“Lost World: Jurassic Park” – film still – Press materials

Lost World: Jurassic Park, though not received with the enthusiasm of the previous film, also conquered the world. The third part, already devoid of any literary basis, was not so popular, but it earned its own. Already while working on this film – directed by Joe Johnston – the idea came up that, should the fourth installment ever happen, the dinosaurs would finally leave the island and roam the continent. It was realized only over 20 years later. So now.

"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" - film frame“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” – film still – Press materials

The upcoming “Jurassic World: Dominion” is, of course, the culmination of a new movie trilogy launched in 2015 with a sequel or reboot that told more or less the same story as the original, but was the start of a new series. And what kind. Jurassic World grossed over $ 1.5 billion. with good reviews, starting another dinosaur craze, the aftermath of games, animated series and, of course, cinematic sequels.

Three years later, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” also broke the bank and there is no indication that it will be otherwise. But what next? It is hard to say, although it can be expected that Universal will not give up its flagship title so easily, completely independent of specific characters or places, with great adaptability. Because all you need are dinosaurs. And Hollywood has plenty of these.

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