‘Jurassic Park’ franchise thrives on nostalgia

By Marilyn MacLaren, Staff Writer

With the release of “Jurassic World: Dominion,” it’s time to revisit the movie that started it all, enduring today almost 30 years later.Jurassic Park” (1993) is an action science fiction film focused on the potential dangers of bringing dinosaurs back to life. Starring Sam Neil and Laura Dern as paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler respectively, the duo navigate the theme park located on Isla Nublar in order to escape. 

The film also stars Jeff Glodblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, the charismatic mathematician whose doubts about the safety and ethics of the park quickly come true. This is opposed to the dream of John Hammond, played by Richard Attenbourough, who wants to bring dinosaurs back into the world without understanding the consequences.

Currently, many films are cultivating the growing interest in series that revisit old characters from popular franchises and relive similar experiences that made the original film a success. Most recently, franchises such as Scream, Harry Potter and Top Gun have also joined in this reminiscent era of its earlier films.

This, in turn, becomes a careful balancing act between something original and new — without upsetting fans — while also sticking with the themes and characters those same fans love. Drawing audiences in on nostalgia through teasers and previews, these franchises — including “Jurassic Park” — and its sequels accomplish bringing attention back to the series, although not necessarily for its own benefit. 

Jurassic World: Dominion brings together the stars of the new series with the trio from the original, including iconic lines sure to bring fans back into theaters. The return of the cast from the 1993 film is a familiar way to introduce the franchise to new generations as well as capture the thrill for fans of the original. 

Unfortunately, relying on this factor alone to carry the franchise is a risk that quickly loses its appeal to audiences, as indicated by the less than stellar ratings for the last of the Jurassic World trilogy. Despite the reunion of the original trio, a franchise can not seem to survive when the film relies so heavily on the initial thrill of having those moments of nostalgia, sacrificing crucial story elements in the process. In the end, this strategy is prone to backfire, ruining the legacy of many films that audiences hold dear and wish was simply left alone.

What was captured in the 1993 film was the perfect balance of danger and discovery, with action-packed sequences full of larger-than-life dinosaurs, as well as the terrifying suspense of what these creatures were capable of. Building an intense fear while simultaneously considering the ethical responsibilities of bringing back extinct animals added a deeper philosophical layer to this film that goes beyond simply action. 

The dangers each of the characters faced felt more raw and threatening than the more contrived scenes in the franchise today. With the current trilogy, the audience has become well aware of who will survive because they are considered essential to the plot, compared to the unpredictable frenzy of the original. 

 

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