Twenty years ago – an eon in filmmaking years – Jurassic Park was the shiniest new toy on the block. Now it’s getting an anniversary release as a bona-fide classic, having existed for more than the entire lifespan of the teenagers that make up the target audience for splashy popcorn fare. Those twenty years have seen the computer-generated visual effects that were so radical in 1993 become more commonplace and utilitarian than ever seemed plausible back then; we live in an age when even romantic comedies and family dramas have CGI work in them. Summer tentpoles of the Jurassic Park lineage exist only in computers to such a degree that it’s really little more than convention that makes us refer to them as “live-action”.
You’d think, with all that time gone by to refine the technology, that Jurassic Park would look hideously outdated, or at best charmingly quaint. After all, the effects showpiece DragonHeart, released just a couple of years later, more resembles a cartoon now, than anything aiming for photorealism. It took less than a decade for Spider-Man to look a bit flimsy and thin; the later Harry Potter movies already seemed a bit wan when they were still in theaters. But Jurassic Park is as impressive now as it was all the way back then.
With just this one exception: