Life finds a way in ‘Jurassic Park’

Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest film directors of all time. Why have his movies been so successful and of such high quality? Very simply, I believe Spielberg loves movies. When he reads a script he probably says to himself, “I would love to see this movie.” From “E.T.,” to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” to “Schindler’s List,” Spielberg has created films that not only entertain but, in many cases, they educate.

“Jurassic Park” was a milestone in filmmaking. It successfully mixed live action, CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) elements, robotics and puppetry into an exciting, sometimes humorous, sometimes terrifying, but always entertaining story. The cast in the film is secondary to the effects, i.e. prehistoric creatures, and the thrilling story written by Michael Crichton. Quality actors play the main roles: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sir Richard Attenborough. The story is sure to delight all sci-fi fans. The film’s main premise is that DNA from prehistoric times is used to produce creatures from that era. Attenborough wants to build an island “zoo” of prehistoric creatures. The power, strength and mobility of these genetically created beasts are underestimated and mayhem follows. Spielberg is a master of suspense and “holding off the big shot.” Remember “Jaws” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” He always gives the audience time to anticipate the reveal and never disappoints when the reveal is finally made.

The film is one of the 10 highest grossing films of all time. It won three Oscars for its technical excellence: Best Effects – Sound Editing, Best Effects – Film Editing, and Best Sound. The Saturn Award is given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films; “Jurassic Park” was awarded 4 Saturns out of 10 nominations for the film. The best way to see this award winning film is on the big screen with the proper sound effects.

Younger children, under 10, may find this movie a little too intense so parents should be advised. For everyone over that age, you are in for the ride of your life.

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit the theater for tours and check out the gallery and exhibit hall that features Iowa stage and film memorabilia and information. Call the Orpheum Theater Center movie hotline at 641-844-5907 or visit

Tom LaVille is a retired Marshalltown drama and literature teacher. LaVille’s Critic’s Corner column appears Friday in the Times-Republican.