Spielberg dares to parody himself in Jurassic Park
Having not seen the film for many years what struck me most was the postmodernist and self-reflexive attitude of the film, parodying the ‘event’ movie that Spielberg almost single-handedly created in the first place. It’s a self-aware bit of humour that Spielberg isn’t really known for. The character of Hammond, constantly alluding to the fact no expense was spared could be the mantra of Jurassic Park’s producers and Spielberg himself, but couple this with the film’s blatant product placement and the central conceit of a theme park and ride (Jurassic Park clothing, lunch boxes, t-shirts, etc., were readily available to the public when the film was released; the theme park ride would come a little later), and you discover a rather interesting aside to the film. Spielberg’s left-wing critics would argue he was cashing in on total commercialism through audience manipulation, whilst others might argue he was wryly satirising mainstream, big-budget blockbusters – the phenomenon he’d been at the centre of back in the late 1970s.
Nevertheless, Jurassic Park is a crowd-pleaser that set a benchmark for special-effects in 1993. The film’s sense of humour, ground-breaking set-pieces, and terrific production values, make for a frequently entertaining adventure story.
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