22 years ago the blockbuster world roared into life with a tale that took us to the tropical wonderland of Isla Nublar, a paradise that showcased once again that dinosaurs could walk the earth.
Iconic in every way, even to this day Steven Spielberg’s magical and gripping movie captivates with audiences young and old, cementing its place in the pantheons of cinema history. From the hulking dinosaurs running, roaring and terrorising, to the characters thrust into this unbelievable world, Jurassic Park possesses more than its fair share of heroes both on-screen and behind the lens, but what of those who are rarely spoken of?
Here are a collective of individuals who are often forgotten in favour of the big names lighting up the billboards and presenting themselves to the masses.
Stan Winston & team
You only have to rewatch Jurassic Park in the modern era to realise that this is a film solidified in greatness, with its impressive visuals remaining one of its palpable features. These days, the film landscape is littered with computer-generated imagery in favour of practical effects, but in Jurassic Park the dinosaur creations were delivered with the very best in classic techniques.
The man behind these impressive beasts, Stan Winston aided by his incredible team, is the core component in Spielberg’s creatures making their mark and lending to the awe-inspiring moments within the film.
Using techniques that included full-scale animatronic dinosaurs, the make-up and special effects guru was able to put into action the movement of his creations via wiring, radio control and even real-life personnel to create fully mobile and realistic figures that would fit seamlessly into the film.
It’s incredible to think that Laura Dern was genuinely moved by the sight of a full-scale Triceratops in a state of ill health, even though it was essentially a creation of Winston and his team. So too is the fact that those Velociraptors terrorising young Joseph Mazello and Ariana Richards were really frightening those kids…
It’s no surprise that Gary Rydstrom, sound designer for Jurassic Park, bagged himself two Academy Awards for his role on the set of the film, with his job an integral part of what makes the movie such a striking and staggering cinematic experience.
This is a man who was tasked to create all of the noises to emanate from the dinosaurs, of whom no-one has ever heard before. An uphill task for sure, Rydstrom’s unenviable job saw him look to find sounds that not only suited the spanning variety of meat-eaters and vegetarian dinosaurs, but also those that reverberated through the audience, striking fear, excitement and much more.
Thankfully, a man who has been up for no less than fourteen Academy Awards, Rydstrom found the perfect blend of sounds that fit the jigsaw with the greatest of ease, even if some of the origins are rather…questionable.
For example, the noises used for those pesky raptors are a mix of tortoises mating, geese and a horse, while that infamous roar of the tyrannosaurus rex is actually from a baby elephant.
It’s a fair bet to place that when you mention the words ‘Jurassic Park’ then people will instantly think of Spielberg, Sam Neill, even someone as minimal in the film as Samuel L. Jackson, but few look back to the origins.
Possibly one of the biggest unsung heroes of the whole Jurassic Park project is its very creator, Michael Crichton. While the movie itself surfaced in 1993, Jurassic Park was spawned in 1990 when the author released his dinosaur novel that became a bestseller.
Of course, with the film released some years later, the popularity of the book has spanned over many years and became Crichton’s most notable fictional offering, even followed up with a sequel, The Lost World.
Interestingly enough, Crichton’s Jurassic Park features a very different ending to the film, with Isla Nublar actually levelled by napalm and further dinosaurs terrors heading into the Costa Rican jungle for the main characters to deal with.