This month on COL Movies, At home we’ve watch Monsters Inc, End of Watch, Sinister, and Rise of the Guardians. In the Theater, we’re watching Oz: The Great and Powerful, Jack The Giant Slayer, and Warm Bodies. The boys also talk about the trailers for The Wolverine, World War Z, and The Conjuring. All this and more on this, the 132nd reel of COL Movies.
It’s the 97th Reel of COL Movies, where the boys dig into the amber to revive DNA of Mr. Spielberg’s 1993 classic, “Jurassic Park”. In theaters, they go all eco-friendly and check out the newest adaptation of the Dr. Seuss story, “The Lorax”. In trailer-land, they head into space to see if it’s possible to save the president’s daughter from the nasty criminals who are orbiting the earth in “Lockout”. All this and news about Ninja Turtles, Prometheus, and the stupid kids – I mean, younger generation – who are lobbying theaters to allow texting during movies. Really? Why don’t we just allow them to start fires and have sex while they’re at it…but I digress… All this and who knows what else in Reel 97… “Roooooooooaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr”
The Past: Jurassic Park (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Fresh, 81% Audience
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
William Hurt was offered the role of Dr. Grant, but he turned it down without reading the book or the script.
Harrison Ford turned down the role of Dr. Alan Grant.
Richard Attenborough’s first acting role in 15 years.
Michael Crichton’s agents circulated the book to six studios and directors. Warner Brothers wanted it for Tim Burton to direct while Columbia was planning it for Richard Donner. Fox was also interested and was intending the project for Joe Dante, while Universal wanted ‘Steven Spielberg’ to direct. Crichton was reluctant to submit to a bidding war, He instructed his agents to put a set price on the film rights and he could decide who was more likely to actually get the film made. After interviewing all the prospective directors, he agreed to sell the rights to Universal and Steven Spielberg, who was already his first choice.
In Michael Crichton’s novel, John Hammond proudly says that the narrator on the prerecorded park tour is Richard Kiley. Later, Kiley was hired to play himself in that role for the movie; possibly the first instance of a celebrity appearing in a book, and then later cast as him or herself in the film version. This feat was not repeated until 2009, when boxer Paolo Roberto played himself in the film version of The Girl Who Played with Fire. He too was already previously featured as a character in the book.
The glass of water sitting on the dash of the Ford Explorer was made to ripple using a guitar string that was attached to the underside of the dash beneath the glass.
Director Steven Spielberg was worried that computer graphics meant Nintendo type cartoon quality. He originally only wanted the herd of gallimimus dinosaurs to be computer-generated, but upon seeing ILM’s demo animation of a T-rex chasing a herd of gallimimus across his ranch, he decided to shoot nearly all the dinosaur scenes using this method. The animation was first plotted on an Amiga Toaster, and rendered for the film by Silicon Graphics’ Indigo workstations.
Generally speaking, any shot of a full dinosaur was computer-generated, but shots of parts of dinosaurs were of animatronics.
The full-sized animatron of the tyrannosaurus rex weighed about 13,000 to 15,000 pounds. During the shooting of the initial T-rex attack scene that took place in a downpour and was shot on a soundstage, the latex that covered the T-rex puppet absorbed great amounts of water, making it much heavier and harder to control. Technicians worked throughout the night with blow driers trying to dry the latex out. Eventually, they suspended a platform above the T-rex, out of camera range, to keep the water off it during filming.
A baby triceratops was built for a scene where one of the kids rides it. Special effects technicians worked on this effect for a year but the scene was cut at the last minute as Steven Spielberg thought it would ruin the pacing of the film.
In the egg-hatching scene, a new-born baby triceratops was originally supposed to come out of the egg, but it was changed to a velociraptor..
Many errors were corrected digitally: some stunt people were made to look like the actors, and in one scene an entire Ford Explorer was digitally generated.
The first film to use DTS (now Datasat) digital surround sound.
To study the movement of the Gallimimus herd, the film’s digital artists were ordered to run along a stretch of road with some obstacles, their hands next to their chest.
At one point Lex is hanging from a floorboard between stories. She looks up for a moment. The stunt double looked up accidentally while filming and Ariana Richards’ face had to be superimposed in post production.
Fred Sorenson was the pilot who flew the crew off Kauai when the hurricane hit during production. He played Jock, the pilot who flew Indiana Jones away in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, also directed by Steven Spielberg.
In this film, Steven Spielberg directs the man who beat him to the Best Director Oscar in 1983 (Richard Attenborough, whose film Gandhi also beat Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial as Best Picture).
The computer in the back of the computer room with the many (65536) red LEDs is actually a real computer: The Connection Machine CM-5 made by Thinking Machines. It contained many SPARC 2 RISC processors and the LEDs were added to make the machine more aesthetically pleasing than their previous models. Unfortunately, it was not actually a very good supercomputer and the company failed not long afterward. The comment about networking eight connection machines is pretty superfluous as they were meant to be used like this. The bigger problem was writing programs that efficiently mapped onto the data parallel architecture.
According to Daan Sandee (Thinking Machines Corp), the CM-5 super computer used in the control room was one of only two ever built to that size (1024 nodes). The other machine was at Los Alamos. The machine used in the movie was sold as smaller segments after the scenes were complete. Mirrors were used to make it seem like more CM-5’s were present.
Steven Spielberg was so confident with this film that he started making his next film (Schindler’s List), placing post-production in the hands of George Lucas.
Steven Spielberg wanted the velociraptors to be about 10 feet tall, which was taller than they were known to be. During filming, paleontologists uncovered 10-foot-tall specimens of raptors called Utahraptors.
Dr. Malcolm’s quip that Sattler’s and Grant’s jobs are extinct is quoted from what puppeteer Phil Tippett said to Steven Spielberg when he decided to use CGI and not Go-Motion. Spielberg stuck it into the film.i.
On 11 September 1992, Hurricane Iniki hit the island of Kauai, delaying production of the film. Much of the crew helped in the clean up.
The scene where the T-Rex comes out of the bushes and eats the gallimimus was actually shot on the island of Oahu at Kualoa Ranch. This was the only outdoor scene not filmed on Kauai, due to Hurricane Iniki.
Ariana Richards was upset by the fact that an action figure of her character was not produced. (Kenner only made dolls of Grant, Sattler, Muldoon, Nedry, Tim, and eventually Malcolm.)
After making this movie, Ariana Richards developed a great interest in dinosaurs, and assisted Jack Horner (paleontologist advisor for the film and the inspiration for the Dr. Grant character) on an actual dinosaur dig in Montana the following summer.
All the merchandise (T-Shirts, stuffed dinosaurs, lunch boxes, flasks, etc.) shown in the film were, in some part, actually created to be sold with the movie.
Before Steven Spielberg decided to use animatronic dinosaurs and computer-generated effects, he wanted to use stop motion animation for the dinosaur effects and had Phil Tippett put together a short demo of the kitchen scene using claymation dinosaurs (Barbie dolls were substituted for the actual actors).
After Joseph Mazzello was turned down for a role in Steven Spielberg’s Hook for being too young, Spielberg told Mazzello that he was still impressed with his audition and would try to cast him in a future project. Mazzello was then cast as Tim in this movie. His casting led Spielberg to reverse the ages of the children, as he decided that casting a girl younger than Mazzello would be too young to be placed in danger. Lex was therefore made the older child, and the computer expert as well. In Crichton’s original novel, Tim is older, and is both the dinosaur and computer enthusiast.
Briefly held the box office record until it was beaten by Titanic.
Newspaper clippings on the fridge in Grant’s trailer read “Space Aliens Stole My Face” and “Dinosaurs On Mars!”
The novel was published in 1990. However, pre-production of the film began in 1989, using only Michael Crichton’s manuscript. It was widely believed that the book would be such a hit that it would make an outstanding movie. It turns out that assumption was correct.
The original idea for Jurassic Park, came from Michael Crichton’s attempt in 1983 to write a screenplay about a Pterodactyl being cloned from an egg. The screenplay and movie never came to fruition. Originally, Crichton’s novel was rejected by his “people”, a group of about 5 or 6 personal acquaintances who always read his drafts before he sends them off. After several rejections, Crichton finally figured out what was wrong: he had originally intended for the story to be through the eyes of a child who was at the park when the dinosaurs escaped, which his peers felt was too ridiculous, and could not identify with the character. Michael Crichton re-wrote the story as it is today, and it became a huge hit. (The story also incorporates the “amusement park run amok” element of Michael Crichton’s Westworld.)
In the scene where the survivors are crawling through vent spaces, the computer monitors are shining on the raptor after them. This is usually mistaken as being the shadows from the air vents. It’s the letters GATC, the four letters used to denote the components of DNA.
For the part where the T-Rex catches a Galliminus and shakes it in his mouth, the sound was taken from a dog shaking a toy in its mouth.
The release strategy was planned 15 months before the studio had the chance to see a frame of the movie.
In the shots of the gift shop, clearly visible is a book entitled “The Making of Jurassic Park” by Don Shay and Jody Duncan. This title was published but tells the behind the scenes story of how the film was made. Jody Duncan also wrote the “Making Of” book for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Steven Spielberg considered hiring Bob Gurr to do the full size dinosaurs because he was impressed with his apes in the “Kongfrontation” ride at Universal Studios.
When the T-Rex comes through the glass roof of the Explorer in the first attack, the glass was not meant to break, producing the noticeably genuine screams from the children.
Later in the movie, as one of the jeeps pulls up, right before they get out, the camera zooms in on the jeep door. The Jurassic Park logo is on the door, but it is covered in mud so that the only words that can be read is “ur ass Park”, perhaps a subtle joke about many of the characters getting hurt or killed in the movie.
Universal paid Michael Crichton $2 million for the rights to his novel before it was even published.
Steven Spielberg was in the very early stages of pre-production for the film “ER” (based on a Michael Crichton novel), when he heard about the “Jurassic Park” book. He subsequently dumped what he was doing to make the film. Afterwards, he returned to “ER” and helped develop it into a hit TV series (ER).
To give the 1993 Ford Explorer XLTs the appearance that they were driverless and were running on an electric track, the SUVs were driven by remote from the rear cargo area of the vehicle. The driver was hidden under the Ford Explorer’s cargo canvas, which was always pulled closed during filming. To see where to steer the SUV, the driver watched a small TV that was fed outside images via two cameras. One camera was mounted on the dash in front of the steering wheel, and the other was mounted on the lower center portion of the front bumper, above a black box. Both cameras can be clearly seen in the movie several times.
Anna Chlumsky auditioned for the role of Lex.
In the book, the sick animal is a Stegosaurus, said by Ian Malcolm to be sick because the Jurassic era air had more oxygen than the Holocene, part of the chaos theory.
The company name “InGen” is the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish word for “nobody”.
Director Steven Spielberg and author Michael Crichton first met over two decades earlier, when Spielberg gave Crichton a tour of Universal Studios during the production of The Andromeda Strain.
Was followed by two sequels. There were plans for a fourth film, but they were immediately scrapped in late 2008, after the death of Michael Crichton.
As the movie was released in Costa Rica, local theater owners scratched/blurred the San Jose tag during the scene when Nedry waits for his contact in what supposedly was the country’s capital, because the local audiences reacted negatively to inaccuracies in the scene’s geography.
There are only 15 minutes of actual dinosaur footage in the film: 9 minutes are Stan Winston’s animatronics, 6 minutes of it is ILM’s CGI.
The real species called Velociraptor was much smaller (about turkey-sized) than the animals in the film and were believed to have been feathered. They were part of bipedal, bird-like predators of the family Dromaeosauridae, some of which were even larger than the “velociraptors” in the film.
Much of the behavior seen in the film is based on modern wild animals, since little is known of the actual behavior of dinosaurs.
The picture that can be seen taped to programmer Dennis Nedry’s computer monitor is of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The picture is partly obscured by a post-it with an atomic bomb mushroom cloud drawn on it.
Years after this film wrapped, it was discovered due to fossil impressions of velociraptor skin that they were feathered, implying that Grant was indeed right that they evolved into birds.
Richard Attenborough plays Joseph Mazzello’s grandfather. He subsequently cast Mazzello in his next film, Shadowlands.
Grant and Sattler unearth a velociraptor skeleton in Montana early in the film, and later encounter live velociraptors that are about the size of a full grown human. In reality, velociraptors were only about half the size of the animals seen in the film, and their remains have mainly been found in Asia, never in Montana. The species identified as velociraptor in the film is actually more consistent with Deinonychus. When Michael Crichton was doing his research, scientific thinking was that Velociraptor and Deinonychus were variations on the same species.
Hammond (Richard Attenborough) creates the dinosaurs from DNA trapped in amber. He also carries around a cane capped with a mosquito in amber. Attenborough’s brother is naturalist David Attenborough, who has his own collection of animals trapped in amber. This was the focus of The Natural World: The Amber Time Machine.
Steven Spielberg delayed the beginning of filming by several weeks to get the cast he wanted. First he allowed Richard Attenborough to finish post-production on his own film Chaplin before committing to the film. He also waited until Sam Neill could finish filming Family Pictures. Neill ended up only having a weekend off between finishing that film and starting this one.
Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) dresses entirely in black in both this film and its sequel. In the book, he tells Ellie Sattler that he only ever dresses in black and gray, so that he never has to waste time thinking about what to wear. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) gives the same reason for his monotonous fashion sense in The Fly.
Alan Grant is modeled after Paleontologist Jack Horner who, like Grant, digs and teaches in Montana, and was also a technical advisor on this film.
The scene where Grant, Tim and Lex meet the heard of Gallimimuses was scheduled to be the last scene shot on location in Kauai. When Hurricane Iniki hit, filming for this scene had to be postponed. Production returned to California and then, a few weeks later, Sam Neill, Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards had to travel back to Hawaii, but this time to the island of Oahu, to shoot the scene.
The guest’s encounter with the sick Triceratops ends without any clear explanation as to why the animal is sick. Michael Crichton’s original novel and the screenplay, however, includes an explanation: the Stegosaur/Triceratops lacked suitable teeth for grinding food and so, like birds, would swallow rocks and use them as gizzard stones. In the digestive tract, these rocks would grind the food to aid in digestion. After six weeks, the rocks would become too smooth to be useful, and the animal would regurgitate them. When finding and eating new rocks to use, the animal would also swallow West Indian Lilac berries. The fact that the berries and stones are regurgitated explains why Ellie never finds traces of them in the animal’s excrement.
It was while supervising post-production on this film that George Lucas decided that technology was good enough to begin work on the Star Wars prequels. Appropriately, Samuel L. Jackson was able to appear in those films as well.
Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Geena Davis, Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Grey, Kelly McGillis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Julia Roberts, Linda Hamilton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bridget Fonda, Joan Cusack, and Debra Winger were all considered for the role of Dr. Ellie Sattler.
Michael Crichton has said that his views on science and genetic engineering are largely expressed by Ian Malcolm. Steven Spielberg saw many parallels to himself in the character of John Hammond. Fittingly, he cast a fellow filmmaker in the role, who begins his tour of the park by showing a film, in which he also acts. While Malcolm is dressed entirely in black, Hammond wears all white.
The character played by Cameron Thor is named Lewis Dodgson. Author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll was born with the name Charles Dodgson. Since both the first and last names of the character are written with the less common spellings which Carroll used, this is a fairly obvious nod to him, although the reason for the joke is unclear. Lewis Carroll’s novel is referenced again when Nedry names his program to sabotage the park security systems “White Rabbit.”
The crew were caught in a very dangerous Hurricane, Hurricane Iniki which hit the island of Kauai. The film-makers managed to capture shots from the Hurricane and use it in the movie. This incident was told in a recent episode of Storm Stories.
The tyrannosaur paddock set was constructed both on location and as a studio set. The former was for the daytime scene in which the creature fails to appear, and the latter for its nighttime escape, in order to accommodate Stan Winston’s robotic t-rex. This set required a soundstage much bigger than Universal had to offer, so it was filmed at Warner Bros.
The sounds made by the Dilophosaurus were a combination of the sounds of howler monkeys, hawks, rattlesnakes, and swans. The main cry of the Velicoraptors was a combination of the sounds of elephant seal pups, dolphins and walruses. The elephant seal sounds were recorded at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, a marine mammal hospital that rehabilitates and releases sick and injured seals and sea lions.
The Tyrannosaurus’ roars were a combination of dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and elephant sounds.
The sounds made by the Brachiosaurs were a combination of whale and donkey sounds.
Except for some very brief glimpses in the opening scene, the adult velociraptors – often cited as the most memorable dinosaurs in this film – don’t make an on-screen appearance until over 103 minutes into the movie.
While discussing chaos theory, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) shamelessly flirts with Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern). After meeting on this film, the two actors began a romantic relationship, and were engaged for two years before breaking up.
The film cut out many species of dinosaur that were featured in the novel for budgetary and technological reasons. One of these was a small, chicken-sized dinosaur called Procompsognathids, which later made an appearance in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Dr. Wu explains their reason for having this creature: Dinosaur excrement, he presumes, would have been bio-degradable during the Cenozoic era. However, in the modern day, bacteria have evolved to the point that it is no longer able to break down dinosaur waste, and the larger dinosaurs produce quite a lot of it. “Compys,” as they are called, eat the other dinosaurs’ waste and then excrete it themselves in smaller piles which are more easily broken down by present-day bacteria. The lack of compys in the film may explain the mountain of excrement that Ellie finds.
Phil Tippett became quite depressed when he learned that none of the stop-motion creatures he had been developing would be used in the film. However, shortly after that decision had been made, ILM animators discovered they did actually have a use for him. While none of his stop-motion models would be seen in the film, his techniques were determined to be quite useful in animating the computer-generated dinosaurs, especially given how much research he had put into animal movement. Rather than creating the dinosaur motion using key-frame animation, it was decided to build a stop-motion armature for each computer generated dinosaur and manipulate it as they would for a stop-motion film. These armatures were specially built with motion-sensors, and linked up to the animated dinosaurs being created on the computer. Thus, the motion of the stop-motion armature was directly translated into the computer-generated version that appears in the final film.
Shortly after Nedry makes his first appearance in the control room, during his argument with Hammond, you can clearly see the movie Jaws playing in a small video window on one of Nedry’s computer screens. That movie was, of course, directed by Steven Speilberg.
When Hurricane Iniki hit, the cast and crew were all required to move into the ballroom of the hotel they were staying in. Richard Attenborough, however, stayed in his hotel room, and slept through the entire event. When asked how he could possibly have done this, Attenborough replied, “My dear boy, I survived the blitz!”
Does it hold up? VR Display, CD Rom …
What We’ve Learned:
Fat guys eating are almost always the villain
Auto-erotica <> Animatronic
Life will not be contained, life finds a way
Don’t be so preoccupied with could that you don’t worry about weather you should!
Discovery is a vile penetrative act that scars what it explores
Keep your windows UP! don’t move! and stay in the dang car!
Animals are never out in the zoo when you WANT to see them
Anything all can and does happen
If it’s heavy it’s expensive
Creation is an act of force
Control is an illusion
Jeff: Always considered a classic in my book. This was the introduction to a new age of digital effects and was absolutely brilliantly done. If you haven’t seen this before, what is wrong with you. Buy it for your DVD or digital library NOW.
Ray: Still holds up, the score still gives me goosebumps. If you have not seen this you should. No it’s not Shakespeare but it is what I consider the perfect Spielberg action movie. Wonder, punctuated with moments of absolute terror.
Steve: Overall…amazing movie! Really pushed the boundaries at the time it was made and comes off as a classic. Scary, in a “don’t mess with nature” kind of way – without being preachy.
The Present: Dr. Seuss The Lorax
Rotten Tomatoes: 57% Rotten; 72% Audience
Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito
The characters of Ted and Audrey are named after Dr. Seuss (whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel) and his second wife Audrey Geisel.
Danny DeVito will also be the voice of The Lorax for the Spanish, Russian, Italian and German dubbed versions.
This is the first film to feature Universal’s 100th Anniversary logo.
Unlike the original book, the Once-ler is shown fully in the story as a human. Executive producer Christopher Meledandri said of the change, “The minute you make the Once-ler a monster, you allow the audience to interpret that the problem is caused by somebody who is different from me, and it ceases to be a story that is about all of us. Then it’s a story about, ‘Oh I see, the person who led us into the predicament is not a person. It’s somebody very, very different.’ And so it takes you off the hook.”
The film premiered on March 2, 2012 – Dr. Seuss’s 108th birthday.
Craig Ferguson was considered to play the Lorax.
Argentinian film producer Axel Kuschevatzky dubbed Mr. O’Hare on the Latin American Spanish speaking prints of the movie.
Despite being the two main characters of the film, The Lorax and Ted never appear in a scene together.
The Controversy , The Message
What We Learned:
If you put things in plastic bottles, people will buy it.
If a guy does a stupid thing once, it’s because he’s a guy. If it’s twice it’s because of a girl.
Bears can be used as defibrillators
Sleep is the body’s way of telling other people to go away.
The Tree falls the way it leans, so be careful which way you lean
Jeff: Very cute film and neat retelling of the Dr. Seuss story. Definitely a kids movie. Take the kids to the theater, but for yourself, could just wait for DVD or Streaming.
Ray: Cute film, even if the message is a little bit heavy handed. It was entertaining, not sure if the 3D was really worth it, but it did make the thing pop off the screen.
Steve:. I’m generally all for animation…and I’m a fan of Dr. S! However, I was just entertained by the visuals – not much at all by dialogue or overall story. So…it looked good. That’s all I can offer.
The Future: Lockout
Release: March 30, 2012
Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare
A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates.
Anyone else get an escape from new york vibe with this? rescue in a prison.. main characters name is snow instead of snake
Jeff: Looks like a fun sci-fi B-ish movie. I’ll see it, but not any sort of priority.
Ray: Looks ok, not sure I’d run out to see it, but definitely a rental or Netflix
Steve: Looks exciting, but probably saw the best of it in the trailer. Con-Air in space? Comes off as a rental to me.