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In 1989. studio bosses smiled Joker- wide smiles when Batman‘s coffers began to overﬂow; in l993. Universal execs are rubbing their hands with glee as Jurassic Park looks set to take dinosaur-sized bites out of the box ofﬁce from now until Christmas. In terms ofhypc. Spielberg's latest is unsurpassed. Fortunately. it also delivers as the kind of sit-down-switch- off-spill-your-popcom-as-you-scream adventure that summer trips to the cinema were made for.
A group of scientists (Sam Neill. Laura Dem and Jeff Goldblum) are brought to an island near Costa Rica to give their endorsement to a theme park where billionaire developer John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough) has genetically engineered live dinosaurs. While touring the attractions. however. corporate piracy and a ferocious storm combine to unleash the revived reptiles on their human adversaries.
Jurassic Park is a crowd-pleaser of the highest order. ajoin-the-dots excursion from one thrill point to the next. The computerised effects are beyond superlatives: these dinosaurs are real. a genuine razor-toothed threat. However. for its second half. Jurassic Park is just a chase movie with unmatched technology. In a way. the ﬁlm is very like the kind ofempty theme park it portrays: the machinery is well-oiled. the rides are in good working order. but there aren‘t any real human beings to be seen on the landscape.
So is Spielberg. once more the golden boy of Hollywood. just playing with large and very expensive cinematic toys? His use of state-of-the-art effects is sometimes a little gimmicky: the dinosaur stampede scene — with the computer-generated creatures criss- crossing in front of and behind the actors -— is stunning. the highlight of the ﬁlm. but exists as a set-piece outwith the plot. Elsewhere. however. the
precision of the effects does bring a note of credibility and terror to the proceedings. The problem with Spielberg is that in recent years — the Indiana Jones sen'es excepted — he doesn’t seen to have perfected the balance between on-screen trickery and emotional involvement. His adult dramas — Always and Iimpire ()f The Sun — tend to overdose on sentimentality. whereas the likes of Hook are criticised for being all flash and no substance. His latest creation. for all its diversity ofcharacters. lacks the sense of warmth and wonder that lies at the heart of ET or the character depth found in the central quartet in Jaws.
Super Mario Bros may be the ﬁrst movie to be based on a computer game. but Jurassic Park. perched uneasily between good ﬁlmmaking and better marketing. has a structure that ensures a comfortable future as home entertainment. As the separated groups try to make it back to the safe zone. it‘s easy to see the game equivalent about to hit the shops: past the T-Rex paddock on Level One. onto the ‘raptors-in-the-kitchen screen on Level
Slr lllcliard Attenhourgti, Latiia Dem an Sam Neill
Everything about the movie seems to be a case of Hollywood having its cake while chomping it down. At the height of Hammond's disillusionment. the camera pans onto him across shelf upon shelf ofJurassic Park toys and goodies. now doomed to gather dust. As product placement goes. this shot sets the standards. Spielberg may be allowing himself some artistic irony. but the guys in the marketing department will be ecstatic. as kids in the audience eye up the merchandise that — surprise. surprise —just happens to be stacked ﬂoor~to—ceiling in the toy superstores so handily positioned next to most cinema multiplexes. And then there's the certiﬁcate - PC. but with an additional warning in small print. Parents beware: it's one thing for the kids to have a fascination for dinosaurs on the printed page. but once they’re up there in all their ferocious glory. some youngsters will be screaming for the exits. (Alan Morrison)
Jurassic Park ( PG) (Steven Spielberg.
US. 1993) Sam Neill. Laura Dern. Jeff Goldblum. From Fri 16. Wide general
existence under the name Tartan Shorts. Scripts for . ten-minute narrative ﬁlms
guidelines are available
. The closing date for i applications for the l993 awards is Monday 4
I tartan Shorts: With a sell-out GF'T screening of their debut trio already under their belt. the Scottish Film Productin Fund/BBC Scotland Short Film Awards are ready to enter their second year of
are invited. and application forms and
now from the SFPF ofﬁce at 74 Victoria Crescent Road. Glasgow G l 2 9JN.
October. after which a shortlist will be drawn up by the SFPF and BBC Scotland. with the SFPF board making the ﬁnal decision in December. Three projects will be selected and awarded a maximum of £30.()()() to produce a ten-minute drama on 16mm or 35mm.
The ﬁrst three ﬁlms to win funding under this scheme were actor Peter Capaldi's debut as writer/director. Fran:
K ajka is It ’s A Wonder/ill Life. which stars Richard E. Grant; Jim Shields' meteorological comedy Rain; and Eleanor Yule’s post-WWII drama A Small Deposit. All three will screen again as a group at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August. where they will also receive individual screenings along with features in the New British Films strand. The latter is a welcome move. as it will give audiences who might not normally go to see a short ﬁlm programme the opportunity to enjoy the work of some of Scotland's newest ﬁlmmaking talents. It will also beneﬁt the ﬁlmmakers. as the scheme is intended to encourage new Scottish writers. directors and producers to develop from shorts to features. Screenings in Scottish regional ﬁlm theatres will follow in the autumn. and BBC Scotland will broadcast
the ﬁlms later this year.
Innocent Blood and other
horror ﬁlm festival hopes
I Dead By Dawn 2: Having brought you the British premiere of
nasty treats earlier this year. the Dead By Dawn
to make a return
I appearance at the
; Edinburgh Filmhouse in ()ctober. Plans are still
sketchy at the moment. but a special screening of
the extended Dust Devil
(with director Richard Stanley in attendance) and
a premiere screening of Mario Baino‘s Dark
Waters are being looked
into. For updates. call
Adele Hartley on 03] 447 870-1.
"Tit-c L'tsiiéizs July i993 19