The Horror Honeys: There's No Doubt Our Attractions Will Drive Kids Out of Their Minds!

There's No Doubt Our Attractions Will Drive Kids Out of Their Minds!

A Monster Honey Retrospective Review by Jennica

On June 12th, 2015, we will return to the island of Isla Nublar where, twenty-two years ago, our prehistoric nightmares were first hatched. Welcome back to Jurassic Park! Or, rather, Jurassic World. In the fourth installment of the series, the extraordinary theme park that John Hammond's Jurassic Park was meant to be is finally perfected and renamed two decades later. Despite there being yet another new director on board who is not Steven Spielberg and not one of the key characters from the previous three films making an appearance, the all-new cast, which includes Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Judy Greer (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) among many other A-listers has made me salivate with anticipation. And judging from the earth-shattering trailer, I'm a firm believer that newbie director Colin Trevorrow will stand and deliver. Until then, let's take a brief journey back in time to reminisce about the sights we've seen thus far...

Jurassic Park (1993)

As one of my earliest theatrical movie viewing experiences at the age of four, Jurassic Park has always held a special place in my heart. Some girls spent hours playing with dolls and tea sets, but I spent my time on the floor surrounded by plastic dinosaurs and lost in the epic battle going on between them in my mind. And Jurassic Park brought to life the action that I could only imagine or learn about in picture books. Twenty-two years later, the music, cinematography, performances, and especially the dino-effects continue to stand the test of time.

In case there is anyone out there who has yet to experience this wild ride-- and I'm not talking about the Universal Studios attraction-- the story begins as a major discovery is made by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) that allows for dinosaurs to live and breathe the same air as humans, giving John the bright idea to design a prehistoric theme park on the island of Isla Nublar. However, when John invites archaeologists Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), his lawyer, the radical theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum... roar!), and his two grandchildren to give the park its day in court, it turns out to be a bumpy ride. Little does John know, one of his employees cannot be trusted and one big pile of shit is about to hit the fan.

To this day, whenever I hear John Williams's famed orchestra begin that majestic score on my TV, I am filled with a child-like sense of excitement that leaves a toothy smile on my face from ear to ear. As the music picks up in pace, I have to plant myself on the couch and brace myself for the adventure that I know is about to be had. What also makes Jurassic Park such a fun movie for every age group is that each character is distinct and lovable in their own unique way. We get to know about their personal lives, their world views, and even their style of humor as they take us along on their journey through Hell on earth. Above all, it is impossible to discuss Jurassic Park without mentioning the timeless effects used to create dinosaurs. At the age of four and even now at the age of-- nevermind-- I am always frozen to the edge of my seat when encountering the gigantic, razor-toothed T-Rex stomping through the trees toward those Ford Explorers on the screen. Jurassic Park is far from being the first dinosaur movie, but Steven Spielberg definitely made it the best.


Jennica's Rating: 5 Raptor Claws out of 5

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

A few years after the events of the first film, John Hammond reveals to Jurassic Park survivor Dr. Malcolm that there is a second island, Isla Sorna, in existence that was used as a breeding ground prior to transporting the dinosaurs to Isla Nublar. Hammond convinces Dr. Malcolm, his girlfriend Sarah (Julianne Moore), and a research team (that for some reason includes Vince Vaughn) to travel to Isla Sorna to study the dinosaurs in their natural habitat. However, the current head of InGen, the bioengineering company that populated Jurassic Park, has plotted to capture a rather large dinosaur for the amusement of the public eye.

I might have been just a few years older upon the release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but my love for the scaly beasts that stole my heart-- and ate it-- in the first film still burned bright. I was ready for more action, more adventure, and more Jeff Goldblum. While I got more Goldblum than my wildest dreams could handle, the action and adventure did (and still does) seem to be lacking.

Every time I go into this sequel, my mind tends to exaggerate the volume of dinosaur attacks encountered and I am left ultimately underwhelmed. The majority of The Lost World often feels like a mere in-depth analytical conversation about the events of the first film; it's more of an afterthought than a distinct movie. We get to hear everyone's theories about what went wrong, why a dino park was an insane idea in the first place, and what should be done about the remaining man-eaters on Isla Sorna. Everyone was just a little too eager to constantly one-up the rest. And somehow Vince Vaughn was the clever one? I want off this island! 

Not even Vince Vaughn knows why Vince Vaughn is here.
Meanwhile, there are a couple pissed off T-Rex's occasionally picking off unhappy campers, but there is logic to their bad tempers this time. They aren't hunting for food or sport; they just want their baby back. Isn't that sweet? 

At any rate, while Jurassic Park made me fear creatures that haven't existed for billions of years, The Lost World had me cheering them on. 

Jennica's Rating: 3 Pissed Off T-Rexes out of 5

Jurassic Park III (2001)

Many years after Dr. Alan Grant has finally found his happy place, a divorced couple pretending to be happily married convince him to return to the island where it all began to play tour guide for them on a romantic getaway. Once Dr. Grant and his best student Billy land on the island with the couple, Dr. Grant immediately notices that something is not quite right. As it turns out, the island to which Dr. Grant has been lured isn't Isla Nublar, where he had his original brush with death. It's Isla Sorna. And the bickering couple isn't looking for love. They're looking for their son.

Setting aside my romantic feels for Jeff Goldblum in the first two films, it's always humbling to see the return of Sam Neil as Dr. Grant. With all his dinosaur knowledge and philosophical advice, it's as if he never left Jurassic Park. A lot of fans of the first film (or even the first two films, I guess) tend to poke fun at the third installment of this series. Sure, the family goes overboard on the after-school-special "gee whiz" routine, the dinosaurs look slightly awkward in some shots, and there's that obnoxious cell phone ringtone. But overall the film is almost as exciting as the first film and it produces just the right amount of nostalgia for those who have stuck with the series from the beginning.

One of the refreshing things about Jurassic Park III is the reprise of John Williams's majestic music score from the first film, reminding me that another thrilling journey is about to begin. And to further instill the warm fuzzies that a certain young Monster Honey had while being blasted by roars in a theater many years ago, this movie scatters about a number of winks and nods to the first two films. Dr. Grant references the "incident in San Diego" and Jurassic Park, Billy brings along a "lucky bag" just as Sarah did in The Lost World, and Dr. Grant takes a moment to poke fun at Dr. Malcolm's egotistical book based on the events that took place on Isla Nublar. The best bit of sentiment, however, were the return of my favorite dinosaurs: the velociraptors. By the third film, we already know that these creatures are highly intelligent hunters but we are also introduced to new terrifying qualities. This time, it is confirmed that, on top of being fast, clever, and extremely territorial, they communicate with each other in an advanced code. And good luck cracking it! 

Jennica's Rating: 4 Raptor Eggs out of 5

Will Jurassic World live up to expectations? 
Check out my upcoming review after opening weekend