Well, this weekend marked a major milestone for me: I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen for the very first time! Although I have watched it countless times, first on VHS and then on DVD, Victoria in 1993 was only 9 years old, squeamish, and easily scared by, well, scary stuff, and thus too small to see Jurassic Park during its initial theatrical release.
The film was being shown as part of Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions film series called Science in the Cinema. They feature films with a biomedical slant, and ask health science and biomedical researchers to do a Q & A after the film. In Edmonton, the movies are shown at a cool old theatre called the Garneau Theatre, and admission is free (with free popcorn, too!).
For Jurassic Park, they also asked if some students from my lab could come out to talk about dinosaurs, and so Scott and I brought along some fossils to show off before and after the movie. We are lucky to have casts of many of the dinosaurs featured in Jurassic Park, so we brought along casts of Gallimimus, Tyrannosaurus, and of course, Velociraptor. We also brought along some sturdy, real, touchable Edmontosaurus fossils from a bonebed in Edmonton, which were also a big hit.
There were a lot of good questions about both the genetics and palaeontology sides of Jurassic Park, and apparently there were about 450 people in the audience. It was fun to see good ol’ Jurassic Park with an enthusiastic crowd of people who obviously knew the film well, and lots of younger kids who were seeing it for the first time. It has held up surprisingly well, and I maintain that the computer animation in Jurassic Park, which was the first time that realistic living creatures were created using that technique, is still some of the best computer animation ever. Yes, there are some inaccuracies, and yes, the theropods should be feathered, but overall for a film that is now 19 years old, it’s not too shabby. (“Cool, it’s an interactive CD-ROM!” and “It’s a UNIX system! I KNOW this!” both got some pretty big laughs.)