My parents were pretty strict with which movies I was allowed to see as a child. I was not allowed to watch PG-13 films until I was 13, unless my mom saw them first and approved. I was once outcast at a slumber party at the age of 10 when my mom overheard one of the girls say we were going to watch Pulp Fiction. My mom refused to let me spend the night unless we watched a different movie. I stayed at the party and we ended up watching Forest Gump while all the girls gave me dirty looks for having such a “mean” mom.
All of this makes the fact that my parents let me see Jurassic Park when it originally came out in 1993 even more unbelievable. I was seven-years-old. It was the first film I ever saw with just my dad. It was such a treat to do something just the two of us and made it even more special because it felt like such an adult film.
If I close my eyes I can picture the inside of the theater and even the row where we sat. I was scared but didn’t want my dad to know, worrying he would realize they made a mistake letting me see it and make us leave the theater. So I sat there in stunned silence. I understood the dinosaurs weren’t real but that didn’t stop me from thinking ever noise I heard for the next week was a Velociraptor about to attack.
To this day, I don’t like scary movies or horror films. Just the intro music for Halloween makes me want to climb in bed and throw the blankets over my head. Thanks to Jurassic Park though, monster movies are what I like to call my “safely scared zone.” I might be anxious or nervous while I’m watching a film like Jaws or Cloverfield but it will not keep me up at night or make me buy extra dead bolts for my front door.
Fast-forward 15 years, to 2008, as I was applying for grad school to study film. One program’s application included an essay prompt, “What is your favorite film and why?” I wrote an entire essay on Jurassic Park before fear that it was too cliché set in. I started over and wrote the essay about a different film. I was too embarrassed to admit my love for such a standard film. Every person of my generation loves that movie. And what film nerd doesn’t love Steven Spielberg? I felt that to call myself a film scholar I should wear a black beret and only enjoy films like Citizen Kane and Rashomon.
Last weekend I had the chance to see an advanced screening of Jurassic Park in 3D. I was so excited we got to the theater at 8:30 in the morning, an hour and a half before the film started. As the unmistakable score introduced the film I squeezed my boyfriend’s hand and could not wipe the smile from my face. Some may call it nostalgia goggles (that blinding love you have for something based on how you felt about it as a child) but Jurassic Park 3D was every bit as entertaining, awe-inspiring and majestic as it was 20 years ago. With that, I want to publically state for the record that I will, forever and always, love Jurassic Park and defend its spot on my list of favorite films.