It's almost impossible to find someone over the age of 10 who hasn't seen Jurassic Park, and -- now that the film has seen its 3D rerelease in theaters -- the odds of finding anyone, of just about any age, who hasn't experienced Steven Spielberg's classic are about to plummet.
Incredible as it may seem, I found someone of theater-going age back in 1993 who didn't see the movie, and -- even more unbelievable -- who managed to avoid it for the next 20 years. It seemed only appropriate to use the film's second major theatrical run to our advantage, so I bought a pair of tickets for its opening weekend and proceeded to lead my pal Amy Wilkinson (who you may know as the editor of MTV's Hollywood Crush) down the dusty, dino-laden path of Spielbergian enlightenment.
We settled in this past Saturday afternoon, 3D glasses perched atop our heads, and had a brief chat about Amy's expectations going into the film. As the seats around us filled with the under-10 set, we wondered aloud who of the groups had seen the movie and whose horrified glee we'd experience vicariously. As it happens, we're pretty sure Amy was the only person in the crowded theater who was fresh to the material (props to eight-year-old Matthew and his band of cronies for enthusiastically narrating us -- and the rest of the row in front of them -- through some of the movie's trickier plot points).
Once the last notes of John Williams' score swelled and the lights went up, Amy and I continued our talk about her very first experience seeing Jurassic Park. Here's what she had to say.
BEFORE THE MOVIE
Movies.com: You were 10 when Jurassic Park first released in theaters, right? I think I speak for everyone when I ask, "What the heck is your excuse?!"
Wilkinson: I don't know if I actually wanted to see it when it came out. I remember very vividly being with my mom at her friend's house, and her friend had taken her daughter and son to go see it, and they had nightmares afterward. So my mom's friend said, "Under no circumstances should you take Amy to see this film." So I didn't see it when it first came out and then - you know, I'm not Ross Geller. I'm not obsessed with dinosaurs! I didn't really feel like I was missing out on anything.
Movies.com: I just can't even believe you didn't catch it at a friend's house or a sleepover or on cable at some point.
Wilkinson: I know! I've seen tiny bits and pieces from trailers and things like that, but I can't recall ever having seen a scene or moment.
Movies.com: Are you a Spielberg fan? Have you seen his other movies?
Wilkinson: I've seen a good chunk of them - E.T., Schindler's List, Lincoln.
Movies.com: So what are you expecting out of Jurassic Park?
Wilkinson: Um, I know that "butts" line.
Movies.com: "Hold on to your butts!" That's a good one - do you know who says it?
Movies.com: Oh, that's fantastic. I will not be spoiling that for you.
Wilkinson: So I'm excited to hear "Hold on to your butts!" I'm hoping it might startle me at certain points. I'm just here for a fun two hours.
Movies.com: "Clever girl."
Wilkinson: I've seen that .gif!
Movies.com: Wow, a rare moment when the enjoyment of a .gif precedes its original material. I can't wait for you to see the context.
Wilkinson: I just hope that the whole move is actually as good as everyone makes it out to be and it's not just the nostalgia factor that everyone holds so dearly.
AFTER THE MOVIE
Movies.com: So, did Jurassic Park live up to your expectations?
Wilkinson: I enjoyed it! I think it's a fun thriller -- it's definitely a summer popcorn movie. It felt like a fun ride.
Movies.com: Would 10-year-old Amy have survived that film unscathed and un-nightmare plagued?
Wilkinson: When the dinosaurs were coming after the kids, in particular, I think I would've sh*t my pants. I was such a scaredy-cat as a kid! I think it's a good thing I did not see it when I was 10 years old.
Movies.com: Could the Amy of today handle it?
Wilkinson: Oh, definitely. I'm a little more weathered. I'm a little more worn. I've got what it takes! It wasn't scary. I think there were one or two times when I jumped slightly.
Movies.com: I saw you cringe when Martin Ferrero's character got devoured by the T. rex.
Wilkinson: Yes! I didn't expect to see that, and I think it happened sort of soon-ish, maybe? I just wasn't ready for that.
Movies.com: And you got "Hold on to your butts" -- twice!
Wilkinson: I enjoyed it both times. And I like that it came from Samuel L. Jackson. He always gets the good lines in movies!
Movies.com: I'm going to go out on a limb and say you may've retroactively witnessed the birth of that skill set. What about the technology: do you think the dinosaurs look pretty good?
Wilkinson: Yeah! The only things that made the movie feel dated to me were the clothing and the reference to the interactive CD-ROM. [Laughs] But other than that, I thought it help up really well.
Movies.com: I'm sure you've seen images and clips from the infamous T. rex scene, but come on -- that is some really great stuff, right?
Wilkinson: It's definitely one of those moments -- not to sound cliché -- when you're on the edge of your seat.
Movies.com: What about the kitchen scene with the velociraptors? That gets me every time.
Wilkinson: That was actually pretty creepy! The fact that they figured out how to open doors, though? Not so sure I bought that.
Movies.com: I jump every single time during Wayne Night's death scene and the raptor reveal when Laura Dern is turning on the power.
Wilkinson: Oh my gosh, I was not expecting that raptor! You obviously knew that something had happened to Samuel L. Jackson, but I figured he got killed outside. I definitely jumped.
Movies.com: Any specific gross-out moments for you?
Wilkinson: If anything got me, it was Laura Dern sticking her arm in that pile of poo. Because I'm such a germaphobe! That was the moment when I was like, "Ughhh!" Poo gets me.
Movies.com: How about favorite characters?
Wilkinson: Um, can I talk about Jeff Goldblum? Because I love Jeff Goldblum.
Movies.com: Much like life finds a way, so does Goldblum find a way… to leave his shirt open.
Wilkinson: He's very heaving bosomy in this movie! That one moment where he's lying on the table with his shirt ripped open - the camera lingers there!
Movies.com: Our audience laughed during that shot. It made me love everyone, like we were one big cheesed-out family.
Wilkinson: Yes! Because it's so ludicrous! It's not even like he delivered a line of dialogue, he was just all chest. But he's so Goldblumian in this movie, it's just amazing.
Movies.com: Can you think of any modern-day counterparts to this movie?
Wilkinson: One thing I did notice, that's a bit like Super 8, was the delayed gratification of seeing the dinosaurs. Even during moments when we're in the thick of action, they hint at them being there but then they hold off on showing the full dinosaur until this big reveal. That sort of delayed gratification is rare in film today.
Movies.com: Yeah, that's Spielberg exercising a lot of the techniques he used in Jaws. He didn't even reveal the shark until an hour and 21 minutes into the movie. Would you watch Jurassic Park again?
Wilkinson: I would watch it again -- I think it's a fun movie! I like that I got to see it for the first time on the big screen. The 3D didn’t do much for me, to be honest, but I got the immersion factor of it.
Movies.com: This Spielberg guy, he seems to be going places, huh?
Wilkinson: Yeah, he may do things! [Laughs]
Jurassic Park 3D is currently playing in theaters.