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How Jurassic Park Changed the Way Movies Looked at Dinosaurs

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opened nationwide yesterday, and it inspired Keith Phipps to look at the 100-year history of dinosaur movies, including the original Jurassic Park from 1993.

Jurassic Park succeeds in part by breaking with the two approaches that have dominated dinosaur movies from the start: portraying them as bloodthirsty monsters or as cuddly anthropomorphized creatures. And the history of dinosaur movies is a long one, one almost as old as movies themselves. In fact, the medium developed alongside our understanding of what dinosaurs were — even if dinosaur movies didn’t always reflect this growing understanding.

He starts with the live-action Primitive Man and the animation Gertie the Dinosaur, both from 1914. Then there are the monsters-fighting-monsters films from the mid-20th century, many of them with dinos by Ray Harryhausen. Then the kids' films of the 1980s made dinosaurs cuddly again. Jurassic Park had both, but gave us some real, if implausible, science about dinosaurs and the ethical questions surrounding it. The best part of the article at Vulture is the many videos of trailers, clips, and complete films that illustrate the evolution of dinosaurs in film. -via Digg


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