Jurassic Park Ultimate Visual History reveals the magic behind the novel and films

Review by C.J. Bunce

Remember the first time you watched Jurassic Park on the big screen?  Steven Spielberg created something like we’d never seen before, taking Michael Crichton’s masterpiece science fiction novel and giving it the spectacle it deserved.  A new book will take you back to that magic.  In James Mottram’s Jurassic Park: The Ultimate Visual History, available now here at Amazon, fans of the original movie and the franchise finally get a behind-the-scenes chronicle worthy of the amusement park ride adventure, just as the latest movie, Jurassic World: Dominion, is being finalized for a summer 2022 release.

Beginning with Michael Crichton winning the Edgar Allan Poe award for outstanding mystery fiction for his novel A Case of Need, readers will track the author and inspiration for his career merging science and the mystery thriller genre, meeting Spielberg, making his first movie about a theme park gone wrong–Westworld, creating the idea via a film script about cloning a pterodactyl with fossil DNA, finally working it into a novel with characters based on real people.  The book acknowledges Jurassic Park as the then-latest take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Crichton told Spielberg he wanted him to direct the film adaptation, but put it out to bid before the novel even hit the street.  Tim Burton, Joe Dante, James Cameron, and Richard Donner were also in the running to direct.

Peppered with two-page spreads of storyboards and concept artwork from artist Mark “Crash” McCreery, John Bell, Craig Mullins, and others, the book discusses Spielberg needing to cut back on the number of dinosaurs from the novel, and focus on eight key scenes to work his movie around (some of the best scenes in the novel never made it into the movie, and the movie franchise may never capture the magic of Crichton’s imagination on each page).  Luckily for the creator of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, CGI technology was improving.  But instead Spielberg thought bigger and called for full-sized dinosaur props and he turned to Phil Tippett for his award-winning work on stop-motion miniatures, monster maker Stan Winston, visual effects guru Dennis Muren and digital effects from Steve “Spaz” Williams to get the job done.  Ben Burtt and John Williams would create the aural experience.

Because of the in-world nature of the movie, readers will encounter the artwork behind the big picture of the film’s progress along with the marketing of the park seen inside the compound, gift shop, and visitor center.  And of course look forward to lots and lots of dinosaurs in varying states of development.  Half of the book is devoted to the first film in the franchise, and the rest to the next two films and marketing, including posters, toys, comics, and video games for the first trilogy of the franchise.

Check out some pages inside Jurassic Park: The Ultimate Visual History:

For your favorite fan of the first three Jurassic Park movies, Jurassic Park: The Ultimate Visual History is available now here at Amazon.  Jurassic Park: Dominion arrives in theaters June 10, 2022.

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