Whether you remember Jurassic Park coming out in 1993 or not, you might not be able to believe it's been so long. But 25 years, four sequels and many unfortunate victims later, the franchise (and especially the original movie) holds a special place in the hearts of many film fans.
Its charm and watchability endures, and there remains a fascination with the films and its prehistoric stars. So, to mark the birthday of the franchise, here are seven things you might not know about how it came to be.
1. Spielberg originally wanted the dinosaurs to be giant balloons
One of the reasons it's hard to believe the film is so old is the special effects. Even though CGI might have moved on a smidge since 1993, both the CG and animatronic dinosaurs still take the breath away when you first see them.
But, inspired by a King Kong theme park ride at Universal Studios, director Steven Spielberg originally wanted to build full-size inflatables of all the dinosaurs, which would sit around animatronic skeletons. That proved too costly, unfortunately, but the end result is still pretty darn realistic, as mirrored by the reaction of Ellie and Alan on screen.
2. He assembled a crack team of special and visual effects experts
The people who created the beasts that were at times imposing, crafty, endearing and deadly reads like a list of special effects royalty. Various members of the team had previously worked on iconic franchises such as Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Star Wars, as well as blockbusters like E.T. and The Terminator.
3. The digital team pretended to be stampeding dinosaurs
In order to make the scene of stampeding Gallimimus look as real as possible, the visual effects guys took it to another level and filmed themselves stampeding. Apparently they wanted to get an idea of the instinctive behaviour of a stampede, so that they could replicate it. They even got into the raptor suits built by the special effects crew. That's dedication.
4. Other famous faces were considered for the lead roles
It's hard to imagine anyone but Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler screaming "Run!" or a different actor than Sam Neil trying to keep the kids safe as her fellow paleontologist Alan Grant, but there were other big names interested.
Juliet Binoche and Robin Wright were possible Ellies, while William Hurt and Harrison Ford were alternative candidates for Alan. None other than Sean Connery could have been the park's CEO John Hammond, but Richard Attenborough came out of semi-retirement to play the role, after Spielberg convinced him.
5. The famous T Rex roar is a composite of multiple species
The distinctively deafening and terrifying roar released by the T Rex in Jurassic Park was reportedly made by combining the sounds made by a number of different species, including a tiger, an alligator and baby elephants (obvious choice). Meanwhile, the small but deadly Dilophosaurus roar is a mix of howler monkeys, hawks, rattlesnakes, and swans.
6. Spielberg's love of 70s music inspired an iconic moment
It has become a common Jurassic World reference that whenever water ripples, there is probably a T Rex approaching. It turns out this famous moment was inspired by Spielberg listening to 1970s band Earth, Wind & Fire with the bass and volume turned up to 11 on his car stereo. A special effects supervisor recreated this effect by plucking a guitar string underneath the cups - a charmingly old-school, non-CG solution.
7. A lot (but not all) of the film is based on real science
Suspending disbelief for the film's 127 minutes, you could be forgiven for feeling that what you're seeing is real. Even though the special effects weren't what they are today, there is something tactile and a sense of innocent wonder about the first Jurassic Park film. If it seems realistic in any way, it's because Spielberg employed some bona fide dinosaur experts to make sure the science didn't get sabotaged (too much).
Jack Horner, a famous palaeontologist, was in charge of making sure the way the dinosaurs behaved was within the realms of possibility, while the accuracy of their appearance was ensured by fellow expert Robert T. Bakker, who gave the renderings by the film's artists his seal of approval.
Eager to go back to Jurassic World? Luckily, some people are determined not to leave dinosaurs well enough alone and are still trying to create a new species for their own means… Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and with a brief but welcome appearance by Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is in Cineworld now - click here to book your tickets