Lights, Camera, Reaction! – All-Time Classics

By Sadie Alge and Meredith Carnahan

There are some films that have such loveable characters, such a compelling plot, and such a timeless movie-watching experience that they go down in history as an instant classic. Star Wars and Jurassic Park fit that category well, charming audiences when they first came to theaters and continuing to produce die-hard fans to this day. Though we typically review films related to current holidays, in this installment, we felt obligated to examine a couple of the biggest blockbusters of all time.

 

STAR WARS

Movie poster of the 1977 film. Credit to IMDb.

In a galaxy far, far away, Luke Skywalker lives a mundane life as a desert-faring moisture farmer. When a droid appears carrying a plea for help and the key to destroying the Galactic Empire’s greatest weapon, Luke’s desire for adventure draws him into a plot to save the galaxy.

Genre: SciFi/Action/Fantasy/Adventure
Release Date: May 25, 1977

What made it so popular?

The time period in which the original Star Wars came to cinema definitely aided its unbelievable success. With the first man walking on the moon a mere eight years prior, it seemed as though any movie willing to appeal to the growing fascination with space and exploration would succeed. Star Wars did just that and more, offering a fantastical world, loveable characters, a hero’s journey, and revolutionary-for-the-time special effects.

What did we think?

With spinoffs, fan-fictions, video games, and merchandise still being created to this day, I think it’s safe to say that Star Wars’s legacy in the film industry is anything but forgettable. The movie is outstanding for many more reasons other than its special effects. Star Wars doesn’t care for giving the audience breathers or a moment to collect their thoughts (besides the beautiful shots of a double sunset), but engages the audience through adventure, thrills, dread, and awe. And it does this in a variety of ways: Spaceships, romance, aliens, lightsabers, the list is endless. – Sadie

With little exaggeration, I can easily say that the original Star Wars is one of the best movies that’s ever been made. Like any movie, it has its flaws and plot holes, and its special effects fall a little short when compared to today’s films. But regardless of its technical shortcomings or minor inconsistencies, Star Wars still manages to deliver a simple, impactful story with well-rounded characters, an engaging plot, and a satisfying conclusion. One of its most important successes, in my opinion, is how it crafts realistic, developed characters, which greatly aid the audience’s immersion and investment in a world of glowing swords and talking slugs. I could go into lengthy detail describing everything that makes Star Wars a great film, but I’ll settle for saying that there’s a reason people adore this movie nearly half a century after its release. Meredith

 

JURASSIC PARK

Movie poster of the 1993 film. Credit to IMDb.

John Hammond is the founder of Jurassic Park, an advanced theme park that displays live, genetically engineered dinosaurs. He invites four individuals, along with his two grandchildren, to tour the developing park. But when critical security systems are unexpectedly shut down, Jurassic times call for Jurassic measures as the dinosaurs freely roam the park and wreak havoc on their guests.

Genre: Action/SciFi/Adventure/Fantasy/Thriller
Release Date:
 June 11, 1993

What made it so popular?

Until 1993, live dinosaurs had seldom made their way onto the big screen, and they were often lackluster in their design and bravado. But Jurassic Park changed all of that, introducing a unique story that audiences could only dream of before, complete with impressive special effects and a fun plot. And even better, it managed to bring living, breathing dinosaurs to cinema with only six minutes of CGI, the rest being accomplished via puppets, costumes, and clever editing. With so much talent and creativity packed into one movie, it’s no wonder audiences couldn’t get enough of the stunningly executed movie magic. 

What did we think?

The real stars of the film are not the actors and actresses, but the groundbreaking ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) creations: the dinosaurs. Whenever they’re on the screen is when you’re really hooked to the moment. The suspense building techniques are indescribable, especially the raptors-in-the-kitchen scene. The script is so-so, and the characters are quite bland, but the dinos are what keeps this film in its glory. Sadie

I liked the actors’ performances (particularly from Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum), and of course, watching dinosaur puppets roam around a park is never boring. Despite this, I think the film fell flat in a few aspects. Some parts of the movie slowed down a bit too much, and other parts threw a lot at the audience at once. The ending also felt a little inconclusive, which was likely to leave room for sequels. I don’t dislike the movie, and it’s still quite entertaining to watch. However, it’s not my first choice. Meredith

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