Jurassic Park

The late writer Michael Crichton, who famously tutored President Bush on the fallacy of global warming, was no scientist. But the doctor-turned-novelist, from The Andromeda Strain forward, knew how to mix popular science into exceptionally good potboiler fiction. He was a master of the in-flight novel, and Jurassic Park is one of his very best works. Steven Spielberg's 1993 adaptation benefits from equally from the then-new magic of CGI and our old love of dinosaurs running amok. (Long before Godzilla, silent movies were doing the same.) While Crichton warns us about the dangers of genetic engineering—in rather static debates among scientists Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum—Spielberg keeps things moving at a wonderful pace. As in Jaws, whose DNA is strongly felt here, the hunters become the hunted. The thud of the oncoming T-rex rippling in a water cup, the heat of his breath on a car window, the swarming Velociraptors—these ancient terrors trump our high-tech inventions. Movie screens at midnight. (PG-13) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Sept. 14; Sat., Sept. 15, 2012

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