Perhaps this is snobby, I don’t know:
As much as I love Indiana Jones, George Lucas & Steven Spielberg never gave him a perfect movie. And perfect movies can be imperfect, and vice versa. I believe this.
People who know me know I prefer The Temple of Doom – not just to Raiders of the Lost Ark, but to pretty much all things Spielberg. (Even if it has the better heroine, Raiders peaks early. Temple never stops peaking.) Jaws is a very good, if not great, movie, a Duel (itself a goodie) at sea. All surface, no depth, these films are live-action roller-coasters, the machinery at which Spielberg excels. Bring in horses, WWII soldiers, slaves, Jews – and, as expert as the handling of those subjects is, I wince at the saccharin.
Jurassic Park is not his best film, but it is a worthy successor to the films just listed. It’s a series of roller-coasters in a theme park. You could even say the movie itself is a theme park. The monsters frighten. They look real. (Sorry, but despite his buildup, Jaws underwhelms.) Given arcs, smart/funny dialogue, and foibles, the thin but winsome characters are as likable as any in the Spielberg oeuvre. They’re cast well, too. And with a Frankenstein-like twist, the movie’s message (“Don’t f*ck with nature”) is deep but palatable in a way that few other filmmakers could nail.
So there it is. A great pop entertainment — wonder, horror, adventure — a yarn and, for now anyway, the man’s second-best film.
See it in 3D while you can.