And you thought Jurassic Park was just about dino scares.
In a half-hour presentation – akin to a fascinating TEDTalk (see below) – designer Mike Hill makes a detailed breakdown of the symbols, metaphors and meaning that runs throughout Jurassic Park, ones that serve as an emotionally complex foundation for this visceral “monster movie” adventure.
And by comparing this to the recent Jurassic World, Hill makes the case as to why the original has endured for nearly 25 years yet most of us probably still struggle to remember much about the recent blockbuster reboot.
Some of Hill’s points – particularly early on – won’t come as that big of a surprise, as they touch on themes of Parenting (between Dr’s Grant and Sattler directly, as well as their dynamic with kids Lex and Tim) that were always pretty obvious. But as his talk progresses, and the deeper he goes down the metaphoric rabbit hole, it’s sort of mind-blowing to grasp the degree to which Steven Spielberg layered archetypes, symbols and metaphors throughout, ones that are constantly working as subtext (the Jeeps are…eggs?), with birth/death/rebirth motifs reoccurring over and over, thus triggering primal human feelings, fears, and hopes.
Some may question if Spielberg intended every symbol that Hill observes, and the truth is he likely didn’t. But enough of them are so clearly and intentionally there that, at some point, even more archetypes emerge whether intended or not – because that’s the way art works.