The Gates of Jurassic Park
A spectacular critique or a mere spectacle?
The gate is in fact seen again in the film when the embryo theft and turncoat Dennis Nedry pulls the override handle to elbow his way through it’s automation-disabled doors with his jeep bumper.
I enjoyed the article, and just wanted to point out that after a recent trip to Disney World, I believe the JP gate scene very acutely captures the essence of a classic Disney theme park ride wherein your cars move from room to room. (An example would be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.) Exiting each room builds a lot of suspense as your car wheels around to face a wall that moves ever closer (Lex: “Are we gonna hit that?”), finally bursting open a hidden double door just at the moment of threatened impact. Anyone who has enjoyed the classic Disney ride experience immediately (if subconsciously) connects the zoo-meets-theme-park concept of Jurassic Park. It was an excellent production element for the film for the way so many film goers could relate to the experience.
Seeing the gate later disabled when the power goes out further reinforces the emotional crash that takes place when you’re on one of these rides and it has to shut down mid-stream for maintenance. Suddenly, you can see through everything, and the illusion is shattered. Such was the case at the point when Nedry nudges haphazardly through the same gate that had previously awed us.
Given that Disneyland, The Pirates of the Caribbean, and Sattler’s recognition of the park’s shattered illusions are all referenced later in the dialogue, I believe my points about the gate as a set piece are significant. Interestingly, the book (with strengths in its own right) plays to the incompleteness of the park, merely referencing a crudely hand-painted sign that reads “Welcome to Jurassic Park.”
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