So were the dinosaurs before the premiere in 1993
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They were on Earth a few million years before us. They are, without a doubt, our direct ancestors and we have always felt a mixture of horror and fascination before them. Although they disappeared, they have always been an interesting vein for cinema and television. Three decades ago, Steven Spielberg and his “court” of special effects wizards brought the dinosaurs back to life in ‘Jurassic Park’ to remind us of what a world in which they still lived would be: prehistoric animals.
On the occasion of the premiere of ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ (Colin Trevorrow, 2022)FRAMES celebrates a special tribute to the first film in the saga directed by Steven Spielberg. The gates of that Jurassic amusement park, halfway between unbridled fun and scientific sin, symbolized the transition, the threshold, between the feature films that gave birth to King Kong and Godzilla with cinematographic tricks as rudimentary as they are effective and influenced by the kaiju-eiga, and a visually spectacular and innovative cinema, never seen before, that revived prehistoric beings embracing the soul of the best and most passionate family adventure cinema.
Three decades after its premiere, from the genesis of a franchise that would make history on the big screen, our magazine travels back in time to 1993 and retrieves various articles, interviews and reports from its historical newspaper library that, except for the criticism and review by Jesús Palacioswere published in a supplement intended for a younger audience and which, for several years, appeared on newsstands along with the monthly print edition of FOTOGRAMAS. His name was Fantastic Magazine and in the issue published in October 1993, under the title of Steven Spielberg: The Last Dinosaur Y Laura Dern: The Jurassic Girlappeared a series of reports and interviews in which the director of the feature film and the actress who gave life to Doctor Ellie Sattler unearthed, like meticulous paleontologists, the keys to the filming, the confessed secrets and the (still vivid) memories of ‘Jurassic Park’.
One of its pages also included a very interesting exploded view that contemplated the main films and television series that had featured dinosaurs and other prehistoric beings in their plots. A list of 12 works that ranged from the mythical cult films of Godzilla and King Kong to animation legends such as Piecito or ‘The Flintstones’. This is what dinosaurs were like in movies and TV before Steven Spielberg revolutionized everything with ‘Jurassic Park’ in 1993:
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‘The Lost World’ (Harry Hoyt, 1925)
Adaptation of the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, starring Professor Challenger, who leads a group that discovers in the Amazon basin a group of living dinosaurs. Finally, a brontosaurus is brought to London and it causes a panic in the city. It was one of the first notable dinosaur films. It is worth noting the work of Willis O’Brien and Marcel Delgado as creators of the creatures.
‘King Kong’ (Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, 1933)
Giant gorilla and recreation of the myth of Beauty and the Beast. With a hidden eroticism in the relationship between Kong and Fay Wray. Again, a superb job by Willis O’Brien and Marcel Delgado in creating the monsters. Our huge hero lives on Skull Island and sees his life changed with the arrival of a group of explorers. After facing a Tyrannosaurus Rex, among other prehistoric animals, is captured by visitors and transferred to New York where the action culminates in the Empire State Building.
‘The monster from ancient times’ (Eugene Lourie, 1953)
Loosely based on a story by Ray Bradbury, who sued the authors and finally reached a financial settlement with them, the Redhosaurus was created by Ray Harryhausen in the 1950s after having participated in ‘The Great Gorilla’. In the film, an expedition sent to the Arctic revives the animal who decides to return to his old home, now New York City. There he decides to sow terror by devouring humans until he is struck down by a radioactive isotope in the Coney Island amusement park.
‘Godzilla: Japan Under the Terror of the Monster’ (Inoshiro Honda, 1954)
Interestingly, Gojira in Japanese means gorilla. Created by Eiji Tsuburaya and directed by Inoshiro Honda for the Toho production company, Godzilla’s popularity led him to star in an ad for the MTV Awards alongside Charles Barkley. It is a prehistoric animal that awakens after a nuclear explosion and proceeds to destroy first Tokyo and then the rest of the world. Although it is finally annihilated, He is resurrected in later films that even present him as a defender of humanity against other monsters.
‘The Flintstones’ (TV Series, 1960)
Dino is a diplodocus, probably one of the best-known prehistoric animals on the small screen. And to which many associate with the first series of children’s cartoons. Created by Hanna-Barbera, Dino in the series is Fred Flintstone’s family pet. Playful, friendly, faithful friend of Peebles and Bam-Bam. His specialty is taking Pedro and Vilma headlong and win the favor of the first thanks to his licks.
‘A Million Years Ago’ (Don Chaffey, 1966)
Masterfully created by Ray Harryhausen. His adventures take place on the volcanic island of Lanzarote, which is a perfect setting for its orographic features. A Tyrannosaurus Rex is dedicated to terrorizing attractive cavewomen played by Raquel Welch and Martine Beswick who, dressed in fur bikinis, are continually threatened not only by prehistoric animals, but also by cave tribes.
‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’ (Val Guest, 1970)
Hammer’s attempt to capitalize on the success of ‘A Million Years Ago’. Loosely based on an idea by JG Ballard, it featured the Playmate Victoria Vetri, which by the way appeared nude. In the plot of the film, the Moon has disappeared from the Earth and this produces a series of big waves, pagan rites and human sacrifices as the love story explodes of the protagonists belonging to two rival tribes.
‘Baby, the secret of the lost legend’ (Bill Norton, 1985)
baby is not a baby brontosaurus too perfect, despite the fact that the effects are in charge of Isidore Raponi, who collaborated with Carlo Rambaldi for the remake of ‘King Kong’ by Dino de Laurentiis in the 70s. William Katt and Sean Young They are the Loomises, the couple who discover the brontosaurus family and who have to defend it from the mad scientist played by Patrick McGoohan.
‘Dino Riders’ (TV Series, 1988)
The Dino-Rider are another example of the Marvel Universe, They were created for television by New World Pictures and basically take up the adventures of superheroes with a certain touch of western and classic adventure film. The Valorians are the last members of a world beset by the Rulons. With the Space-Time-Energy Project they flee in time and land on Earth 65 million years BC Here they use their powers to communicate with the dinosaurs and thus the Dino-Riders are born.
‘In Search of the Enchanted Valley’ (Don Bluth, 1988)
Piecito is a baby brontosaurus, created by Don Bluth. As a good product of the Spielberg factory, he is a tender and charming being, that easily connects with the viewer. He learns with his four companions to get to know each other and face the situations of life until he reaches the Great Valley, a place where he will find food and nourishment without risk.
‘Dinosaurs’ (TV Series, 1991)
Family of megalosaurs created by Brian Henson, the son of Jim Henson and Michael Jacobs. In the series they are presented as a series that have advanced in evolution while men have not yet done so. They are the typical American lower middle class family. Earl Sinclair and his kin could be found in any suburb of Los Angeles or New York. Perfect portrait of the United States.
‘Super Mario Bros’ (Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, 1993)
The Mario brothers are two plumbers who find themselves immersed in the parallel world of Dino-hattan. There they will have to face the Goombas, who are Koopa’s zombie troops, and avoid all the dangers of this lizard world. Yoshi, the baby of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Koopa’s favorite animal (Dennis Hooper) appears in the story. the crazed tyrant of Dino-hattan, parallel universe to Manhattan.
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