‘Jurassic Park’ and Its Special Effects Set the Gold Standard for Blockbusters to Come
A Tyrannosaurus Rex menaces the theme park's first customers in a scene from the film 'Jurassic Park', 1993. (Photo by Murray Close/Getty Images)
A Tyrannosaurus Rex menaces the theme park’s first customers in a scene from the film ‘Jurassic Park,’ 1993. (Murray Close/Getty Images)


Even today, the incredible special effects in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park hold up. When the film was released in 1993, though, they were truly groundbreaking—and in some cases, -shaking.

True visionaries, the special effects artists that worked on the blockbuster film needed to be creative when faced with the practical limitations of the time. For that iconic scene with the water ripple, Michael Lantieri and his team used a taught guitar string, run through the bottom of the plastic cup, and plucked it to move the water. It was the only way the ripple effect could be created without entirely disrupting the surface.

All guitar strings aside, it was the team’s computer-generated effects that made the movie a game-changer in the era. The team would go on to win an Academy Award for visual effects for their efforts. Jurassic Park set the standard for computer-based effects, and paved the way for the big-budget effects-filled blockbusters like Titanic and Godzilla (and pretty much every action/adventure title in theaters today).

Learn more about how Jurassic Park raised the bar for special effects by watching the film below.