How the digital dinos of 'Jurassic Park' changed everything

In the early 1990s, a decision to bring dinos alive with the magic of CGI made an irreversible impact on pop culture. Here's what happened.

Prior to 1993, computer-generated imagery (CGI) was largely ignored by moviemakers. At that time, digitally created special effects were deemed too expensive and too "novel" for audiences to accept widely.

Then, Steven Spielberg and the makers of "Jurassic Park" made a bold choice to mix digital dinosaurs with their animatronic ones for their upcoming sci-fi summer blockbuster.

That's when the game really changed.

"It's sort of like splitting the atom, once it happens, the industry shifts and everyone starts talking," says Kathleen Kennedy, the film's producer.

This documentary short by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for its "Academy Originals" Web series explores that fateful moment when an entire industry shifted thanks to a few mavericks. Give it a watch and see if you recall how you felt seeing this groundbreaking moment in cinematic time.

About the author

Rusty Blazenhoff has been deeply involved in cyberculture for more than 20 years, and immersed in pop culture since getting her first copy of Dynamite magazine. She loves kitsch, quirky artifacts of Americana, and enjoying island life in Alameda, Calif., with her daughter. She makes a mean Fluffernutter.


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