Jurassic Park is 20.
I've been a dinosaur nut since age 3. Probably before, but I can't remember before 3. Literally my earliest memory is my third birthday. Where I had dinosaurs on my cake.
I had tons of Playskool's "Definitely Dinosaurs" toy line. I had whole documentaries on dinosaurs memorized, including the special that was half Fred Savage and half claymation, but that's a story for another time. I was annoying.
So when I saw a giant cardboard standee ad for Jurassic Park - just the Visitor's Center, but still I knew the word "Jurassic" well - it didn't matter that it was PG-13 and I was merely 6 going on 7, I knew I had to see that movie.
My parents also knew that they couldn't keep me away from it, even though I had never seen a PG-13 film in a dark theatre before, and I was still young. So (and to my knowledge this is the only time they did this), they actually pre-viewed the film without me, so that when they took me they could warn me when the scary parts were - and I was a scaredy-cat.
And boy, are parts of Jurassic Park scary. I remember that it was years before I could watch half of the scenes involving the velociraptors without hiding my eyes. Even today, knowing the film as inside and out as I do, the jump scares still make me jump. That's powerful.
In spite of this, I fell in love with the film from moment one. I was blown away just like everyone else at the dinosaurs in this film, and even today I think the groundbreaking CG holds up better than most modern fare. This is also when I really started noticing actors as well, as it wouldn't be too long before I was saying things like "Hey, that's Malcolm fighting those aliens!" or "Hey, Seinfeld's nasty neighbor is Nedry!"
Speaking of actors, I have to say Jeff Goldblum is one of my favorites. He is one of those actors, like Christopher Walken, who plays pretty much himself in every film, and I've noticed a huge backlash lately because of it. But I don't care. I love Jeff, he's awesome, he needs more work. Raines was a neat idea, why did it only last like four episodes?! *ahem* but I digress...
If I had only one nitpick, it's that Chrichton's story is a little bit too streamlined. It works great as an action-adventure film, but the nuances of the narrative can easily get lost. It also damaged the sequels in that rather than letting them become their own stories, it became more "let's see how many missing beats from the first book we can finally get around to here." Despite this, I do enjoy Lost World and JPIII. Not as much as the first, and JPIII does have one unforgivable moment for me (I don't care how big you are, you're not breaking one of the most powerful necks in the fossil record with those skinny jaws), but they're still a lot of fun.
Jurassic Park is breathtaking, groundbreaking, and loads of fun. Not only is it one of my favorite movies of all time, but it opened the door for many of my other favorite movies of all time.
Spared no expense.