Jurassic Park is a certified classic. The film, released in 1993 to worldwide acclaim, was one of director Steven Speilberg’s crowning achievements, and it helped to make the already-respected filmmaker a worldwide superstar and household name. It also helped launch a decades-long media franchise, and, to its credit, the film still holds up great today.
However, there’s an alternate universe out there, one that involves Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron behind the camera instead of Steven Spielberg. Recently, at the opening of a Titanic museum in Belfast, James Cameron opened up about just how close he was to making Jurassic Park himself.
“I tried to buy the book rights and [Spielberg] beat me to it by a few hours,” Cameron said in an interview with The Huffington Post UK. “But when I saw the film, I realized that I was not the right person to make the film, he was. He made a dinosaur movie for kids, and mine would have been Aliens with dinosaurs. That wouldn’t have been fair.”
Well, even though Spielberg’s version is one of the most celebrated movies of all time, one has to admit that “Aliens with dinosaurs” sounds pretty damn interesting, and the fact that we were mere hours away from that reality is pretty mind-bending.
It’s not all that hard to imagine what Cameron could’ve done with the film either. Picture, if you will, the gritty, violent imagery of the Terminator movies mixed with the awe-inspiring visuals and grandeur of Avatar. In Spielberg’s film, the humans (and their hubris) are the real bad guys.
In James Cameron’s version, it sounds like the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park would’ve been certified movie monsters, hunting down their prey with no quarter. There’d be no grandiose shots of brachiosaurus in the fields; no, it seems like if James Cameron were to have his way the entire film would play out like the velociraptor climax of the actual final cut.
However, Cameron does seem to understand that, had Jurassic Park ended up as the survival horror movie he had in his head, it likely wouldn’t have had the same broad appeal that the final movie. With a harsher rating and a more gory subject matter, James Cameron’s Jurassic Park almost certainly would not have been as big of a hit, especially in the mid-90s.
“Dinosaurs are for eight-year-olds,” Cameron said in the HuffPost UK interview. “We can all enjoy it, too, but kids get dinosaurs, and they should not have been excluded for that. Spielberg’s sensibility was right for that film. I’d have gone further, nastier — much nastier.”
So, it seems, we can only dream of the bloody, nasty mess that James Cameron’s Jurassic Park would’ve been. In the meantime, enjoy the 1993 film for what it is, and maybe hope and pray that Cameron takes a break from his Avatar universe to consider a visit to Jurassic World sequels.