Before Jurassic Park, dinosaurs on screen looked ridiculously fake and usually inspired laughs rather than screams of fear. In movies like King Kong (1933) and One Million Years B.C. (1966), prehistoric creatures lurched around unconvincingly thanks to old fashioned stop motion filming techniques. And in both cases, the dinosaurs were upstaged by an ape and a fur bikini clad Raquel Welch.

On TV, dinosaurs were positioned as friendly family entertainment. On The Flinstones (1960), Dino was a domesticated pet who yapped like a dog, while on the sitcom Dinosaurs (1991), topical issues were merged with puppetry, voiced by a cast that included Jessica Walter and Christopher Meloni.

The time was more than ripe to launch a more realistic look at the prehistoric world of dinosaurs. Bestselling author Michael Crichton rose to the challenge in 1990 and set Jurassic Park in a theme park where things would go horribly wrong.

Three decades have passed since the release of Steven Spielberg’s ground-breaking masterpiece adaption, Jurassic Park. The timeless film from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment not only captivated audiences with its mesmerising story and unforgettable characters, but it also redefined the way we perceive dinosaurs on the big screen. This year commemorates the 30th anniversary of this cinematic gem.

Tim Burton, Richard Donner and Joe Dante all bid for the movie rights, but thankfully, Spielberg, backed by Universal Pictures, was the winner. Filming began in August 1992 and despite having to create a brand new sound system, DTS, as well as never before seen CGI, Jurassic Park was in cinemas within ten months, opening in June 1993.

Back then, most Steven Spielberg movies were major pop culture events. From Jaws (1975) to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), and then Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) and E.T. (1982), Jurassic Park was always going to be a phenomenon, but nobody realised how much the mind blowing CGI would be a game changer.

I remember going to see Jurassic Park the day that it opened. Given it was such an event, I went to what was then Brisbane’s biggest screen, the Hawthorne Cinema. When Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) took off his sunglasses, and Dr Ellie Stattler (Laura Dean) watched on in open-mouthed amazement as a herd of Brachiosaurus dinosaurs came into view, there was a discernible gasp from the audience. Wow, I will always remember it.

Since then, the Jurassic Park film franchise has inspired six films, countless video games and comic books, and an animated Netflix series. For its 30th anniversary, POP! is releasing figurines, LEGO has created its first ever line of merchandise, and Mattel are back in the act too. Their plush toys, reported to have a “nostalgic 1993 feel”, means that you won’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for original collectables anymore.

While a new Jurassic World Kids YouTube channel should ensure generations of kids will forever be fascinated by dinosaurs, nothing will ever top that first movie which ran for a taut 120 minutes, back when blockbusters didn’t have to be over three hours long.

Jurassic Park star Jeff Goldblum would go on to star in Steven Spielberg’s sequel The Lost World (1997) and Sam Neill returned for the Spielberg free Jurassic Park III (2001). Then the franchise was spectacularly relaunched with Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) and finally, Jurassic World Dominion (2022), which reunited originals Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dean and BD Wong alongside new trilogy stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

In Jurassic World: Dominion, four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, Biosyn operatives attempt to track down Maisie Lockwood, whilst Dr Ellie Sattler investigates a genetically engineered swarm of giant insects. It will be interesting to see what the next trilogy of films – because you know that’s going to happen eventually – will have in store for fans around the world.

To celebrate #JurassicJune, 9Go! will air Jurassic films every Friday night at 7.30pm from June 9, including Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World. Fans can bring a large-scale dinosaur into their living rooms with a QR code shared during the movie to unlock an amazing interactive experience.