LIHUE — There is probably no audience more excited to see the “Jurassic Park” movie than the group that got to see an early sneak peak of the film at Kukui Grove Cinema Wednesday night.
The invite-only crowd included dozens of Kauai residents who worked on or had roles as extras in the film. The special event, made possible by the Kauai Visitors Bureau, provided an opportunity to see the fourth movie in the series before it opens nationwide on Friday, and more than two weeks before the movie opens on island June 26.
Among the guests were John Kruse and his son Kepa. John had a role as an extra in the opening sequence of the 1993 movie – it’s his legs kicking during the accident that happens while loading the raptor pen. More than two decades later, his son Kepa worked on Jurassic World as a utility stand-in.
“I still remember standing in line to see the first movie,” Kepa said, talking with excitement and pride at getting to be a part of the same movie franchise that his dad was in 22 years later. “It’s just cool to be a part of the Jurassic Park legacy that has brought Kauai so much press.”
Jurassic Park is possibly the movie most closely identified with Kauai, and Kauai loves Jurassic Park. Last Friday, more than 800 people came out to see a replay of the original movie. Parts of it were filmed at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Lawai. In March of last year, more than 1,500 people showed up to try to get one of 75 spots to be involved with the movie.
Prior to the screening, the crowd was filled with happy smiles and excitement. Sue Kanoho, KVB executive director, showed a brief video that was made to thank Steven Spielberg for once again choosing Kauai to serve as the backdrop for another of his movies.
The video, which will be posted to YouTube on Monday, drew laughter and applause from the audience.
Actor Chris Pratt, who stars in the leading role as researcher Owen Grady, recorded his own short message that was played before the screening to thank the people of Hawaii.
But the excitement beforehand did not carry all the way through until the end of the movie, which got tepid applause when it ended.
John struggled as he searched to find the right words to say how he felt about the new movie, before shrugging.
“It’s going to make money.”
He paused, and then added. “The first one is different.”
But his son Kepa said he liked that the ending left open the possibility of a fifth movie.
Juno Apalla studied theater, film, and music at Pacific University. She worked on the movie and had a small role in it, too (she played a kayaker in a river scene).
What did she think?
“It’s hard to say what I think. It’s primarily feeling things right now because of the thrill,” Apalla said.
But then she covered her eyes and laughed and said, “It reminded me of Godzilla.”
But Apalla, who served as event chair for the Kauai Fashion Week, wanted to see the creative industry expand on Kauai. It’s a thought echoed by Kanoho.
“It’s an honor to be included in all four (Jurassic Park movies) – we take that as a gift,” Kanoho said.