Movie director Steven Spielberg announced on Monday that he will update one of the most controversial scenes of the film Jurassic Park — which depicts San José, Costa Rica as a tropical beach town — to incorporate authentic shots of the capital city’s famed landmarks and urine-drenched squalor.
In one of the opening scenes of the 1993 movie, Dodgson, played by actor Cameron Thor, steps out of a filthy station wagon at an outdoor restaurant in a location labeled SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA to meet Dennis Nedry, played by actor Wayne Knight. The restaurant, located just off the beach and surrounded by palm trees, is rife with common white people misconceptions of Latin America and includes Mexican mariachi music, clucking chickens and roosters, bananas, token brown people and fat, loud Americans in Hawaiian shirts.
While Costa Ricans have been willing to overlook the ignorant hodgepodge of stereotypes in the scene, the depiction of the country’s capital city as a nice place to visit has upset Ticos for years.
“There’s no mention of the hooker bars, trash-lined streets, dirt bikes or third-world chaos,” said Henri Porras Mora Alvarado, a film student at Veritas University. “By making San José look like a nice beach town for tourists, Spielberg really did a disservice to the true dumpster vibe of this vibrant city.”
In an emailed response to questions from El Peji, Spielberg said the error has caused him “countless sleepless nights” over the last 25 years and that, as he nears the end of his career, he feels it is time to “right a terrible wrong.”
“I learned shortly after the movie’s premiere that San José is actually a landlocked city in the center of the country, but I was just making too much money to care at the time,” Spielberg said. “My sincerest apologies to all Costa Ricans, and I hope one day to return to your island nation to enjoy more of your tacos, arepas, choripan and Pisco sours.”