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Review: Jurassic Park 3D – Adventure 65 million and 20 years in the making

Posted by on April 5, 2013 – 12:03 am

Jurassic Park 3DI first saw Jurassic Park on its opening day — June 11, 1993 — at a now-extinct AMC theater in west Chandler, Arizona. I remember this because I had sought out that particular theater as it was one of only a handful of movie houses in the state that presented the film in the then brand new DTS 5.1 digital surround sound system — and I needed to hear my T-Rex roars in state-of-the-art sound.

It’s now two decades later and to celebrate Jurassic Park’s 20th anniversary, Universal Pictures has released a digitally remastered 3D version of the landmark dino-flick. Is it worthwhile to spend $10 – $15 per head to see this movie in 3D on the big screen, when you can buy the Jurrasic Park Trilogy on Blu-ray for less than $40 bucks? That’s a tough call.

For me, almost any movie in 3D is a hard sell. Inevitably the picture is dark and muddy, partially because of the crappy glasses and partly because theater managers have yet to realize they need to amp up the luminance of their projection system to compensate for said dark glasses; and even if the 3D effect is immersive and artistically adds to the story (which is rare), the “enhancement” is usually just a distraction from what might be an otherwise decent film. The 3D effect in this remastered version of Jurassic Park is no exception.

Given the current state of the 3D technology, I truly don’t understand why anyone would want to see a movie in this format, let alone pay extra money to have the film ruined for you; but 3D bashing aside it was fun to see Jurassic Park on the big screen again and its classic action-adventure sequence when we are first introduced to the Tyrannosaurus Rex is always worth the price of admission just on its own merit.

Jurassic Park 3DIf you are a Jurassic Park virgin, which is a creature probably rarer than the dinosaurs themselves, here’s the story in an amber encased nutshell. On a secluded island in Costa Rica, billionaire businessman and showman John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) creates a theme park/zoo featuring cloned dinosaurs. After an accident occurs at the park an insurance representative and a team of dinosaur experts are brought in to assess the facility’s safety and feasibility; but things go drastically wrong and the scientists, together with Hammond’s grandchildren, must match wits against the deadly giant lizards in order to survive.

Some of the digital effects in Jurassic Park, that looked fantastic during its initial theater run twenty years ago, look very dated compared to the current state of CGI animation. In particular the sequence where the scientists first see the gigantic Brachiosaurus looks notably prehistoric. But the scenes where animatronics are mixed with the computer effects still look pretty darn good. And as mentioned, the section of the film when the group first encounters the T-Rex remains one of the most intense bits of film ever created.

Jurassic Park is based on the bestselling book by the late Michael Crichton and it was directed by Steven Spielberg, who mixes moments of Jaws like tension with flashes of E.T. like schmaltz — and that’s a good thing. I loved this movie the first time I saw it and it still holds up today as an exciting and exotic adventure tale. It’s definitely a story worth seeing again, but whether it’s worth the cost of seeing it in 3D is up to you.

Photos © 2013 Universal Pictures