Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant
Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
Richard Attenborough as John Hammond
Bob Peck as Robert Muldoon
Martin Ferrero as Donald Gennaro
Joseph Mazzello as Tim Murphy
Ariana Richards as Lex Murphy
Samuel L. Jackson as Ray Arnold
BD Wong as Henry Wu
Wayne Knight as Dennis Nedry
Gerald R. Molen as Gerry Harding
Miguel Sandoval as Juanito Rostagno
Cameron Thor as Lewis Dodgson
Directed by Steven Spielberg
“Jurassic Park” is a lot of fun to revisit in 3D and on the IMAX screen, especially if you have kids that haven’t seen it before. But in some respects, it is starting to show its age.
For the 20th Anniversary of “Jurassic Park,” the film is being re-released in 3D and in IMAX 3D. The film is based on the novel by Michael Crichton.
Dr. Alan Grant is a man who loves his work, and his work is paleontology. He knows everything there is to know about dinosaurs. Despite this, children remain a subject he would prefer to leave to other experts despite the wishes of his girlfriend Dr. Ellie Sattler. The two are happily excavating velociraptor bones in the desert when they are visited by their financial contributor, John Hammond.
Hammond requests that they visit a new park he has built on an island off of the coast of Costa Rica. He wants them, along with chaotician Dr. Ian Malcolm, to review the park and give it their blessing, thus satisfying a group of lawyers and nervous investors. In exchange, he’ll fully fund their dig for another three years. Grant and Sattler happily agree to go despite the fact that they still don’t know why their expertise is requested.
As soon as they arrive at the island, they realize why they are there. Hammond’s group has miraculously brought dinosaurs back to life. Filled with Brachiosaurs, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rexes, and many other dinosaurs, Jurassic Park is a dream come true for scientists and children alike. But as Hammond and his team soon realize, some things may be better left extinct.
“Jurassic Park” is rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror.
I’ve seen “Jurassic Park” many, many times. I saw it on the big screen on opening day back in 1993 and I’ve seen it on VHS, Blu-ray, and digital devices since then. I read the novel, I wrote a technical paper on the visual effects back in college, and I know every minor detail about the filming of the movie. So when it returned to the big screen, I had to ask myself if it was worth the time, money, and effort to see again. The answer was yes,’ and there were a few reasons why.
First of all, this was the first time my young sons had seen it on the big screen. They had seen it on an iPad and on a home theater screen, but this was the first time they had seen the T-Rex on an IMAX screen and popping out in 3D. It’s a completely different experience. And despite the fact that my 8-year-old son knew the movie well, even he jumped and knocked his 3D glasses off when the raptor jumped out of the cables at Laura Dern. Seeing your kids jump like that at a movie is an incredibly satisfying experience for a dad (as terrible as that sounds). There were a lot of other children in the theater, too, and I suspect a lot of them were experiencing the movie for the first time. So while it was old news for me and many other adults, it was completely new for a younger generation and it’s a lot of fun to see them experience it.
I was also interested in seeing how the film would translate into IMAX and how well they could convert the film from 2D to 3D. While the end result is somewhat of a mixed bag, it was still worth checking out. Seeing a Brachiosaurus life-sized on the screen was impressive. And the entire T-Rex attack sequence was amazing, especially on the larger IMAX screen. And with dinosaurs popping out of the screen, spitting at the audience, and other fun stuff, it’s a film well suited for the 3D experience. Plus it’s a nice incentive to bring you back to the theater.
What Didn’t Work:
As fun as the 3D and IMAX treatment is, it doesn’t always translate well to the larger screen. I’m generally not picky about image quality, but I definitely noticed that any time there was a CG dinosaur on the screen, the image seemed to be at a slightly lower resolution. The image would be less sharp, then they’d immediately switch over to a 100% live action shot and the image seemed to be crisper. It’s like all of the effects shots were done on a lower resolution. It may not have been noticeable on a movie screen 20 years ago, but now it’s very apparent on an IMAX screen today.
There are also a lot of close-up shots that don’t translate well to the bigger screen, especially in the opening velociraptor attack sequence. Tree leaves, worker faces, and other things are just so close on the massive screen that you can’t help but think, “Woah, let’s pull the camera back a little bit. This is too close.” I think Spielberg may have filmed it differently if he knew it was going to be in 3D IMAX.
When my dad, an engineer, saw “Jurassic Park” with my family in 1993, his main criticism was, “They’d never wire an electric fence like that.” I responded with, “You’re criticizing a movie about bringing dinosaurs back to life for their unrealistic portrayal of an electric fence.” But as I watched the film 20 years later, I found myself picking apart the film more than I ever had before. Why would you spend all that money on a fancy velociraptor pen and have a manual gate and a cage that doesn’t lock into place? Why weren’t there more manual overrides on the park systems? How did the T-Rex sneak up on everyone and get into the building at the end of the film? Good grief, I’ve turned into my dad. Anyway, without the dazzle of the revolutionary special effects, it’s a lot easier to pick the film apart than before. The ethical protests against the park by Sattler, Malcolm, and Grant seem more preachy than logical. Hammond’s scientists seem unrealistically naïve. The movie feels like it ends rather abruptly. Then the parts that were supposed to be especially high tech, like the computer control system, seem especially dated now. “Jurassic Park” ages well in some respects while not so well in others.
The Bottom Line:
Is “Jurassic Park” worth checking out in 3D? If you have kids that haven’t seen it before or if you’re simply a fan of the film, then yes. But if that doesn’t apply to you, then you’ll probably want to wait for “Jurassic Park 4.”