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"Jurassic Park 3D" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

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Synopsis

Dinosaur fossil researcher Dr. Alan Grant and his fell paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler are invited down to visit an island off of Costa Rica by one of their major benefactors, John Hammond.  Along with Dr. Ian Malcolm, they are there to make sure that Hammond’s new theme park is safe, though they have no idea what to expect when they arrive.  Shortly after their arrival they are astonished to see live, actual dinosaurs roaming around.  Hammond has been having scientists extract the DNA of a dinosaur from mosquitos that were then fossilized in amber millions and millions of years ago.

All of this has led him to build a theme park, Jurassic Park, where people can come and see real dinosaurs for the first time in history.  While he expects them to be blown away and astonished by what he has created, Hammond instead gets a different response where they don’t feel that he truly understands the incredibly power and danger inherent in dinosaurs, and that there cannot be enough precautions taken to avoid an issue with them down the line.  Despite all of this, everything is going fine, even a bit boring, until a small tropical storm moves in.

At the same time, the computer programmer for the island, Dennis Nedry, is attempting to commit an extreme version of corporate espionage and smuggle out the dinosaur embryos for a competitor of InGen.  To facilitate his escape from the island, and not getting caught, Nedry has to temporarily disable some of the security systems, but that leads to disaster when the storm hits and many of the dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, discover this and escape from their secure enclosures.  Now everything that the invited guests saw as a problem is happening, but they need to find a way to escape from the island.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 1993, PG-13, 2 Hr 7 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeft Goldblum
  • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Flashing back to 1993 when Jurassic Park was first released makes me remember everyone I knew in high school trying to finish the book quickly before the film came out, and makes me feel quite old.  My initial response to the film 20 years ago was one of disappointment, as I felt the book was much better, and didn’t really let the film stand on its own merits at the time.

Watching it now, for the first time in 20 years, the film stands alone better than I had given it credit for.  It is an enjoyable experience, though sometimes I feel that it relies too much on the spectacle of the computer animated dinosaurs instead of the story.  The computer animation was totally groundbreaking at the time and so it was easy to get wrapped up in that when it came out, but looking back now, that quality is just commonplace and the story is good but not totally engrossing.  I still feel that Jurassic Park is a good film, but not a great one, though one that I think is better than I originally thought back in 1993.

Technical

Given how huge a release Jurassic Park was back in the day, I expected nothing short of a phenomenal transfer, and I came away sorely disappointed.  Some scenes of video are really crisp and sharp, but far too many are soft, or even fuzzy, and really lacking in detail.  Perhaps a bit of this was done originally to hide flaws with early computer animation, but much of it just looks like a film that had an HD transfer done back for DVD and has had too much noise reduction or other work done to it, and is in dire need of a fresh, 4K or 8K scan and transfer.  The 3D effects were also what you would expect from a 2D to 3D conversion.  Many times you get that Viewfinder, layered 2D look to images, though some scenes like passing through the park gate have a nice sense of depth to them.  Too often you have 3D objects that press against the edge of the screen as well, leading to a weird floating effect that they often try to avoid on actual 3D films now because of that.  I can’t really say that 3D added much to the film for me, but it might just be that the overall lack of a quality transfer made it impossible to truly enjoy it either way.

The audio was quite good, though I didn’t feel it was as immersive as many titles are today.  The dialogue is clear, the dinosaurs sound as scary and distinctive as they always have, and that thunderous stomp of the Tyranossaraus Rex never fails to scare you a bit.

Extras

The packing includes 2D and 3D Blu-ray versions, a DVD and Ultraviolet copy, a good number of lengthy featurettes, and the original trailer.