Hold On To Your Butts, It’s Time For Jurassic Park 3D

Jurassic Park 3D

It is time to return to an adventure 65 million years in the making.  I have now seen Jurassic Park 3D, so I figure it is time to have a trip down memory lane and dig into this dinosaur creature feature.  Much like Titanic 3D last year, I was excited to catch an old movie back on the big screen again, regardless of the fact that it was retrofitted with 3D.  With that said, while I would say that Titanic was an acceptable version of an older film with 3D added to it, this modern classic by Spielberg really takes things up a notch as far as seeing a film from the 90s enhanced by 3D.  I still cannot say that this is comparable to what I consider to be the greats of 3D presentations, such as Hugo, Avatar, or Life of Pi, but Jurassic Park continues to be a wonderful adventure/horror film that now has a limited engagement for people to once again see it on the big screen.

Dr. Ian Malcolm:  I'm, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way.

For those who may be unfamiliar or just forgot some of the basics about the story, Jurassic Park is a 1993 film about an island theme park stocked with genetically-engineered dinosaurs.  When the park's creator, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), invites three scientists (Sam Niell, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum) down to solicit their opinions, a series of mishaps strands them all inside with the security systems out of commission.  The humans now find themselves under attack by the resurrected predators.  Wikipedia basically boils it all down without adding any of the flavor, but Jurassic Park continues to be so much more than just a “series of mishaps”.  

Yes, this is the plot of the film, but Steven Spielberg, author/screenwriter Michael Crichton, and screenwriter David Koepp came up with a way to make a film that was incredibly memorable for its characters and careful plotting.  It also goes without saying that the visual effects, achieved by a combination of practical creations and computer generated imagery was a phenomenal achievement for the time, which still, for the most part, holds up quite well today.  Between the many memorable lines and imagery, Jurassic Park has a ton of entertainment value to offer audiences familiar with the movie, hazy on the film in general, or completely new to it.

John Hammond:  We spared no expense.

As far as my own relationship to the film is concerned, it is one that I grew up with.  No need to go into my age, but the film did enter theaters 20 years ago and I was under 10 when I saw it in theaters (Note to parents, this movie worked just fine for me, despite my young age at the time).  At the point in which I saw the film, I was already big into dinosaurs, so the idea of my mom bringing me out to see a film that apparently featured dinosaurs was something that put a twinkle into my eye.  So yes, it was a no-brainer that I went in to go and see this movie.  While not one of my best and easiest to recollect movie-going experiences (that’s an essay for another time), I do recall being incredibly entertained, as opposed to frightened, by what I had seen.  I also remember that I saw the film at least twice in theaters and rewatched it countlessly on VHS (those rectangular black things, with the tape stuff inside).

In the years since seeing it, as I have grown up and come to recognize where this film stands for me in the realm of movies I love because of nostalgia versus movies I love because of what I believe is true quality (or whatever you want to call it), Jurassic Park is a film that I certainly recognize as an incredibly well-crafted piece of entertainment that certainly makes up for certain shortcomings because of my adherence to loving so much of what it has to offer.  It is not a movie I would consider to be a favorite of mine, but it is one of the films I have seen the most in my life and am able to be incredibly familiar with it, down to the various mannerisms of the characters (namely Goldblum).  It is one of those tough things to describe, but I guess you could say it is like a relative that you love, as opposed to a person that you are in love with.  I love Jurassic Park, but it is not quite the peak of Spielberg for me, though it is at least in that top 10 of his films.

It does not mean a whole lot to really criticize the film at this point for its flaws.  Yes, the plot does become pretty basic once the power goes out and monsters chase our heroes around.  The questions of morality and the “fun with science!” angle is thrown out in favor of a number of elaborate chase-related scenarios and cool dino-damage moments, but it is hard to deny that all of this stuff is not brilliantly accomplished by Spielberg and his team, as the film has genuine thrills that are right up there with Jaws.  One cannot also help but be annoyed with certain character decisions (Mr. Arnold had to go, by himself, to turn the power back on?), but these are not elements of the film that seem contrived enough to take away from the entertainment value.  That said – one more thing, just where does the ground disappear to, once the T-Rex steps out of its paddock and the jungle is replaced by a huge cement drop?  But I digress…

Muldoon:  Clever girl.

All of these things do not add up to a whole lot in the long run, because Jurassic Park is chock full of memorable moments that more than make up for certain aspects of the film.  From the first sighting of the Brachiosaurus to Jeff Goldblum shouting, “Must go faster!” everyone has a favorite moment.  The fine cast, which includes a nice heroic turn from Sam Neill, a strong supporting performance by Attenborough as Hammond, the hilarity of everything that Goldblum does, and then everyone else in this film in general, all further add to how well everyone remembers the film.  We have fun with these people, even the lawyer, because they play the parts well and it is genuinely sad and terrifying to see many of them attacked by dinosaurs.

I suppose I should say a bit more about the 3D.  While I am sure that people may not have been clamoring to see Jurassic Park in this format, I can easily say that the excuse to see it on a big screen was more than enough.  With that said, this is a solid 3D conversion.  The film has a lot of moments that stuck out in my mind as ones that I was looking forward to seeing how they would look in 3D and the conversion delivered on what I was hoping for.  The depth is clear, some of the dinosaur chasing seems to have been really worked on to make it border on gimmicky (in a fun way), and suffice it to say that the Raptor kitchen scene is one of the best examples of what the format has to offer.  It is not the epitome of what a 3D conversion has to offer, but it is better than I hoped it would be.

Jurassic Park is a film that achieved great success during its initial release and stands up as one of the quintessential blockbusters of all time.  It is not that important for me to declare the film is not perfect, because it really does not matter.  It is a tremendously entertaining feature that continues to stand the test of time in terms of how the film manages to deliver an exciting adventure that involves dinosaurs of all things.  It really does not get much more old school than that, but Steven Spielberg and his team, which includes the great John Williams, who provided a terrific and memorable score, did everything they needed to in order to truly deliver for audiences worldwide.  Jurassic Park is a film I certainly love (I still have its poster hanging right below my Jaws poster) and it is not one that will soon be forgotten, regardless of the format that is in.

John Hammond:  All major theme parks have delays.  When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked.
Dr. Ian Malcolm:  Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists. 

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.


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