Jurassic Park 3D Review
What else can really be said about a cinematic classic like Jurassic Park that hasn’t already been said before? This was a groundbreaking movie that changed the culture of film-making and pushed visual effects into the age of CGI we know today. It’s also the third time Spielberg “reinvented” the summer Blockbuster after he practically gave birth to it with Jaws and sharpened it with Raiders. Is this the greatest modern blockbuster ever made? In my opinion it most definitely is and it stands above the rest because of a few basic and important principles.
1. It doesn’t jerk around its audience.
Jurassic Park is the film manifestation of a roller coaster ride that weaves the audience from one moment to another in the blink of an eye while you have no idea how much time is passing by. It does this by having some of the best pacing I’ve ever seen in a movie and a reliance on story driven set pieces that move along the plot. Jurassic Park doesn’t bore you with needless exposition or harass you with moments that pander and take away from the core of the narrative. Within 12 minutes of the movie we’re on the helicopter with 4 characters we’ve already met and can articulately describe as well as another (Malcolm) that was previously mentioned and is perfectly established in the next 5 minutes. That brisk, relentless pacing isn’t seen as often anymore and while a lot of 2 hour movies feel bloated and lengthy Jurassic Park is one where you’re never once looking at your watch. Instead of a script that centers on bloated action sequences between each scene Jurassic Park has set pieces that establish each scene and drive the story further. Each iconic moment and inserted action scene has a purpose to the story and is accomplishing multiple tasks at once rather then existing solely for “wow” factor. More modern blockbusters can take notes from the way this was made and apply that direction in my opinion.
2. It has fleshed out characters that you really care about, even with minimal lines of dialogue.
Dr. Henry Wu is the primary geneticist at Jurassic Park and has most likely worked with John Hammond since the very beginning of this project. He seems like a meticulous man who’s very rooted on “man of science” principles and is easily annoyed by Malcolm and even Grant’s pandering of the gene sequencing and the control of their creations. He’s literally condescending to Grant in the way he sarcastically and almost stubbornly nods at him after he questions if they bred raptors. He seems to be a bit impatient and driven by a feeling that he’s passionately doing what he believes in.
Henry Wu is showcased in one 7 minute sequence with about 8 lines of dialogue.
Now, could everyone make those assessments or am I just a rabid fan boy? Am I basing a lot of those assumptions from my own take on character actions that could most likely be completely wrong? Yes, perhaps, but compare that to characters from other blockbusters who have 30 more minutes of screen time and I still can’t get any real feelings about and you can see what I mean. The dinosaurs are the stars of the show but the characters are the heart and soul of its popularity. Each one is a colorful manifestation of clashing mindsets that don’t have long winded monologues or prolonged characterizations but are developed so efficiently that we know so much about them in such little time.
3. It foreshadows the groundwork for a majority of the set pieces.
The T- Rex not being able to see still objects, the raptors attacking from the sides, two females evolving to create life (shown in the seatbelt scene on the helicopter when Grant ties two female ends together), the entire power outage of the park, Grant’s developing feelings towards children, the raptors remembering…. These are all things hinted at in some way or another and called back to at massive moments in the movie. As an audience we appreciate that sort of commitment and like that it’s respecting our knowledge without beating us over the head with it. Planting those seeds early on and then coming back to them is a product of a tight script with dedication and creativity rather then something that’s slapped together in the span of a few days.
4. It’s clearly a passion project disguised as a blockbuster.
It’s no secret that Steven Spielberg is basically a big kid at heart and connects with them on an entirely different level (It’s no coincidence that he often gets fantastic performances out of his child actors). He’s a guy who’s very much obsessed with dinosaurs and has said in multiple interviews that he’d watch King Kong solely for the Rex fights. It’s clear that Spielberg would be foaming at the mouth and first in line to see Jurassic Park had he not been the director in charge of piecing it together. He poured his heart and soul into this movie and you can see a little piece of him in every single frame through the meticulous detail stemmed from passion and love for the source material. He fought like hell for Universal to get the script from Michael Crichton and man, did it ever pay off for us.
Alright so enough gushing about a movie we all love and we all read a billion things on and lets talk about the 3D conversion. How was it? Well, it was pretty damn good if you ask me. I had some minor gripes with the framing of specific scenes that were changed to convert it into 3D but only diehard fans that have seen it hundreds of times would probably realize it. In order to convert some shots of a movie into 3D that clearly wasn’t filmed with it in mind they had to move around the framing of a handful of scenes in order to get the best possible 3D display. For the most part though the conversion was really good and some standouts include the rain sequences (it looked gorgeous) and the aerial helicopter shots. I noticed it was dim or blurry in a few scenes (Muldoon’s death and the brachiosaur encounter) but other then that I didn’t really notice the faults.
However if you get a chance you absolutely HAVE TO see the movie on an IMAX screen with that Earth-shattering audio. The roaring and the carnage of the Rex attack was so ridiculously loud that it sent chills through my body during the entire sequence. Plus hearing that score over that state of the art sound system was something to behold.
In short, Jurassic Park is one of those timeless classics that actually gets better with age thanks to perfect characterizations, relentless pacing and effects that still look better than most modern movies. Those animatronics will never not look like living, breathing creatures to me and I dare you to show this to any new generation of younger movie fans and find a sour reaction. Long live this masterpiece in blockbuster film-making.
If you’re a big Jurassic Park fan and are interested in the book and the film’s differences then head on over here and check it out: http://houseofgeekery.com/2012/02/17/donejurassic-park-the-novel-and-the-films-differences/