Jurassic Park 3D: A Review 65 Hundred Million Billion Years In The Making

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What do they have in there, King Kong in 3D?

I recently watched Jurassic Park 3D with Hayley and Casey, and it was epic. Such a great movie!! What’s crazy is I watched Jurassic Park in the theater the first time around. I remember it like it was yesterday, except when I say “yesterday” I mean “twenty years ago”. The auditorium had non-stadium seating (non-existant back then), and there were big sepia-toned pictures of past movie stars painted in the hallway leading to each viewing space. I particularly remember John Wayne. Anyways, the cinema wasn’t going to let any fire marshall stop them that night. Nope – they went bonkers and waaaay oversold the theater. As such, I was relegated to sitting in the aisle next to my mom. So, for my first theatrical viewing of Jurassic Park, I sat in the floor of a Loews theater. This was back in 1993, and it was AWESOME. My second theatrical viewing of Jurassic Park happened in the IMAX auditorium of Oklahoma City’s Warren Theater. I was thoroughly relaxed in my stadium seat (no sitting on the floor this time), it was in 3D, and it was 2013. And it was still AWESOME. For cereal.

So, here are my thoughts in a nutshell: you should watch Jurassic Park 3D. Whether it’s your 100th viewing or your first, you should go see it. The 3D is great (best 3D conversion I’ve seen yet), the sound is amazing, and it’s great seeing this classic film on the big screen. Plus, JP represents Steven Spielberg at his finest, John Williams at his finest, and it’s 3D dinos. What else do you need?

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This dinosaur doesn’t think you need anything more than Spielberg, Williams and 3D dinos.

Now, one of the best things about Jurassic Park is the copious number of great lines, so I’ve decided to use everyone’s favorite gimmick called “Use The Movie’s Lines To Describe The Movie” to express all my thoughts!!!!!!! Ready? Let’s go!

Are those auto….erotica? To the film’s CGI. Computer graphics had been in movies for years, but never before had they been so seamlessly integrated as they are in JP. And, despite being twenty years old, the graphics still look great! Believe it or not, the original plan for animating the dinosaurs was to use a stop-motion technique called go-motion. Check out this test: I think it looks pretty convincing. But, it never would’ve matched the fluidity and realism of computer dinos. The entire film industry would never be the same after this movie, for better or worse.

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. To all the CG-laden films of the world. I don’t want to be Grumpelstiltskin or anything, but I think many movies rely too much on CGI. What separates JP from other CGI romps is the CGI serves to tell the story, not the other way around. Think about it – Spielberg already knew how to make great films without CGI, so to him, the technology wasn’t the focus but just a tool. To further accentuate the point, Spielberg chose to use animatronics for a large portion of the effects shots!! That’s practically unheard of these days despite well-done animatronics far exceeding CGI in terms of realness and believability. The last major motion-picture I recall mixing animatronics with CGI is Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers  (Treebeard). That movie was released over ten years ago. Of course, I’m not saying CGI should be discarded (heck, I just spent the previous paragraph praising it); instead, I’m saying it should be used more judiciously.

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Animatronic tyrannosaurs can only see you if you move.

It’s a UNIX system. I know this! To the 3D conversion. The film industry is in a weird place with 3D. Avatar rocked everyone’s world and since then, nothing has been able to measure up. Shoddy post-production 3D, dim picture quality and poor implementation have all made 3D’s footing rather tenuous. Disney released The Lion King 3D to huge box office numbers a couple years ago, but the Mouse Guys’ subsequent 3D-converted re-releases failed to measure up to the extent that their last conversion, The Little Mermaid, isn’t even getting a theatrical run, instead being released on blu-ray 3D. So is 3D dead? Is James Cameron the only person capable of making 3D viable? Jurassic Park 3D makes a good argument that 3D is not out of a job (don’t you mean extinct?), but instead can be great if used correctly. In particular, the conversion artists paid exceptional attention to bringing details out from the background. This helped establish a healthy field of depth that other 3D conversions haven’t displayed. It’s not as good as a native-3D production like Avatar, but it’s much better than any previous converted re-release, proving that 3D might just have a future yet.

How can such a cool poster represent such a bad film?

How can such a cool poster represent such a bad film?

They should all be destroyed. To the Jurassic Park sequels. I love to kill Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skullz for being a horrendously and horrifically awful film, but Steven Spielberg started his trend of ruining film franchises back with 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It’s a stupendously terrible movie along the lines of Crystal Skullz. Don’t watch it. Don’t buy it. It’s really, really, really, really, really, really bad. And then there’s Jurassic Park III. Let’s just say that if you were to look into a toilet you might find Jurassic Park III. Now, they’re talking about making Jurassic Park IV. I really hope it doesn’t happen. The only franchise to feature a good first movie, two questionable sequels, and a fourth superior movie is Mission: Impossible, and I’m hesitant to think the powers that oversee the Jurassic Park franchise will be able to match that kind of magic. Alas. If JP 4 does happen, I hope it’s awesome. But, I’m not holding my breath.

Clever girl. To John Williams. His score for JP isn’t just clever – it’s also beautiful, soaring, and exciting. Basically, it’s awesome. The music during the flight to the island is especially amazing, as is the music during the scene where Hammond eats the ice cream. And the main Jurassic Park theme when they’re leaving the island? Magical. Great, great soundtrack from Williams. It’s just too bad that he also unleashed the score to a little film called Schindler’s List the same year, preventing him from winning an Oscar for both deserving soundtracks. 

These guys are the real stars of Jurassic Park.

These guys are the real stars of Jurassic Park.

Must go faster! Arguably the #1 most iconic line of the film goes to the #1 best thing about the movie – the actors. Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Wayne Knight, Samuel L. Jackson, the guy who plays Muldoon, the lawyer guy, and the kids all do exceptional jobs. My buddy Cary is a screen actor/art director, and he has remarked many, many times about how good all the players are. He talks about their choices being great, like when Sam Neill’s character finds a dino egg and smells it, or when Jeff Goldblum laughs like a weirdo in the helicopter flight to the park. He also remarks about how great a casting job Muldoon was, and how Richard Attenborough is amazing as Hammond, the delusional billionaire struggling to give the world something real. I enjoy hearing that kind of love from an industry pro. Before leaving this section, I have to say that seeing the film in 3D/HD opened my eyes to something I’d never given much notice – Sam Neill’s overall performance. I always thought he was kind of bland as Alan Grant, but for some reason, his performance seems to come alive in HD more so than ever before. Like, little body adjustments, facial expressions and other nuances come out much more in HD than in SD. Pretty cool.

Shoot her!! Shoooooot herrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

Shoot her!! Shoooooot herrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

Hold onto your butts. To Jurassic Park. Tied with “Must go faster” for the #1 most iconic line of Jurassic Park (and one of the most iconic lines in film history), it’s only appropriate that “Hold onto your butts” go to one of the most iconic films in history. The quote comes from Sam Jackson’s character, and if you’ve never seen Jurassic Park, you’ll be wanting to follow his advice. This flick is super exciting, thrilling, funny, touching – it’s a great movie. Basically, I think Jurassic Park is one of the best twenty movies released in the last ten years. Oh yes I did. It’s that good. If you pass up this opportunity to watch Jurassic Park 3D, you’ll really be missing out. You don’t want that, right?

This is easily the most ridiculous shot EVER. What's the logic - Ian hurt his leg, so we'd better open his shirt?

This is easily the most ridiculous shot EVER. What’s the logic – Ian hurt his leg, so we’d better open his shirt?

So, Jurassic Park 3D is great. You should see it. It has great lines, music, acting, and 3D conversion. Plus, it’s just a good film. I give it an 8.8/10. Go see it now, and as you’re driving there, say this to yourself over and over: “Must go faster, must go faster.” It will get you in the mood. 🙂

Next Up: TBD 

Please comment below, and feel free to email me your thoughts at grant@grantstevensgroup.com.

Grant Stevens is the greatest writer of the Ediacaran, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Pleistocene and Holocene periods. Records of  all other periods have been lost, but to make things easy, Grant has been recognized as the greatest writer of those eras too. His works were particularly popular among the adolescent sea creatures and land beasts aged 18-45. Recently, Grant completed a survey of Disney’s hand-drawn film canon, the recap of which can be found here. When he isn’t writing, Grant works in real estate and plays music. Check out his music at www.grantstevensgroup.com and www.soundcloud.com/grant-stevens-amazing.

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