The man who gave us the original thrill-ride blockbuster – Jaws – brings dinosaurs back to life with the first true blockbuster of the CGI age. Remastered and converted to 3D, this new Jurassic Park release is a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in dinosaurs ... and 3D.
Jurassic Park remains a joy two decades after its initial release. The story is one of an amusement park gone wrong. John Hammond (Attenborough) finds some "dino DNA" in an amber-trapped mosquito and with a bit of help from some science nerds quickly populates a small island off the coast of Costa Rica with dinosaurs. After a worker on the island is killed, he invites mathematician Dr Ian Malcolm (Goldblum), paleobotanist Dr Ellie Sattler (Dern) and paleontologist Dr Alan Grant (Neill) to assess the viability of the project. Also along for the ride are Hammond's grandchildren, Tim and Lex. But things soon begin to go awry...
Jurassic Park is essentially a rehash of Crichton's own Westworld, the 1973 film about a Western-themed amusement park in which the star turns, robot cowboys, run amok. Here, though, the dinosaurs are the villains of the piece and even with the advances in technology, they still look fantastic. Aside from a couple of slightly dodgy animated long shots, the velociraptors and the T-Rex in particular are as scary as hell. It helps that there's also some animatronics going on and overall it's mightily impressive on the special effects front. Surprisingly undated – Lex's excitement over an "interactive CD-ROM!" aside – Jurassic Park stands up remarkably well.
The addition of 3D is an interesting novelty, but just that. It doesn't add a lot to the film, working well in some scenes (such as the Velociraptors stalking the kids in the kitchen) and a little distracting in others – such as scenes at night-time, where it doesn't work well at all. That said, the 3D does work better on TV than it does on the big screen. Unlike many post-release conversions, this one's actually not all that bad – in a similar vein to Top Gun and Titanic. And unlike James Cameron's 3D CGI-fest Avatar, Jurassic Park has a decent script and even beyond the dinosaurs, some great characters.
EXTRAS: This 2-disc release is a more-than decent package. The first disc has the film itself, in 3D (of course), as well as the featurette The World of Jurassic Park 3D (8:27), which looks at the 3D conversion of the film (plus Spielberg talks about how, in his mind, he shot the film in 3D). The second disc has a 2D version of the film, plus a collection of bonus material both new and from previous releases. It kicks off with the new three-part documentary Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era (25:25), Making Prehistory (20:16), and The Next Step in Evolution (15:03). From the archives, there are the featurettes The Making of Jurassic Park, Original Featurette on The Making of The Film, Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park, and Hurricane in Kauai (66:15); the behind-the-scenes featurettes Early Pre-Production Meetings, Location Scouting, Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen, Animatics: T-Rex Attack, ILM and Jurassic Park: Before and After Visual Effects, Foley Artists, Storyboards, and Production Archives (26:45); the featurette Jurassic Park: Making the Game (4:43), a look at the production of the video game; and the theatrical trailer.