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 Jurassic Park rerelease is a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in dinosaurs.
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.
As with Avatar, this is a film big on visual spectacle and the years have not diminished the awe-inspiriing nature of our prehistoric pals on the big screen. 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. Unlike Cameron's 3D CGI-fest, however, Jurassic Park has a decent script and even beyond the dinosaurs, some great characters. Surprisingly undated – Lex's excitement over an "interactive CD-ROM!" aside – Jurassic Park stands up remarkably well. And if you get the chance to see it at an IMAX, then do so – these dinosaurs deserve to be seen on the biggest screen possible.