Review: “Jurassic Park” (IMAX 3D)
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R. Molen
Written by: Michael Crichton, David Koepp (screenplay)
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, B.D. Wong
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton
Year: 1993 (2013 for IMAX 3D)
I know it’s a common sentiment and, therefore, hardly original, but it bears repeating multiple times until that sentiment is driven into the ground about this wondrous, marvelous film: IT’S SO FREAKING AWESOME!
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me just say that this is quite honestly the film that I can point to and say, “This. This is the film that made me realize the power films could have.” Though I’m sure that the achievement that this film represented doesn’t compare to seeing an actual, real life dinosaur brought back to life, but until that day actually comes, Jurassic Park deserves to be placed alongside films like Star Wars, Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. — films that strike the perfect balance between thrilling blockbuster and artistic achievement and come out as timeless classics.
I was still just six years old when this film first released in theatres — had a lunchbox I used for quite sometime
— and it’s pretty astonishing that it’s lost none of the magic since then. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either, judging from the fact that on the second night of the film’s recent 20th anniversary re-release, I showed up an hour early for the IMAX 3D showing only to find that the next two showings were completely sold out for the night, and there was a line extending from the theatre lobby into the mall food court. Had to buy a ticket for the next morning…
I had always loved re-watching the film at home (sometimes multiple times in a week when I was much younger, along with the inferior sequel), but watching it again for the first time in two decades on the big screen, I was once again enthralled with not just the cool-factor of the film’s dinosaurs and action, but also the… okay, yeah, I’m not going to lie to you. That’s actually the whole highlight of the film, and I’m not going to pretend as if I was focusing more on the character growth or even the parable of man’s scientific fiddlings with nature.
That’s not the kind of film this is. Don’t get me wrong, there are multiple factors that help make this film a classic. There’s that John Williams score with that iconic theme song, and the writing is sharp and often very quotable (“Hold on to your butts!” “Clever girl…” “I think this was Gennaro.” “I think this was, too.”). And, yeah, the characters and actors are great and all — Sam Neill and Laura Dern are compelling champions for the scientific side of things, and Jeff Goldblum’s paranoid, dry-witted Ian Malcolm is still a smarmy delight, and, heck, even the kids are relatable, realistic, and actually useful in a jam (though I never understood why Tim doesn’t give Ellie the gun instead of bouncing around as his “hacker” sister navigates the “UNIX system” of the park) — but you came to this film to see dinosaurs. This film delivers.
Spielberg’s pacing between the various sequences of man vs. prehistoric nature is masterful, providing just enough juxtapositional ebb to catch your breath with before switching gears back into the increasingly torrential flow of the dinosaur spectacle. That first appearance by the brachiosaurus can still wring tears from less jaded eyes, but just wait until you finally get to that much anticipated T-rex attack. Despite their age, the computer effects still manage to hold up incredibly well, even when compared to more recent, more advanced films, and Stan Winston and his team’s animatronics balance out the digital with something terrifyingly tangible that’s, yes, missing from many modern action films. It’s truly groundbreaking work, and the result is a film that remains an astonishing achievement. Did you know those velociraptors were often men inside suits? Still doesn’t take away from that whole kitchen chase.
You may be wondering if the IMAX and/or 3D effects recently added to the film for this re-release are worth it. To be honest, this was my first IMAX showing, and while I was incredibly impressed with the scale of the image throughout much of the film, there were some anomalies that occurred on the further parts of the screen, which I’m going to attribute to two factors: 1) my off-center seating position in relation to the massive screen (seriously, it was packed again, even at 10:30AM), and 2) probably something to do with the conversion process, which was ultimately still very impressive for a conversion of a very old film. I’d say see the IMAX version if you could see it in 2D, but that’s not a possibility. I’d still probably recommend it, especially if you can get a center seat, but I’d be lying if I said part of me wasn’t thinking about seeing it again in regular-size 3D to see if my theory holds up. …
… That, and I just adore this film and would not mind spending more money on it so that I don’t have to wait for the 25th anniversary to possibly see it again on the big screen, even though I own the film on DVD and am totally thinking about splurging on this Blu-Ray Ultimate Trilogy box set that’s, as of this writing, currently on sale this week for just $47.99… … Hmm… … … Oh, yeah, sorry. The rating…
The Viewer’s Commentary Rating: 4.5 / 5 *
* Rating based solely on the film and is not influenced by the IMAX and/or 3D experience.