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Jurassic Park in 3D - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Jurassic Park in 3D
Directing: A-
Acting: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: A
Editing: A
Special Effects: A
3D: C+

I was 17 years old when Jurassic Park was first released in 1993, and for years it was my favorite movie. Like many kids at the time, it blew my mind. I saw it twice in the theatre that summer, and a third time after a second theatrical release a year later. When it was released on VHS in 1994, for me it was An Event. In the intervening couple of decades, I've watched the movie well over twenty times, something I have done with so few movies I could count them on one hand.

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard Jurassic Park was being re-released in theatres for its twentieth anniversary. It's a little annoying that studios think that every huge movie with an anniversary re-release needs the 3D treatment. This one, with its special effects that still impress twenty years later -- it was the first major use of CGI, and countless movies today still don't look as realistic -- absolutely did not need it. Frankly, it's rather glaring how the film was converted to 3D rather than filmed with modern 3D cameras; the depth between characters is often slightly off, making it look like they're not quite actually looking at each other. It's distracting and pulls you out of the film. It appears one showing per day at each theatre this week is not in 3D, and I would recommend actively seeking out those showings.

But at its core, does the movie still hold up? For the most part, it absolutely does. There are a couple of somewhat amusing exceptions, such as the "Unix system" Lex uses on the park computer to get the park doors locked, or the "CD ROM" she gleefully discovers to be on the tour vehicle computers. Naturally any computers from twenty years ago are going to look rather dated.

But virtually anything else could have just as easily been plausible had the film been made today, given the nature of dinosaurs cloned from ancient DNA and attempted to be controlled in an amusement park environment. The perimeter fences, the dinosaurs themselves -- all impressively rendered, although now it's a little easier to spot when they are animatronic rather than CGI -- it's easy to imagine things things all looking the same now as they do in the film. It's still an effortless process to get lost in this movie.

Granted, there were some complaints that none of the actual dinosaurs are actually seen until halfway through the movie. But these complaints come from whiners who don't recognize superior storytelling when they see it.

Jurassic Park is certainly not without its flaws. The very premise was laughable even in 1993, and much of the details of paleontology are Hollywood-ized to the point of having no basis in reality whatsoever. Given that this was never meant to be exactly realistic, these things don't really matter. What matters is the storytelling, the plot development, the building excitement -- something Steven Spielberg infused into the movie with such effectiveness that few other films can match it. There is an establishment of characters and their motivations (a key one being Dennis Nedry -- played by the great Wayne Knight -- and his attempt at stealing embryos), with a confident ramp-up until that thrilling scene with the tyrannosaurus escaping its enclosure. It never matters how many times it has been watched, by that scene, the audience is rapt. And they continue to be from then to the end of the film.

Some of its ridiculousness is a little more apparent now than it was in 1993, eliciting chuckles from the audience that were never originally intended. But they are affectionate chuckles, from audiences who are watching this movie now because they love it. And there is still an added thrill at watching this movie again on the big screen, providing long-forgotten visual details that have been much harder to notice on television and computer screens. The sloppy 3D conversion notwithstanding, this is one theatrical release that is well worth revisiting.

T-rex gets the excitement going in JURASSIC PARK

Overall: A-
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