The latest trend for Hollywood movie studios over the last couple of years is to take classic movies and re-release them in the third dimension. I saw Titanic in 3D. I’ve seen Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D. I’ve even taken my kids to just about every Disney 3D release including Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and The Lion King. This trend sparks a ton of debate whether how amazing it is to see all your favorites again on the big screen, digitally remastered pumped up with upgraded Dolby or THX sound systems or that Hollywood is just trying to bleed consumers dry with inflated ticket prices. To this argument I have to say I’m a proponent to the first choice. Yeah I own all these movies on DVD or Blu-ray and I can watch them in the comfort of my home anytime I want to, but there is something about the theater experience I love so much that it just cannot be duplicated by even the fanciest of home theater set ups, or at least ones most people couldn’t afford.
The latest movie to hit theaters this weekend in 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D is Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning dinosaur adventure, Jurassic Park. For those absolutely clueless about the plot of this twenty year old movie, I’ll break it down for everyone to understand. A bored old rich guy with a cane comes up with the idea to build a sort of zoo/amusement park filled with dinosaurs his scientists cloned from blood found in prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in tree sap. Sounds good so far, but lawyers think the park will create too much of a safety liability. They make a deal that if he can get dinosaur experts to give their seal of approval, then they will let their investors continue to fund the old guy’s dream. He enlists a rock star mathematician who specializes in Chaos Theory and a world renowned paleontologist who hates kids, but brings his girlfriend along for the ride. Meanwhile, Newman from Seinfeld is plotting to steal fertilized dino-embryos and sell them to the competition, but in order to do so he has to sabotage the park’s automation systems to hide his getaway. The old man’s grandchildren visit and the fun begins when everyone is stuck in hybrid Ford Explorers by the T-Rex exhibit when the system is shut off. That’s the set up of the terror of Michael Crichton’s novel as all hell breaks loose, people are eaten, electrocuted and run for their lives. It’s up to a chain smoking Samuel L. Jackson to save the day.
From that snarky tongue in cheek description, you’d probably think I hate Jurassic Park, but it’s quite the contrary. Before Jurassic Park, any movie featuring dinosaurs usually ended up being stop-motion super imposed clay models. What Steven Spielberg and master effects artist, Stan Winston did what actually bring living, breathing beasts to life. To this day, you cannot watch a movie or television show that features dinosaurs that wasn’t inspired by the creatures of Jurassic Park.
Before my screening I wanted two questions answered. 1: Does the movie still hold ground compared to recent Hollywood releases, and 2) Is it worth paying the extra money to see it in 3D and/or IMAX 3D. After I left the theater I came up with solid answers. Jurassic Park absolutely has not lost its touch. The effects are still amazing and do not at all look outdated. Honestly, the only thing outdated are Laura Dern’s shorts. There are times I still question which is the robot dinosaurs versus their computer animated counterparts, and I’ve seen the DVD bonus features that tell me so. Secondly, I’m still not sure if the movie warranted the 3D admission price as the film doesn’t really have the 3D gags in it, but the 3D added a depth to the film that is lost in the regular 2D translation. What I did witness was the magnificence of seeing the adventure in IMAX 3D. I honestly may not have noticed all the 3D effects because I was too busy picking my jaw up off the floor at how amazing the picture looked.
The most notable scene involves the rampage of the Tyrannosaurus Rex as he goes berzerk. Throughout the theater, the speakers blasted the rain and lightning and when the T-Rex stomped and roared, seats rumbled and eardrums shattered. The IMAX experience really puts theater goers into the action. I honestly felt I was in the scene trapped in the vehicle as the T-Rex destroyed everything. I could almost say it was like riding the Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studios for two hours. This scene is even the one that I showcase my personal home theater whenever guests come over to show off my set up, but it cannot handle a candle to the IMAX experience.
Not all movies deserve a re-release, but Jurassic Park most certainly does. Call me nostalgic, but the second the John Williams theme song hit as the helicopter is taking everyone to the island gave me goosebumps. It is one of the best examples of movie magic to date that abosolutely needs to be seen on the big screen, and in fact the bigger the better. I would compare my screening to seeing a rock concert. Yes you can listen to the songs on your stereo or watch a concert DVD on your television, but nothing at all will replicate seeing your favorite band live on stage. I absolutely highly recommend you check out a screening in your town in IMAX or the biggest screen your theater has. For those not huge fans of 3D, you may not be missing much, but with limited release you may only have that choice. If you want a second opinion, my 9 year old said it was the best movie she’s ever seen and the dinosaurs were cool and scary. If you can’t trust a 9 year old, who can you?
NERD FACT: Want to know what ever happened to the little boy who played Timmy in the movie? His name is Joseph Mazzello and he can be seen in theaters now playing character Mouse in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
In Theaters: April 5, 2013
Original Theatrical Release: June 11, 1993
Runtime: 2 hours 7 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for intense science fiction terror)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller, Action/Adventure, Adaptation
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site: www.jurassicpark.com/