Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Film Review: Jurassic Park 3-D

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 1:19 PM


Twenty years, two diminishing-returns sequels, multiple theme park attractions, and endless merchandising may have conspired to dull your memory of that magical first viewing of Jurassic Park. The 1993 sci-fi adventure, adapted from Michael Crichton's thoughtful thriller about chaos theory and genetic engineering, was in a way the last gasp of director Steven Spielberg's aesthetic adolescence, before he turned from high-spirited crowd-pleasers like Jaws and Indiana Jones towards somber Oscar-bait such as Schindler's List and Lincoln. I'd feared that the film would fare badly once expanded to the oversized IMAX 3-D format, but aside from some dated clothes and computers, everything about the movie -- from acting to editing to still-astonishing special effects -- feels fresher than ever in this anniversary re-release.

Fanboys, you can relax; unlike in his censored re-release of E.T., or his buddy George's butchered Star Wars special edition, Spielberg hasn't changed a frame of the familiar story. (Even a famous flub incorrectly dating Disneyland's debut was left uncorrected). Hubristic gajillionare Dr. Hammond (Richard Attenborough) still recruits a pair of paleontologists (Sam Neill, Laura Dern) and a maverick mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) to spend a weekend on his island zoo, where they struggle survive an onslaught of escaped ex-extinct animals. The cast (which also features Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, and a couple obligatory annoying kids) completely commits with wide-eyed wonder, pulling the audience into accepting the absurd premise -- a task aided by the believable computer generated dinosaurs, whose organic animations outshine most contemporary CGI effects.

Of course, you can easily experience all of the above on DVD in the comfort of your own home. The reason to venture into the cinema to see a two decade old film is the exceptional 2-D to 3-D conversion. I'm generally not a fan of "upgrading" older films to three dimensions (Titanic and Phantom Menace 3-D were marginal at best) but this is the first time I thought it genuinely added to the experience. The depth effects look consistently natural and involving, with a minimum of the obvious Viewmaster-like layering artifacts that have plagued past conversions. And a judicious helping of in-your-face moments will make you jump in your seat, as befits the B-movie subject matter. The effectiveness of the 3-D, especially in intense interior scenes like the infamous kitchen escape, and lush exteriors such as the Gallimimus stampede, is a testament to the intelligent visual compositions originally created by Spielberg and cinematographer Dean Cundey.

With classic (even cliche) yet ever-compelling plot, an old-fashioned sense of storytelling craft, and a pace that accelerates from slow burn to runaway roller coaster until the satisfyingly succinct denouement, Jurassic Park is a blockbuster that has stood the test of time. Add in overwhelming IMAX 3-D sights and sounds, and you've got an E-ticket primed to thrill a new generation of viewers.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation