This latest craze of 3-D re-releases is what it is. I would hardly say I’ve been going crazy over seeing some old favorites converted for an added dimension, but, if that’s the only way I can have a chance to experience those films on the big screen once again - something the studios don’t seem to be in a rush to deliver on a regular basis - then so be it. It’s nice to revisit these classics away from my couch and TV, so, when it was announced that JURASSIC PARK would be re-released with the 3-D treatment, I was all for it. I distinctly remember going to Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, NJ, when I was 13 years old with my parents and my friend up the street Brian to see the film originally after having breezed through Michael Crichton’s novel. I can recall the excitement and nervousness I felt then watching that opening scene of the raptor loading. I know the wonder I felt watching these creatures brought to life in a movie, knowing full well that they weren’t real, but suspending that disbelief with ease for a couple of hours. Wanting to get a sense of that once more was the selling point for me checking out JURASSIC PARK once again... but I wasn’t truly prepared for how incredible it would look and sound with the 3-D touch-up and the IMAX presentation. I’ve seen JURASSIC PARK countless times via VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. Every time I bring up watching a movie at home with my wife, JURASSIC PARK is the number one choice that pops up on her list... so you know I’ve watched it quite a lot over the years... and yet, other than that initial viewing back in the summer of ‘93, I’ve never seen it displayed quite like this.
Look... I don’t need to run through the particulars of JURASSIC PARK. If you haven’t seen it by now, you’ve been doing yourself a severe disservice. However, if you’ve long been a fan, this is the perfect opportunity to see it again as it was intended. And, for those younger generations who never had the chance to see this excellent piece of Spielberg outside of your TV, this is the chance you’ve been waiting for. When I heard of the 3-D re-release, I instantly started thinking of sequences from the film that might benefit from the extra dimension... and there were quite a few that popped into my mind relatively quickly - the shot of the T-Rex taking that step in the mud in the foreground with Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) and Lex (Ariana Richards) in front of the Jeep in the background... oh, how the depth of field must look on that... the T-Rex chase with the dinosaur appear closer than it is in the sideview mirror... the raptors hunting in the Visitor Center... the Dilophosaurus... I couldn’t wait to see how such memorable imagery could pop with 3-D, because, if done right and done well, JURASSIC PARK could actually benefit from its use, making for a more intense cinematic experience... And it does.
All of those sequences I was hoping for looked even better with the added 3-D element to them, especially the raptor stuff in the third act and the introduction of the T-Rex. They have long been brilliantly crafted sequences of Steven Spielberg’s that stand up against the rest of the filmmaker’s best, and, even having seen them who knows how many times, they still give you a rush watching them, but, seeing them this way, makes them feel fresh and shiny and new. You can’t help but jump back in your seat as a raptor leaps at the screen, trying to snatch Lex as she’s pulled back up through the ceiling, narrowly escaping its jaws. You can’t help but feel an enormous amount of tension as the T-Rex descends upon this Jeep that holds a couple of kids with no idea what to do in the face of such danger. And the new presentation absolutely immerses you in the film.
I had the pleasure of seeing JURASSIC PARK not just in 3-D, but also in IMAX... and, while I’m not typically a fan of the digital LIE-MAX way, the film looks and sounds amazing. Close-ups have become extreme close-ups here, making something like the display of a mosquito found in amber during Gennaro’s intro that much closer to you. As a result, you no longer feel any distance from the film... You are put right in the middle of this movie. It is right in your face... not in a bad way... that allows you to get sucked that much deeper into John Hammond’s creation. Furthermore, John Williams’ score, which I could easily sing along with from memory, absolutely booms with the IMAX-quality sound, playing better than it ever has before, and things like the T-Rex roar or even its footsteps, which accompany those iconic images of the ripples in the water, sound as if they are right on top of you. There is no better way to witness JURASSIC PARK than in IMAX 3-D.
It’s a lot to drop the money required to see a 20-year-old film in such a premium format, especially when you’ve probably already got it at home and can watch it anytime you feel like it. But it is worth every single penny to see it like this. The 3-D works... and, in IMAX, it’s overwhelming in such a good way. This is the very reason we go to the movies in the first place - to escape, to enjoy, to be amazed, to be in awe - and while JURASSIC PARK delivered on every single one of those elements 20 years ago, it still manages to do so with a renewed sense of wonder today. I felt like that 13-year-old kid again watching JURASSIC PARK 3D, blown away by the worlds movies could create and allow me to live inside for a couple hours at a time, and that alone is worth the price of admission - to remember those very films that made you love the movies to begin with.
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