I imagine that 90% of the reviews for JURASSIC PARK 3D will really be about the nostalgia of seeing it 20 years ago. And that's okay. Many film reviewers were simply children or barely adults when the original film made its appearance that summer of 1993 (I don't have a lot of room to talk, I was 23 myself), and for so many people JURASSIC PARK was that touchstone movie, that movie that made people come out of the theater and say, "That's it. I'm going to make/write/write about movies for a living." JAWS did that to me, and I was all of 5 years old when that opened. I saw JURASSIC PARK at least 15 times in the theater that summer; one particularly memorable day I called in sick at work and sat in the theater from the first screening to the very last. As you can imagine, I didn't have a girlfriend at the time.
True awe and wonder in the cinema is actually a rare thing; every director worth a damn tries and more often fails to hit that pinnacle. But Steven Spielberg has done it so many times now that it looks deceptively easy on his end - just throw a bunch of actors staring into the middle distance, cue up a John Williams score, and add special effects in post, right? Wrong. Spielberg knows the power of verisimilitude - if the filmmakers fervently believe in the world that they've created then it should translate as real to the audience. But most importantly, Spielberg looks at the world through the eyes of a child, and even after all these years of being a Spielberg superfan I still don't know how he can bring all that emotion, power, and magnificence on the screen and make even the most jaded filmgoer feel like a kid again. JURASSIC PARK 3D does that.
But if you're curious about the 3D, the artisans at Stereo D have made the best 3D conversion yet. It's jawdropping work and it's remarkable how much it seems like Spielberg at the time formulated his shots for the new format. The 3D makes JURASSIC PARK even more immersive than before. Dean Cundey's elegant camerawork feels natural to 3D and the scale of the dinosaurs translates perfectly. That money shot with the brachiosaur in the beginning looks even more impressive, and the scale, size, and sheer presence comes across. The T-Rex sequence is just as terrifying and wonderous - surprisingly, it's well lit enough that the dimming of the 3D glasses isn't a factor at all.
JURASSIC PARK still uses CGI in the best possible ways - the dinosaurs feel like they have a real weight to them, and that's because they used the wonderful work of Phil Tippett in tandem with the equally wonderful work of Stan Winston. These dinosaurs feel as real as they possibly can, even 20 years later. The days of modelwork and giant rigs may be on the way out, but JURASSIC PARK reminds us that the old ways are still the best. The entire T Rex attack is worth the price of admission alone - for Tippett and Winston's work, and the immersive nature of the 3D which brings it to life in such an amazing way.
I know it will likely seem blasphemous to some - converting movies like JURASSIC PARK to 3D. I haven't been the biggest advocate of the technology myself, mostly because the uncomfortability of the glasses and the way they dim the screen - and I urge filmgoers to see JURASSIC PARK 3D in a theater that knows what the hell the words "foot lamberts" means - but JURASSIC PARK 3D is so well done that audiences who aren't willing to spring the extra money for 3D may well reconsider. Isla Nublar never looked so glorious and rich as it does here. Spielberg was always a master at building tension and suspense, and the 3D brings in that immersiveness. It actually adds to the experience instead of being a mere distraction. JURASSIC PARK was always a B-movie at heart, and the 3D makes it the thrill ride that Spielberg always intended.
On a day like this, when we mourn the passing of one of the greatest singular voices of cinema, it's so very important to remember the power of what great cinema can do, and that's why I urge you to see JURASSIC PARK on the big screen this weekend. Yeah, I'm fully aware that Roger Ebert wasn't the biggest fan of 3D, or even, particularly, of JURASSIC PARK, if you read his review on the movie. But if movies are truly the last great American art form, then to miss JURASSIC PARK would be like missing a Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" if it came to town. Movies are meant to be seen in a theater. And JURASSIC PARK is one of the greatest theatrical experiences of all time. See it in the brightest, loudest theater you can find.