Hello ladies and gentlemen, your pal Muldoon here. While I don't chime in with my thoughts too often, I write about things that are truly important to me - things that personally smack me right in the heart (SATURDAY SHORTS). That said, I had the privilege to see JURASSIC PARK in 3D about two weeks ago along with a packed crowd of fortunate moviegoers. Since then, I have wracked my brain trying to put words from heart to keyboard. I have written roughly three reviews/articles/thought-jots that each somehow didn't represent my thoughts adequately or didn't do the experience justice. It might come as a surprise to you with my little AICN name being "Muldoon," but JURASSIC PARK is the movie that changed my world. It's the film that showed me, clear as day, dinosaurs and people together and interacting. It's the film that got me reading books. It's my STAR WARS. It's the film that put me on track to a career in film (No, I'm not exactly referring to just writing for AICN here, but my actual career in movies). Bottom line, I know I'm not the only one out there that this film has impacted. There's no question that this film, it's technological breakthroughs, and it's characters have made an impact on future films and people.
Think back to the summer of 1993, you probably remember which theater you were in - the smell of popcorn - the excitement of knowing you were in for a treat - that feeling you get when you're given exactly what you wanted (like eating a meal without going overboard) - the satisfaction of a damn fine film that took you on a ride. Now it's 2013 and you can have that back, that sense of adventure, the feeling of being in Isla Nublar with Grant and the kids running through a herd of dinos to get back to safety. "But Muldoon, I've been there done that." I can't fault you for thinking that, but what I will put forward is this:
One of the most iconic directors of all time, a genius of the lens, a cinematic master of story telling, Spielberg, oversaw the conversion of this film. Let that sink in for a second. This isn't the case where a studio read what others had done, then just took the next step. It's not like they stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as they could where before they even knew what they had, they patented it, and packaged it, and slammed it on a plastic box... (Okay, that's a little heavy handed, but stay with me here). Think about it, what happens when you give a true artist the nicest brushes, the most vivid paint, and 20 years to reflect? You get a work of art. This isn't CLASH OF THE TITANS (I'm sorry to pick on you, TITANS, but c'mon here.) This is quite possibly one of the most artistic, engaging, and respectful post conversions I have ever seen. This conversion shows restraint.
If you're looking for things to come flying right out of the screen, say... a velociraptor jumping up for a quick bite? Sure, you get that, but what I walked away with from seeing this was that feeling of being there. I know that sounds silly, but there's a single shot that defines what this post conversion form of JP is and (not really even a spoiler here) it's a shot from high in the tree tops as Grant runs to find Timmy stuck in the tree after the T-Rex encounter. The limbs, branches, and leaves all in the mid ground separating us (the audience/camera position/Timmy in turmoil) and Grant "all the way" at the bottom - it just felt like "Whoa, we're pretty high up." That's what hit me, words like "felt" and "we" seem to be the biggest thing about this 3D conversion I can point my finger to. The 3D makes the film feel incredibly inclusive and intimate in the best way possible. It's truly an experience. This is a film loved by so many intelligent moviegoers, young and old, that has been given a breath of fresh air and had the dust shaken off of it. If you're a fan of the film, you will absolutely do yourself a solid by going to see it.
This is a film that's so incredibly confident in its post conversion that although most people have seen this film numerous times (Yes, I would watch it when NBC played it near Thanksgiving - even though I had it on VHS - same as a lot of you folks) they spent the time, energy, and money to put it out again. Go see it. Bring your kids. Bring your friends. Bring whoever. This is an incredible time where you can give your kids that exact same feeling of amazement that you had 20 years ago. To the cynical folks out there, yes - I realize you already know every twist and turn of the story... most people do (At it's core it's a rather simple and intimate movie already with only a handful of characters), but you haven't "experienced" it like this. Those literal twists and turns are felt. The drops, falls, and throws are indescribably more "real," with the danger heightened and more intense.
This conversion brings back the experience of going to the theater and truly engaging. My apologies if in my "review" you expected me to list out all sorts of shots, like "This shot stands out.. and this one too..." Aside from the one (two if you caught the blatant reference) shot I mentioned, that's kind of something special, that I can't pick out "Oh, they spent lots of time on this one shot," because that would imply other shots had been neglected and not given the same amount of attention, which isn't the case. You know the film. You know the characters. You think you know what "they made 3D," but you truly won't until you've seen the film in its brightly lit glory up on a screen.
And the fact we get JURASSIC PARK 4 next year... I'm beside myself in anticipation. Having Colin Trevorrow as that ship's captain means something special. We're clearly not getting a director doing a sequel for a paycheck and given Colin's resume, he absolutely had to have blown the exec's socks off to get the job. I'm more than curious to see where that film will take us. Great writers, interesting pick for a director, and all under top notch second to none supervision of cinematic icons like Spielberg and Marshall.
At any rate, you folks know me. I know the value of a dollar and I rarely, very rarely tell you "You have to go see this," unless I truly believe it's worth your time and money. I can confidently stand by the fact that you will not be disappointed when you leave the theater after this. If you're in Austin this weekend, chances are you'll be seeing me at the theater right there with you, ticket in hand waiting in line for the next showing. (Probably Galaxy Highland to be even more honest).
- Mike McCutchen