The 3D release of the classic Jurassic Park looks and sounds amazing but those are not the only reasons why you should see it.
For those of you too old to remember what stop-motion was, watch The Empire Strikes Back, particularly those scenes of the Battle on Hoth. Essentially, one you constructed a model of your ship (or in this case, the AT-AT Walkers), created a diorama around them, then shot each movement before adjusting the model once again. It was a laborious and painstaking process, one that could neither resolve fluidity of movement nor allow designers to think beyond very limited uses. We have seen all-CGI based films like Tron (1982) and The Last Starfighter (1984), but issues persisted. In other words, it still looked like CGI.
But it wasn't until 1993's Jurassic Park that everything changed. For the first time, we were treated to photo-realistic visual effects that seemed to step off the screen. It was almost as if we could have joined Sam Neil (The Hunt for Red Octover) as he stared in awe of the genetically-engineered creatures created by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough, Miracle on 34th Street), who are accidentally let loose to cause havoc and destruction. No wonder it was awarded Best Visual Effects during the 1994 Academy Awards. As it arrives in a shiny new 3D release across limited theaters, we can once again relive the magic while witnessing a revolution that's happening right under our feet.
To say Jurassic Park elevates the much-maligned 3D game is probably not enough - it redefines the roadmap. In the past, 3D relied on unrealistic 'wiz-bang' effects, sacrificing detail and depth for cheap ooohs and aaahs. Not here: depth stands front and center, strutting as proud as the Brontosaurus or T-Rex that chases Laura Dern (Wild at Heart) and Jeff Goldblum (The Fly). Clarity, a constant issue for other modern releases, is so lifelike here that everything from hair and sweat to trees blowing in the breeze seem like Director Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark) shot it last year. Perhaps the star treatment this franchise received in 2012 with a trilogy release onto Blu-ray somehow benefited the 3D process?
Some might claim that Jurassic Park doesn't need the 3D treatment to enthrall audiences all over again and that the experience is still clunky and uneven. True on both counts, but much like daVinci's Mona Lisa or Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, the most inventive leaps in art seems to come at the most innocuous moments. Whether it be a commission to paint a young woman or just another project on the ceiling of a church, Jurassic Park could be the next thing that convinces Hollywood to work more aggressively towards perfecting the experience. Perhaps one day we'll remark that it changed 3D forever, but let's never forget its stunning CGI, which still stands the test of time. The 3D simply makes it better, and perhaps that's where the genre needs to go. It's clear that Universal made the right decision - now let's see if the rest of Hollywood follows.
Jurassic Park should be respected for more than its amazing 3D transfer - it's the movie that changed everything, ending the days of stop-motion while opening the canvas to a new era of creativity that doesn't seem to have an upper limit. Seeing Jurassic Park in all its 3D glory reminds us of its importance and what it can mean to a whole generation of young people who should see it on the big screen. Perhaps they will have the same reaction we did in 1993 when how we watched movies changed forever. Jurassic Park 3D is rated PG-13, has a runtime of 127 minutes, and is playing in select theaters.
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