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Jurassic Park 3D
Release Date(s)1993/2013 (April 23, 2013)
Studio(s)Amblin/Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Jurassic Park came out the summer before I was 16, and my friend’s newly minted driver’s license made midnight movies a brand new adventure. Free of my parents’ taste in cinema for the first time, I felt like a free man and amazing film fare that they never would’ve wanted to see (like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) was newly available to me. Despite all the great R-rated movies my friend and I snuck into that summer, one experience stands out: Seeing Jurassic Park in a room full of oversized kids at the witching hour… when all good monster movies should be seen.
Of course, what we couldn’t have known at the time is the rich, interesting and often controversial history that Jurassic Park would eventually have, especially in terms of home video releases. Not only was it the first DTS movie, it was the first DTS laserdisc, one of the last standalone DTS DVDs (on which a missing LFE channel caused a recall), and it’s now clawing for the top position in the theatrical revival 3D scene.
A word of warning to those who hated the color timing on Top Gun: The Tungsten Fairy is back here. It looks as if “yellow is the new blue” when it comes to modern color timing. Jurassic Park was originally finished well before the era of digital color grading, so it’s almost inevitable that when these major restorations are done, you’re going to see timing changes. Spielberg is well known for being somewhat anal about how his movies look on video and, given his power and influence in Hollywood, it’s safe to assume that what you see here is what he wanted. After an exhaustive A/B comparison of the 2D and 3D Blu-rays, which admittedly are cut from two completely different masters (the 3D being a new 4K restoration), here’s my assessment without regard to stylistic choices: Is there post-processing on this new master? Absolutely, but it appears to be at most +/- 5% (slightly) worse than what was applied to the original 2D Blu-ray. The effect is accentuated by the warmer color timing, while at the same time mitigated by the overall crisper edges. That said, everyone’s opinion is going to be different on this one and there’s no two ways about it.
Stereo D, one of the houses involved in the 3D upgrade of Titanic (whose conversion convinced Spielberg that this was a Good Idea TM) put about nine months in on the conversion of Jurassic Park from flat to stereoscopic. It’s a mostly successful endeavor, with some bits succeeding more than others. The sheer amount of individual elements in any given shot is pretty mind-blowing, and if you don’t address them to a certain minimum degree, the 3D conversion simply isn’t going to work. As a result of that sheer workload, even given the generous schedule, some scenes aren’t quite as spectacular as others. In Nedry’s beach meeting for example, the depth just sort of falls off five feet past the actors. On the flipside, scenes like the T-Rex reveal, as well as the following ‘tree’ scenes, are really spectacular, with branches, leaves and rain whipping out of the screen at you to really make the 3D experience worthwhile. Audio-wise, despite a full remix of the film’s soundtrack into 7.1 by no less than Gary Rydstrom, I really didn’t detect much of a difference between the previous Blu-ray and this one. So that aspect of the disc is pretty much a wash.
The sole new extra here is The World of Jurassic Park 3D, a ten-minute piece that focuses on the Stereo D team who worked on the conversion. This is actually one of those rare pieces that really goes into the theory behind how good 2D to 3D conversion is done. Thought short, it’s totally worth a watch. Beyond that, all the previous special edition content is available on the 2D Blu-ray included in the package here. And for those who need them, DVD and UltraViolet copies round things out.
So here we are, twenty years later. On the heels of a very successful theatrical re-release, Jurassic Park’s entry into the third dimension appears to be a great success. While the conversion certainly isn’t the revelation many were hoping for, I’m just not certain that there’s a revelatory 3D experience to be had in Jurassic Park to begin with. That said, the 3D experience of this decades-old 2D film is quite solid and turned out far better than I expected. While it does stumble occasionally, when it’s good, it’s actually pretty darn great. Whether it’s worth the upgrade or not really amounts to how much you like 3D, how much you like Jurassic Park and how sensitive you are to the post processing and color timing changes. In my book, Jurassic Park 3D is one of the better conversions of a classic movie currently on the market and it provides a satisfying experience despite the limitations of the source material. And since the movie is still playing in many 3D theaters – and let’s face it, the bigger the screen the better with an epic high-concept film like this – you can still try it out that way before you buy.
- Jeff Kleist