I’d like to preface this review by saying that I’m not a big fan of the recent trend of re-releasing older films in 3D. I think it’s a cash-grab, and the retrofitted technology doesn’t usually add all that much to the experience.
But even the strongest skeptic suffers from weak points. It turns out mine is 1993’s Jurassic Park. This was a movie that left a tyrannosaur-sized footprint on my childhood. Arriving smack in the middle of my “dinosaur phase,” it was the movie that made me want to be a paleontologist for a good part of my elementary school career. I even dressed the part. From ages 6-9 my wardrobe mostly looked something like this:
This is likely the only time any of these characters have been described as “fashion icons.”
So when I saw that Universal was re-releasing Jurassic Park in 3D to celebrate the movie’s 20th anniversary (consider that milestone for a moment), my reaction was, for once, one of excitement rather than indifference. Anyone who’s seen this movie knows how brilliant and scary those dinos are. Can you imagine what they’d look like in three eye-popping dimensions? Of course you can. All too easily.
You’ve probably even had nightmares about it.
Still, as I prepared myself to watch the movie, doubts kept running through my mind. Were my expectations too high? Would the groundbreaking animatronic dinosaurs be replaced with poorly-camouflaged CGI, ala Star Wars? And would this refurbished Jurassic Park have any negative effects on the nerdy studliness of Ian Malcolm, my first-ever movie character crush?
I’m happy to report that Jurassic Park 3D is as thrilling and fun as anyone could want it to be. This is a movie I thought I knew backwards and forwards, but on the big screen, with pre-historic creatures jumping out at you, watching Jurassic Park becomes a totally new experience, showing off details you might have overlooked, while maintaining the things that make it awesome in the first place—including, thank goodness, Jeff Goldblum.
As a child of the 90s, I know I’m not alone when I say that the number of times I’ve watched this movie verges on the double digits. When you’ve seen a movie that many times, it tends to lose some of its bite (hee hee). Audiences don’t need to be reminded why Jurassic Park is fun, but they need to be reminded of how fun it is. And the 3D re-release does a fine job of that.
Really, the movie’s great parts don’t need much more description than that. Do you remember the first time you watched Jurassic Park? Do you remember how scared you got? Well, get ready to feel that way again, because that’s exactly the effect Jurassic Park 3D has. The film’s scariest, most action-packed scenes feel even scarier and more frantic. Debris looks like it’s about to fly right in your face. And those velociraptors? Yeah…
They’re even more terrifying.
While the 3D does accentuate the excitement of Jurassic Park, it takes a while to really pay off, and serves as a reminder that Spielberg takes his sweet time before getting to the chills and spills (not that this is a bad thing—the buildup is easily part of what makes JP so great). Of course, once the action really takes off, you suddenly remember why you shelled out the extra dough for those glasses that don’t quite fit your face right.
In that same regard, waiting around in-between mind blowing effects scenes does take a little away from the character-driven aspects and subtle themes of Jurassic Park that are really what make it worth revisiting. But while that’s a little disappointing, it doesn’t really ruin the experience. It just makes the scary stuff that much more satisfying.
The effect of seeing Jurassic Park in 3D is like going on a theme-park ride. It’s an absolute blast, full of adrenaline-charged excitement and childlike glee that’s pretty surprising coming from a movie most people have seen more times than they can count. Even though the enhanced effects take some emphasis off of the storytelling, the movie is still a ton of fun. If you wind up reeling out of the theater eager to have the experience again, don’t worry. That’s a normal reaction. Universal is gonna make a fortune off this thing. And they deserve every penny.
Take a Drink: every time Jeff Goldblum inappropriately hits on Laura Dern.
Chug a Beer: when you hear Richard Attenborough say “Welcome to JurassicPark”
Take a Drink: for each water ripple you see in the T-Rex scene.
Do a Shot: for each character death.
Do a Shot: every time a dinosaur makes you jump (Bonus Shot: if you already know what’s going to happen, and you still jump)