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Welcome to ‘Jurassic Park’ 3-D

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

   It’s been 20 years since Steven Spielberg first took audiences to Isla Nublar to discover dinosaurs as they’ve never been seen before. Since then, “Jurassic Park” remains as riveting, exciting and awe-inspiring as when it first premiered in 1993.

When billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) invites a few experts (Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum) to approve of his park attraction—in which he used cutting edge science that allowed him to re-create living, breathing dinosaurs—they discover that everything goes wrong, thanks to employee Dennis Nedry’s decision to steal valuable embryos. Soon it is up to the characters to escape the wrath of these very real creatures that haven’t seen the light of day in 65 million years.

It’s truly impossible to deny that “Jurassic Park” has some of the best moments of the entire Spielberg canon. Whether it’s the iconic arrival of the T-Rex (just like with “Jaws,” he is able to make water look terrifying), or the Brachiosaurus scene, which is absolutely incredible, Spielberg is able to truly make the audience feel like young kids discovering these creatures.

When watching it again, not only do the effects hold up perfectly, but the excellent combination of practical dinosaurs and greatly incorporated CGI truly makes us feel that these are real creatures and that they are terrifying the characters.

The performances are great. Neill is terrific as Dr. Alan Grant and his arc as the father figure for the kids is wholly satisfying. Neill and Dern’s Dr. Ellie Satler have great rapport.

The initial Brachiosaurus scene is not only completely awe-inspiring and full of wonder, it also combines Spielberg’s sense of discovery while letting the audience admire these creatures, John Williams’ sweeping and rousing score and the believable performances of Neill and Dern.

Goldblum, as chaos theory expert Dr. Ian Malcolm, is a scene-stealing character as he has some of the film’s funniest moments, whether he is talking to himself or making jokes about a “future ex-Mrs. Malcolm.” Goldblum’s Malcolm is one of the most memorable characters of the film. Richard Attenborough has a perfect mix of gravitas and a fatherly presence, while also bringing a sense of tragedy to his dream of creating a park full of dinosaurs.

Everything about “Jurassic Park” fires on all cylinders for a major blockbuster: it has a sharp, thought-provoking, and at times, smart script by Michael Crichton (who also wrote the novel) and David Koepp.

Dean Cundey’s crisp cinematography captures the beauty of the island and the terror of the dinosaurs beautifully, and its effects are simply outstanding and still are some the best effects ever made (they’re even better than some of the stuff that comes out today).

Its 3-D conversion is really solid also — it doesn’t try to shove anything in anyone’s face. Rather, it’s a whole new dimension with depth that creates a new experience with great clarity. One of the most impressive aspects of “Jurassic Park” is how Spielberg is able to switch between tones seamlessly. It can be an exciting adventure when it wants to or it can be incredibly emotional and jaw-dropping when it needs to, additionally it can also be terrifying (I’m looking at you, raptors in the kitchen scene), much like what he accomplished with “Jaws.” The raptor-feeding scene and the water effects are all examples of how he takes the idea of less is more and the less you see, the better because it leaves it up to your imagination and creates a lot more suspense.

If you’ve never experienced “Jurassic Park” on the big screen, then this is the perfect way to watch it for the first time. After 20 years, Spielberg’s thrilling and groundbreaking adventure remains a wonderful cinematic spectacle filled with marvelous dinosaur visuals, a killer John Williams score, confident direction, great adventure and more. Spielberg’s film is not only one of his best genre films that holds up just as well today, but also a timeless technical cinematic achievement.

Five out of five picks.



Oscar Garza may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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