JURASSIC PARK 3D Blu-ray Review

     May 10, 2013


20 years after its release, it’s impossible to overestimate the impact of Jurassic Park.  It ushered in a new era of cinema technology that melded the greatest aspects of stop-motion and animatronics with CGI breakthroughs in their infant stages.  But more than that, it blew the pants off of audiences around the world.  It’s safe to bet that everyone who saw the film during its initial release remembers what it was like walking out of the theater.  It knocked us all on our asses while also spawning a 1,000 junior archaeologists.  Kids replaced their Bart Simpson posters with ones of T-rexes and raptors, everyday coming in filthy from digging in the backyard all day.

All these years later and Universal did the obvious: they released Jurassic Park 3D.  Shortly after it hit theaters, it was dropped on Blu-ray.  How does it fare in comparison to the mighty 2011 Blu-ray release?  Hit the jump for all of our details on the Jurassic Park 3D combo pack. 

jurassic-park-3dUniversal presents Jurassic Park in 1080p HD in 1.85:1 widescreen.  The 3D disc features a new transfer that was created for the movie’s 3D conversion through a restored, color-corrected 4K master of the original 35mm negative.  Unfortunately for some, this disc is 3D locked, so the only way you can bask in the new transfer is by watching it on a 3D Blu-ray player.  The second disc is the exact same transfer as the 2011 release.

For the film’s 3D conversion, much of the grain has been erased and along with it, some of the finer details.  It’s clear that the 2011 transfer contains much sharper details and textures.  The colors on both transfers are strikingly different too.  The 2011 edition has a noticeable blue-tint to it, while the 3D transfer’s got more of an earthy, natural look to it.  In this case, I prefer the 2013 transfer, despite its shortcomings in the detail department.

Besides, you’re probably not watching Jurassic Park 3D to judge the sharpness of John Hammond’s beard.  You’re watching it because it’s one of your favorite movies in 3 freaking D.  And this disc is certainly one of the best conversions in the history of the technology.  Usually 3D conversions try to pull off a sense of depth and just wind up being blazingly obnoxious about it.  Here it looks nicely organic.  Same goes for the foreground elements they popped out.  There’s no considerable 3D headache-inducing anomalies that usually come with these conversions.  Overall, it’s a really kick ass home video experience.

jurassic park 3dTo help further the immersive Isla Sorna experience, the 3D transfer features a new 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audo mix.  Sound designer Gary Rydstrom remixed the 2013 track himself and the only real noticeable difference I found was that the T-Rex roar shattered both of my ear drums (and those of my neighbors).  Goddamn, that roar has got to be one of the greatest sounds in the history of cinema.

The only new special feature is “The World of Jurassic Park 3D,” a 10-minute look at the film’s conversion.  It contains interviews with Steven Spielberg and Rydstrom, along with the 3D conversion crew.

The rest of the special features have been transferred over from the 2011 Blu-ray release:

  • “Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era”:  This focuses on the breakthroughs in CGI and how the filmmakers and effects crew approached this new technology.  Much of it wasn’t used until late into production, so it’s truly impressive to see what they pulled off in such a short amount of time.
  • “Return to Jurassic Park: Making Prehistory”:  This focuses on the staggering production design of the film and the stop-motion work that was later incorporated with the CGI.  The brief glimpses at the animated storyboard are really, really fun.
  • “Return to Jurassic Park: The Next Step in Evolution”:  This looks further at the CGI elements of the film.  It’s cool to see the old school effects guys like Stan Winston and his crew working with the computer nerds.  Pretty bittersweet too.

jurassic park 3d blu-rayThere are also some archival featurettes.  Included within these are several great bits of Spielberg on set, directing kids and robotic dinosaurs alike.  Man, everybody has something nice to say about him, especially the kids.  Joseph Mazzello (Tim) and Ariana Richards (Lex) explain how Spielberg deeply involved them in the directing process, giving them the confidence they needed as young kids on a major blockbuster set.

Another cool archival feature, “Hurricane in Kauai,” takes a look at aftermath of the category five hurricane that crushed Hawaii during the filmmaking.  As awful as the devastation was (and the production delay), if you’re going to be stuck in a hotel, you might as well be stuck with Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum.

Since the only new transfer is the 3D one, do not buy this disc if you don’t have 3D capabilities.  Stick with the 2011 Blu-ray.  It’s inevitable that Universal will release the “definitive” version on Blu-ray somewhere down the line, but for the time being, hang onto your butts.


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