There are certain movies that most DVD collects have on their most wanted list. These films center around two directors, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Fortunately for us, Spielberg has been releasing his billion-dollar catalogue of films to enjoy on DVD. The latest is the blockbuster Jurassic Park. Based on the hit novel by Michael Crichton which uses the recipe for bringing back dinosaurs by Dr. Charles Pellegrino, the movie follows a group of scientists and children trapped on a remote island where genetic engineers have cloned living dinosaurs. There has always been a strong fascination with this behemoth that ruled the planet for millions of years. This is especially true with young boys. In the second grade I received an ‘A ‘for my dioramas of the different epochs of dinosaurs using my personal collection of to scale plastic models. I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up. This universal boyhood infatuation tends to stay with us as we become adults strongest in those of us that moved on to becoming science fiction enthusiasts. Undoubtedly Mr. Spielberg shared these feelings imbuing the film with a personal touch that allows the audience to identify with the story. The motivation of the story is a familiar one for those of us that grew up loving science fiction; the inherent dangers of technology advancing beyond the control of those wielding it. The theme focused on the nuclear dangers in the era of the cold war’s nuclear arms race shifting to threats from out space as the world’s two super powers turned their effort to the race to land men on the moon. The natural progression of utilizing the current technological concern as the underlying antagonist continues with the deadly monsters a result of genetic manipulation instead of radiation. Whether it be giant ants formed by the A-Bomb tests in the western desert or dinosaurs brought back from extinction by the mastery of the literal book of life, DNA.
At its core this is a typically creature feature, a genre that most of us grew up enjoying. This was a staple of the movies we watched during those weekly sojourns to the neighborhood movie theater for the Saturday matinee. The difference is they were fundamentally relatively inexpensive and quickly made features often with laughable special effects. I remember films that I still enjoy where you could plainly see the man with a stick pushing the monster or a zipper down the back or noticeable tear in the costume, we still enjoyed the movie; they did what we expected, entertain us. Mr. Spielberg, having grown up in such an environment, was able to return to the imagination the early movies inspired and make the best use of the incredible advances in practical and computer generated effects.
With a production company and reputation like Spielberg’s you can expect the cast will be top notch and it is. Sam Neill is the paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant. Neil takes this character on a character arc that experiences the most personal growth of any in the film. Grant is initially shown as a person distrustful of technology, resourceful and uneasy around children. By the end of the film he is able to bond with the two children, Lex (Ariana Richards and her younger brother Tim (Joseph Mazzello) who was unexpectedly left in his care. Neill is extraordinary in the subtle nuances that make this a great performance. Jeff Goldblum is wonderful as Dr. Ian Malcolm (based in part of Dr. Pellegrino) a man endowed with an ‘excess of personality’. Goldblum brings to the performance part Greek chorus explaining things to the audience and part comic relief. Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern, girlfriend and research partner to Grant shares in the delight expressed by Grant in the park, at least initially
The appearances of Sir Richard Attenbourgh, while pivotal to the plot is too restricted to let this great talent really shine. This billionaire is depicted as a departure from the stereotypical presentation of an ultra-wealthy businessman. With the subtly that can only be brought to this level of emotionalism by an actor of his status, experience and immeasurable talent. His fiscal power doesn’t control his life; that is done by family; the grandfatherly love that exudes from him. One of the most memorable scenes for Sir Richard is when the power is off and he explains to Ellie about his very first attraction, a flea circus. This was the start of what would grow into a lifelong ambition to create an attraction that will be the same feeling of wonderment to children. This was the reason for creating the technology required for the park. This is sharply contrasted by the sheer greed manifested by the lawyer, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero). In the course of the story Gennaro and but suffer a loss. Gennaro is very life and for Hammond the crushing realization that not only lost but that he placed what he loved most in the world, his grandchildren in mortal danger. This contributes to an emotional heart that is uncommonly rare in a science fiction action movie.
Steven Spielberg is perhaps one of the greatest directors that ever lived. With far more hits than misses and most of those hits in the top ranking movies of all time Spielberg shows how far true talent can take a man. He is a perfectionist. Every scene is crafted as if it was an individual masterpiece of art. The details, no matter how small, are considered and a sense of reality is achieved. On the DVD you can notice Jurassic Park match books, a small detail but it is indicative of the care taken to make this film. The action moves at a well-timed pace. There are scenes used to punctuate the action, to give the audience some rest but the action moves through the film carrying you along. It’s like a roller coaster ride, a slow spot just before the track falls out from beneath you and you accelerate to 4Gs. Mr. Spielberg set out to entertain and he succeeded.
The original DVD release exhibited a few technical issues that were fairly common in those early days of the technology. The DTS audio track was notoriously flat; lacking the full range and richness that made cinephiles prefer DTS. This was corrected in subsequent Blu-ray. Eventually, the entire trilogy was re-released in high definition but the technology has continued to advance and this starting offering has once again been remastered to accommodate the change. The latest rendition of the film is the inclusion of the illusion of depth with the latest method to present a movie in 3D. The concept has been in use for nearly half a century but only recently had computer technology been available to supply the resolution and control of perspective to offer the audience the best 3D experience yet. Considering this is an example of remastering the film to infuse each frame with the extra information to render a 3D image. Many studios are revisiting the most popular movies in their catalogue but Universal chose a film deserving such treatment. Of course the most obvious scenes where depth adds to the experience are those depicting the dinosaurs lunging at the hapless humans otherwise known as dinner. They do assume an incredible additional impact with the 3D treatment. In conjunction with the 1080p resolution not only are you able to discern the texture provided by the visualization of thousands of individual scale on their skin or the myriad of leaves in the lush vegetation of the tropical setting. What is truly impressive with this 3D release is how it brings Spielberg’s vision to life with a previously unmatched level. The level of realism is greatly enhanced as the curvature of the objects and numerous planes of the setting are visible. You can readily discriminate foreground, middle and background as unique aspects of the frame. This gives the viewer a great feeling of intimacy to the experience. Even if you have one or more of the previous releases if you have 3D capability in your home entertainment system this is an absolute must.
The World Of Jurassic Park 3D