Jurassic Park Trilogy - Blu-ray
With the incredible proliferation of high definition in the home theater market most studios have begun to devote a significant amount of their resources to revisiting titles in their vast catalogues of movies. These new releases run the gamut from perennial favorites to the odd cult classics, each providing cinephiles with the best possible version of these movies to grace their collections. In many cases the natural question asked is whether the repurchase of something already in your collection is worth it. Admittedly in some cases the answer will be no but there are valid reasons to invest in a Blu-ray copy of films you already own. One excellent example is a recent release of the ‘Jurassic Park Trilogy’ on Blu-ray. This was a highly anticipated release back from when DVDs initially came out in the late seventies and fans have been clamoring for a high definition treatment for years. The wait is finally over and the definitive set of this Science fiction classic is here. Well definitive until Universal studios decides to remaster it for 3D. There is an ultra deluxe variation that packages the disc in a plastic tableau featuring a nasty looking toy T Rex but unless you have money and shelf space in abundance you might as well stick with the disc only edition. After all it is the discs that are so much fun to watch. Admittedly I have more object d’art on display in my home theater but critics tend to get freebies. Some are so substantial I would have purchased them anyway but in this particular instance the plastic model is a touch of fluff. Fortunately, the actual content, that is to say the disc, is far from that. They are expertly remastered and never looked or sounded as well as they do here. In answer to the perennial question of repurchasing the recommendation for this set is a qualified ‘Yes’, at least for diehard fans of the films. If this is your first encounter with the movies and they now have electricity on that deserted island you live on, this set is preferable to the DVD equivalents.
First of all I would like to explain the reason behind giving the recommendation a qualified yes. This is after all a release from Universal studios and they have been under attack by high definition devotees for a few years now. They have the regrettable tendency to overly rely on digital signal manipulation to reduce the noise and other artifacts of their processing. While not as bad as some other titles that could be cited the effects are still present and will quickly move from noticeable to annoying especially in the eyes of the more discerning viewer. There is a softness that pervades the video that is antithetical to the entire concept of high definition. It was more noticeable in the first film but appears to improve with the other two movies. Thankfully the CGI shots seem to have avoided most of the over mastering issues. While some of the night scenes are a rather indistinct around the edges the video truly shines with the all important rendering of the stars of the films; the dinosaurs. Their skin is flawlessly presented; just as you would imagine living Dino skin would be. The textures are so well presented that you can practically see differences between the various species. In the daylight the flora of the island comes alive with every leaf, each blade of grass distinguishable. Again, the nighttime and darker indoor shots tend to suffer from varying degrees of noise compensation that is gratefully absent in the brighter sections of the movies.
The remastering of the audio is spot on perfect. The DTS-HD MA 7.1 is as close as you are likely to come to reference quality. It gives a full workout to all your speakers with a much better than usual channel separation. The rear speakers do a whole lot more than just provide the usual ambience and reverberation. The audio effects flow seamlessly from one speaker to the next closely following what is happening on the screen. When a stick is tossed to distract a hungry carnivore you hear it land on the other side of your room. As the hapless humans flee from snapping, salivating jaws you hear the brush being pushed aside and the crunch of leaves and twigs under foot. Of course there is nothing like the roar of a T Rex in full surround sound. It echoes through your living room rattling the walls. Speaking of which there is something you can try that is certain to impress your friends. In the iconic scene where the advancing creature is heralded by the tremors in a glass of water take a similar plastic cup and fill it with water placing it on your sub woofer. Watch your guests’ reaction as the same concentric rings appear in your glass as the sub woofer sounds out the thuds. In the third film the flying dinosaurs take on a new dimension of reality as they soar around you seat. While there are a few technical issues with the video most noticeable to the ardent enthusiast the audio is spectacular.
The set contains all the bonus material previously released on the DVD editions with a number of new extras provided to help fill out the added storage area of a 50 GB disc. They run the full range from mildly interesting to captivating but in most cases worth watching.