MRR Review: "Jurassic Park 3D"

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Steven Spielberg directs this 1993 adventure sci-fi film in which genetically engineered dinosaurs run amok at a tycoon's island amusement park. Based on Michael Crichton's novel, Jurassic Park stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Richards & Joseph Mazzello.
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MRR Review: "Jurassic Park 3D"

-- Rating: PG-13
Length: 127 minutes
Release Date: April 5, 2013
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Adventure/Sci-Fi

Originally released in 1993, "Jurassic Park" was director Steven Spielberg's return to adult adventure after dipping his toe into children's fables with the lackluster "Hook." While "Hook" starred big-name actors such as Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, "Jurassic Park" featured, at the time, lesser-known Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and a pre-"Pulp Fiction" Samuel L. Jackson. However, you're here to see "Jurassic Park" for the dinosaurs, not the actors. Spielberg and his team, through special effects, create a world where these prehistoric creatures believably roam the Earth. Those creatures, and the film itself, have been given the 3D treatment, creating a world that literally jumps out and grabs you. Not only is it great to see the film on the big screen again, but "Jurassic Park 3D" also manages to actually work in this format.

For the uninitiated, "Jurassic Park 3D" is a tale about science gone amok. Like all great monster films, it has a mad scientist, in this case, Richard Attenborough's John Hammond, who believes he has the power to create life. Hammond has built a zoo, called Jurassic Park, filled with dinosaurs. After an accident where a worker met an untimely end due to a Velociraptor attack, Hammond is forced to bring experts to the island to verify its safety.

The experts, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) meet Hammond and his grandchildren Lex (Ariana Murphy) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello). What begins as an easy tour through the park soon turns into a nightmare when a rogue worker (Wayne Knight), shuts down the power. Stuck in the middle of a storm, the group of scientists and children is suddenly in danger when the electrical fence fails, allowing a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex to break free and attack them. The tour originally planned as a quiet trip becomes a nightmare as the scientists and children race to get off the island without being eaten alive.

Based on the book by Michael Crichton, "Jurassic Park" follows the basic storyline of the source material, streamlining it to focus mostly on the ill-fated tour of the island. Spielberg sets the film up as if it were a rollercoaster, using the beginning's introduction to the characters as a way to ratchet up the tension before unleashing a torrent of twists and turns that don't let up until the very end. While exciting for adults, the film has scenes of children in danger, which may upset younger viewers.

One of the most impressive aspects of the films is the CGI. "Jurassic Park" was an innovator when it came to immersing computer graphics with live-action situations. The work here is so well done that not only does it stand above other films with similar special effects from that era, but it almost as good as some of the work done in today's movies. This sort of immersive atmosphere plays well with 3D. There are moments, such as that when the Tyrannosaurus Rex is chasing Dr. Sattler and Malcom's jeep, where the 3D effect seems tailor-made for the film. Another scene where the Velociraptors corner Tim and Lex in the park kitchen feels even more tense when it looks like the Raptors are literally right in front of you.

Spielberg's always been a master of action, and "Jurassic Park" sees him playing completely to his strengths. Things move fast and furious, with very little of the film's running time devoted to characterization. Sure, there are minor hints at conflict with the kids and their parents, and there's a subplot about Alan's issues with children. None of these really matter in the end, though. The dinosaurs are all that matters, and the director treats them as characters. Both, the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptors have distinct personalities, making them formidable villains. When the park's security chief knows he's been trapped by the Raptors, he whispers, "clever girl," as if this creature were playing him in a game of chess.

While "Jurassic Park" may lack some of the emotions of Spielberg's films, it is one of his most exciting and fun flicks. Since the original release of "Jurassic Park," Spielberg has gone towards the personal, steering away from his action film roots in favor of more dramatic or emotional pieces. With that in mind, it's a pleasure to see the "fun Spielberg" back in theaters again. "Jurassic Park" is all adrenaline, making it an enjoyable ride even if you've seen the film before. The 3D conversion looks great, but a film of this magnitude doesn't need any other tricks. It's an exciting journey on its own, the 3D is just icing on this delicious feast of a movie.

Rating 4 out of 5