Jurassic Park: An IMAX 3D Experience
I worked long and hard this week, including a few night shifts, and by today I was exhausted. I made some big bucks, and didn't have anything booked today, so I thought I'd treat myself by spending $12 to see a movie I've already seen 20 times, but in a different format with goofy looking glasses on. So I caught a 10:30 AM screening of Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D (or JPX3D as I'm sure the cool kids are calling it [?]) followed promptly by a nap when I got home. WAS IT WORTH IT...?
The IMAX part of the experience was pretty great. Seeing it on a theater screen is cool enough, but seeing it on a HUGE theater screen is a real treat. It's a good experience throughout, but scenes like the brontosaurus reveal are petty cool when ALL you can see in your range of vision is the movie. Also, that T-Rex roar with the IMAX speakers... YEUH.
The real draw for this is the 3D, obviously. And it is pretty impressive for the most part. It's probably in the top five 3D movies I've ever seen. And it's probably *the* best post-converted 3D production anyone has ever done. Even in the early scenes when nothing is going on, the 3D is noticeable, and really good. No brightness issues, and the film quality is rarely compromised by adding the new effect. I was probably more impressed in the first half than the second half, but there are key shots throughout the whole thing that look pretty cool in 3D.
So in the end, I'd recommend JPX3D simply on the fact that it's Jurassic Park. I mean, it was one of the movies that shaped my childhood. And then I'd recommend it for the opportunity to see it in IMAX with the best speaker system you have available to you. Then I'd recommend seeing it because the 3D isn't terrible like it usually is, and it's a different way of seeing a classic film without destroying the very fabric that made it a classic film. It's not like they inserted extra CGI dinosaurs, or a digital song and dance number, or something.
So if you haven't seen Jurassic Park in a long time, this is your perfect chance to see it again, and see it in a memorable way. I guess there's no point in rating it, because it's obviously a great movie... ...but I guess if I had to give all the extra IMAXy and 3D-y elements added to it a rating, I'd rate those at like an 8.5 out of 10.
Now to close out with some random thoughts as I watched:
-I never bought into the theory that the scientists kept saying about how bringing back dinosaurs was a terrible idea and the mere fact that Hammond did it was basically dooming itself to failure from the start... I mean, if Dennis Nedry, a HUMAN, didn't recklessly sabotage the island, Jurassic Park would have been fine. And it would have been an AWESOME tourist attraction. It's no more dangerous than a zoo, or a safari tour. If all the animals at Brookfield Zoo were let loose on the sidewalks, they would kill a few people. And if all the dinosaurs had managed to stay behind electrified fences, Jurassic Park would have been a huge success. Hammond didn't mess up nature's way by recreating dinosaurs, he simply messed up his awesome theme park by hiring an asshole like Dennis Nedry.
-While we're talking about Nedry, that high pitch squealing noise he makes at the restaurant when Dodgson opes the Barbasol can is both hilarious and confusing. That came out of a human mouth? It gets me every time.
-Perhaps the most overlooked line in the entire film: when they are getting the video tour and their seats shift towards the scientists hatching eggs in the laboratory, the lawyer says "Now, are they... auto... erotica...?"
-A little kid (probably too young for the movie) left the theater sobbing after the T-Rex scene and didn't come back. You still got it, Jurassic Park... Terrifying toddlers of a whole new generation.
-Some people have brought up the point during the car in the tree scene, about how they should have just climbed to the side of the tree and let the car go past them (similar to the Prometheus "just run sideways" argument). In defense of this scene, I will say that there were NO branches on the side of the tree, and even if there WERE, if the car went before them and smashed all the branches on its way down, then they'd have no way of getting down the tree. So... SHUT UP.
-Laura Dern wins the award for best (and most) over-dramatic terrified reaction faces.
-Do you think Timmy went home after all this, and then went back to school and tried to tell all his friends about how he had this amazing dinosaur weekend, and no one believed him, and he was publicly ridiculed, and everyone called him "Crazy Tim" for the rest of his grade school days? "I swear, you guys, I went to my Grandpa's island, and I was attacked by a T-Rex! I swear!" "Yeah, whatever, Crazy Tim, why don't you go eat lunch by yourself in the corner..."
-Why did the T-rex throw the goat leg at the top of the car? Also HOW did it do it? They show its hand going over the top of the fence, which in the next scene is at the level of the T-Rex's head. Given that it has tiny arms, was it like standing on its tippy-toes, quietly chuckling to itself "Huhuhuhuh... this will be hilarious!" as it threw a perfectly cut goat leg at a car's sunroof. If T-Rex was a human, he would be the guy who spits on cars off of the overpass.
-Surprisingly, the least impressive scene of the movie in terms of IMAX speakers and 3D effects: the helicopter shot entering the island with the theme blasting. Underwhelming on both new fronts. Somehow...
To close this out: HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS. CLEVER GIRL. I SPARED NO EXPENSE.
Woke up, did my taxes and rewarded myself with JP3DIMAX.
First, the 3D previews - Oblivion looks fantastic, though they seem to have given away the surprise ending - Man of Steel looks better than Superman Returns but not sure it needs to be in 3D from this trailer - though I now think every movie should be available in IMAX.
Speaking of which, I know we have discussed how exactly they up-rez 35mm or digital 1080p to IMAX using the proprietary IMAX conversion service - but it still is amazing that the resolution is there to begin with.
Now for JP:
I thought the IMAX looked great. In some scenes such as inside the trailer at the dig site and at the cafe with Nedry you could look around and see details as if really in the location. Inside the trailer especially it shows just how detailed the set decoration gets.
Closeups of faces were amazing. You could count the hairs on Hammond's beard and probably in his nostrils if you were looking there!
T-rex attack was tremendous with the sound. I thought the wide shots of dinosaur herds were soft but the raptors looked perfect. Aside from the mid 90's computer displays this movie holds up well.
Best scenes apart from the action is the interactions between Grant and the kids. After all that's Spielberg's sweet spot. Some scenes in 3D were perfect but others could have used more - although as Scott suggested, in a scene with a chopper and the ocean there is not much room for depth. The scenes inside the chopper were kind of flat, but that is where moderation comes into the conversion - knowing when not to add depth.
Regardless it is amazing how they can isolate layers of picture from flat originals right down to smoke and lens flares, though they probably add those anew.
The reveal of the main theme 15 minutes into the movie is still a wonderful feeling.
In summary, I would have seen JP in IMAX even without 3D.
PS - Since there was already a key scene involving walkie talkies, I will withhold my typical walkie talkie joke.
Remember when E.T. was the highest grossing picture of all time until Jurassic Park passed it for the top spot? Titanic so completely swamped it (see what I did there?) that it's hard to remember, but, yes, for 4 years, it was the biggest movie in history.
We took a JP virgin with us to see it -- a very sophisticated filmgoer, 60-ish, been there done ALLA that, but had somehow missed this. Absolutely delightful to watch her reactions.
The first thing I noted was that the gap between the ages of Sam Neill and Laura Dern looked larger than I remembered. Just checked: they're 20 years apart.
I'd forgotten that Jeff Goldblum was kinda buff in this. Him golden and shirtless might be the one and only kinda sexy shot in Steven's entire filmography. (Marian kissing Indy's elbow was the only actually kinda sexy SCENE, but as a shot? Not as hot as Jeff. Watch 'em both again. I'm tellin' ya.) Jeff was actually pretty buff for a while there. Hey, maybe he still is. But I haven't seen a photo like this of him in a while.
Because of finding out later that it was shot in Hawaii, I'd forgotten that JP was set in Costa Rica. That's really freaking close. Most of the people reading this are closer to Costa Rica than, say, Las Vegas.
(When John Hammond laments that he should have put Jurassic Park in Orlando, I think Vegas was the right answer.)
The DNA thing grinds the movie to a halt. I get that it needed to be there, especially two years before DNA and OJ were the two most famous acronyms in the world. You couldn't just wave a hand over it at the time and say, "We got the DNA from flies in amber." But I thought this at the time and felt it even more this time: I'm not sure the movie ever entirely recovers its momentum after that. Yeah, almost the entire movie happens after that, and almost all the good stuff...and not that I wasn't wild about it. I was. I'm just saying. Until the Gallimimus stampede scene I wasn't convinced I was gonna make it all the way through. Still my favorite scene in the movie I think.
That, and the one where John Hammond is eating all the ice cream. I could totally eat that much ice cream.
It's crazy not to do whatever it takes to see this in 3D, though. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, do whatever it takes to see this in 3D.
And if you haven't seen it before at all, do whatever it takes to see this in 3D.
I do not really remember JP 2 and 3 aside from feeling that JP 2 was stupid and JP 3 was an improvement over 2. Was Hammond in eaiter of the sequels? I remember a brief scene with Timmy and Lexie and Dr Malcolm and/or Grant. By the end of the movie Hammond finally gets over all the money he spent and realizes maybe it was a bad idea.
But it is true - if Nedry never sabotaged the computer system, things would have been just dandy (although a worker was eaten by a raptor even before Nedry so maybe it was bound to fail after all).
Favorite ridiculous moment was Lexie looking at the computer and saying "this is UNIX...I know this" - what she was looking at was a short lived GUI from SGI in which you navigate a 3D dashboard to access programs - not rocket science. In 1994 we had that exact interface on one of our Indigo workstations - it was a hokey attempt at avoiding the need to type commands into a unix shell window and we never used it except to demonstrate that scene from Jurassic Park!
I too was shocked by Goldblum's open shirt pose - he was back in the visitor's center and could very well have buttoned up!
Tim - I got home and polished off half a container of vanilla ice cream!
Found this behind the scenes video:
Does Spielberg operate camera on all of his movies?
That's a bit surreal seeing that movie set in front of the visitors center NOT as a scene in the movie. Also, Spielberg has to be one of the top directors of all time in directing children successfully, right? I'm usually not a fan of the terribleness of child actors, but they never seem to be a problem in his films. Side note: Timmy (Joseph Mazzello) was actually in the new G.I. Joe film I saw last week! I've also seen him in The Social Network, and the HBO mini-series The Pacific. I wouldn't have recognized him if it wasn't pointed out to me.
And now for a random nostalgic memory:
I was just thinking about the officially licensed Jurassic Park video game for Sega Genesis, and how cool my 8-year-old self thought it was that you could play the game as a raptor. End of pointless memory.
q[Scott Roberts] "Timmy (Joseph Mazzello) was actually in the new G.I. Joe film I saw last week! I've also seen him in The Social Network, and the HBO mini-series The Pacific. "
He also had a terrific 3-episode run in Justified this season, not only the best show on TV right now, but one of the best ever. WATCH THIS SHOW!!!
[Tim Wilson] "WATCH THIS SHOW!!!"
I know I'm supposed to be busy right now, but I wanted to second this. WATCH THIS SHOW.
[Kylee Wall] "I know I'm supposed to be busy right now, but I wanted to second this. WATCH THIS SHOW."
I may have had something to do with Kylee watching, but she's the one who pointed out Mazello to me.
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Watched this at the IMAX, highly recommend catching a print there. It's not just the 3D that is terrific, the sound is amazing! The first time I heard the T-Rex roar with that IMAX sound I about wet myself.
I never got to see JP in the theaters, so my first experience was a VHS on a 21" TV. It's funny how I've seen this movie a thousand times but it felt so fresh and captivating seeing it this way. Just one more reason why it would be sad to see VOD kill movie theaters.