The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Jurassic Park 3D

I've already misled you a little bit. I haven't seen Jurassic Park in 3D. Well, I sort of have. I saw the 3D preview a few weeks back, and it was enough for me to know that I didn't want to see the whole thing in 3D. Something about the effect looked off to me. I'm generally a fan of 3D, except when it comes to these conversions of older movies. Seriously, Jurassic Park has been a great movie in 2D for twenty years now. What will it really gain from being seen in 3D? This being the case, I did what I felt was the most logical thing: I popped in my Blu-Ray of the film and watched it for the first time in many a moon the way it was intended to be seen.

Doesn't everyone remember their first time seeing Jurassic Park? I went on the opening Saturday back in '93. Eager to see it in the biggest, nicest theater possible, my buddies and I drove half an hour across the Maryland border to the R/C Leitersburg Cinema. It was an upscale ten-screener, and we knew Jurassic Park would be playing in one of the two massive main auditoriums. We even lined up an hour early, just to make sure we got in and secured good seats. The impact of the movie was enormous. This was the dawn of the digital effects movement, and the idea of seeing realistic-looking dinosaurs on-screen was previously unimaginable. I had grown up on rubber dinosaurs, men in costumes, and jerky stop-motion creatures. These CGI dinos were so much more credible. Jurassic Park represented a bold new step in special effects. I was so blown away by the picture that I went to see it again a few weeks later, at another theater with a large screen.

Watching JP now, I am struck by two things. First, it contains an astonishing number of iconic shots. The water rippling in the cup. The girl cowering in the Jeep as a T-Rex eyeball peeks through the window. Sam Neill and the kids running through the field as dinosaurs jaunt past them. A Velociraptor peering through the door of the kitchen that Laura Dern is hiding in. I could go on and on. We all knew Jurassic Park was a great flick at the time; seen today, it's clear that it has become an indelible piece of art. The other thing I notice is that this is the closest director Steven Spielberg ever came to doing another Jaws. Both films have the same pace; Spielberg keeps the central creatures minimally visible in the first half, then delivers relentless, brilliantly-staged thrills with them in the second. Jurassic Park absolutely deserves to stand alongside his 1975 classic.

When I reviewed the movie originally, I gave it three-and-a-half stars. My sole complaint was that some of the characterization gets lost in the second hour. I still feel that way a little bit, yet two decades have helped me see that it really doesn't matter. Jurassic Park is full throttle entertainment, plain and simple. Only time can tell which movies become classics. No matter how many Ds you see it in, it's safe to say that this one has earned the label. And I'm upping my star rating to reflect that.

( out of four)

Jurassic Park 3D is rated PG-13 for some intense science fiction terror. The running time is 2 hours and 6 minutes.

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