It’s almost ominous, in a way, how Samuel L. Jackson predicted not once, but twice, that our butts would need to be held onto, no doubt anticipating the wild butt quivering that would occur when Jurassic Park fantastically tore into the third dimension! This is an absolutely stunning conversion and it’s not because of any sudden change in the 3D technology, it simply boils down to the fact that director Steven Spielberg knows how to compose a shot and a tell a story. The film is already staged with so much depth, and features so many rich and iconic images, that the third dimension manages to enhance rather than detract, and makes for an extremely immersive and crowd-pleasing experience.
And that’ s why you’d pay to see this again on the big screen - make no mistake, Jurassic Park is an experience. Whether you saw it 20 years or ago, or you’re introducing someone younger, or even seeing it yourself for the first time, it’s one of those pure action/adventure cinema rides that deserves viewing on the big screen and sharing with a crowd. If you love film then you love Jurassic Park. This movie was a game changer and you can appreciate why.
And the great news is that it hasn’t really dated. In fact it’s a huge credit to the filmmakers that the 20-year-old special effects - which were essentially debuting a new technology - haven’t really dated at all. In fact I’d say that the addition of 3D has only assisted in ramping up the wonder. And no matter how big your screen at home is, you will never capture the scale of seeing that first dinosaur reveal at the movies. And seeing a life-size T-Rex in 3D is not to be missed. That iconic attack is still as real and engaging as ever and it’s one of those rare moments where you feel an entire audience momentarily forgetting how to breathe. It's a classic for a reason.
Really the only thing that has dated is the hideous fashion. Laura Dern kicks things off poorly with some double denim and then it’s high-waisted, crotch-crowding shorts for everyone. Sam Neill is inexplicably wearing a shirt that’s about four sizes too big. The velociraptors are wearing Kurt Cobain styled flannel shirts. Forget about dinosaurs. This is what happened when the 90’s ruled the earth.
But whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “Yeah I’ve seen this before, so now it’s just about the 3D”. There’s plenty in Jurassic Park, as a film, to discover again (or perhaps even for the first time, especially if you haven’t seen it for many years). My response to it as an adult was certainly different to my response as a teenager in the early nineties. This time around I was particularly impressed and aware of Spielberg’s choices as a filmmaker. Every shot is chosen to tell us something important about the story and his camera always moves in interesting ways. Even if it’s something as simple as the faux title screen that occurs when the helicopter lands and the car door opens to fill the screen with the Jurassic Park logo for the first time. He's firing on all cylinders.
And I really fell in love with the performances, especially Richard Attenborough's Hammond who shifts from such sincere enthusiasm to a broken shell. I especially love the scene where he debates Goldblum’s wildly skeptical Malcolm over lunch. It was like seeing it for the first time and it blew me away. There’s also little jokes scattered throughout that went over my head the first few times. I love it that the lawyer asks Hammond if the scientist through the window are “auto erotica”.
Okay, I’m being too positive. I’ll admit it, the kids are still as annoying as shit. But there’s something a little bit endearing about them too. Look out for that scene where Sam Neill and the kids run with the dinosaurs in the field. Little Timmy has a wound over one of his eyes like a big dirty eyebrow, and combined with his gapped teeth he looks like he’s transforming into a menacing little pirate. He later gets electrocuted and his hair stands on end, so by the time he’s hobbling around the buffet like a wino he looks like he’s in The Hangover. Even the bad stuff is enjoyable. This film is too much fun!
So obviously that’s a recommendation from me. If you have the nostalgia for it then it’s worth a revisit, and if you’re some kind of freak who has NEVER seen Jurassic Park then hold onto your butt for the very first time!