‘Jurassic Park 3D’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 15th, 2014 at 12:51 am,

Jurassic Park 3D Logo Jurassic Park 3D Review

With Jurassic Park 3D, Spielberg will once again make audiences believe (if only for a second) that dinosaurs can still rule the Earth – or at least the box office.

After twenty years, Jurassic Park is back – this time with a year-long 3D post-conversion. The groundbreaking film originally debuted back in 1993, on a $63 million production budget, and set the bar for big screen CG visual effects. Drawing from Michael Crichton’s rich source material novel, director Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park adaptation wasn’t just a box office hit with fun characters and giant dinosaurs; for many film fans, the experience redefined the meaning of the phrase “movie magic” – and served as a catalyst for a whole new generation of cinema lovers.

In preparation for the film’s twentieth anniversary, Spielberg and Universal Pictures worked closely with post-conversion house StereoD to bring Jurassic Park back to the big screen – cleaner, sharper, and in 3D. However, with availability on DVD (and even a recent Blu-ray release), does a 3D post-conversion offer enough payoff to make it worth another trip to Jurassic Park?

NOTE: As with previous 3D rerelease reviews, the purpose of our Jurassic Park 3D review is to help our readers make an informed decision about the 3D rerelease, not spend time revisiting any overarching shortcomings that might have been evident in the original movie – especially since readers are likely well acquainted with the quality and overwhelmingly positive critical reception of the 1993 version. In a time when movie studios are quick to shove unnecessary post-conversion rereleases into theaters, moviegoers need to know which films have enjoyed a rigorous as well as artistic 3D treatment and which ones are simply revisited for the purpose of studio double-dipping – made even more enticing by 3D upcharges and eventual 3D Blu-ray sales.

Jurassic Park 3D T Rex Escape Jurassic Park 3D Review

Fortunately, with Jurassic Park, StereoD and Spielberg have delivered one of the sharpest and most satisfying 3D “legacy” titles to hit theaters. Unlike post-conversions on more recent movies (which are typically shot digitally), StereoD spent over a year converting Jurassic Park into 3D from the original 2D film stock – regularly meeting with Spielberg to show him work-in-progress and receive feedback. As mentioned, due to a high number of subpar releases, a lot of filmgoers assume that post-conversion 3D results in an inferior (and uncomfortable) viewing experience. However, quality post-conversion is a painstaking process (more on that in our 5 Biggest Misconceptions About 3D feature) and, thankfully, StereoD took their time with Jurassic Park 3D.

Spielberg has always shot his films with a mindful eye for depth and, as a result, Jurassic Park strikes a satisfying balance of heightening immersion without distracting 3D pop-out. It’s a comfortable, and subtle, post-conversion aided by the vast tropical island backdrop of Isla Nublar, imaginative sets (like the iconic Visitor’s Center), and giant CG dinosaurs, of course. Building anticipation was a strength of the 2D film – as the director focused on intimate character reactions before unveiling a dinosaur, or some other hazard, to his audience. This approach is now enhanced by added depth of field – breathing fresh excitement and immersion into scenes that many moviegoers already know by heart: the Brachiosaurus reveal, T-Rex paddock escape, Jeep chase, Gallimimus herd, and kitchen scene, among others.

Jurassic Park Kitchen Raptors Jurassic Park 3D Review

In fact, the 3D makes certain minute details more vibrant, such as the pattern and texture on the Dilophosaurus fan. Similarly, that added dimension actually causes the CG creations to look more realistic and even masks a few muddled shots from the original release – shots where a disconnect between digital effects and practical assets (sets and actors) might have otherwise been noticeable. Not every film will benefit from a post-conversion treatment but, even in the 1990s, Jurassic Park delivered unparalleled spectacle – and while visual effects and 3D technology have evolved significantly, the JP film experience hasn’t been dated by time.

That said, the 3D in Jurassic Park will, without a doubt, come under criticism from moviegoers who expect eye-popping 3D moments in order to feel like a premium ticket cost is justified. Spielberg and StereoD definitely favored the subtle method of post-conversion – instead of distorting the original film for overt third-dimension gimmicks. Still, given the larger-than-life dinosaur stars and sprawling environments, Jurassic Park includes plenty of scenes where, even if the 3D is subtle, audiences will be able to appreciate the effect.

Even without the 3D, seeing Jurassic Park on the big screen again is worth the cost of admission on its own. Some IMAX special engagements add little value to the overall film – aside from a bigger screen and louder sound. However, Spielberg was intentional about his use of sound and scale to heighten anticipation and spectacle. The film will look great on a standard 3D screen but, for those willing to spring for a premium ticket, Jurassic Park: An IMAX 3D Experience adds an extra layer to scenes like the T-Rex paddock escape – where the dinosaur is teased by booming impact tremors and, after breaking out, looms high from ground-level camera shots.

Jurassic Park 3D T Rex Jurassic Park 3D Review

3D rereleases have been a mixed bag at the box office but Jurassic Park 3D is easy to recommend - especially to longtime fans and younger viewers (who were to young to catch the movie on a big screen). StereoD has taken a subtle post-conversion approach to Spielberg’s film – which should come as a relief to worried Jurassic Park enthusiasts but may underwhelm casual viewers looking for a heavy-handed 3D experience. It’s a tasteful and respectful conversion that injects new wonder and excitement into one of the most captivating adventure movies ever made. Viewers may not be able to see or touch the attractions in real life but, with Jurassic Park 3D, Spielberg will once again make audiences believe (if only for a second) that dinosaurs can still rule the Earth – or at least the box office.

If you’re still on the fence about Jurassic Park 3D, check out the trailer below:

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[poll id="569"]

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Jurassic Park 3D runs 127 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror. Now playing in 3D and IMAX 3D theaters and set for 3D Blu-ray release on April 23rd 2013.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5
(Must-See)

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TAGS: jurassic park

37 Comments

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  1. Mr. Dna: DINERSARS!!!

  2. Dang, I might have to see it now with this high a rating. Hell, if I went to watch Phantom Menace in 3D I might as well go watch Jurassic Park.

  3. Spelling Nazi moment: “Gallimimus HEARD”?

    Moving on…Thank you for this review! I tend to love subtle use of 3D that makes you feel like it is all around you rather than just a few scenes where something specifically jumps out. Like you mentioned, Jurassic Park was one of my first true moments of movie magic, bringing all those childhood dreams of seeing dinosaurs to life! I still feel a sense of wonder on the Brachiosaur reveal and am now really looking forward to seeing this movie
    Thanks again!

    • Cheers! Fixed the typo.

      • On that note, the part in parentheses in the last paragraph should be “too young” rather than “to young.”

  4. So people are actually going to spin money on something they seen 10, 20 years ago, just because it’s in 3D? WOW

    • No we’re spending money to see it on a big screen in digital surround sound. Sure I can pop it in the Blu-ray player whenever I want, but I can’t watch it on a gigantic movie screen with an audience. That’s what I’m paying for. The 3D is just a bonus.

      • Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

      • Totally agree DJ….there are just some movies that MUST be seen on the big screen. And this is one of them.

      • It’s also worth it for the absolutely amazing new transfer. If someone told me it was actually shot in 70mm 3D I would have believed them. It makes the blu-ray transfer look like a VHS copy. They spared no expense.

    • And nothing can beat the memories some films bring back even after a decade or two. Negative people will always remain negative no matter what.

  5. I still find it incredible that the movie’s almost (over?) twenty years old and both the CGI and practical effects rival anything released today

    (Wow, I feel older now…I was born in ’92.)

    Still one of my favorite movies and probably the best example of how to use CGI to help the film rather than be the main attraction

    • couldn’t agree with you more. I hate too much CGI

  6. Whoa! Nice review Ben. I think i’ll check it out. I was 9 when I saw the original.

    But how utterly shocking is it to see that this film was made on a $63 million budget. It makes sense, of course. Just weird to see these days.

    • Yeah, the inflation definitely makes that number misleading (but still interesting).

      The inflation is all the more obvious when you see how much the film made (at the time):

      Domestic: $357,067,947
      + Foreign: $557,623,171
      Total: $914,691,118

      Of course, just under $1 billion is still a huge amount of money.

  7. Wow, high rating for JP in 3D. I might have to see it in 3D now. Maybe in 2D aswell since i never saw it in theaters.

  8. I have never seen this movie in theaters, but am very interested, glad to hear that the 3D is good

  9. A subtle approach to 3D sounds like the right approach for post conversion.
    Your point taken, Ben, that the visuals and framing from the original Jurasic Park
    are particularly well-suited for a post conversion to 3D I think is a defining justification.

    If this is successful theatrically I suspect Spielberg will be mining other of his titles
    for this process and release of which there are many that are visually suitable too.
    I wonder too in Spielberg’s interest and direct involvement in this project means
    we might be seeing him taking the plunge and shoot in 3D for a future release.

    • Exactly, there are a number of scenes where the 3D really showcases how rich and intentional the framing and cinematography is – even if it wasn’t shot for 3D. I expect you’re right about Spielberg choosing to shoot in live-action 3D for a future project (he did shoot 3D in Tintin) – as well as consider rereleasing some of his legacy titles in 3D.

      Maybe Close Encounters of the Third Kind?
      Minority Report might look cool – but that’s probably not “beloved” enough for a major rerelease.

      • Close Encounters — you picked his likely next for this treatment, Ben.
        Assuming there is a next and that title would get everyone’s attention.
        Maybe Steven did not want to risk that brand just yet and chose Jurassic
        to learn from and refine this reworking before attempting his better movies.

        Tintin being motion capture almost does not count as shooting in 3D for me
        but you are right to point out Spielberg has worked with the format before.
        What I am curious is to whether he shoot a non-animation type film in 3D.
        I never thought Scorsese either would but he has given his imprimatur.

  10. I might end up watching this, for my first 3D film ever. This was my favorite movie when I was a little kid. Great review Ben.

    • I’ve been skeptical of seeing movies in 3D, and up until this weekend I avoided it. Jurassic Park was my favorite movie as a kid as well, so I made an exception for it and it was definitely worth it. Don’t miss out on seeing it on the big screen, it adds a whole new sense of awe. :)

  11. I’m pretty sure 1 star is 3rd in the poll because everyone loves Nedrys line! “Dont get cheap on me Dodgson!

  12. Geez I can’t believe we still have grandpa’s whining about how people revisit a film because it’s in 3D. They’re missing the point on experiencing a movie we love the first time in theaters. And that’s aside from the fact that the 3D actually works, along with the triumphant roars theater surround sound offers. I just got back from an IMAX 3D showing, packed with people of all ages, even with mum and dads with children and everyone applauded in the end. Aside from the fact the 3D.

    SPOILER WARNING – I am as sad as Hammond at the end to walk away from what he thought could share with the world. With this movie now in 3D, it really did feel like seeing dinosaurs in real life all over again. I’ve seen this movie a million times and never felt this deep about it ’til now. I highly recommend people to not miss out on this opportunity.

    As for the quality, this version of the movie was remastered PROPERLY, better than the so-called remaster done on the 2011 Blu-Ray, which was basically artificially sharpened to death just so they can call it HD.

    Here’s an article explaining the remastering process, done in 4K with a warmer palette matching the original look of the film [ctrl+F "4K" to jump into it]: http://fxguide.com/featured/welcome-back-to-jurassic-park/

    Many users from blu-ray.com e-mailed Universal if and if they could include the new remaster/transfer on 2D Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, they are not going to do a thing about it (read their automated “replies” on the comment section of that article). Shame I can’t take home the remastered experience on 2D Blu-Ray, seeing how i don’t own a 3D TV.

    If somehow you can pass word on this to Universal or Spielberg himself, that’d be great. At this point contacting Universal is basically kicking a dead horse.

  13. Even as a big fan of the original, I was absolutely not expecting a 4.5 star review here. Is it competing for movie of the year? I wasn’t planning to see it at all (I know it line by line) but I’ll have to say you got me thinking twice.

  14. Jurassic Park 3D is clocking in at a pace for 18 Million this weekend.
    In light of a conversion cost of 10 million Universal’s bet will pay off.

  15. Completely worth the price of seeing it in IMAX. The 3D was good most of the time, but sometimes, it made the “fake-ness” of the CGI (What little there was) more apparent which was slightly distracting. But still, seeing JP on the big screen is worth every penny. When it was in theaters, I was only two (Still saw it) and it has been my favorite film since then.

  16. Jurassic Park 3D gets a 4.5 and The Place Beyond The Pines gets a 3, I remember why I don’t come here anymore, thanks for reinforcing it.

    • Do us the favor please, and don’t come back :)

    • Ron -

      Nearly every single person in this comment thread that has seen the movie said that it was great in 3D – and the film itself is well-loved 25 years after initial release. Not sure why you think a 4.5 is out of place.

      • Yes, this movie is ASTOUNDING, especially for having been released in 1988 ; )

  17. My 1st Movie was Lost World … But i got to see this in 3D … that Soundtrack of Jurassic Park will give peace to me and T Rex to scare ….. Cant wait to bring back my Childhood !!!

  18. I’m going to be taking my 9 year old grandson to Jurassic Park 3D. I haven’t found an answer yet as to which 3D is the best–IMAX 3D, real 3D or dolby 3D. Can anyone out there help? Thanks.

  19. Can anyone tell me which Jurassic Park I should take my 9 yr. old grandson to–IMAX 3D, Real 3D or Dolby 3D? Thanks.

    • It’s great you are taking your grand son to Jurassic Park 3D, Ms.Reynolds. And by the way, take your kid to IMAX 3D. Real 3D is when the movie is shot in 3D format. JP is post converted.

    • Sue – Yeah, IMAX 3D is the way to go. Dolby 3D and RealD are fine too but the larger screen size and sound in IMAX definitely adds to the experience – without sacrificing the quality of the 3D.

  20. Totally worth it. I went to the theater assuming nothing; not even willing to pay the extra cost to see this movie if not for a friend who was dying to see it on the big screen again. I had fortunately seen it back in ’93 when I was 7, and I remember the buzz I had walking out into the cinema lobby and realizing the power of a great movie (plus, it had DINOSAURS). Thanks Mom, and thanks to my friend for convincing me to see it again on the big screen 20 years later. It’s nice to be reminded that great movies, like great art, transcend the ages.
    The only thing that dates this movie is the wardrobe of some of the excavation site guests at the opening, but that’s not a complaint: it’s a compliment to the the technical achievements of this film which are still second to none. I’m going to hate to see what most of our current movies are going to look like in 20 years, because sadly our modern CGI extravaganzas can’t hold a candle to this. Whenever possible, animatronics and puppetry are the way to go. One of Spielberg’s best. Watch this and then watch the 4th Indiana Jones and tell me which one has more heart.