Chances are you’ve already seen the latest 3D action adventure movie lumbering toward theatres this weekend. “Jurassic Park’s” DNA’d dinos originally scared the spinosaurus out of people in 1993, but has been updated—except for excited references to interactive CD-ROMs—with the addition of stereoscopic imagery. It’s a blast from the Mesozoic past with 3D dinosaurs.
A refresher for those used to fast forwarding to the exciting bits: Set in a time when CD ROMs aren’t the culture’s biggest scientific advance, the action begins when billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) invites his two grandchildren, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) and a group of scientists (Sam Neill and Laura Dern), lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) and a mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) to his new biogenetics theme park, Jurassic Park, located on a remote island off the coast of Costa Rica.
The park’s big draw are real brachiosaurs, triceratops, velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus Rexes grown from long-dormant dino DNA molecules taken from dinosaur-biting prehistoric insects preserved in amber.
It’s all fun and games until an underhanded employee (Wayne “Newman” Knight) hatches a plan to steal dinosaur embryos. His plan goes awry and soon hungry dinosaurs are on the rampage, snacking on lawyers and hunting the kids!
For a period piece–this year marks its twentieth anniversary—“Jurassic Park” is still a pulse pounder. Twenty years ago the special effects that gave us the lifelike dinosaurs made our eyeballs dance. Today we don’t notice the computer generated magic as much and can allow ourselves to be swept away by the thriller and horror aspects of director Steven Spielberg’s vision.
After an opening that relies too heavily on exposition—show me, don’t tell me!—the movie’s pleasures reveal themselves when Spielberg’s impeccable sense of timing comes into play. The now legendary trembling glass of water scene—ripples slowly appear as a T-Rex approaches—is as exciting now as it was two decades ago.
The question here is whether or not a film like “Jurassic Park” is improved by the addition of 3D bells and whistles. The real answer is no, but the movie remains an adrenaline rush and a treat to see back where it belongs, on the big screen.