Sixty-five million years ago, dinosaurs called the shots.
In 1993, director Steven Spielberg's special effects juggernaut stomped into theaters, swallowed worldwide box office records and nabbed three Oscar wins. Not bad for an extinct species.
At heart, “Jurassic Park 3D” is a carbon copy of its original counterpart. The movie remains a thrilling and extremely loud story about humanity going toe-to-toe with nature. An eccentric CEO named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) recruits a small group of paleontologists and reptile enthusiasts to pay a visit to the soft opening of a living, breathing dinosaur theme park. Everything goes swimmingly until the cages break and people start getting picked off by dinosaurs faster than cheap flat screen televisions on Black Friday.
But like the appetite of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, there's always room for more. So, after two decades, “Jurassic Park 3D” found a convenient trend to sink its teeth into.
Luckily, there's more than enough magic hiding in every masterful shot and stunning set piece. John Williams' dramatic score persists to be a cinematically sweeping soundtrack. It's still physically possible to get chills from seeing a towering Brachiosaurus or from hearing the screech of a Velociraptor. “Jurassic Park 3D” has almost all the same ingredients as its predecessor. The only noticeable difference comes from the clumsy plastic 3-D glasses.
“Jurassic Park” needed to be in three dimensions like “Schindler's List” needed a new scene consisting of singing and dancing Nazis. The 3-D elements of this rerelease were more of a distraction than a welcome addition. “Jurassic Park 3D” tries too hard to improve an already effective 2-D undertaking. Guns, foliage and even flashlight beams get the three-dimensional treatment but they add nothing to the film's overall experience. If you're a carnivore, think of “Jurassic Park” as a bacon cheeseburger and “Jurassic Park 3D” as a bacon cheeseburger wrapped in foil. Just because a burger has a new wrapper doesn't make it taste better. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) monologues a line that sums up my feelings on the additional special effects.
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should,” he says.
Dinosaurs in 3-D don't look scarier than they did in the '90s. I can guarantee that a raptor doesn't appear more intelligent when it's clawing at a doorknob with an extra dimension. If anything should be commended, it's the sound of “Jurassic Park 3D.” It puts the audio of my parents' worn VHS copy to shame, and it's capable of making a packed crowd jump.
Don't show up to “Jurassic Park 3D” looking for a new and improved movie. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to re-appreciate a state-of-the-art film that's as visually arresting as recent CGI powerhouses such as “Life of Pi” or “The Avengers.” This reboot has bite but that's because its teeth were always sharp.
— Nathan Poppe