Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy (Blu-ray)
Click the title below to read the individual reviews of the films:
In 1993 a movie was released that would change the special effects landscape forever. It was a movie “65 million years in the making,” a brilliant tag-line and the start to a cultural and cinematic phenomenon that would not end for almost 10 years. In fact, you could argue that it hasn’t ended to this day. Rumors remain that a fourth movie is ever on the horizon with news released as recently as a few months ago stating that the next story is being written as this review is released.
In the late eighties and early nineties, society discovered the very real scientific possibility of cloning. Before this time, cloning was the stuff of science fiction. The idea that we could create an exact copy of a person or animal had inspired some wonderful and terrifying stories. With the release of a book by writer Michael Crichton, though, we all came to believe that there could be even cooler applications of this science. What if we found dinosaur DNA inside of mosquitoes preserved in fossilized tree sap? And what if we could somehow harvest that DNA? Could dinosaurs actually roam the earth once again? Crichton himself was inspired by real science of the time.
The book was a huge success, and the film adaptation of JURASSIC PARK was released in 1993. Having read the book prior to seeing the movie, I was really concerned about how they were going to put these huge creatures on the big screen and just how realistic it could be. Thanks to director (and micro-manager) Steven Spielberg, Stan Winston’s special effects house and the visual effects geniuses at Industrial Light and Magic, the effects used in all three JURASSIC PARK films holds up to this day.
The JURASSIC PARK ULTIMATE TRILOGY was recently released on Blu-ray, including tons of special features and high definition transfers of all three films. I only have one gripe about this set… a few years ago a friend bought me the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA special edition DVD. On the DVD is an interview with Spielberg where he discusses getting to watch the movie with director David Lean in a private screening, all the while Lean is sharing stories from the making of the movie. Spielberg, in this interview, talks about how amazing it was to have a real life audio commentary, how much he appreciated all that he was able to learn, etc. Guess what Steve? We would sure love the chance to have that experience with some of your movies! How about with the “ultimate” edition of one of your most beloved? No? This is the one thing that causes me to give this set a 9 instead of a 10 rating.
That said, the movies look great and are tons of fun from beginning to end. Watching them all back-to-back (and several years after initial viewing) has given me some insight into the movies that I didn’t have before. While all three movies are essentially survival/thriller stories, they each have a very specific audience. JURASSIC PARK is very much a family film. The scenes with gruff paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) as he softens towards the children who are trapped on the island with him are perfectly constructed and stray from the general cliches. THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK was more an action film, a story about hunters and the ramifications of man’s greed taken to the extreme. Finally JURASSIC PARK III brought back a bit of the family feel (thanks primarily to William H. Macy and Alessandro Nivola), but is more of a straight-up adventure/monster movie than the other two.
Regardless of the genre, the reason the JURASSIC PARK films stand out to this day is that they were gifted with three things: amazing special effects that pushed the boundaries and created entirely new standards for CGI; director Steven Spielberg who had a vision and pushed that vision until everything he imagined was on the screen for us to see; and finally the incredible score by John Williams. His scores are renowned the world over and this one is a treat. Remembering that these films aren’t high art (they aren’t intended to be), they are definitely some of the most fun you’ll have at home with your blu-ray player.