( Max score: 100 )
Jurassic Park: One of the most successful films in worldwide box office history, Jurassic Park remains a most compelling and spectacular experience. This thrilling adventure features Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough. Featuring incredible special effects and action-packed drama, Jurassic Park takes you to a remote island where an amazing theme park with living dinosaurs is about to turn deadly, as five people must battle to survive among the prehistoric predators. Rediscover the breathtaking adventure you'll want to experience again and again.
Jurassic Park - The lost world: Director Steven Spielberg takes us back to the scene of Jurassic Park in The Lost World, the blockbuster sequel with even more dinosaurs, more action and more breathtaking visual effects than its record-breaking predecessor. The Lost World remains among the most successful films of all time and features an all-star cast including Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore and Pete Postlethwaite. It has been four years since the disaster at Jurassic Park and two groups are in a race against time that will determine the fate of the remote island's prehistoric inhabitants.
Jurassic Park III: Adventure runs wild when renowned paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) agrees to accompany a wealthy adventurer (William H. Macy) and his wife (Tea Leoni) on an aerial tour of Isla Sorna, InGen's former breeding ground for prehistoric creatures. But when they're terrifyingly stranded, Dr. Grant discovers that his hosts are not what they seem, and the island's native inhabitants are smarter, faster, fiercer and more brutal than he ever imagined in this heart-stomping thriller.
I have clear recollections of seeing Jurassic Park during its theatrical release back in 1993. I absolutely loved it. I went in expecting sci-fi horror about dinosaurs and got a wonderfully fulfilling and human story that blends memorable elements of levity, suspense and drama that are underscored by perfectly drawn characters (including the 30 foot tall T-Rex). Based upon Michael Crichton's book the screenplay, which he co-wrote, expertly draws you in by establishing a viable connection to the characters of Ian, John, Ellie, and Alan which is then followed up by the integration of Alan's initially reluctant, but essential bond formed with Tim and Lex. This serves as the foundation for some of the film's best moments and in my opinion is one of the defining elements that set Jurassic Park apart from the other films in the series. These are endearing characters that are brought to life not only through excellent writing but marvelous performances and spot on direction. There is no doubt that it is a monster movie however the focus remains on the richness of the human interaction which makes the characters feel genuine and easy to care about. At the time of its release Jurassic Park was a special effects extravaganza that blended digital effects, stop motion animation and a host of mechanized creations from Stan Winston's Studio. I remember being blown away by the superb effects and sound which still hold up very well. For me, Jurassic Park is one of those movies with the ability to elicit the same reactions no matter how many times I watch it.
Four years later Jurassic Park: The Lost world hit theaters and of course we were there. Like the first film it was an effects laden experience that featured an array of prehistoric creatures, including a pair of lethal T-Rexes. The problem is that the story lacked the rewarding character interaction, effecting suspense and defining human element that made the original feel fresh. This film plays out more like a paint by the numbers monster movie although I will admit that it has its moments. I much preferred Ian when he was trading quips with John, antagonizing Alan or quoting his theories on Chaos. Taking on the central role which included being an absentee father (thrust into watching his teenage daughter), doting boyfriend and rescuing hero wound up being a tall order. I like Jeff Goldblum and all things considered he does okay in his reprisal of Ian Malcolm. The script lacks focus and goes off in too many directions, the worst of which is the ridiculous third act which takes place in San Diego. Outside of Goldblum and co-star Jullianne Moore the cast is comprised of quality character actors such as Arliss Howard, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Schiff and Peter Stormare. Cameos by Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello are tossed in but add nothing viable to the proceedings. Shortcomings aside it IS Jurassic Park and there is plenty of teeth gnashing dinosaur action and engaging special effects which makes it fun to watch.
When Jurassic Park III rolled around DVD, the new digital optical disc medium was in full swing so I opted to just wait and check it out on home video. Directed by Joe Johnston with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer Jurassic Park III has a bit of a different feel from the first two films. It eschews the more epic scope in favor of a simple storyline that brings back some levity and dials up the action. At only 90 minutes little time is wasted before things get going. Introductions are brief and the new force to be reckoned with, in this case a rather nasty spinosaurus, is quick established as the villain. The character of Alan Grant (Sam Neil) is brought back which lends an air of nostalgia and credibility to the story. The remaining members of the cast, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Trevor Morgan and Alessandro Nivola are solid and the script stays on point. Like The Lost World this has a sci-fi monster movie feel however its rooted more in the action genre which I think makes it more effective and ultimately entertaining. Looking at the trilogy as a whole it would be fair to say that I never tire of watching them. Jurassic Park is clearly the best of the bunch and easily withstands the tests of time. This three disc set comes packed with bonus material both new and archival that spans the three films. They come housed in a cardboard tri-fold style case with a matching slipcover that has an above average level of sturdiness. Next to Star Wars the Jurassic Park Trilogy is the most highly anticipated set coming to Blu-ray this fall. As a fan I am thrilled to have all three films in high definition complete with 7.1 lossless surround and a comprehensive supplemental set.
Here are my ratings on each film:
The rating is for intense sci-fi terror and violence.
The Jurassic Park Trilogy comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.4Mbps.
I watched these films in order during my evaluation and found that predominantly speaking they contain many of the same characteristics. Jurassic Park shines the brightest while The Lost world and Jurassic Park III are a step below in terms of perceivable resolution. Those concerned with fidelity infringing digital noise reduction can relax as I didn't find that to be a problem. Any softening I noted appeared inherent to the original photography. Artificial sharpening has been applied though and its effects, while not egregious, could be problematic for viewers that are sensitive to it. Those things aside, here is what I saw. Jurassic Park looks terrific and features an appreciable level of refinement that enhances depth/delineation during close up and mid level camera pans. The video is predominantly sharp with a satisfying level of clarity that enhances the textures of the images onscreen. This is true in both light and dark sequences as contrast and brightness achieve an excellent balance that when coupled with the improved resolution gives it a resplendent quality. Blacks are fairly deep and gradationally strong which enhances depth of field. The variety of earth tones, primary and secondary colors are vividly reproduced with appreciable variety and tonal separation. Grain is preserved naturally and is visible throughout the course of the presentation. Jurassic Park Video Rating: 88.
Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Jurassic Park III are on equal ground in terms of picture quality so my comments will pertain to both of them. These high definition renderings deliver fair to good overall image quality that appears predominantly faithful to the film's original elements. The only noteworthy difference being the aforementioned artificial sharpening, which results in edge enhanced lines and occasional halos, neither of which are overtly distracting. Images offer an appreciable level of detail during close ups and certain wide angle camera shots. Depending on the lighting exterior shots look vivid with naturally rendered colors and stable resolution. The majority of the time the image doesn't exhibit a high level of dimension. Definition/perceivable resolution are probably as good as it gets based upon the original photography but the image lacks polish and softens at times. Blacks are punchy which adds a little pop during some of the low level sequences. Those same scenes have an improved sense of depth thanks to a discernible level of visible detail in dark backgrounds. Grain is preserved naturally and is noticeable throughout. Jurassic Park - The Lost World & Jurassic Park III Video Rating: 84 .
The Jurassic Park films have traditionally been used as demo material to show off the audio chops of home theater so I had high expectations for the lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. I am happy to report that the results met my expectations and then some. Each of these mixes run the gamut between moments of simple spoken dialogue to thunderous dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Vocal reproduction is excellent. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics are demonstrative as the aggressive elements contained in the soundtrack pulsate with superior authority and powerful deep bass transients. John Williams' music score/theme is carefully integrated into the sound design and sounds wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving. The soundstage both front and rear is effectively used to simulate off camera cues, integrate the onscreen action and to seamlessly envelope the listening position creating a stable and detail rich surround experience. They all sound terrific but if I had to give the edge to one it would be Jurassic Park. Being more familiar with its soundtrack I heard details and minutia that I hadn't noticed before which made it all more enjoyable.
Based upon the nature of their original elements The Jurassic Park films have never been of the ilk capable of high gloss imagery. Their translation to 1080p high definition video is reflective of that with a rendering that essentially mirrors their inherent characteristics while improving upon any standard definition home video release. I will say that listening to them in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless is an exhilarating experience. My advice is to turn up the volume, sit back and take it all in.
Jurassic Park - The Lost World:
Jurassic Park III:
I am most decidedly a Jurassic Park fan and have enjoyed watching them over the years. The original is a landmark film and personal favorite that clearly sets itself apart. After nearly twenty years it still makes for a highly entertaining theatrical experience. Like many of you reading this I have looked forward to the high definition release of this trilogy since the inception of the Blu-ray format. I am pleased to report that this Ultimate Trilogy three disc set is stacked with bonus material and features gratifying high definition 1080p video and reference quality 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound which offer noteworthy improvements over any previous home video releases. This Blu-ray set from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is a welcomed addition to my collection and comes highly recommended.
I will say that listening to them in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless is an exhilarating experience. My advice is to turn up the volume, sit back and take it all in.