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Jurassic Park (Ultimate Trilogy) (1993/1997/2001) Print E-mail
Friday, 21 October 2011
ImageIt is hard to imagine what the film experience would be like today without the creation of “Jurassic Park.”  It was instrumental in the development of digital visual effects.  And still, done in 1993 contains better CGI work than many of the modern films.  Spielberg has been just as influential in the filming process as digital effects.  His creation truly made us believe that dinosaurs roamed the earth.

There is a plethora of information out there on the Jurassic Park trilogy and so great time on the subject will not be spent here.

For comparison, reviews of the DVD releases of the three films can be found at the following links.

Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park III

The original Jurassic park film is by far the most popular and most original of the trilogy.  The story is developed in a better fashion that its successors.  The only thing the first film doesn’t succeed at as much as its successors is the awe-factor.  Sure, being the first it is impressive.  However, the scope of the digital effects and different species of dinosaurs available in the second and third films outweighs that of the first.  Many of us were disappointed to not see the pterodactyls and stegosauruses in the first film.  However, it did bring the velociraptor to the forefront.  Many audience members remember of the terror of the velociraptor, but it is not one that you routinely learn about when learning about dinosaurs as a child.  You learn of T-Rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus. Oddly, when watching the original film again for the first in who knows how long, I found it to be a bit dull.  The film’s pacing was not as action-terror packed as I remembered.  There are far too many lulls in between.

The second film removes Dr. Grant from the equation and puts Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) into the driver’s seat.  Despite the disaster on the on first island, Isla Nublar, InGen, Hammond’s company left the second island, Isla Sorna intact, as a native habitat for the dinosaurs.  However, when an unauthorized family gets attacked on the island doubt is raised as to the safety of the human species.  Two factions exist, one to document and preserve the dinosaur species and another to hunt, capture and create a new San Diego Zoo theme park.  Can you just tell where this one is going to end up.  The T-Rex is back, along with its mate and baby this time, and they are back with a vengeance when the poachers invaded their territory.  Julianne Moore stars as Malcolm’s girlfriend.  This is satisfying sequel the gives us more of the digital dinosaurs, but ultimately still suffers from a lengthy runtime and spotty story.

The final film, well at least at this point, in the trilogy is “Jurassic Park III.”  Dr. Grant returns as the lead character here.  His interest in dinosaurs has been jaded since his island experience, but forcefully he is dragged to Isla Sorna by a couple posing as an adventurous pair.  Really, the couple are there on the island looking for their son who went missing a couple months earlier.  Talk about devoted parents.  Landed on a dinosaur island that long after your son went missing.  In any other situation that son would have been eaten in two seconds.  But not here.  The third installment brings in the pterodactyls, along with some super predators that tear the T-Rex to pieces.  While considered the worst film of the trilogy, I actually enjoyed this film more than the second, with the exception of the annoyance of Tea Leoni’s character.  You will have never heard so much obnoxious screaming throughout a film.

The film scores rank as thus: Jurassic Park – 4, The Lost World – 3.5, Jurassic Park III – 3.5

The video quality of the three films is remarkably similar from one to the next.  The third film has the greatest difference in comparison to the first two.  Some might be worried about the video quality given this is a catalog Universal title, who are not known for the best catalog transfers.  For some this trilogy is going to offer tremendous quality, while others are going to hate Universals.  First and foremost, Universal’s trademark practice of digital noise reduction seems to have been abated for this release.  There are instances of it here and there, but surprisingly the image is left largely noisy.  The first film is the worst offender, with fluctuations in noise levels that does become quite distracting at points.  You will most certainly film as if you are watching the original film print when it comes to this release.  Aside from the noise, edge enhancement is noticeable, but it never became a big distraction for me.  On the bright side, colors are nicely saturated, if a bit on the warm side with a red push.  Black levels are fully resolved with only minor crush.  Shadows remain nicely detailed throughout and fleshtones are consistent.

The third film suffers a bit more in terms of overall quality.  Right from the start it is readily apparently that image is wholly more flat and scrubbed than the first two films.  The cause of this seems to be a bit more digital noise reduction in addition to the original cinematography.  It is a bit distracting considering the sharpness of the first two films.  Nevertheless, the colors still remain vibrant, which is pleasing considering the amount of time spent in the daylight in this film versus the darkness of the first two films.  Noise is a bit more scattered, but details and textures remain strong.

The video scores rank as thus: Jurassic Park – 4, The Lost World – 4, Jurassic Park III – 3.5

The true star of this trilogy release is the audio quality.  It doesn’t waver from one film to the next.  It is by far the most consistent aspect of the trilogy.  The moment you put in the first disc the audio blows you away.  Well, actually not the moment you do.  Has anyone else noticed how long Blu-rays are taking to load nowadays?  Universal titles take 3-5 minutes on a PS3 Slim and sometimes even requiring ejecting.  The first sound of the trilogy is the stomp of a dinosaur.  The LFE radiates throughout the room in a deeper fashion than I have ever heard from a film.  In fact it is definitely going to be too much for some.  Still, this radiating bass pattern of dinosaur stomps and music cues continues consistently throughout the films.  All three films have been granted a new 7.1 audio mix and is presented in DTS-HD MA.  These 7.1 mixes are infinitely better than the original 5.1 mixes.  On top of that the lossless audio is infinitely better than even the best DTS transfer of the original film.  Fun technical fact: did you know that “Jurassic Park” was the first theatrical film to introduce the DTS digital sound format in 1993?  I can’t speak highly enough of the bass, but that aside the surround immersion is non-stop from beginning to end.  Sound effects and ambience make their way across the rear channels providing complete envelopment.  Frequency filtering is a thing of the past.  The roars of the dinosaurs are intact and the fullest sounding that I have ever heard.  Some of roars are actually quite pronounced.  You will most certainly feel as if the dinosaurs are stomping and fighting their way through your theater.  The only drawback to the entirety of any of the audio tracks is the brittleness of the dialogue at points.  This generally only occurs in the first film and only for a while at the beginning.  It almost seems like a mixing progression issue where once they got in the swing of things they worked the frequency balance out.  Nevertheless, this is a small item that doesn’t warrant a ding in the audio quality.

The audio scores rank as thus: 5 across the board.

The Jurassic Park trilogy contains a healthy supplemental package.  Most of the bonus materials are ported over from previous SD DVD releases.  However, the Blu-rays do feature a new six-part documentary.  Each film is available as a Digital Copy download using the included codes.  There is no Digital Copy disc in the package.  The supplemental features are broken out by film disc below.

Disc 1: Jurassic Park

“Return To ‘Jurassic Park:’ Dawn Of A New Era” – CGI
“Return To ‘Jurassic Park:’ Making Prehistory” – Production Design
“Return To ‘Jurassic Park:’ The Next Step In Evolution” – CGI

Previous DVD Materials:
“Steven Spielberg Directs ‘Jurassic Park’”
“The Making Of ‘Jurassic Park’”
“Hurricane In Kauai”
“Early Pre-Production Meetings”
“Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors In The Kitchen”
“Location Shooting”
“Foley Artists”
“ILM And ‘Jurassic Park:’ Before And After Visual Effects”
“Storyboards” and “Production Archives”
Theatrical Trailer
“Jurassic Park: Making The Game”

Disc 2: The Lost World

“Return To ‘Jurassic Park:’ Find The Lost World” – Sequel Development
“Return To ‘Jurassic Park:’ Something Survived” – CGI

Previous DVD Materials:
“The Jurassic Park Phenomenon”
“The Making Of ‘The Lost World’”
“Making The Film”
“The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg From ILM”
“ILM And ‘The Lost World:’ Before And After Visual Effects”
“Storyboards” and “Production Archives”
Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scenes

Disc 3: Jurassic Park III

“Return To ‘Jurassic Park:’ The Third Adventure” – Production

Previous DVD Materials:
“The Special Effects Of ‘Jurassic Park III’”
“The Making Of ‘Jurassic Park III’”
“The Sounds Of ‘Jurassic Park III’”
“Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs”
“The Art Of ‘Jurassic Park III’”
“The ILM Press Reel”
“The Special Effects Of ‘Jurassic Park III’”
“Tour Of Stan Winston Studio”
“The Lake”
“Raptors Attack Udesky”
“A Visit To ILM”
“Spinosaurus Attacks The Plane”
“Dinosaur Turntables”
Storyboard To Final Scene Comparison
Production Photos
Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary with Visual Effects Team

This probably isn’t quite the definitive release of the trilogy.  However, it does come awfully close.  For those interested in audio, this is the set for you.  Videophiles will probably still nitpick at everything this release has to offer, but I assure you that the majority of audiences will not have a problem with the video transfers.  Highly recommended.

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