Jurassic Park

“Let’s go see that documentary for your birthday. The one about the dinosaurs.”
Jurassic Park?”
“Yeah, that’s the one.”
“Well, it’s either that, or the French one about the girl who gets hypnotized. At least this way, you’ll get all references to it in the shows you watch.”

And so it came to pass that The Flower and The Boy and I went to see the 1994 classic Spielberg pic, Jurassic Park. In 3D.

I enjoyed the movie when it came out 20 years ago. How does it hold up? Pretty well, all things considered. A big part of the “wow” factor was the dinosaurs they cloned and bred for the purposes of shooting the film. Beyond that, it’s a solid, but not really great film.

And, here’s the thing: The 3D-ization is just awful. I mean, it looks 3D and all, no arguing that. But the 3D rather detracts from the film. A classic Spielberg angle is to have some object in the foreground framing the subject of the shot. You know, like filming the character through a fence.

Well, when you 3D-ize that, the fence, which you’re completely and totally NOT supposed to focused on, is in  your face, all 3D style. It draws your eye. Dumb. It’s the modern form of colorization, as if the only thing that makes a black-and-white film black-and-white is an absence of color.

Also unfortunate is that the 3d-ization makes everything look fake, I presume because they must re-composite the shots somehow to get the depth. So, while the dinosaurs (which are a mixture of CGI and puppetry, I believe) hold up pretty well technologically, there’s a weird kind of glow—presumably a computerized attempt to emulate a light source at different angles, I’d guess—that really makes it look like the actors were in front of a green screen.

The kids liked it but they weren’t particularly wowed. Non-3D would’ve been better but they probably still wouldn’t have been bowled over. As I said, while it’s a fun movie, its impact was largely technological—and ironically, the 3D-ization process not only diminishes that, it’s a constant reminder of how even a great technological achievement quickly becomes a yawn.

Leave a Reply