Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Edition Box Set
WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM ALL FOUR FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW
With Jurassic World 2 coming to theaters later this month, It was inevitable for Universal to re-release all 4 previous films once more with a nice 25th anniversary boxset. I was EXTREMELY excited when I realized that Universal wasn’t just putting out a new re-release of the same tired Blu-ray boxset that they’re released a half dozen times, but was actually going all out with a 4K UHD boxset with new DTS:X tracks and a snazzy new digibook package. I personally grew up with the original 3 as staples of my childhood, and had a decent reaction to 2015’s Jurassic World, getting to watch these all in 4K is a significant treat, and one that will make fans of the franchise rather happy I might add.
Being an 11 year old child at the time, I had very little inkling (or cared) of the technological breakthroughs that were undergone in the making of Jurassic Park. To me it was a wide eyed world of wonder and excitement watching Dinosaurs come to life in a way that I’d never seen before. Also at that age I had very little knowledge of the Michael Crichton book and how Spielberg softened it quite a bit to be made into an adventure story instead of a horror movie that it could have been (although adult me would love to see it remade into a dark horror movie). However, as an adult looking backwards I have to marvel at just how visionary the film really was. In 1993 most blockbuster films were still using heavy practical effects and puppetry wizardry to make monster movies, so huge ripples went through Universal Studios when Spielberg announced that he was going 95% digital in the creation of the dinosaurs (there is some sporadic practical effects used here and there, but the vast majority of the movie was done with digital effects). Whole effects teams were sidelined with the use of the CGI, but for a film that’s 25 years old, I’m still amazed at how well said CGI has stood up.
Jurassic Park is the quintessential adventure/monster movie for kids and teens, inspiring the same giddy glee on my childlike face that I had when I first watched Indiana Jones for the first time. Or the first time I ever sat down and watched Star Wars: A New Hope. Spielberg just managed to catch lightening in a bottle, and it happens to rank up there with some of his best films. There’s this sense of glee, terror, wonder and absolute amazement every time I sit down and watch Jurassic Park, even though I’ve seen it at least a couple dozen times. The acting is top notch, the excitement is palpable, and John Williams’ score is absolutely mesmerizing to listen to. Much like his work on Star Wars, there is not a person alive who can’t be whisked away to a luscious green island filled with ancient monsters the minute the opening bars of the theme song are struck.
Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and his girlfriend Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are both paleontologists working on a dig when they are suddenly whisked away by their financial backer, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), to a mysterious island for their expertise. Upon arriving on the island Drs. Grant and Sattler realize that something much bigger is at stake here. Billionaire John Hammond has been recreating prehistoric life on his private island, building up a whole “zoo” of dinosaurs created from prehistoric fossilized DNA, thanks to modern science. He wants to make a gigantic theme park out of the whole creation, and he needs the advice of some scientists (including a mathematician played by Jeff Goldblum) in order to get the lawyers to sign off on the deal.
As we all know, Hammond’s little theme park undergoes some troubles when disgruntled employee named Nedry (Wayne Knight) decides to steal some embryos to sell on the black market, and his escape plan includes shutting off the security system for the park. The dinosaurs naturally stumble upon the possibility of escape when their cages are no longer electrified and the resulting escape puts everyone on the island at risk when the monsters decide that humans might taste good as a snack.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
4 years after the wildly successful Jurassic Park came the movie that nobody ever asked for. Named after one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s greatest works, The Lost World is a movie that is largely sneered at and considered drastically sub par to the original, but is one of those films that I love WAY too much. It’s goofy, filled with tons of cliches, but totally a blast to watch. Especially the final act where we get to see a T-Rex run rampant in a major U.S. city with total reckless abandonment. Unfortunately for the movie, Sam Neill and Laura Dern declined to make appearances, so we were left with a glimpse of Richard Attenborough as John Hammond and putting Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm as the front and center character (a solid move, as Dr. Malcolm was a fan favorite in the first film).
John Hammond brings Dr. Malcolm into confidence with him, explaining that even though Jurassic Park was shut down, there was actually ANOTHER island where the actual breeding went on before the animals were transported over to the main island. In a fantastic opening prologue, a family is seen encountering the animals (with disastrous results), and Hammond wants to have Dr. Malcolm go over there with a team of scientists to find out WHY the animals are thriving. You see, he and his breeders had built in a lysine deficiency in the creatures that acted as a sort of fail safe device. Without human intervention they would die off in a week or so, but for some reason they have been flourishing on the island in human absence.
Naturally things go sideways in a hurry. As soon as Malcolm and his crew (consisting of Vince Vaughn and Julianne Moore) arrive on the island and setup camp, than John Hammond’s nephew (who has wrested control away from his uncle) arrives with a mercenary crew who have less than savory intentions for the animals. Circumstances force the scientists and the mercs to work together and soon enough human survival is at stake once more, as their stupidity allows a gigantic T-Rex to come home to the states and run rampant in spectacular fashion (with a 3rd act that makes me giggle like a school girl with the absurdity of it all).
The Lost World is not nearly as good as Jurassic Park, but it is a fun little sequel that really is a HUGE guilty pleasure of mine. Jeff Goldblum was at the peak of his career back in 1997, and he hams it up to the nth degree as the charming Dr. Malcolm. Julianne Moore is solid as his inevitable love interest, while Pete Postlethwaite acts as the perfect evil villain in the movie. Spielberg wanted to go bigger and larger than life with the sequel, which brings us to the final act where he went full velveeta cheese and gave us one of the most absurd monster fights of the whole movie. The female T-Rex searching for her baby and rampaging across a city like Godzilla to do so. It’s goofy, stupid, but completely entertaining in my opinion.
Ah yes. We finally come to the one shiny turd in the punch bowl that is the Jurassic Park franchise. The laws of diminishing returns had finally caught up with the series, as an even MORE unneeded sequel came into existence. This time Sam Neill had deigned to come back into the fold, and even Laura Dern got a small cameo. Still, it could not make up for the lack of Steven Spielberg directing, and a tepid plot and poor action sequences driving the film into becoming the most hated (or at least moderately disliked) film in the series. Effectively ending the franchise until 2015 would ignite the flames once more.
Dr. Grant is back once more, having been separated from Dr. Sattler (it seems they had their own romantic falling out), and is on a mainland dig once more. That is, until he’s approached by wealthy investors Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni) who promise to fund his next gig if he goes with them on a trip. Crash landing on Isla Soma, the infamous free breeding ground from the second movie, Dr. Grant is faced with the realization that his “investors” are not who they say they are. It turns out that the Kirby’s are actually small time businessmen back in the states and their son has gone missing on a parasailing trip over the infamous dinosaur Island, and they were hoping that Dr. Grant’s expertise could be used to track their son down for them. Unfortunately Dr. Grant is forced to oblige, as there is no way off the island at the moment, and he and his partner Billy (Alessondro Nivola) want to see the famous island up close for professional reasons.
A whole slew of unnecessary, and completely ridiculous, character are introduced, including cliched subplots of financial gain and hunting prowess in that really go nowhere fast. The Kirby’s have the most to gain with the whole adventure, and William H. Macy never turns in a bad performance. Sam Neill is pretty much coasting throughout the film, as the script really gives him no direction to go, and the introduction of a bigger, badder dinosaur than the T-Rex comes off as cliched and…..well….ridiculous, much like the rest of the movie. The typical “escape from the monsters” adventure ensues, with the humans trying to dodge being hunted by Raptors, Pterodactyls, and giant human munching monsters until they can inevitably get off the island and hug each in a giant round of back slapping.
I shouldn’t say that Jurassic Park III is a terrible movie, as it really isn’t. It’s just a horribly cliched and mediocre adventure flick that it stands out as EASILY the worst movie in the entire franchise. I rank it much like I do X-Men: The Last Stand. I really kinda liked it as a teenager, and didn’t get the rabid hate for the film, but once I grew up and revisited the franchise some years later, I now understand WHY it got some much hate. It’s just NOT a good movie, and is kind of a chose to get through. The special effects are still the highlight of the movie, but it just doesn’t have the same exciting action, or the human story that the first couple of films had.
Jurassic World :
Universal really had to have been tickled pink with itself in 2015. TWO movies that summer that have raked in over 1.5 BILLION dollars EACH? Yeah, that’s something to be proud of. Jurassic World was the sleeper “win” of the summer. We all knew it would scads of money, Universal had put their heart and soul into the film and audiences were eager for another movie about dinosaurs eating humans. It was just that no one could predict that this would just sweep decade’s old records under the rug in one day, pulling in a legendary 210 million dollar opening weekend and outclassing even “Furious 7”. I was certainly a contributor to that weekend, as I was there for a Thursday night 10:00 PM showing with a bunch of friends after watching the original trilogy as a refresher. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by some things, but unfortunately let down with others, leaving us with a good, but not GREAT “Jurassic” movie.
It’s been 20 years since the failure of Jurassic Park. Hammond is dead, and the old faces have gone away (well, except for one). This is the year 2015 and the park has reopened on the original Island under new management and is raking in the dinero. The only problem is that people have become desensitized to the phenomenon of living dinosaurs and have been getting a bit bored with the park. It’s a glorified petting zoo now and a T-rex just doesn’t hold the same shock and awe that it has been. That’s why under the management of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard’s little girl) they have created the first genetic hybrid dinosaur, combining the base genomes of a T-rex and splicing in some “classified” genomes to make it bigger, badder and wildly more terrifying. When Mr. Masarani (Irrfan Khan), the owner of the park comes to visit, as does Claire’s nephews, Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), your classic Jurassic adventure ensures.
While Zach, Gray and the rest of our cast are having a good time (or working), Military liaison, Owen Grady (Starlord….errrrrrrrrr. Chris Pratt) is trying to train velociraptors to follow commands. He’s stuck trying to train these creatures at the whim of Ingen, a private security firm headed up by one Victor Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who has an insane plan to train raptors to hunt for the U.S. military (/facepalm galore). When the Indominous Rex, our new wonderful genetic creation, gets out of his paddock, defecation hits the rotary oscillator and everyone is on high alert. Owen begs for Claire and Mr. Masarani to shut down the park and evacuate everyone as quickly as possible, but the two executives do their very best to keep the visitors out of the loop in hopes of catching this beast. When that obviously proves ineffective, Ingen and Hoskins are given carte blanche to use the raptors as a hunt and destroy mission. A mission that turns sideways REAL fast when Owen and Claire come to realize what that “classified” DNA in the Indominous Rex really is.
Jurassic World is certainly a lot of fun. It’s got dinosaurs, new dinosaurs, stupid children doing stupid things, megalomaniacal military personnel, and like I said, DINOSAURS! At the same time there’s some major weakness in the film as well. The inclusion of the military application of Raptors was so mind bogglingly stupid that I don’t know how it made it into the script… and spoiler ahead
ENOUGH with the raptors! We’ve had them in the movie for 4 consecutive films. When the advertisements started making hints at a hyper intelligent Rex on the loose through genetic splicing, I was SURE they had done something clever like splice in Human DNA. Nope, instead we get raptors for the FOURTH time. While it worked on a technical level, I was REALLY disappointed at that bombshell. Like the children of 2015 Jurassic World, it’s been done so many times that it really wasn’t that exciting)
Still, the movie was a LOT of goofy fun. Chris Pratt seemed to be cast because of his star power at the moment, but he really works well with Bryce Dallas Howard. The children, Gray and Zach, are your typical annoying teens/pre teens, but that’s exactly what the series is known for. Stupid children running for their lives while the adults try and figure out a way to stop the beasts from eating everyone. The CGI is pretty good, and the action scenes were AWESOME with the Indominous Rex. The end fight with the raptors and a few other choice beasts was epically fun. The sound track is off the charts and amps up the energy in those scenes to level 10, making it that much more fun.
Jurassic World is very obviously a retread of Jurassic Park for the 2015 audience. The plot line is basically the same, with a few modern twists, but it’s all pretty generic. Amping up the ante by including a new type of modified dinosaur really helps the excitement, but really, we all know that we just want to see Dinosaurs eating people. It’s very much like Godzilla film. The plot is ok, the effects are awesome, but we really came to see a giant monster just tear everything to bits, and that’s exactly what Jurassic World is. It’s stupid fun, but a LOT of stupid fun to say the least. While I didn’t enjoy World as much as the first film, it’s head and shoulders above the third movie, and has set itself up for an obvious sequel (if you don’t think that a movie that made 1.5 billion is getting a sequel, then I don’t know what to tell you).
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA
The jump to 4K UHD is certainly an improvement for the legendary film, as it is definitely more precise and revealing that the solid 1080p transfer we’ve had around for so long. I’m one of the people who thinks that the initial Blu-ray treatment of the trilogy was NOT as good as many reviews stated. There was noticeable edge enhancement as well as the typical Universal heavy filtering going on. It just wasn’t AS noticeable as some of their more egregious transfers. Still, the jump to 2160p is impressive, with textures showing through better, and the HDR really making some of the more vibrantly colored scenes really pop off the screen. Look at when the scientists come to the island and see the Brontosaurus for the first time. The greens are shockingly well saturated, and the lines and colors on vehicles really do pop. The film is also less blown out, which translates to a slightly darker picture, but one that is definitely improved as a result. However, there are still a few problems to take notice of. The contrast is a bit hot, with some blown out whites coming from scene to scene, as well as a few digital artifacts that appear baked into the master. There’s some mild haloing in a few scenes, as well as a thin layer of digital noise reduction and filtering giving the image a smoother look than it really should. As a result some of the fine detail is robbed from the viewer and some speckles and print damage remain. A good transfer, and one that makes a noticeable improvement over the Blu-ray, but one that does suffer from a few flaws.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
I’m actually really impressed, as The Lost World shows a rather large improvement over it’s Blu-ray counterpart, as well as a visible difference from Jurassic Park’s 2160p 4K transfer. From the moment the first scene starts you can tell that we’re in for a very nice ride. Colors are warm and vibrant, with luscious primaries and softly dark tones that seep into every pore of the film. The ocean view from the Helos show a wonderfully blue sky, with light blue shades for the ocean underneath. Greens of the forest are dazzling, and even the red shirt that Kelly wears pops off the screen. Shadow details is exceptional, with the darkness that the film employs, and every little details is visible to the naked eye. I didn’t seen any the telecine issues of the Blu-ray crop up, as well as the banding pretty much vanishing. I did notice a few speckles here and there, but this new 4K UHD disc is dazzling to the eyes and almost rivals the sharpness and clarity of Jurassic World.
Jurassic Park III
Just like how the story line for Jurassic Park III was a bit of a letdown, so is the 4K transfer for the film as well. The 2160p image is better than the Blu-ray, but not by a whole lot. I actually had to A/B the disc a bit to actually notice t he improvement. The fine details are a bit smoothed out, with the dark disc robbing a lot of the visible detail in motion. Sure, there’s some minor textures and facial details that stand out, but the filtering is much more obvious in this release than the previous two. The HDR of the film actually gives it a much darker image than the Blu-ray, and that flattens the image out quite a bit, with dull colors (except for some of the greens of the forest) and a generally flat presentation that doesn’t really scream “Watch ME!”. It’s not a horrible transfer, but the movie doesn’t lend itself to really being eye candy and this new transfer’s darker image really keeps it a bit restrained in the visual department.
Being the most recent film, World is naturally the best looking of the bunch. Shot 100% on film, and full of rich, vibrant colors, Jurassic World will wow people as this year’s new demo disc (we’ve had a nice batch of new ones lately). Fine detail is amazing, as the digital photography shows off every fiber, every hair on clothing, and every pore on the faces of the human being. The CGI is GOOOOD, but not phenomenal, sometimes standing out a little bit from the rest of the park, but the Dinosaurs really do look incredibly lifelike. Black levels remain deep and inky, showcasing fantastic shadow detail and no sign of artifacting in those darker sequences. In fact, I couldn’t find ANY artifacts on the disc whatsoever! The use of HDR is stunning, creating luscious looking primary shots and black levels that are deeper than before. Clarity, colors, darks, whites, they all look amazing as can be, making this another 4K stunner for the year.
Given a boost from the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track, the new DTS:X object oriented mix is a solid upgrade for those wondering if the added channels would do anything for the 25 year old film. Jurrassic Park has never sounded so good, with heavy duty surround usage and even a goodly amount of overheads mixed in. When the helicopter arrives at the island for the fist time the listener is transported into the center of the copter, with rotors thudding overhead, the rattling of equipment in the cage, and the woosh of air whapping into the ground when they land. Once they get into the thick of the action the roaring and smashing of dinosaurs comes from all direction, with the added channels highly active until the very end of the movie. LFE is devastating, showing no restraint and digging down DEEEEEP into the lower octaves with chest crushing bass. Dialog is still perfectly intelligible at all times,and the mix is evenly balanced.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Much like the first movie, The Lost World is an EXCELLENT DTS:X track, and really pounds you in the face with a truly aggressive mix (that sometimes borders on excess). Dialog is always well placed up front, but the track is a bit on the hot and heavy side, with dinosaur footsteps sounding like sonic explosions, and the roar and bellowing from the beasts shaking the walls from top to bottom. Sometimes I feel that the LFE is just a bit TOO hot (I know, I know, for a basshead that’s almost unheard of), as the fine nuanced sounds can sometimes get overwhelmed with the chaos and bass tones. Still, the surrounds are given ample opportunity as the giant mama T-Rex crashes through trees, rips up vehicles and throws them around the sound stage, and the other minor creatures come through crisp and clear.
Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III is a monster of a track like the rest of them, but actually more restrained and nuanced than the previous two films. There is still a TON of LFE, and plenty of prodigious action sequences, but the chaos and overly hot mix is tuned up just a bit and given more restraint. The overheads and the surrounds are given constant use, with Pterodactyls and Compies screeching around the stage, as well as all sorts of little things, such as rushing water and the rattle of stones falling down a cliff. Vocals are still crisp and clean, while the mains show off some incredible panning effects in the later half of the movie (especially when Billy’s stealing the eggs). The score flows effortlessly through all of the channels, and the balance is absolutely superb. There is no sense of overcooked bass, and the surrounds mesh seamlessly with the intricacies of the front end.
I was a bit saddened when Jurassic World came out with a lack of Atmos, but I'm more than happy with Universal's choice to bump up the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track to a DTS:X mix for the 4K UHD release.. Dialog is never an issue, even amongst all the chaos of dinosaurs stomping all around, the balance with the heavy duty effects are bar none. Surround channels get a copious amount of exercise, as you can hear the simple ambient noises of the park, and then go rip roaring into full gear as dinosaurs lay waste to everything in their wake. Immersiveness is fantastic, as the chaos makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action, not to mention the overheads get some really good use with the Pterodactyls flapping around the helicopters, or the the whoosh of the Indominous Rex getting pulled into the water. Last, but not least, the LFE is sheer destruction. Weight and power are off the charts and the track digs REALLLLL deep with a ferocity that is only outmatched by the animals themselves. Again, just as perfect as can be, and a treat to listen to.
- Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era
- Return to Jurassic Park: Making Prehistory
- Return to Jurassic Park: The Next Step in Evolution
- The Making of Jurassic Park
- Original Featurette on the Making of the Film
- Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park
- Hurricane in Kauai Featurette
- Early Pre-Production Meetings
- Location Scouting
- Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen
- Animatics: T-Rex Attack
- ILM And Jurassic Park: Before and After the Visual Effects
- Foley Artists
- Production Archives: Photographs, Design Sketches and Conceptual Paintings
- Jurassic Park: Making the Game
- Theatrical Trailer
The Lost World
- Return to Jurassic Park: Finding The Lost World
- Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived
- Deleted Scenes
- The Making of The Lost World
- Original Featurette on the Making of the Film
- The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton
- The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg From ILM
- ILM & The Lost World: Before & After the Visual Effects
- Production Archives: Production Photographs, Illustrations and Conceptual Drawings, Models, The World of Jurassic Park, The Magic of ILM, Posters and Toys
- Theatrical Trailer
Jurassic Park III:
- Return To Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure
- The Making of Jurassic Park III
- The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III
- The Special Effects of Jurassic Park III
- The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel
- The Sounds of Jurassic Park III
- The Art of Jurassic Park III
- Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs
- Tour of Stan Winston Studio
- Spinosaurus Attacks The Plane
- Raptors Attack Udesky
- The Lake
- A Visit to ILM
- Dinosaur Turntables
- Storyboards to Final Feature Comparison
- Production Photographs
- Feature Commentary with Special Effects Team
- Theatrical Trailer
- Deleted Scenes
- Chris & Colin Take on the World
- Welcome to Jurassic World
- Dinosaurs Roam Once Again
- Jurassic World: All-Access Pass
- Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt
- Jurassic’s Closest Shaves – Presented by Barbasol
The Jurassic Park franchise is a bit rocky, with some movies being great, others good, and one a boring flop that nearly killed the franchise, but they’re all still entertaining flicks that were considered some of the best monster movies of the time. With the sequel to Jurassic World coming to theaters later this month it was inevitable to get a new boxset, but to get a 4K upgrade with audio AND visual upticks was more than worth having to double dip. Extras are sadly just ports of the individual releases (and the trilogy boxset), but those are already quite packed, so I can live with that slight disappointment. The video scores range from good to great, but the audio mixes are delightful in DTS:X, and every single one got the royal treatment (audio wise). Definitely worth grabbing if you’re a fan of the series.
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, William H. Macy, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Sympkins
Directed by Steven Spielberg / Steven Spielberg / Joe Johnston / Colin Trevorrow
Written by: David Koepp, Michael Crichton / David Koepp (Screenplay), Michael Crichton (Book) / Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor / Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC / 1.85:1 AVC / 1.85:1 AVC / 2.00:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese DTS 5.1 (all 4)
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish
Rated: PG-13 (All 4)
Runtime: 127 Minutes / 129 Minutes / 92 Minutes / 124 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Recommendation: Highly Recommended