Jurassic Park – Ultimate Trilogy, 3 Blu-rays + Digital Copy (1993/1997/2001/2011)

by | Nov 9, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Jurassic Park – Ultimate Trilogy, 3 Blu-rays + Digital Copy for download(1993/1997/2001/2011)
Cast: Sam Neil, Richard Attenborough, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson, Pete Postlethwaite, Julianne Moore, Wm. H. Macy, Tea Leoni
Directors: Steven Spielberg (1 & II); Joe Johnston (III)
Studio: Universal 61117081 [10/25/11]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, DD 2.0, DTS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Hours of bonus features incl. some never-before-seen — “Return to Jurassic Park” doc.; “Behind the Scenes;” Archival featurettes on the making of all 3 films, original featurettes on all 3, Discussion with author Michael Crichton, Special effects, IL&M press reel, The Art of Jurassic Park III; BD Live; Pocket BLU app, much more
Length: I = 2 hrs. 7 min.; II = 2 hrs. 9 min.; III = 1 jr. 33 min.
Ratings: I = *****; II & III = ***
The most amazing thing I got out of this trilogy—which surely gets added to the prime list of Blu-ray trilogies fans will want to have, along with the original Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones—was Spielberg’s revelation in the “Making Of…” featurette for the first film.  He said he had planned to have the most expert stop-motion animators do all the dinosaurs; in other words using basically the same technology used in 1933 for King Kong. But then he saw a demo videotape sent by one of the early CGI labs and he was blown away by the greater realism. Eventually they developed a way to feed the tiny two-frames-at-a-time motions animators made with the maquettes into CGI computers to create more realistic motions of the computerized dinosaurs. While stop-motion might be appropriate for some of today’s animated features, such as Coraline, it would have never provided the life-like, super-realistic, breathtaking dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.
The remote island where the wealthy John Hammond (Attenborough) creates his amazing dinosaur theme park is just west of Costa Rica, in the Pacific Ocean. He has used futuristic DNA technology to bring back the dinosaurs from blood preserved in fossilized resin. A criminal employee turns off the electric fence and other systems in order to steal some dinosaur DNA, and many of the dinosaurs escape, thus threatening the paleontologist (Neil) and his girl friend and others visiting the theme park, which is just getting ready to open to the public. (There is also a hurricane, and there really was one during the shooting of the film too.)
The cutting-edge CGI is quite amazing yet, and the 7.1 DTS surround tracks on all three films are today’s state of the art, enveloping the viewer in the action. The plot and action all work together and we get enough background on the most important characters. Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Malcom makes himself a thorn in the side of everyone else with his heavy pronouncements, but the fact is that he is perfectly right about bringing back the dinosaurs being a bad idea. (You won’t need that Telarc surround track of the King Lizard stomping around to demo your surround system; the “real” thing on this Blu-ray is even better with the accompanying images!)
The two theatrical Jurassic Park sequels only got about 50% ratings from viewers online. They have even more realistic CGI due to developments in that field during the intervening years, and also more violence.  They come closer to what Spielberg said he didn’t want to do with his original: make a horror movie. Spielberg’s The Lost World takes place four years after the events of the original.  The dinosaurs have survived and roam free on an island. Hammond’s nephew has taken over and wants to bring the dinosaurs back to San Diego to make a lot money. Meanwhile Hammond sends an expedition led by Dr. Malcolm (Goldblum) to attempt to redeem himself. The two groups must band together under the terrible dangers of the dinosaurs.
Jurassic Park III was given over to another director and is not based on a Michael Crichton book, though it uses scenes from his two dinosaur books. It takes place on the same island with a divorced couple tricking Dr. Grant into helping find their son who was lost on the island sometime before. Sam Neill’s character is thus brought back and also ends up on the dangerous island, along with Laura Dern. More extreme fights for survival against the terrible dinosaurs are to be expected. Some tough mercenaries are part of the stew.
If you can’t wait until Universal brings out the Blu-ray reissue of the original Jurassic Park by itself, this would be the set to own.
—John Sunier
 

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