What is there really to say about "Jurassic Park" that has not been said already? The film, besides being one of the most popular blockbusters of all time, really ushered in an age of incredible visual effects. I think that, aside from some characters that aren't completely written, the effects do work well with the story; the film boasts some incredible (well, for that time they were incredible and I think they're still fine today) visual effects that both scare audiences and create a sense of awe.
The story revolves around wealthy scientist John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) who is working with scientists on an island to bring back the dinosaurs from DNA, and to make what will likely be one of the more amazing theme parks in the world. Hammond brings in 3 experts to test the waters of the park; Alan Grant(Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler(Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm(the amusing Jeff Goldblum). Of course, things do begin to go terribly wrong, mainly due to a park employee who hacks into the Park computers to shut down security so he can smuggle out dino eggs. This is one of the few elements of the film that does go somewhat wrong; Knight plays that same character time and time again, and in a movie so slick and generally serious, it's kind of odd to have Newman(see "Seinfeld") stealing dino eggs.
And when the terror begins, the film turns into your normal "hunter and the hunted" genre, but with Spielberg, he knows the right timing and the right way to work around the "usual" situations and make them at least appear fresh. Timing is really the all-important factor here, and the director knows how long to keep the audience on the edge of their seat before hitting them. It also helps that the actors do a fine job in their roles. Goldblum's bit was less interesting in the sequel, but his humor works very well here, and occasionally gets some big laughs. Neill and Dern are quite good, and the two kids aren't half bad, either. I really don't have that many problems with the film's screenplay, which isn't always fully-written, but suits this kind of film well and provides some above-average dialogue. It succeeds simply at being great entertainment.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the result is really very nice. Sharpness is excellent throughout; detail and clarity are very good too, even in the darkest sequences. Some mild print flaws and slight traces of edge enhancement are seen, but the picture generally appeared clean and clear. Colors are similarly as enjoyable as they were in the first film - the deep greens of the jungle looking beautiful and very well-saturated. Locations and cinematography both look stunning and well-rendered. Black level is solid and flesh tones are accurate and natural.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 7.1. Audio quality is not up to the sound mixes of today, although for a film of its age, it's awfully close. This is certainly a highly involving audio presentation that sounds deeper and more powerful on this Blu-Ray presentation.
The entire film is a fantastically active sound experience without overdoing it or becoming the slightest bit distracting. Surrounds are put to very agressive use throughout the film and really serve the film well, adding to the tension of the film. An effective scene is in chapter 14 when the stampede of dinosaurs sounds as if it's running full-force through your room. Ambient sounds often are very natural and add to the sense of space and dimension in the scene. Bass, especially in the T-Rex scenes (check out chapter 11 for the famous sequence where the T-Rex enters or 13 for the chase), is absolutely superb and certainly very powerful, and will get your neighbors wondering if there's a thunderstorm on the way. And simply, to finally hear those incredible, deep roars on Blu-Ray is a wonderful thing. The John Williams score sounds excellent, and dialogue is clear and never overshadowed by any of the rest of the chaos going on. A wonderful soundtrack.
EXTRAS: “Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era” - At around twenty five minutes, this featurette covers both the past and present with plenty of archival footage from filming production, to more recent interviews with Steven Spielberg, the cast, and crew. Spielberg talks about approaching the film with childlike enthusiasm, Michael Crichton’s book, and the genre of “Jurassic Park” that sets it apart. With lots of archive video, photos, interviews, and looks at production design and more - this is certainly a feature worth looking into for fans.
“Return to Jurassic Park: Making Prehistory” - At around twenty minutes, “Making Prehistory” is a look at working on sets and stages. Spielberg talks about the amount of storyboarding he did for the film, and some footage of the storyboards, as well as the animatics used to bring the storyboards to life as a reference are featured here. Visual and sound effects, footage of Spielberg talking to Fay Wray, the cast talking about working with dinosaur models, and a look at the puppeteers are also focused on.
“Return to Jurassic Park: The Next Step in Evolution” - At around fifteen minutes, this feature mainly focuses on the process of adding the dinosaurs into the film and how it got better with each pass. Dubbing, music, and the process of bringing the film together is also addressed. Again, lots of archival footage is featured here.
Archival Features include: “The Making of Jurassic Park,” which is around 50 minutes and hosted by James Earl Jones. The “Making Of” feature is an in-depth look at “Jurassic Park” from the initial interest in dinosaurs to the final product.
“Original Featurette on Making of the Film” - the brief feature feels more like a promo for the other making of featurette, as well as the film.
“Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park” - About nine minutes worth of clips/footage of Spielberg directing scenes from the film.
“Hurricane in Kauai Featurette” - a brief look at the hurricane that hit Kauai while filming “Jurassic Park.” Footage of the cast and crew waiting out the hurricane at a hotel is included.
Behind The Scenes include: “Early Pre-Production Meetings” - Here, Spielberg along with several crew involved in making the film, gather around a table to discuss certain aspects of the film. The early footage and discussions may be of interest, especially to fans.
“Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen” and “Animatics: T-Rex Attack” - While these features have no sound, they’re very interesting. A mix of storyboard drawings and claymation, the feature offers a look at the two scenes in their initial mock-up.
“ILM and Jurassic Park: Before and After the Visual Effects” - A brief look (around six minutes) at the footage before and after effects were added. With original shots, green screen, rendering CG, and more this is a nice look of how certain shots were put together.
“Foley Artists” - At just around a minute and a half, this feature takes a look at the artists who create sound effects for the film. The example here is of the baby dinosaur hatching and how ice cream cones, pineapples, and cantaloupe were used to bring the moment to life.
“Jurassic Park: Making the Game” - This feature is a look at the “Jurassic Park” game and how they wanted the tone, characters and dinosaurs to have the feel of the original film.
“Location Scouting,” “Theatrical Trailer,” “Production Archives” and several “Storyboards” are also included.
Final Thoughts: While not as successful as the original, "Lost World" still certainly has its moments, and the Blu-Ray packs more thunderous audio and crisper, smoother video quality. Recommended. As of the time of the review, only available on Blu-Ray in the trilogy set.
The Film B-