Jurassic Park is one of the most important films of all time. Though James Cameron‘s Terminator 2 suggested that Computer Generated Imagery would be the way of the blockbuster future, it was Steven Spielberg who took it to the next level, and now it’s commonplace in every major big budget release. For its twentieth anniversary in 2013, Universal is post-converting Jurassic Park for a July 19 release.
And though it may be important, it’s not a great film. Spielberg’s work with the set pieces is spectacular, and the film delivers the visceral thrills one would hope for from the master director, but much of the script is actually pretty bad. The film hit Blu-ray recently, and I found it hard to sit through a couple of the scenes – specifically the dramatic dinner scene between Sir Richard Attenborough and Laura Dern. This then puts it more in line with some of the Ray Harryhausen spectacles it’s emulating, in that those movies often have leaden actors and creaky plots in service of some of the most wondrous special effects.
It’s not a bad film by any stretch, but it’s no Jaws (which thankfully hasn’t been announced for a post-conversion job, but that came out in 1975, so perhaps 2015?), which is perfection. J.P.‘s just a good thrill ride, with groundbreaking effects work, and with a great supporting turn by Jeff Goldblum.
What’s fascinating about this release is that most re-releases – even 3-D ones – have been set for off seasons. January, February and April have been the hottest months for re-issues, partly because they want to come out and not face heavy competition. The July release suggests one of two things: either Universal is going out with this on limited screens with hopes of better Blu-ray sales, or they think they can compete for screens with this post-conversion job. Perhaps mid-July is not as competitive as some of the earlier summer months (summer seasons tend to peak with July 4 weekends), but a week later The Wolverine is supposed to come out. It will be interesting to see if this can play with the big boys even after twenty years.
Will you go back for post-converted dinosaurs?