Two decades later film still thrills

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013

“Hold on to your butts.”

Those simple words echoed by scientist Ray Arnold, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, were more than the memetic phrase they are known as today — they were a warning of things to come.

They were a not-so-subtle means for director Steven Spielberg to brace audiences for sights that we were not quite ready to see, yet equally unable to look away from.

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And while my four-year-old butt was ill prepared for the equal-parts wonder and terror of “Jurassic Park,” it remained glued to those uncomfortable theater seats all the same.

Fast-forward 20 years and very little of what makes the film special has changed.

Jeff Goldblum still oozes charm as Dr. Ian Malcolm, the snarky and womanizing chaos theorist.

John Williams’ sweeping score still hits all of the right notes, particularly as the helicopter swoops over the island in the film’s opening sequences.

And the T-Rex sequences will still shock and awe both those returning to the film and newcomers alike, with likely similar results as they did so two decades ago in the former case.

In fact, you might just walk away surprised at how well the denizens of the titular Jurassic Park hold up.

Spielberg’s knack for visual splendor is well preserved in 3D, even in post-conversion.

One element that puts “Jurassic Park 3D” ahead of the pack is that it feels as though the film was meant to be shot in 3D all along.

The T-Rex chase sequence is only one of several notable scenes that take advantages of 20 years’ worth of technological developments.

Aside from the occasionally jarring scene, particularly those involving the Velociraptor-laden climax, the computer-generated effects don’t feel nearly as dated as one would suspect.  And even that can be attributed to their nearly unparalleled amount of screen time.

But alongside the visual overhaul, the film’s Oscar-winning audio also received a much-appreciated remastering.

The moment in which the film’s heroes hear the approaching footsteps of the T-Rex is one that leaves a lasting impression, and their plight has never been a more sympathetic one.

Like “Avatar,” “The Hobbit” and several other films before it, “Jurassic Park 3D” has the distinct advantage of being able to immerse audience members fully into a foreign, and yet oddly familiar world.

While many will interpret the film’s 3D release as a simple cash-in, it is a difficult case to make considering its already-impressive position as one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

Instead, it would be more appropriate to treat “Jurassic Park 3D” as an opportunity to introduce a new generation of audiences to one of film’s landmark achievements.

With “Jurassic Park IV” scheduled for a summer release next June, it’s my sincere hope that this 3D re-imagining will spark enough interest to keep several future butts glued to seats for years to come.