Who among us can honestly claim to look better today than we did 20 years ago? Those who do likely credit advancements in cosmetic surgeries and anti-aging techniques, which polish our blemishes and restore surface beauties.
The same goes for “Jurassic Park.” Steven Spielberg’s edge-of-your-seat blockbuster celebrates its 20th anniversary with a 3-D Imax restoration that improves digital effects that were considered spectacular for their time. The enthralling man-vs.-nature parable based on the late Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel hasn’t aged one bit. But the upgrade allows Spielberg’s larger-than-life dinosaurs to fit perfectly on today’s enlarged Imax screens — and occasionally terrify audiences when those beasts reach out and appear to be going for our popcorn.
My preview audience was fired up for the blast of nostalgia, cheering the “Jurassic Park” title card, groaning when Laura Dern reached elbow deep into a 3-D pile of dino droppings and screaming in excited fear when a velociraptor tried to chomp Dern’s head in a bunker. The crowd was rewarded with a breathtaking 3-D conversion that enhanced items both miniscule (Samuel L. Jackson’s dangling cigarette ash, Wayne Knight’s Barbasol can) and massive (the Tyrannosaurus rex, a crowning technical achievement in Spielberg’s illustrious career). “Jurassic Park” was impressive in 1993. Twenty years later, it’s flawless.
Spielberg has become a 3-D supporter in recent years, filming his animated “The Adventures of Tintin” with the visual enhancement and allowing technical wizards to add a rich depth-of-focus here. If enough moviegoers flock to “Jurassic Park,” as I suspect they well, maybe one day we’ll see Richard Dreyfuss creating 3-D piles of mashed potatoes, E.T.’s glowing finger reaching off an Imax screen and Roy Scheider telling Quint that he’s going to need a bigger 3-D boat.
O’Connell is a freelance writer.
PG-13. At area theaters. Contains intense science-fiction terror. 127 minutes.