Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park follows a group of scientists and children trapped on a remote island where genetic engineers have cloned living dinosaurs.

There are certain movies that most DVD collects have on their most wanted list. These films center around two directors, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Fortunately for us, Spielberg has been releasing his billion-dollar catalogue of films to enjoy on DVD. The latest is the blockbuster Jurassic Park. Based on the hit novel by Michael Crichton which uses the recipe for bringing back dinosaurs by Charles Pelligrino, the movie follows a group of scientists and children trapped on a remote island where genetic engineers have cloned living dinosaurs.

With a production company and reputation like Spielberg’s you can expect the cast will be top notch and it is. Sam Neill is the paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant. Neil takes this character to experience the most personal growth of any in the film. Grant is initially shown as a person distrustful of technology, resourceful and uneasy around children. By the end of Jurassic Park he is able to bond with the two children, Lex and Tim (Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello) left in his care. Neill is extraordinary in the subtle nuances that make this a great performance. Jeff Goldblum is wonderful as Dr. Ian Malcolm (based in part of Pelligrino) a man endowed with an ‘excess of personality’. Goldblum brings to the performance part Greek chorus explaining things to the audience and part comic relief. Laura Dern is Dr. Ellie Sattler, girlfriend and partner to Grant that takes delight in the park initially but show has to able to survive the unthinkable. The appearances of Sir Richard Attenbourgh, while pivotal to the plot is too restricted to let this great talent really shine. The best scene for him is when the power is off and he explains to Ellie about his very first attraction, a flea circus.

Steven Spielberg is perhaps one of the greatest directors that ever lived. With far more hits than misses and most of those hits in the top ranking movies of all time Spielberg shows how far true talent can take a man. He is a perfectionist. Every scene in Jurassic Park is crafted as if it was an individual masterpiece of art. The details, no matter how small, are considered and a sense of reality is achieved. On the DVD you can notice Jurassic Park match books, a small detail but it is indicative of the care taken to make this film. The action moves at a well timed pace. There are scenes used to punctuate the action, to give the audience some rest but the action moves through the film carrying you along. It’s like a roller coaster ride, a slow spot just before you drop at 4Gs. Spielberg set out to entertain and he succeeded.

The Jurassic Park DVD does have its problems. Don’t get me wrong, its very well done but there are a few points to consider. The DTS version does not have the expansive sound field that usually marks DTS. It is a bit too flat in the rear. Both Dolby and DTS are a bit light on the low frequencies during normal, non-special effects scenes. The bottom seems missing in some of the musical score. The anamorphic video is not as clear in some sections as it should be. On the positive side the effects rock the room. When the T-Rex roars you feel it in your chest. The room shakes and my cats hid. The sound of the Raptors moving behind the action is clear and distinct in the rear channels. They do not include a commentary track. I would have loved to hear what Spielberg would have to say. It does have a dinosaur encyclopedia, a making of documentary and storyboards. The DTS version is missing some of the extras like deleted footage. In all Jurassic Park is still a must have film for any collection.

Review by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com

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