JURASSIC PARK 3D (Steven Spielberg). 127 minutes. Opens Friday (April 5). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
Jurassic Park 3D makes the best argument for why 3D conversions should go extinct. The reissue of Steven Spielberg's dinosaur roller-coaster ride is a hack job, taking apart the director's carefully composed images and matting the pieces on different planes to give the illusion of another dimension.
The results look all cut-and-paste, while the human characters appear disproportionate and oddly flattened. The dinosaurs rarely benefit from the supposed "depth" that's been added, though they don't suffer as much from the conversion. Those velociraptors are too sharp to let corporate meddling get the best of them.
The tampering distracts from a monumental achievement that actually holds up 20 years after its release. Jurassic Park is Spielberg's last great blockbuster, a dazzling mix of terror and wide-eyed wonder - like a genetic crossbreed between Jaws and E.T. - constructed with a prophetic and satirical awareness that it is meant to sell both tickets and merchandise, evidently for decades.
Unlike today's tent poles (which cater to an audience with ADHD), Spielberg's film rewards patience, elaborately introducing an array of likeable characters (Jeff Goldblum's mathematician is the scene stealer) and their motives while slowly building up to those memorably intense scenes like the one where a T. Rex's approach is clocked by a glass of water or a raptor stalks its prey through pots and pans.
The visual effects were as groundbreaking in 1993 as the T. Rex's march. Rather than coming off as prehistoric, its mix of real sets, animatronics and CGI feels more organic than all the green-screen fare we get today.
Unfortunately, the 3D ruins everything, like the comet that killed the dinosaurs, making Jurassic Park the rare amusement I'd prefer to revisit at home.