Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Jurassic Park

Film #276


During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Year 1, Day 276

BEFORE: Something that has been sadly missing from the movie marathon recently is advanced screenings. With only two screenings in the past three months (much less than the zenith of 9 in September alone), I’m back in theaters and with a great film: Jurassic Park. This is the 3D re-release of the classic 1993 Steven Spielberg film about a dinosaur theme park. I saw the whole trilogy many years ago when I got the DVD collection over the summer and can remember positive thoughts, but I’m really excited to see it again and have the experience be on the big screen.

AFTER: I’ve probably said this before for one of my reviews, but seeing a film in theaters can be a very magical experience. The big screen with a crystal clear picture combined with wonderful surround sound creates something much more moving and powerful than watching the same film on a computer or even a big TV screen. Seeing Jurassic Park again was amazing for many reasons ranging from the story to the action, suspense, and most of all, the music.

Music is something that I don’t talk about often in my reviews and it’s not because it’s never great or worth mentioning, but because there’s usually many more important things about the film worthy of analysis. But for me not to mention John William’s fantastic score here would be blasphemous. The Jurassic Park theme is one of the most iconic in movie history and when it started to play the first time as everyone flies to the island, it sent shivers through my spine. Hearing those notes come through the speakers provoked something in my memory that sent my excitement and interest through the roof. Before that helicopter scene I was still invested, but from that moment on, as a direct result of the music, it was as if no wrong could be done. That theme triggered something, and through a combination of nostalgia, but more importantly William’s brilliant composition, it helps drive the film to bigger and better things.

Obviously, there’s more to Jurassic Park than just the music. While the story and characters are both well developed, the thing I’m going to talk about it also something not usually mentioned, and that is action/building of suspense. One of the things Spielberg is so great at, and is done incredibly well here, is crafting action. Simple things like the framing of a shot, the blocking of movement, and a line of dialogue or sound effect all add up to make some very intense scenes. Jurassic Park is not a horror film, at least that’s not what I would consider it, but the amount of scary scenes it has far surpasses the number in a horror film. Even having seen the film before, there were many parts, especially towards the end where I flinched a bit or jumped in my seat. Yes there is some fear built into the scenes themselves (it is about dinosaurs on the loose after all) but what makes it so gripping, intense, and at times scary, is that in the moment, you are expecting something else. Most times in scary films or similar situations, things are set up where you expect, nay know, that something is going to happen. InJurassic Park there’s still that gut feeling where you know something is going to happen, but every clue you get, visually and audibly, tells you otherwise and distracts you from when that something will happen.

Throughout the film you’ll be swept along from scene to scene, drawn in by the music, maintained by the story and characters, and then wowed by the thrill and excitement from the action. Jurassic Park is a master arrangement and choreography of all things film. Steve Spielberg creates a quality piece of entertainment from start to finish. Overall, I think the 3D was well done. Nothing struck me as overtly horrendous and there were a few places where it even added to the action. If you’re a fan or have never seen Jurassic Park before, I’d highly recommend seeing it in theaters. Not necessarily to see it in 3D (the point, or one of the points, of this re-release), but to see a classic on the big screen.

Jurassic Park (the 3D re-release) opens in theaters this Friday, April 5, 2013.

RATING: 5 out of 5