Jurassic Park 3D

jp3dI’m not a huge fan of 3D, and I’m even less of a fan of post-production conversions. (Clash of the Titans, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?) But after the reasonably cool conversion of The Phantom Menace, I thought maybe Jurassic Park would be worth a look. Also, fun movie. Any excuse, you know? So I sought out a RealD version, since the IMAX 3D makes me queasy with its double images. (Maybe this is because I wear corrective lenses? I don’t know.)

Now, I’ll say, the bulk of the film was converted beautifully. All that deep foliage could have looked terrible, but it really looked good. Even something as simple as the lunch scene where the principles all discuss the wisdom of this new technology (irony!) looked interesting. The slide projectors were throwing god rays all over the place, and the camera was low enough that glasses on the tables were in the foreground. All very nice. It would have even seemed showy if not for the fact that the film was made a good fifteen years before the 3D craze.

But, sadly, in the very first scene, I saw one of the worst 3D conversions ever. If you remember the movie, it starts with a truck bringing in a big cage with a raptor in it. Now, I’m not an expert in cinema photography or human visual perception, but something about how they handled the geometry of that very boxy cage looked wrong. It looked like a special effect, a bad one. For some reason, my brain perceived it as small, toy-like.

There were a handful of other moments like that (though none nearly so glaring) where an object that had a very sharp, geometric form (like the raptor pen) looked fake, even though I know those were practical objects on a real set. Maybe this is just a danger when you’re dealing with a director like Spielberg who really uses depth of field. Some of the stuff lends itself to 3D, but some is just hard to convert effectively.

Those minor points aside, I did enjoy the film this time around. Some of the plot holes continue to grate. (Where did that cliff come from, anyway? Why is that computer interface in the bunker super fancy? Why all the whonking about the “lysine contingency”, when the systems that feed the dinosaurs are down anyway?)

Other things seem far less intrusive. For example, remember, the first time you saw it, how annoying Ellie was with her, “We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.” A few dozen Underworld and Resident Evil films later and we don’t really begrudge the ladies their action sequences. Ah, the old days when men in movies were sweetly protective of the womenfolk.

Seeing the film made me happy. It also made me want to go home and watch The Lost World. Also, it made me very excited for number 4. Though I suspect I won’t be seeing it in a 3D presentation.

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