When Jurassic Park first roared into theatres in 1993, it enthralled audiences, ushered in the era of CGI, and ultimately went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. For the 20th anniversary re-release, Universal has spared no expense in converting it to 3D.
Converting movies into 3D that were shot in 2D is one of the biggest poxes of cinema right now. The question at the heart of the decision to do it with Jurassic Park is the same one echoed by Jeff Goldblum’s character in the film: Were they so pre-occupied with whether or not they could that they never stopped to think if they should?
Gloriously, Jurassic Park 3D works. In fact, it’s one of the best 3D experiences there’s been and arguably the best post-converted 3D movie, period.
Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur masterpiece was defined in its initial release by its employment of a previously inconsistent technology (CGI) that it found a way to use perfectly. Twenty years later, the same can be said for how Jurassic Park 3D uses depth-of-field and scale to create an almost new experience, even for those who can quote every line along with the movie.
Because Jurassic Park was not shot with the intention of ever being 3D, there are few moments of the action popping out of the screen in the distracting fashion that’s become standard for 3D. Instead, the extra dimension serves to create a wholly immersive experience, making for an even more gripping movie. When the T-Rex is attacking a car with two trapped children inside, you feel like you’re trapped inside with them.
The other excellent use of Jurassic Park’s 3D is in how well depth is conveyed, with distances stretching back through the screen. In the memorable scene where a car is stuck in a tree and two characters swiftly try to climb down the branches while the car begins vertically barrelling down on them, the sheer height and distance of their descent is made more gut-wrenchingly clear than it ever seemed in 2D.
The temptation is to dismiss Jurassic Park 3D as nothing more than a cash grab. Doing so would be a critical underestimation. Watching the movie this way, especially with its clever camera angles and cinematography brought vividly to life, is a revelatory experience.
Whether you’ve watched it dozens of times on home video already or somehow haven’t seen it yet, Jurassic Park 3D is not only worth the trip back to theatres but does for post-converted 3D what Jurassic Park did for CGI two decades ago.