Over the weekend I was able to check out the Jurassic Park re-release in IMAX 3-D.
And to my pleasant surprise it was one of the best 2D to 3-D conversions I've seen to date. This is not a knock on the much praised "Titanic" conversion, as StereoD also helped with that conversion as well. Steven Spielberg no doubt insisted on only a quality conversion, unlike some of the studio quickie cash grab conversion we've seen previously. In this given case it cost Universal roughly $10 million converting the movie to 3D, and the results pay off on the screen.
So what makes a first rate 3D conversion? First off, I didn't see any blatant conversion artifacting. Not during the rain scenes, nor during the various fast motion sequences, or the different "shot through the window" scenes. These are all torture conditions for 3-D conversions. Add to that the parallax in JP3D is noticably wider than most of today's natively shot 3-D features. In certain sections it was close to 1950s (House of Wax) level of parallax. More parallax equates to more depth and overall a more noticeable 3-D image. Much of the stereoscopic layering was not only detailed but often was scaled throughout the stereoscopic z-space plane. Spielberg loves his tracking zoom type of shots, and adding 3-D only enhanced this approach. With the increased stereoscopic parallax, I often found myself studying the various layers of depth in what might normally be a more mundane scene in 2-D. The third dimension now adds a further sense of realism to the Dinosaurs, with 3-D allowing for a greater perspective of just how big they are supposed to be. Or in some cases, how uncomfortably close they can be at times.
It is worth noting there were also some minor artistic revisions in the feature. When the first loud thunder clap occurs near the ill triceratops, there is now a visual lightning flash to accompany it. Someone watching with me noted some production lights which were previously viewable in a reflection are now missing. It wouldn't surprise me if we find a few more minor tweaks here and there once this is available on home video.
Gary Rydstrom confirmed he has reworked/tweaked the soundtrack yet again, moving more material into the surrounds and changing some effects here and there. At the Imax theater locally, bass was lacking, but for now I'm guessing that aspect was not due to the mix. For the Imax showing, the three front channels were wide and active, with dialog occasionally being directional in nature. I'd prefer the upcoming 3-D Bluray also included the original bass laden 1993 theatrical 5.1 mix which also premiered the new DTS theatrical sound format. With that said, I certainly don't expect that to happen.
I'll have to reassess the quality further once it has been released on 3D Bluray, which of course allows for more scrutiny. The 3-D version utilizes a new 4K transfer with a color timing that (more than less) is now closer to the original 1993 theatrical prints. The image overall appeared sharper than the previous 2D bluray release. With that said, the 1993 CG effects will never be as detailed as today's CG work, barring a complete and oh so costly re-do of all of the special effects, which in itself would be a huge revisionist step. As for cropping, DNR, fine detail and overall contrast, that will be best judged on the home screen when comparisons to the older transfer can be performed. I'll be curious to also re-examine the 3-D experience on my 42" flat panel and 135" projection systems, and see how they both compare to my Imax viewing. Having the whole feature fill my whole peripheral vision ala IMAX can spoil one and be more visceral in nature, so it will be interesting to see how this translates to the smaller screen. Because of the wider parallax, I'm sure some will again complain of ghosting on the upcoming 3-D bluray. Sometimes that's the price for a good strong dose of 3-D when coupled with certain less than ideal 3D display devices. The included 2D bluray version will reportedly will be the older previous transfer that is already available.
JP3D took in 2nd place at the boxoffice this past weekend, taking in an estimated 18 million, with Imax screens accounting for 32% of the return. The 3-D Bluray will be available April 23rd.