- May 9, 2003
Jurassic World has survived to strike Blu-ray in 3D, with an edition that looks quite good, although it works best in 2D. (3D fans should note that this is not a demo 3D conversion by any means.) The movie itself is fairly entertaining, returning viewers to lovely Isla Nublar 20+ years after the notorious events of Jurassic Park. The cast is fairly appealing, including pleasant turns by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and the movie can be a fun amusement park ride – so long as you don’t take more than a moment to think about the plot. Universal has presented the movie in a 3-disc combo pack that includes a 3D Blu-ray, a 2D Blu-ray and a standard definition DVD. It’s a fun adventure, and easily the best of the three sequels. If only the plot had worked better or the 3D had been more immersive, I could have recommended it. On the other hand, it’s easily breaking sales records right and left, so my opinion in that area is probably irrelevant.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 1080P/MVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 2 Hr. 5 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 10/20/2015
The Production Rating: 3/5
“Oh yeah. Ooooh, Ahhhhh. That’s how it always starts. And then later there’s RUNNING and, uh, SCREAMING…”
-Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Jurassic World has given current moviegoers a chance to return to the lovely but perilous world of genetically recreated dinosaurs. The new film offers moviegoers an undeniably entertaining thrill ride, using all the major dinos we’ve seen in the past and adding a few new ones, including one major new baddie. The Hawaiian location work looks beautiful and the cast is always appealing. There’s a considerable amount of CGI work here and it’s fairly seamless with the live action photography. If we were to just look at this as a fun movie night with no further discussion, Jurassic World works just fine. The problems pop up the moment we try to scratch below the surface. Casual viewers can scroll down to the end of this section to move on to the video/audio/extras evaluations. More interested readers are welcome to continue the analysis in the following paragraphs.
SPOILERS: As discussed in prior reviews here, this story began with a bestselling novel by Michael Crichton and continued with a record-setting blockbuster from Steven Spielberg in 1993. A sequel followed in 1997 with rather mixed results, and a second sequel followed that in 2001 with even less of an appeal. Since that time, there have been repeated rumors that a new sequel was being contemplated. Every few years, the prospect of a new script or a new director would rise up and then fade away. Until 2013, at which point the preparation for the new movie became decidedly more serious. What has resulted with Jurassic World is the combination of various story ideas that had been roiling for over ten years with some new ideas from newcomer writer/director Colin Trevorrow. And at first glance, the movie looks a lot like the 1993 film. Part of this is due to the filmmakers choosing to shoot on film rather than on digital cameras, thus working to match the aesthetic look of the earlier movies. (This is a similar choice to that made by JJ Abrams for his upcoming Star Wars episode.) Most of it is due to the plot elements being extremely similar to the basic mechanics of the original novel and the 1993 film.
MORE SPOILERS: The story here picks up 22 years after Jurassic Park. Somehow, in the interim years since 2001, a wealthy investor, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), has acquired the dinosaur DNA assets and everything else from John Hammond’s company, and has been operating an extremely successful wild animal park of dinosaurs on Isla Nublar. Thousands of people have been flocking to the island to see the various dinosaurs, and it would seem that all the kinks from 1993 have been worked out. Right? Which is what any reader of Michael Crichton would instantly see as “famous last words”… In short order, the park’s operations manager, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) loses control over the park’s newest creation – the Indominus Rex, a genetically engineered hybrid whose seeming structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. As the new dino starts to pose a threat, Claire enlists resident raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to help track and contain the situation. As usual for the Jurassic movies, there are a pair of kids in extreme danger – in this case, Claire’s nephews – and at least one bullheaded villain, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who is practically begging the dinos to take a bite out of him.
YES, MORE SPOILERS: There are some lovely and effective views of the dinos early on, including the fun “Shamu” gag we’ve all seen in the trailer of a huge Mosasaurus jumping out of the big sea tank to chomp a Great White Shark whole. (Of course, this is actually a setup for a payoff that will come much later down the line, in one of the mechanical parts of the plot that work well.) There’s an eye-popping bird’s eye view of the working park, melding some New Orleans footage with a healthy amount of CGI to create the vista. And as the situation starts to come apart, we’re treated the various scenarios you’d expect and a few you wouldn’t see coming – as the movie’s heroes are menaced by all varieties of dinosaur, including flying pterosaurs. It goes without saying that we know the SWAT team dispatched to contain the Indominus is doomed from the moment we see them. (I believe it’s somewhere in the standard movie manual that the SWAT team is always doomed – just like we know that the soldier who talks about his sweetheart back home is about to get killed, and how we know that every office in the world contains a ficus and a credenza.) It also goes without saying that we know that Masrani is doomed once he gets into a helicopter to lead the attack himself – particularly when we see that the Indominus is headed for the pterosaur dome… And all this is undeniably fun to watch. We even get to see a high speed chase involving raptors and a motorcycle along the way. But there are some serious problems here, sitting right below the surface.
SPOILERS CONTINUE: The problem here is that the plot simply doesn’t make any sense. First, we’re asked to believe that after all the REALLY BAD PRESS this park got in the 1990s, someone would spend billions to open the park anyway – and that millions of people would still want to go there! After we’ve gotten over that hump (which is kind of the whole story right away), we then have the issue of the super-secret Indominus Rex. Somehow, we must believe that nobody outside of the lab and Hoskins even knows what this test tube predator is, including its ability to cloak itself from thermal sensors. That’s a huge ask on top of the first one, but it’s possible to go there, at least at first. (Of course, that cloak is what lets the Indominus escape into the park…) But once the Indominus escapes, the wheels really come off the wagon. The park operators now know they have a dangerous predator roaming the island, killing both humans and other dinos. And yet, nobody gets any information about what DNA went into the Indominus – something you’d think would be critical to know ASAP. So that by the time our heroes realize the Indominus is really just a velociraptor with the size and mass of a T-rex, it’s a bit late in the game. Then there’s also that issue of the trained raptors switching sides to go with the Indominus at the drop of a hat, and then switching back. (The only part of that last idea that works is the dispatch of Hoskins, who learns that the raptors really can bite the hand that feeds them. Or shall we say, bite OFF the hand that feeds them…)
FINAL SPOILERS: The problem with all these plot holes is that in the end, they threaten to pull apart the entire sweater of the movie’s story. Again, if you don’t worry about any of the story as you go through the movie, the holes won’t be a bother. It’s when anyone takes even a moment to ask what the heck is going on that the whole enterprise starts to founder.
The 3-D Blu-ray of Jurassic World has been available to home theater viewers since October 20th (and by all accounts has been selling at a breakneck pace). For this movie, Stereo D converted the movie to 3D, as it was shot on film in 2D. The packaging includes Blu-ray and SD DVD editions of the movie, with all three discs including varying amounts of special features. Instructions for downloading a digital copy of each movie are included on an insert in the packaging.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: 2/5
Jurassic World is presented in a 3D 1080p MVC transfer (avg 20 mbps on the left, 10 mbps on the right – with the right channel rising in bitrate as more dimensionality is presented). Unfortunately, the Stereo D conversion of this movie is lacking in dimensionality all the way through. Even moments you’d think would offer great “pop” opportunities, like the little claws poking out of an egg at the very beginning, don’t do much to break the plane of the screen. The 3D effect is frankly limited to the general window effect of the screen itself and occasional moments of separation when glass windows are visible in the movie. If viewers are looking for a truly immersive 3D experience of a Jurassic movie, they’d do better to turn to the 2013 conversion of the 1993 film, which at least does provide multiple layers at many points.
That said, the 2D Blu-ray (AVC transfer averaging 35 mbps) looks terrific, blending the various locations with CGI extensions that are completely believable. Given how little actual dino work was present on set, the overwhelming amount of CGI is startling in how realistic it is. (The only actual on-set puppetry done is for a single moment, which to be honest, actually is quite moving – a testament to the skills of the actors and the puppeteers.)
Audio Rating: 5/5
Jurassic World is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix (avg 4.5 mbps, going up to 6.0 mbps in the big scenes), along with English and French DTS 5.1 mixes and an English DVS 2.0 mix. As usual for the Jurassic movies in HD, this film gets a wallop of a 7.1 sound mix that happily fills all the channels with atmospheric sound and Michael Giacchino’s score (with several cues built from the original 1993 John Williams score). The subwoofer is plenty active here, particularly when the Indominus or other large scale creatures are present…
Special Features Rating: 3/5
Jurassic World comes with a fair amount of featurettes and bonus material, all of which can be found on the 2D Blu-ray. (I note that, as usual with Spielberg productions, the materials here have been prepared and presented by Laurent Bouzereau.) The 3D Blu-ray includes some of the materials, presented in 2D. The 2D Blu-ray, as noted, contains everything. The DVD in the package, includes the materials from the 3D Blu-ray plus one additional featurette. Instructions for obtaining a digital or ultraviolet copy of the movie are included in the packaging.
On the 3D Blu-ray:
Deleted Scenes (ON 3D & 2D BLU-RAYS AND ON DVD) (6:08 Total, 1080p AVC) – Several deleted scenes, totaling just above 6 minutes, are included here. There’s nothing particularly crucial – just some extra filler. One bit, with Claire and Owen covering themselves with dino dung, gets points for grossness.
Chris and Colin Take On the World (ON 3D & 2D BLU-RAYS AND ON DVD) (8:57, 1080p AVC) – This featurette is really a mutual interview between Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow, apparently conducted in February 2015 as part of the international promotional push for the movie. There are no major revelations here, although Pratt does get noted for having called out the idea that he would be doing this movie in footage from the set of Parks and Recreation. (Watch carefully at the beginning of the promo and you’ll see that they’ve pulled footage from two different featurettes with Colin Trevorrow – in the montage that starts everything, there is a shot of him wearing a different shirt…)
On the 2D Blu-ray:
Welcome to Jurassic World (EXCLUSIVE TO 2D BLU-RAY) (29:32, 1080p) – Laurent Bouzereau does his usual thorough job in examining the basics of the production of the new movie, including a mutual interview with Colin Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg. Trevorrow actually admits that he broke a grounding punishment from his parents and snuck out of the house to see Jurassic Park in 1993 as a teenager. (Yes, you read that correctly. He was a teenager when Jurassic Park came out. You really are that old…)
Dinosaurs Roam Once Again (AVAILABLE ON 2D BLU-RAY AND ON DVD) (16:29, 1080p) – This featurette covers the dinosaurs seen in the new film. Most of this work was done with CGI, of course, but the one lovely scene done with a puppet on set is given some good focus here.
Jurassic World: All-Access Pass (EXCLUSIVE TO 2D BLU-RAY) (10:11, 1080p) – This featurette feels like a holdover from the older “Take Control” or “U Control” interactive features. It’s designed to allow Colin Trevorrow (and others) to show the viewer moments from the movie and immediately discuss how those moments were accomplished via on-set footage.
Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt (EXCLUSIVE TO 2D BLU-RAY) (2:01, 1080p) – This is a very quick look at the visitors’ center for the new park, with Chris Pratt providing some up-close looks at various bits of the interactive playback on the New Orleans set, as well as some of the set dressing. There are a few nice items here, including a nod to the original “Mr. DNA” and a bronze statue of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough).
Jurassic’s Closest Shaves – Presented by Barbasol (EXCLUSIVE TO 2D BLU-RAY) (3:00, 1080p) – This is a quick compilation
of multiple moments of dinosaur attacks from the first three movies, starting with the introduction of the trick shaving cream/dino embryo transport in the 1993 film and then happily going through several iterations of dinosaurs doing what we all know they do best – eat people.
Digital and Ultraviolet Copies – Instructions for obtaining digital and Ultraviolet copies of the 2D edition of the movie are available on an insert in the packaging.
The film and special features are subtitled in English, French and Spanish. The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Jurassic World is an undeniably entertaining movie, but not one that will stay with the viewer very long after it’s done. Or at least, it shouldn’t. Because the moment you start to really think about this plot, the whole thing will unravel. The other drawback here is a lackluster 3D conversion. But if you’re just watching this in 2D, you’ll have a great ride at least the first time through.
Reviewed By: Kevin EK
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