Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dino-mite? Not quite

The 3D predators in revamped blockbuster are impressive, but the film's flaws also jump out

  • Print

‘LIFE... uh... finds a way."

So says Jeff Goldblum's "rock star" mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park. The cool, black-clad theoretician is talking about the titular theme park, featuring live cloned dinosaurs. Specifically, Malcolm isn't buying the scientific arrogance that smugly presumes the park's beasts will be incapable of reproducing.

This new re-release of the film epitomizes arrogance of a different stripe. As Dr. Malcolm might put it: When it comes to making more money out of a presumably tapped-out blockbuster, Hollywood... uh... finds a way.

In this case, it's a 3D retrofit to a 1993 movie that came close to grossing a billion dollars upon its initial release.

But the film itself may be the main argument against the 3D-ification of every hit movie of the past 25 years.

When it was released 20 years ago, Jurassic Park became a hit because it delivered on the promise of giving audiences something they had not seen before: photo-realistic dinosaurs -- lots of 'em -- interacting with the human cast in a story that was otherwise a theme park-gone-wrong tale reminiscent of Westworld (which, like Jurassic Park, was also a story by prolific novelist Michael Crichton).

In 2013, the dinosaurs are still pretty impressive. But we may be less razzle-dazzled by the animated creatures, even in 3D, and that leaves us to deal with Jurassic Park as a movie, and not as a game-changing film phenomenon.

In the unlikely event you haven't seen it, it's about a Walt Disney-like entrepreneur named John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) who compels the aforementioned Dr. Ian Malcolm, child-hating paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to an island off Costa Rica that he has secretly transformed into a theme park featuring live dinosaurs, cloned from ancient DNA preserved in amber. Hammond has also invited his two young grandchildren (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards), as they'll be the ideal target demographic.

But of course, things go terribly wrong when a scheming techie (Wayne Knight) shuts down all the park's security systems and the dinos run amok.

There is much to admire in the film. Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter David Koepp strive to deliver a legit work of science fiction, where the actual science of cloning is clearly delineated and the ethical concerns are sensibly debated. Dr. Malcolm essentially is a character who functions as Crichton's mouthpiece, but Goldblum doggedly creates a character out of him anyway, applying a light glaze of Goldblum-ian neurosis to a character who might otherwise have been a mere cipher. (Goldblum has an assured way with a geeky bon mot, such as: "God help us, we're in the hands of engineers.")

Also, Spielberg brings his ingenious technique to bear in a couple of key scenes: the T-Rex attack and the climactic game of hide-and-seek with a trio of deadly velociraptors.

But now that the integration of computer-generated characters and live actors is a more common occurrence, one is more inclined to be put off by the movie's faults.

Spielberg has always made a trick of inspiring a sense of awe with giant close-ups of awestruck faces. This gets old quickly, as does John Williams' music score, which likewise obtrusively cues the audience to how to react instead of simply reflecting the action on the screen.

Dern tries to bring a sense of naturalism to her role with the result that she seems to be acting in a different movie than everyone else. And Attenborough's grandfatherly presence just annoys.

If you were blown away the first time you saw it, prepare for some disappointment. Like the fictional attraction of the title, Jurassic Park the movie just doesn't hang together like it should.

Jurassic Park 3D

Starring Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne


126 minutes

3 stars out of five

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2013 D1


Updated on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM CDT: adds missing text

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Cali For Jets Nation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press January 18, 2011 Local Standup -

View More Gallery Photos

Ads by Google