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‘Jurassic Park 3D’ is great 20 years later

Movie Review
By: By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
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“Jurassic Park 3D”

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum

Five out of five stars

Twenty years ago, Steven Spielberg unleashed his epic dinosaur movie and audiences around the world were simultaneously awed and terrified.

Today, “Jurassic Park” is back in theaters with a shiny 3D upgrade and ready for a second close-up.

I was a 9-year-old boy the first time I saw the movie and I remember being horrified at the prospect of seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex eat someone right in front of me.

To this day, it remains one of the most visceral experiences I’ve ever had in the theater and I was curious to see if I would have the same reaction after having seen it countless times on home video and television.

The film holds up amazingly well as it remains one of Spielberg’s most tightly wound and suspenseful movies since his other masterpiece, “Jaws.”

Even for a 20-year-old film, the special effects still look incredible. It’s a testament to the team of technical wizards who seamlessly blended practical animatronics work to the then-cutting-edge computer enhancements. Everything works together harmoniously and the result is a film that doesn’t feel very dated.

Among the highlights are the legendary T-Rex attack on the Jeep convoy, the battle with the cunning Velociraptors and the paleontologists’ first encounter with a living, breathing Brachiosaurus.

What makes this film so great, and definitely worth revisiting in 3D, is how deftly it moves from fantasy to horror. In one scene, you can marvel at the majesty of the ancient creatures, and in the next, you can be cowering in your seat hoping your favorite characters don’t get chomped.

Neither of the two sequels has come close to matching this film and I doubt they ever will, if we get another. “Jurassic Park” is an unequaled work of pure cinema, capable of eliciting the unadulterated joy that comes with watching a master at work, toying with your breathless anticipation.

Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.