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'Jurassic Park 3D' review: Hold on to your butts

**** (out of four)

Even diamonds get a periodic polish, and that's what the 3D re-release of Steven Spielberg's spectacular 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park” is.

Overseen by the director during a nine-month conversion, the 3D accentuates and sharpens the classic adventure rather than getting in its way. That doesn't mean the dinosaurs suddenly pop out of the screen and spit in your face. It means uncovered dinosaur bones appear closer, and you can practically feel the ridges on the triceratops’ head. I've seen the movie dozens and dozens of times—it's one of the few I remember seeing in the theater three times as a kid—and never really noticed the extent of filth around deceitful park employee Dennis Nedry's (Wayne Knight) desk. What a slob.

If somehow you've never seen the epic adaptation of the late Michael Crichton's book, just know that a very wealthy man (Richard Attenborough) builds a theme park populated by real dinosaurs and some well-educated skeptics (Sam Neill, Laura Dern, a very Jeff Goldblum-y Jeff Goldblum) get a first-hand view of why high-stakes action without appropriate thoughts can be disastrous. (New viewers may apply similar logic to celeb nude photo leaks.) Unlike modern CGI that looks merely like an impressive and very expensive imitation of fantasy, “Jurassic Park” submits you to the wonder of its imagination and makes you believe a tyrannosaurus has really gotten loose.

Just as extraordinary as always, the film holds up remarkably well—aside from lines like, “It's an interactive CD-rom!” that got chuckles out of the preview audience—for something that preceded/helped name the Toronto Raptors and Jurassic 5. With a flawless score by John Williams, it remains a gripping story about human ambition and error, with a relatively light touch from Spielberg in confronting his favored parenting issues.

With a fourth “Jurassic Park” film on the way, this is the part where I say that the franchise's sequels aren't very good (particularly “The Lost World”) and nobody needs another one. Still, the first “JP” belongs on a big screen, and even on a repeat of a repeat viewing, it's magic to get lost in its world.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

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