The “Limited Edition” release of the current roster of the Jurassic Park franchise (that is until June) is a well done package by Universal, though the 4K transfers weren’t exactly incredible upgrades over their Blu-ray counterparts, outside of maybe the audio.
Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Collection
— Limited Edition —
Genre(s): Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Universal | PG13 – 474 min. – $79.98 | May 22, 2018
Date Published: 05/27/2018 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions of this was copied over from my Jurassic Park Trilogy and Jurassic World Blu-ray reviews.
Only the audio and video sections are new.
THE MOVIES — 3.25/5
|Jurassic Park (1993) — 4.5/5
A multimillionaire (RICHARD ATTENBOUROUGH) unveils a new theme park where visitors can observe dinosaurs cloned using advanced DNA technology. Two archeologists (SAM NEILL and LAURA DERN) and a quirky scientist (JEFF GOLDBLUM) are invited to partake in a tour of the facilities, but when an employee tampers with the security system, the dinosaurs escape, and forces visitors to fight for their survival.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) — 3.0/5
Four years after Jurassic Park’s genetically bred dinosaurs ran amok, multimillionaire John Hammond (ATTENBOUROUGH) shocks chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (GOLDBLUM) by revealing that Hammond has been breeding more dinosaurs at a secret location. Malcolm, his paleontologist ladylove (JULIANNE MOORE) and a wildlife videographer (VINCE VAUGN) join an expedition to document the lethal lizards’ natural behavior. However, they are confronted by men (including PETE POSTLETTHWAITE) hired by Hammond’s greedy son who want to exploit the dinosaurs for their own financial gain.
Jurassic Park III (2001) — 3.25/5
In need of funds for research, Dr. Alan Grant (NEILL) accepts a large sum of money to accompany Paul and Amanda Kirby (WILLIAM H. MACY and TEA LEONI) on an aerial tour of the infamous Isla Sorna. It isn’t long before all hell breaks loose and the stranded wayfarers must fight for survival as a host of new – and even more deadly – dinosaurs try to make snacks of them.
Review Rundown (Jurassic Park/The Lost World: Jurassic Park/Jurassic Park III):
Now, for me, I remember seeing JP in theaters and it was great then and holds up so well 18 years later. While the visual effects look great, it’s not quite as crisp compared with today’s standards, ditto for the animatronics, the story still holds up really well and the combination of sly humor and action adventure makes this one hell of a ride.
Sadly, I cannot say the same for its sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. If memory serves, Michael Crighton’s novel was written as a direct response to the first film’s massive success and the sequel was born. The film made at the time the largest May opening weekend ever – $72.1 million ($90 million for Memorial Day Weekend) – and until this past April’s Fast Five, it was Universal’s largest opening as well. Although the flick brought in the masses, audiences left more than slightly disappointed and its $620 million worldwide box office showed.
I actually saw The Lost World with the majority of Americans that Memorial Day Weekend and at the time thought it wasn’t bad, though over the years, and my latest viewing for this Blu-ray review, I have to say the film suffers from a variety of problems. First, as much as I love Jeff Goldblum, turning his Malcolm character into some kind of action hero didn’t seem right. Second, as great as the film looks with a much grander scale, there wasn’t near the awe factor with this as there was with the original. Third, the story wasn’t nearly as engaging and this time around, it was overwrought and seemed to go forever. And just when we thought we got to the end, the third act begins for what seemed like a different film.
On the whole, I wouldn’t say The Lost World is a bad film, just disappointing and was in need of more script rewrites. Instead, that process was probably sped up in order to get the film into theaters within the timeframe and take advantage of the original’s audience and critical acclaim. There are parts that are actually good and some of the action sequences are fairly thrilling, otherwise the movie represents the typical sequel.
Four years later came the aptly simply titled Jurassic Park III. Spielberg took a step back and served as executive producer handing the reigns to Joe Johnston, an interesting choice having directed by The Rocketeer, Jumanji, October Sky and, later, Captain America. The second sequel opened considerably less ($50.8m OW, $368.8m WW) thanks to its predecessor and garnered ho-hum reviews.
And that’s how I would summarize Jurassic Park III: ho-hum. To be fair, it is far better than The Lost World and getting Sam Neill to return, along with Laura Dern in a more or less cameo role, was a step up but the story was a bit too simplistic. However, the action scenes were well done and the numerous chase scenes as the cast try to outrun a plethora of dino-creatures were, unlike the last movie, thrilling.
Jurassic World (2015) — 2.5/5
Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, including the vicious and intelligent Indominus rex. When the massive creature escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. Now, it’s up to a former military man and animal expert (CHRIS PRATT) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out, prehistoric assault.
The highly anticipated sequel to the long popular franchise dating back 22 years, finally is upon us and apparently unlike the majority out there, I found it to be rather mundane and, at times, even dull with only one scene standing out. I have to think the film’s popularity is part nostalgia and part the fact it is technically better than Jurassic Park III.
I am actually amazed that in the 14 years since Jurassic Park III (which wasn’t very good in its own right) that this is what the writers could come up with. Conceptually, Jurassic World could’ve worked but thanks to the shoddy screenplay we instead get a disappointing flick that probably needed some re-tooling in many areas.
One such area are the characters. Each and every one of them is one-note. You’ve got Chris Pratt’s Grady who is a composite of every male lead you’ve seen in an action movie and strangely, and why Pratt was so good in Guardians of the Galaxy, he’s not terribly charming. Bryce Dallas Howard for her part proves she just might be the female equivalent of Sam Worthington: looks good and technically should be a lead yet has the personality of a plain cardboard box. However, to Howard’s and Pratt’s defense, their characters aren’t well written or well developed, and that includes an incredibly forced romance between the pair. And then you’ve got Vincent D’Onofrio who has the pleasure of spouting some of the more inane dialogue in this thing, particularly the militarization of the raptors.
Beyond the bland characters, you’ve got some questionable plot elements and contrivances. There’s the tried and true sporadic cell phone reception where it’s bad enough they used this horror-centric device once but do it again because, well, convenience (or lack of). There’s one scene where the two boys are on a gyroscope ride thingy and for some reason can control where they go and apparently there’s no mechanism to override it or stop it from going into restricted areas (as Honest Trailers rightly pointed out, there are stores that can stop people from taking their carts out of the parking lot…). There’s also the idea that, as I mentioned earlier, somehow people have grown kind of tired of the dinos and there was the need to create new ones to keep the public’s attention. Yeah, ok.
On the plus side, the visual effects weren’t bad yet unless it’s a SyFy made-for-TV movie or something from Asylum, one should expect good or great effects from a $150+ million budget Hollywood movie though that being said, the original 22 years ago still holds up well so not sure how big of a plus it is here. Also good was a fight scene between the I. rex and an old friend, not to mention raptors, which was one of the coolest scenes and almost made up for the flaws. Almost.
I can’t say I was vastly disappointed with Jurassic World but I did expect more especially given how the franchise was last left off with, to say the least, a lackluster effort. The writing was bad, the direction from Colin Trevorrow (who previously helmed Safety Not Guaranteed) was generic and in spite of some nasty dinosaurs not all that thrilling and acting that was at best passable. Worse of all, I really didn’t find this movie all that fun or entertaining which would’ve easily masked the film’s shortcomings.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
|This 8-disc set (4 UHDs, 4 BDs) comes housed in a digibook which side-slides into a thick outercase. Each film comes with a redemption code for the Digital Copy.
Jurassic Park — 4.25/5
Return to Jurassic Park: Making Prehistory (20:16; HD) – The second part to the six-part documentary (spread across the three films) covers more of shooting the film (on sound stages) and gives more insight into Spielberg’s process. It’s more of the same and has the same participants as listed above.
Return to Jurassic Park: The Next Step in Evolution (15:03; HD) – Part three delves into the post production (VFX, sound design, scoring), theatrical release and audience reaction to the film as well as the box office smash it became.
Under Archival Featurettes we get: The Making of Jurassic Park (49:39; SD), an expansive featurette, hosted by James Earl Jones, which actually covers quite a bit of ground; Original Featurette on the Making of the Film (4:50; SD) is your usual EPK featurette that was only made to advertise the movie; Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park (9:07; SD) is a fly-on-the-wall featurette focusing on the direction by Spielberg; and Hurricane in Kauai Featurette (2:09; SD) is a recount of the hurricane that hit the location they were shooting at.
In Behind the Scenes there’s Early Pre-Production Meetings (6:20; SD) containing some basic footage of Spielberg and others exchanging ideas for the different dinosaurs and their movements; Location Scouting (1:59; SD) finds the crew checking out different areas in Hawaii to shoot; Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen (3:04; SD) is some test footage for the raptor is it enters the kitchen; Animatics: T-Rex Attack (7:21; SD) is more test footage (along with storyboards to fill in the gaps), this time for the attack scene; ILM and Jurassic Park: Before and After the Visual Effects (6:32; SD) is an interesting featurette where you get to see how it all started in the numerous stages and then the finished product; Foley Tests (1:25; SD) are test footage for the sound effects; lastly there are galleries for Storyboards and Productions Archives like photos, sketches and paintings.
We also get the Theatrical Trailer (1:18; SD) and Jurassic Park: Making the Game (4:43; SD).
The Lost World: Jurassic Park — 4.0/5
Return to Jurassic Park: Finding The Lost World (27:40; HD) is part four of the six-part documentary, this time covering the sequel. Again, we get more on-set footage intermixed with new interviews with Spielberg, Goldblum, Peter Stormare and others. The group talks about how to approach the story for the sequel (including using the shaving cream canister Dino DNA hidden) but ultimately going with Crichton’s book and distinguishing it from the original in terms of style.
Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived (16:30; HD) – This is the final part covering The Lost World and has some more behind-the-scenes footage, getting into the San Diego shoot, mechanical puppetry, sound design and visual effects.
Archival Featurettes includes: The Making of The Lost World (53:14; SD) which is a well made documentary that encompasses just about every aspect, from the story to visual effects, of filming the sequel; Original Featurette on the Making of the Film (13:17; SD) is very basic and uses some of the footage from the previous featurette and was probably used to promote the film; The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton (15:27; SD) finds the creator chatting about how big the books, and how they came to be, and movies were; The Compie Dance Number (1:38; HD) is a thank you to Spielberg from ILM.
Behind the Scenes has: ILM & The Lost World: Before & After the Visual Effects (20:44; SD) featurette which is cool to watch; Production Archives containing production photos, concept drawings, models, posters, etc.; and a Storyboards gallery.
And last, the Theatrical Trailer (1:58; SD).
Jurassic Park III — 3.75/5
Return to Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure (25:20; HD) is the last chapter in the documentary taking on the third movie, not before we get to see the “Jurassic Park: The Ride”, with behind-the-scenes footage and new interview footage with Director Joe Johnston, Spielberg, Neill, Dern, William H. Macy, Trevor Morgan and more.
Archival Featurettes: The Making of Jurassic Park III (22:43; SD) is a good behind-the-scenes featurette but not nearly as in-depth as the other two, but as it stands it’s an OK primer; The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III (7:52; SD) shows off the variety of dinos used in the film; The Special Effects of Jurassic Park III (10:31; SD) takes a look at the VFX and practical effects for the film and has more on-set interviews with cast and crew; The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel (10:14; SD) shows off the work ILM did on JP3; The Sounds of Jurassic Park III (13:35; SD) breaks down the sound design and what went into getting the dinosaurs roars and other audio effects; The Art of Jurassic Park III (7:55; SD) takes a look at the storyboards and production designs for the movie; and Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs (4:21; SD) is a short featurette on digging up the fossils and has interviews with experts in the field.
Behind the Scenes contains a Tour of Stan Winston Studio (3:14; SD) where we get to see them make the molds for the dinosaurs; Spinosaurus Attacks the Plane (1:48; SD), Raptors Attack Udesky (0:59; SD) and The Lake (1:38; SD) breaks down the scenes with further, but minor, detail; A Visit to ILM (TRT 14:28; SD) contains artwork galleries and mini-featurettes on concepts, models and more; Dinosaur Turntables (6:23; SD) shows off a 360 degree view of the CGI dinos used in different stages; Storyboards to Final Feature Comparison (6:08; SD) is always a cool feature to see just how much work goes from idea to completed film; and last are some Production Photographs.
The Theatrical Trailer (1:16; SD) has also been included.
Jurassic World — 3.0/5
Chris and Colin Take on the World (8:57; HD) is a funny interview with Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow including footage of Pratt’s video from years ago on starring in Jurassic Park IV.
Welcome to Jurassic World (29:52; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette and includes sound bites with Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, Director Colin Trevorrow and others in the cast and crew.
Dinosaurs Roam Once Again (16:29; HD) focuses on integrating CGI dinos with filming on set as actors must act against basically nothing.
Jurassic World: All Access Pass (10:11; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette that includes comments from the director and others. I think this in part was supposed to be integrated into the film but instead is just a short featurette.
Innovation Set Tour with Chris Pratt (2:01; HD) looks at the visitor’s center set.
Jurassic’s Closest Shaves (3:00; HD) is presented by Barbasol showing scenes from all the Jurassic movies.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Jurassic Park (4.0/5) The Lost World: Jurassic Park (4.25/5) and Jurassic Park III (4.25/5) are all shown with a 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio while Jurassic World is 2.40. All are presented with a 2160p high-definition transfer with similar results save for the latter: they pictures look decent but hardly a huge upgrade over their Blu-ray counterparts. Detail is relatively sharp at times while others tend to be softer (I noticed this especially with TLW:JP early on) but colors were generally bright and black levels a bit on the murky side, particularly for the first film getting somewhat better with the two following sequels.
Now, Jurassic World (5.0/5) is an entirely different animal. It’s clear that the most recent incarnation comes out the best out of the bunch. The video is incredibly sharp from beginning to end both in close-up shots where you can discern every detail of Bryce Dallas Howard’s hair, to go along with natural looking skin tones, and even background objects have excellent clarity.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
|It’s a rather similar story with the audio tracks. All four movies got an upgrade from DTS-HD MA 7.1 to DTS:X and although all four sound great, a couple better than others, I won’t say the first three got a huge benefit. Now, Jurassic World (5.0/5) does, again, stand out with an incredible immersion into the environment where the action scenes utilize every available track while the center speaker is reserved for the central action as well as crisp and clear dialogue. I won’t say I was underwhelmed by the first three films (4.5/5 on all), but they certainly were not reference quality for catalog titles.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, the “Limited Edition” release of the current roster of the Jurassic Park franchise (that is until June) is a well done package by Universal, though the 4K transfers weren’t exactly incredible upgrades over their Blu-ray counterparts, outside of maybe the audio. I’m usually hesitant to recommend these sets while a series is still going, so unless you can get it at a killer price, might want to wait.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.