DirectorSteven Spielberg, Joe Johnston, Colin Trevorrow
Release Date(s)1993-2015 (May 22, 2018)
Studio(s)Amblin Entertainment/Legendary Pictures (Universal Studios)
- Film/Program Grade: See Below
- Video Grade: See Below
- Audio Grade: See Below
- Extras Grade: B
- Overall Grade: B
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Jurassic Park III was directed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, October Sky, and Captain America: The First Avenger) from an original script. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as compelling a story as it may have been had there been a further Michael Crichton novel to adapt. This time around, yet another rich couple (played by William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) has allowed their teenaged son to go wind surfing with a family friend near the same island seen in The Lost World. Naturally, something goes wrong and the pair ends up stuck on the island. So the rich couple seeks out Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill, reprising his role from the original film) and pays him to come to the island with them under false pretenses. They tell him they want him to give them a guided aerial tour of the island, but they actually mean to land and rescue their son. Once again, things go wrong and soon they’re all fighting for survival.
As with the first two films, Jurassic Park III was shot on 35 mm film, this time with Panavision and Arriflex cameras and Panavision spherical lenses. It was scanned in native 4K, given a high dynamic range grade in HDR10, and is presented on Ultra HD at the proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The resulting image is good, but oddly not as good looking as the previous film and it’s hard to say why. Again, there’s a slight lack in the finest detail in the image, with some shots that look as if they’ve been grain-reduced a bit. The visual effects here are improved over those of the previous two films in both detail and resolution, but they still aren’t up to modern standards. That, of course, is to be expected. More troubling though is the fact that the high dynamic range grade feels very restrained; it’s almost like it was done by another company. The blacks aren’t as nearly deep as the previous film in 4K, nor are the highlights as brightly natural. The wider color gamut is okay, with some enrichment of the film’s color palette, but not nearly as much as you’d expect. This is really a rather dull and lifeless image, not at all what you expect from the Ultra HD format. In every respect, it’s only minimally improved over the previous Blu-ray edition.
At least the new object-based English DTS:X mix is great, though it’s not quite as impressive as the two previous films. But again it offers a big and wide soundstage, with terrific atmospherics and smooth, natural panning. The height channels are active not just in the usual ground-based dinosaur attacks, but also in the plane crash sequence, and especially in the Pteranodon aviary. Dialogue is clean and clear, and the score by Don David is treated well. Additional audio options include French, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese 5.1 DTS, with optional subtitles in English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
This time around, the 4K disc actually includes a bonus feature (carried over from the previous Blu-ray edition):
- Audio commentary with the Special Effects Team
You also get the film in 1080p HD on Blu-ray (the same disc as before). It includes the same commentary and adds the following extras (most in the original SD):
- Return to Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure (HD – 25:20)
- The Making of Jurassic Park III (SD – 22:43)
- The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III (SD – 7:52)
- The Special Effects of Jurassic Park III (SD – 10:21)
- The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel (SD – 10:14)
- The Sounds of Jurassic Park III (SD – 13:35)
- The Art of Jurassic Park III (SD – 7:55)
- Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs (SD – 4:21)
- Tour of Stan Winston Studio (SD – 3:14)
- Spinosaurus Attacks the Plane (SD – 1:48)
- Raptors Attack Udesky (SD – :59)
- The Lake (SD – 1:38)
- A Visit to ILM: Concepts (SD – 4 segments – 5:35 in all)
- A Visit to ILM: The Process (SD – 12 segments – 4:23 in all)
- A Visit to ILM: Muscle Simulation (SD – 2 segments – 2:32 in all)
- A Visit to ILM: Compositing (SD – 2 segments – 1:59 in all)
- Dinosaur Turntables (SD – 12 segments – 6:23 in all)
- Storyboards to Final Feature Comparison (SD – 3 segments – 6:08 in all)
- Production Photographs (SD – 2:50)
- Theatrical Trailer (SD – 1:16)
It’s a lot of material to be sure, but it’s also a lot drier than the extras for the previous films. Again, there’s D-Box motion code on the Blu-ray and you get a Movies Anywhere digital code.
Though mildly entertaining, Jurassic Park III is a pale shadow of the original film, essentially re-treading much of its plot elements and adding only the thrill of new locations and dinosaurs. Sadly, this 4K Ultra HD release is a complete disappointment from a visual standpoint, though its DTS:X mix is quite nice.
Jurassic World (2015)
Intended as both a sequel and a franchise re-launch, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World takes place some twenty-two years after the original film. Isla Nubar, the original location of Jurassic Park, has been completely overhauled with an entirely new, grander, and more fully-realized theme park known as Jurassic World, funded by the billionaire Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan). Bryce Dallas Howard plays the administrator of Jurassic World, whose young nephews have come to visit for the weekend. Chris Pratt is on board too, as a US Navy veteran who’s attempting to train Velociraptors in a side project on the island. But while the overall commercial venture has been wildly successful, it seems that garden variety dinosaurs aren’t enough to thrill the kids anymore. So new, larger, and more terrible creatures must be engineered genetically to keep the profits rolling in… and unfortunately they’re a lot smarter than anyone expected. Naturally, chaos ensues.
Jurassic World was shot on photochemical film in a combination of Super 35 (most of the film) and 65 mm (for large-scale exteriors) using Arriflex and Panavision cameras with Panavision lenses, though a very few shots were apparently captured digitally in Redcode RAW (at 6K) using the Red Epic Dragon camera. The film was finished as a Digital Intermediate in 2.4K, upsampled to 4K and given a high dynamic range grade in HDR10. The result is presented here on Ultra HD in the original 2.00:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The result is a genuinely beautiful image from start to finish. Obviously, it’s still not full native 4K and the Super 35 footage tends to impart a stronger grain structure, but overall image detail is very nice and the addition of 65 mm footage really boosts the fine detail in a number of sequences – the first full vista of Jurassic World seen from a hotel balcony is a perfect example. The high dynamic range enhances the contrast significantly with very deep and detailed blacks, truly bright highlights, and a more naturally-luminous image throughout. Colors are bold and vibrant, ever accurate, and richly-nuanced. The image isn’t quite reference quality, but it’s easily the highlight of this 4K box set, and the slightly more refined detail, HDR, and wider color gamut are a notable improvement upon the already good Blu-ray edition.
Primary audio on the 4K disc is offered in a fine English DTS:X object-based mix that delivers sonic muscularity but also lots of subtlety in the quieter moments. There’s a constant immersion early in the film, with soft crowd sounds, control room chatter, and jungle atmospherics. Staging is precise, with smooth and natural dialogue, crisp sound cues and panning, and a more restrained use of the height channels to complete the soundfield overhead. Michael Giacchino delivers a sparkling score that honors the original John Williams themes nicely while creating its own musical space. Additional audio options include French, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese 5.1 DTS, along with optional subtitles in English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
Once again, there are no extras on the 4K disc itself, but you also get the film in 1080p HD on Blu-ray. That disc offers the following bonus features, all of them in full HD:
- Deleted Scenes (HD – 6:08)
- Chris & Colin Take on the World (HD – 8:57)
- Welcome to Jurassic World (HD – 29:52)
- Dinosaurs Roam Once Again (HD – 16:29)
- Jurassic World: All-Access Pass (HD – 10:11)
- Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt (HD – 2:01)
- Jurassic’s Closest Shaves – Presented by Barbasol (HD – 3:00)
Unfortunately, this content is all of a more glossy and EPK variety. There are a couple of decent items but nothing especially interesting. There’s also preview trailers for a number of other films and home video releases that play when you start the disc, though this film’s trailer is not included. Don’t forget that you also get a Movie’s Anywhere digital code.
Jurassic World isn’t exactly ground-breaking storytelling, but it does manage to be a fun and even somewhat refreshing take on familiar material. What’s more, the 4K Ultra HD release is the high water mark of this box set, quality-wise.
There you have it then... Universal’s new Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Collection box set in a nutshell. Is this a must-have 4K Ultra HD release? No. But if you’re a diehard fan of this franchise and you can get it for the right price, it does offer a modest (and occasionally significant) image upgrade over the previous Blu-ray experience, with outstanding DTS:X audio presentations across the board, and you don’t lose any extras in the swap. So… call that a qualified recommendation.
- Bill Hunt