You've got to hand it to the people at Universal; they took a very fair and
decent approach to their upcoming Jurassic Park trilogy box set. The
new box set comes in a nice looking collector case, and includes all three dino
thrillers, plus a fourth disc of extra material. So, you may ask, what if one
has already bought the first two flicks on DVD, and has no desire to buy them
again just to get the nifty box and the extras? No problem; this is no ordinary
case of a greedy studio double-dipping a DVD release. If you already own the
first two movies you can go out and buy the Jurassic Park III disc, fill out a
form, send in some proofs-of-purchase and $6.95 or so, and you can get the
collector case and this nifty DVD of bonus features. It's the best deal I've
seen since I sent in all those Star Wars proofs-of-purchase for that
rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure twenty-odd years ago.
Universal has filled this DVD with around two hours of extra material
relating to the three Jurassic
Park thrillers. This is broken up into five or six short featurettes
relating to each movie. Here is a quick list of what is available, broken down
by installment in the series:
• Original "Making Of" Featurette—As one
of the older items on this DVD, it also looks and sounds the worst. Other than
that it is a fairly standard featurette, with the standard assortment of talking
heads talking about their characters and the story, and a token attempt to tie
the movie's premise to real-world science.
Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park—This could have been an
interesting feature if someone had taken the time to interview Spielberg. As it
stands now, this is a collection of on-set footage edited together with the
finished scenes from the final movie. You won't learn much from this one, other
than catching a few glimpses of sets and camera moves. The seamless editing from
unfinished to finished scene is a nice touch, but nothing special.
• Animatics—T-Rex Attack—This is a shaky, grainy,
soundless look at storyboards for the T-Rex attack sequence. It consists for the
most part of still pictures with the camera panning across the frame to give the
illusion of movement. There are a few glimpses of some maquette test footage and
some very crude, rudimentary CGI sketches, but nothing to write home about. Some
narration would have been helpful here, or at least some music to make watching
this footage more palatable.
• Hurricane in Kauai
Featurette—In the midst of filming this movie about controlling
nature, the cast and crew also had to survive some of the nastiest that nature
has to offer. This featurette interviews various people who were there,
including Steven Spielberg, and also makes use of documentary-style footage shot
at the time. It makes for an interesting story.
• ILM and
Jurassic Park—Before and After the Visual Effects—upon
watching this featurette I informed those present that "this disc just
stopped sucking." Here we get a step-by-step look at the digital
compositing process that brought the dinosaur scenes to life. It is a silent
presentation set to John Williams's rousing score, starting from the original
"clean" 35mm photo plate and taking us step by step as each digital
element is added to the scene. We also get a look at the evolution of the
digital dinosaurs, from wire frame digital models through more detailed
skeletons to adding muscle and flesh, to the final detailed textures. This
featurette was fascinating; I could have watched two hours of this stuff
The Lost World
• Original "Making Of" Featurette—Again,
this is fairly standard material, although the picture quality is quite nice and
sharp. It is occasionally quite grainy, but for the most part looks good.
Content is exactly what you would expect from such a featurette, much like the
one for the first movie.
• Interviews with Michael
Crichton—This is an interesting look at the man who wrote the original
novels upon which Jurassic Park and The Lost World are based. He
also wrote The Andromeda Strain and
is one of the creators behind E.R. This is a lengthy featurette at just
over 15 minutes, and is well worth the time.
• ILM and
The Lost World—Before and After the Visual Effects—Over
20 minutes of special effects wizardry for the viewer to appreciate. This time
the presentation uses split screens for most of its length, allowing a direct
comparison between what was shot live and what was added later. All told, it is
• Compie Dance Number—Someone
at ILM had way too much time on their hands and put together a little
song-and-dance number with a large cast of tap-dancing lizards as a thank-you
card to Steven Spielberg. I was hoping they would break out into song,
preferably "Hello my honey, hello my baby…" but alas, it was not
to be. As it is, this feature is stupid and boring, but on the bright side, it
only lasts about a minute and a half.
Jurassic Park III
• The Special Effects of Jurassic Park
III—Another look at the various live-action and CGI techniques
necessary to bring ancient dinosaurs to life on the big screen.
• ILM Press Reel—This is an effects showcase put
together by ILM to show off their work on this movie. It includes a number of
before and after comparisons, as well as scenes where the viewer is challenged
to pick out which dinosaurs are CGI and which are animatronic puppets shot live
on set. One flaw in this presentation is the annoying degree to which sequences
are repeated over and over again.
• The Sounds of
Jurassic Park III—This is an interesting look at the sound
effects work that goes into a movie like this. We see the sampling process,
which often involves recording and mixing sounds from a wide variety of animals,
ranging from lions and tigers to arctic sea birds.
• The Art
of Jurassic Park III—This featurette was apparently made during
the pre-production period, and features the various concept artists discussing
their creations and the kinds of dinosaurs and sets they are going to build. We
also get to see a lot of storyboard and concept art.
• Jurassic Park—The Ride—This is a quick,
first person POV trip through some of the exciting things one would encounter on
the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. It may be cheesy
marketing at its worst, but I must admit it looks like a blast.
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