Jurassic Park was, in many ways, a dinosaur. Obviously it all started with a small mad white-haired scientist bringing that extinct species back to life on a tropical island with delightful/disastrous results. But it was also a big budget blockbuster, and when it was first released – 1993 – popcorn epics were falling well out of favour; Pulp Fiction was just around the corner, landing a significant blow against the blockbuster for a while. Sure Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich and their ilk would continue to ply their gaudy, noisy trade – but Steven Spielberg was always more than a big, bam, slam director.
Widely credited with inventing the summer blockbuster genre with 1975’s robo-shark slasher Jaws, Spielberg always tried to infuse something else into his pictures – heart and a sense of wide-eyed wonder. Sometimes cloying and ham-fisted (Empire of the Sun) but sometimes reasonably successful (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). The Jurassic Park trilogy veers wildly between all points in Spielberg’s career: the first is terrific, unashamedly fun, crippled somewhat by clunky dialogue but rescued by some still impressive, yet embryonic, CGI. Lost World is a not so good but not overly terrible sequel afflicted by weak, copybook baddie characters. The third sits firmly in the middle. For all intents these films are chase films – with massive lizards instead of cars.
This set collects all three films in hi-def and is an absolute treat as well as a completist’s dream. There’s a trove of special features, most of which were produced for this collection. Just like the films, Jeff Goldblum is the star attraction – his scuzzy, stream of conscious delivery is quixotically appealing as ever and Sam Neill is hilariously frank (“The real acting was not laughing”). When Spielberg hits the target the results are always enjoyable, so leave your brain at the door and revel.