“Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy Gift Set”
Directors: Steven Spielberg, Joe Johnston
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Richard Attenborough, Wayne Knight, Arliss Howard, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards
On June 12, 2015, Universal Pictures will release director Colin Trevorrow’s “Jurassic World,” the fourth installment of a film franchise based on the late Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel “Jurassic Park.” Steven Spielberg, who directed 1993’s “Jurassic Park” and its 1997 sequel “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” is “Jurassic World’s” executive producer, the same role he assumed for 2001’s “Jurassic Park III.”
Before fans of the successful humans-vs.-cloned dinosaurs films experience Trevorrow’s “20 years after…” movie in 3D, they can catch up with those nasty velociraptors and rampaging T-rexes at home with Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s “Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy” three-disc Blu-ray set.
Released on October 25, 2011, this box set consists of:
“Jurassic Park” (1993): Directed by Steven Spielberg
Paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), botanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum are hired by eccentric billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to evaluate the safety of his new attraction, Jurassic Park. Located on Isla Nublar, 120 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, the park is a unique biologic preserve – and the home for several species of genetically recreated dinosaurs!
Despite a fatal accident involving a park worker and a velociraptor, Hammond is convinced that Jurassic Park is safe for visitors. But a greedy contractor, a hurricane, and the uncontrollable forces of nature all combine to prove Hammond wrong. Soon, the safety evaluation junket becomes an all-out struggle to survive as Hammond’s reluctant guests become the prey of animals that were extinct 65 million years ago.
“The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997): Directed by Steven Spielberg
Four years after the fateful events on Isla Nublar, John Hammond has lost control of InGen to his nephew, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). Venal and ambitious, Ludlow plans to exploit InGen’s secret facility Site B and its trove of dinosaurs, now running wild on Isla Sorna. Determined to stop his nephew’s plans to despoil this “lost world,” Hamnond recruits a reluctant Ian Malcolm to lead a team of experts to document the various species of dinosaurs on Isla Sorna before Ludlow’s own expedition arrives at Site B.
“Jurassic Park III” (2001): Directed by Joe Johnston
In the third installment of the “Jurassic Park” series, paleontologist Alan Grant agrees to accompany a wealthy entrepreneur (William H. Macy) and his wife (Tea Leoni) on an aerial sightseeing tour of the now-abandoned Isla Sorna. After their plane crashes on the island, Grant discovers that his clients have deceived him about their reasons for the trip to Site B. Worse, the veteran paleontologist realizes that the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna are smarter…and deadlier….than the ones he encountered in Hammond’s Jurassic Park years ago.
As is usually the case with movie franchises that begin with a major box office hit, the “Jurassic Park” series starts out with a strong first installment, then takes a qualitative downturn.
Of the three films, “Jurassic Park” is probably the best, partly because Michael Crichton adapted his novel, assisted by David Koepp. Their screenplay wisely kept the theme of Crichton’s 1990 best-seller but toned down the violence and made Hammond a more likable (but still flawed) character. This makes “Jurassic Park” a bit more kid-friendly than it would have otherwise been, yet its dinosaurs-versus-human beings sequences still pack a wallop.
“The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” which was adapted by Koepp from the 1995 novel, is more Spielberg’s vision than it is Crichton’s. The Hammond-Ludlow subplot is unique to the movie, and so is InGen’s plan to create a Jurassic Park attraction in San Diego, California. As a result, the film only has a few scenes that were inspired by Crichton’s novel. Still, the digital artists at Industrial Light and Magic and Stan Winston Studio’s engineers created CGI and live-action dinosaurs that are more life-like and menacing than the ones in “Jurassic Park.”
Although it is not based on a Crichton novel, director Joe Johnston’s “Jurassic Park III” is technically impressive and is nicely paced. The plot is a bit thinner than that of the previous two movies, but audiences love the franchise’s dinosaurs-vs.-foolish humans dynamics anyway. Johnston, who was an illustrator and special effects designer for Industrial Light and Magic when George Lucas made “Star Wars” (1977), uses the skills he learned while working with Spielberg on other projects to create a watchable Saturday matinee action picture.
The Box Set
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the original “Jurassic Park” trilogy on Blu-ray in various editions, including the Ultimate Trilogy limited edition set.
The three “Jurassic Park” films are presented in 1080p high definition digitally remastered video and crystal clear audio tracks. (See Blu-ray specifications below for more technical information.) The sharper definition of the visuals in HD reveals details that are not visible on a standard definition 480p DVD. For instance, when Sam Neill’s Dr. Grant is brushing the sand off a fossil at the dig in Montana at the beginning of “Jurassic Park,” you can now see almost every grain of sand clearly. The scales on the dinosaurs’ skins are also better defined, just as they were on the big screen in theaters back in 1993.
The movies and their extra features are contained in three Blu-ray discs, one disc per film. As mentioned earlier, the “Jurassic Park” movies are presented in 1080p high definition; the extras come in either 1080p HD or 480p standard definition, depending on whether they are made for the Blu-ray release or were ported over from the earlier DVD editions.
The DigiPack with the three discs comes in a larger box designed to resemble a wooden Jurassic Park supply crate. This box not only holds the removable DigiPack, but includes a detailed plastic sculpture of a T-rex posed menacingly as it storms out of the iconic Jurassic Park gates. Universal and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment added a certificate of authenticity to each Limited Edition box set, making this a true collector’s item.
On the whole, the first three “Jurassic Park” films work well on both the technical and entertainment sides of film-making. 1993’s “Jurassic Park” proved that George Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) could create life-like computer-generated dinosaurs and thus paved the way for state-of-the-art digital effects used in Lucas’s own “Star Wars” franchise as well as Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” saga.
The late Stan Winston also crafted the first wave of realistic full-motion animatronic dinosaurs that actors could physically interact with. Winston and his team, including Michael Lantieri, refined these live-action creatures over the years so that by 2001 their physical dinosaurs could interact seamlessly with ILM’s CGI ones.
Although these films may not be the best work ever made by Steven Spielberg, they are entertaining and fun to watch.
This set is pricey ($119.50 MSRP), but it can sometimes be found at Amazon and other online stores for about half the MSRP.
- “Return to Jurassic Park”: A six-part documentary about the making of the first three “Jurassic Park” films. It includes interviews with directors Steven Spielberg and Joe Johnston, and major cast and crew members.
- Behind the Scenes: A wide selection of featurettes related to the making of “Jurassic Park,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” and “Jurassic Park III.”
- Archival Featurettes: These are the bonus features which were originally produced for the Universal Studios Home Entertainment 2000-2001 DVDs in 480p standard definition. They cover the various aspects of the making of each film, including such topics as “The ‘Jurassic Park’ Phenomenon” and an interview with the late Michael Crichton, the author of the original novel.
- Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
- Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
- French: DTS 5.1
- Spanish: DTS 5.1
- English SDH, French, Spanish
- Blu-ray Disc
- Three-disc set (3 BDs)
- Digital copy
- Figure/replica/props/memorabilia included
- Region free