On the troubling trend of 3D re-releases and the first one I saw

“Hold on to your butts.”

I never saw Titanic 3D. I never saw The Lion King 3D. In fact, I had never seen any 3D re-releases until this past week.

The whole idea of paying to see a movie that came out years before feels like an admission that Hollywood has finally run out of ideas. And there’s indeed a case to be made that they have.

When it comes to 3D re-releases, I picture a board room meeting where the high-powered studio execs decide that it’s so much easier to just re-release a movie in three dimensions than it is to create a whole new one. And it’ll make boatloads of money! Who needs to produce, direct, cast, film, and edit a new movie when you have a whole collection of classics just waiting to be 3D-ized?

From their perspective, it’s a great business strategy: Continue to make money while significantly slashing your workload. But the danger has always been turning off your audience. After all, we’re a smart bunch. Don’t try to pull a fast one on us. Show some effort and maybe, just maybe, people will shell out $15 to see your piece of work. But the effort just has to be there. People are savvy like that.

Are they running that low on ideas that they need to remake Footloose? Maybe?

Needless to say, I was one of those turned-off people, which helps explain why I hadn’t seen a 3D re-release until now. Just so we’re clear, despite the onslaught of remakes and 3D re-releases, I do feel that great, new movies get released all the time. But the trend towards taking the easy way out still concerns me, a trend that led us to see Jurassic Park 3D in the first place.

Probably the main reason why we decided to see the movie was that there just weren’t many other options. Remember not too long when it was hard to decide what to see at the theatre? Like, what was it, less than a year ago? You had edge-of-the-seat thrillers like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. You had quality historical fare like Lincoln and Django Unchained. You had films with complicated and troubled lead characters like Flight and Silver Linings Playbook. And you had visually-pleasing offerings like Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Now? What do we really have? G.I. Joe? Scary Movie V? I remember a few weeks ago, the best bet was something called Identity Thief. I never did make it.

So that’s why Jurassic Park was the choice that was made, more or less by default. Never a good sign. All that being said, I was excited to see it. And going for the 3D was only part of it. I genuinely wanted to see this movie again. A movie I would call the “Titanic of the 90s,” anybody in their mid-20s to mid-30s has a soft spot for Alan and Ellie, Tim and Lex. And don’t forget about the dino-sawus.

With that in mind, here are some scattered thoughts on Jurassic Park, 20 years after its release:

  • This is still a scary movie. If I hadn’t already seen it five-plus times and didn’t know every single surprising moment, I definitely would have jumped out of my seat a few times.
  • It’s a testament to how advanced the visual effects were back in 1993 that they didn’t feel dated in 2013. Sure, maybe the T-Rex looked a tad robotic compared to what they could have done today but people forget just how ahead of its time this movie was when it was first released.
  • Wayne Knight (aka Newman) was faaat. OK, maybe this was  because of the 3D but his moobs were on full display.
  • Two competing theories on Samuel L. Jackson: Either he hates wasting tobacco or he loves the taste of cigarette filters. Please discuss.

  • In the scene where Alan and Tim have to climb down the tree before the Jeep crushes them to bits, why don’t they just climb sideways? This bothered me when I was 11 and it continues to bother me now. I’m 30.
  • Jeff Goldblum definitely wins top prize for the award I just made up called “Most Memorable Lines from Jurassic Park.” Sadly, if it wasn’t for that whole T-Rex thing, maybe more would have been busted in the second half of the movie. Some examples, you say? Sure thing.
    • “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
    • “But again, how do you know they’re all female? Does someone go into the park and, uh … pull up the dinosaurs’ skirts?”
    • “Eventually you plan to have dinosaurs in your dinosaur tour. Right? Hello? (Tap the camera lens) Hello?”
  • Why are Bob Peck’s shorts so short? And why is his gun so big? Well, I guess I know the answer to the second question: Because how could he “have the slightest idea what to expect?”
  • The score to this movie is one of the most epic scores of all time. Listen to the main theme and try to think of something other than dinosaurs. I dare you! Look, I even embedded the link!

 

  • I’m no doctor but Tim survives a 100,000 volt electric shock. Discuss.
  • Speaking of Tim, he is played by Joseph Mazzello, who played Roarke in The River Wild, one of the all-time “I’ll watch this cause it’s on TV” movies. I only included this because I couldn’t remember what other movie I’d seen him in. OK fine, I liked The River Wild.
  • When I was a kid, I didn’t like the scenes where they fed live animals to the dinosaurs. Now , I’m a sort-of adult and I still don’t like them.
  • When I was a kid, I didn’t care that they killed off the blood-sucking lawyer. Now, I’m a sort-of adult and…wait, I still don’t care.

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1 Comment

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One response to “On the troubling trend of 3D re-releases and the first one I saw

  1. Ian Baird

    Great article man.

    When the whole anti-piracy law thing was all the rage I had written a script for radio show that I eventually pulled the plug on called “What the F&%k?!”. After doing some research I found that in 2011 the top 10 grossing films of the year were all sequels or remakes. All of them. And if the profits from those films alone were used to cover the costs of all the 213 films with cinematic release in the US that year, that each film (like all 213) would have cleared a profit of over $30 million (that’s net profit, after production). It’s mental.

    That being said:

    1) There is, and never will be, a satisfactory explanation as to why Tim doesn’t get totally fried by that electric fence.
    2) Wayne Knights are legendary, and how they didn’t somehow factor into Kramer’s creation of the “bro” still eludes me.
    3) The River Wild is also, in fact, the only film starring Meryl Streep where she was NOT nominated for an oscar – which makes it worth watching right there.

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