Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Collection 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 232, October 2018

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Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
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In the four-movie "Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Collection," dinosaurs once again roam the Earth in an amazing theme park on a remote island. The epic Jurassic Park franchise is from Directors Steven Spielberg, Joe Johnston and Colin Trevorrow. The action-packed adventures find man up against prehistoric predators in the ultimate battle for survival.

The special anniversary "Jurassic Park 25th Collection" features premium book-style packaging and is packed with hours of bonus content including deleted scenes, storyboards, revealing interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as Movies Anywhere digital copies. The four featurettes are "Return To Jurassic Park: 6-Part Documentary," "Welcome To Jurassic World," "Dinosaurs Roam Once Again," and "Jurassic World: All-Access Pass." There are deleted scenes and over 40 additional bonus featurettes from all four films. For specific special features, see each movie's special features page.

The first three titles in this 4K Ultra HD 25th Anniversary Collection–– "Jurassic Park." "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," and "Jurassic Park III" were all produced at a time when digital visual effects and post production technology was relatively primitive and limited in resolution (sub-2K, and often 1K in the case of the original film).

Bill Hunt, who has contributed to "Widescreen Review" in the past, writes: In general, the way the pre-Digital Intermediate post production process worked was this: Once final editing decisions were made on a film by the director and editor, the original camera negative would be edited to conform to those choices in a cut negative. Fades, transitions, titles were done in an optical printer—the original camera negative for those shots would be copied to an interpositive, from which an internegative (sometimes called a dupe negative) would be created. Those internegative elements would be run through the optical printer and re-photographed onto another internegative with those transitions now built in—that piece of film would then be edited into the cut negative with the original camera neg. Visual effects, produced digitally in a computer, would be scanned out to original negative, then copied to interpositive and then to internegative—again, that piece of film would be edited into the cut negative with the original camera neg. Once you had a cut negative that included all the finished visuals, a new and properly color-timed interpositive would be created of the final film (this is essentially the finished master element). From that, several more internegatives (or dupe negatives) would be created, and it’s from those that release prints would be made.

To release a film produced this way in 4K Ultra HD, the studio typically goes back and scans the original cut negative (which again, includes both original camera negative and internegative with finished visual effects and optical transitions) to create a 4K file––that’s going to result in the best possible image. This is then digitally restored to remove dust, artifacts, and age-related damage, and to ensure the proper color timing. An additional grade is done for high dynamic range and wide color gamut. The result is a final Digital Intermediate or master element.

Now again, for the first three films (finished in 1993, 1997, and 2001, respectively) the visual effects' resolution was sub 2K and often 1K. As such, short of extraordinary efforts (specifically, completely re-doing all of the visual effects in native 4K resolution––which has not happened here), those shots are just not going to look as good as the rest of the film. Some of you may be wondering: Why not re-do all of the visual effects in native 4K resolution? There are a few reasons. Cost, for one (but that’s not as often the driver as you’d think). There’s also the fact that doing so would alter the original experience of the film… and keep in mind that the original "Jurassic Park’s" visual effects––primitive though they are by today’s standards––were revolutionary at the time. But often the biggest obstacle is simply this: It’s possible that many of the original digital animation files no longer exist. Either no one ever thought they’d be needed again so they weren’t saved, or they may have become corrupted (as can happen to magnetic media over time), or the surviving files may be incompatible with today’s rendering software.

So what’s the point of all this? When evaluating these films on 4K Ultra HD, one has to keep all of the above in mind. Some of the elements in these films are just not going to compare to modern films released on the Ultra HD format. Ultimately, the question becomes this: Does the picture and sound experience here on UHD improve upon the previous Blu-ray editions in a substantial way? And the answer here is, yes. But one can’t expect miracles, and the degree of improvement depends on the specific film being evaluated.