Anxious to fund research for his new theory of velociraptor intelligence, renowned paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) is persuaded by a wealthy adventurer (Macy) and his wife (Leoni) to accompany them on an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. This infamous island, once InGen's site B, has become both a primordial breeding ground for John Hammond's magnificent creations and a magnet for thrill-seekers eager to encounter them. Once they reach the island, Grant discovers the true reason his deceptive hosts have invited him along, though, their intentions are understandable. In their perilous attempt to escape with their lives, the dwindling group encounters terrifying new creatures undisclosed by InGen, and Grant is forced to learn the dreadful implications of his raptor intelligence theory firsthand. Jurassic Park III offers more thrills, new dinosaurs (including the flying and pterrifying Pteranodons), as well as the return of Neill and Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Satler. (Suzanne Hodges)
Special features include commentary with the Special Effects Team; an all-new documentary with one of six parts on this disc: Return To Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure (HD 25:20); the following archival featurettes: The Making Of Jurassic Park III (SD 22.43), The Dinosaurs Of Jurassic Park III (SD 07:52), The Special Effects Of Jurassic Park III (SD 10:31), The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel (SD 10:14), The Sounds Of Jurassic Park III (SD 13:35), The Art Of Jurassic Park III (SD 07:55), and Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs (SD 04:21); "Behind The Scenes," which includes "Tour Of Stan Winston Studio" (SD 03:14), "Spinosaurus Attacks The Plane" (SD 01:48), "Raptors Attack Udesky" (SD 00:59), "The Lake" (SD 01:38), "A Visit To ILM," which includes "Concepts" (SD 05:35), "The Process" (SD 04:23), "Muscle Simulation" (SD 02:32), and "Compositing" (SD 01:59), "Dinosaur Turntables" (SD 06:23), "Storyboards To Final Feature Comparison" (SD 06:08), and Production Photographs; the theatrical trailer; D-BOX™ Motion Code™ and BD-Live. A digital copy is also included.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD picture reviewed in Issue 56 exhibited image quality that was quite satisfying throughout. Images were sharp and detailed, though, some scenes, like the interior shots of Grant visiting with Satler in her home, were slightly soft for ambience. Detail into the dinosaurs' "skin" was nicely rendered, revealing how much work Stan Winston's team put into perfecting the creatures. Color fidelity was well balanced, with accurate fleshtones, rich hues, and deep blacks. Contrast and shadow delineation were also nicely rendered, with good visual information available in the darker scenes. A bit of smearing was detected, with some loss of fine detail, and shimmering and pixelization could be bothersome. The new Blu-ray Disc 1.85:1 1080p VC-1 picture is comparatively exceptional in picture quality. As with Jurassic Park, every visual parameter is remarkedly superior in quality, with the Blu-ray presentation the undisputable absolute reference edition. (Gary Reber)
Issue 56's DVD featured Dolby® Digital and DTS® Digital Surround™ 5.1 soundtracks, both of which are Surround EX-encoded (though, not credited as such on the DVD jacket). Both audio presentations were at the time state-of-the-art and superlative, with powerful, extremely extended deep bass being one of the primary attributes. There were very intense pulses of low frequencies, especially those which are very dynamic in nature. And, of course, soundstage utilization could be extremely active at times, with all-out engagement of the split surrounds. The tonality sounds remarkably natural, with the slight exception of a bit of reservation in the surrounds. The loudest effects are delivered with substantial brute force, but at reference level they can be overpowering to some. The back surround was utilized to rather good effect throughout, being used for some interesting pans and specific effects that were convincingly crafted to impart a special sense of visceral heightening and intensity, capturing much of the essence of the original, with further artistic originality. The music score, from Don Davis, is an exemplary recording, and is appropriately paced to the action, suspense, and sense of urgency. Voices sounded ample, though, not all that convincingly integrated with the visuals. When compared to its Dolby Digital counterpart, the DTS Digital Surround audio sounded more refined in terms of midrange and spatial resolution, as well as having a bit more prominence in the low end. The new Blu-ray Disc lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is repurposed as a completely new sonic experience that fully energizes the experience. The added two channels enhance the dimensional depth and spatial acoustic reality. As with the Blu-ray Jurassic Park, the dynamics are dramatically engaging and significantly add to the exhilarating excitement. The .1 LFE channel is effectively engaged throughout, with pulse-pounding sub-25 Hz bass that will challenge many home theatre systems. Don Davis' orchestral music score is beautifully recorded, with a very wide and deep soundstage presence that extends aggressively into the other surround channels. Atmospherics and sound effects are riveting, with superb low-level resolution and dynamics, as well as directionality. Dialogue is better integrated spatially, though, at times ADR sounds "produced." Overall, the SPL does not achieve the dynamic impact of the previous two releases. Still, this is a very engaging holosonic® soundtrack experience and serves its purpose of imparting an emotionally charged experience with a very effective, well-executed soundtrack. The D-BOX Motion Code execution is first-rate, with gut-renching vibrations and thumps that perfectly enhance the frightening sense of danger and terror. (Gary Reber)