Living in a Dino World
Despite misgivings, Jurassic World’s utterly spectacular finish makes up for any faults which came earlier. The film is appropriately bombastic, enormous, and loud, which as the fourth in a series of dinosaur movies, should be what’s aspired to. The self-aware narrative is goofy to fit the blockbuster tone. Missing though is the beauty of animatronic dinos. That’s a let down.
Much of Jurassic World was shot on film. Universal’s encode handles a fairly pokey grain structure, failing a few times. Notably, the control room becomes flooded with compression, especially as the raptors are set loose. Vincent D’Onoforio’s shirt is a haven for artifacts.
None of this is helped by meager black levels. Again, the control room is bothersome, bland and lifeless. Muddy grays are dominant, pulling any impact away from those images. Odd since the rest of the film is so dominating with depth. Black levels are intense everywhere else.
Jurassic World adores contrast. Light streams through the jungles, cast on flesh tones to brighten the frame. Vibrancy is rarely an issue, this in spite of digital color grading which adores blues. They’re draped over everything. The richest of the jungle greens have a blue tinge. Cloudy skies take on a blue-like tint, and even clothing is selected to match at times. Oddly, flesh tones barely feel impacted.
Where the disc excels is fidelity. Because of Universal’s tampering with catalog titles, this is the best of the Jurassic series on Blu, enamored with sharpness. Buildings at a distance hold their lines (except in 3D), jungles are flushed with definition (shot in 65mm), and close-ups are superb. Dino definition? Superior as well. Raptor scales and Rex details are flawless.
Post conversion 3D work turns sloppy. A mapping error in the first act occurs as Irrfan Khan looks at the I. Rex from a window. A branch reflecting on the glass shows under his chin instead of in front of his face. There are moments where 3D seems to evaporate, again early as a helicopter pans over the island. Spectacular, but then almost nothing. Into the new Visitors Center, the holographic displays are a downer. Forgot much of any fall in effects from the control room. Stupid control room.
Jurassic World has a few showcase moments. The Mososaur jumping toward a Pteranodon. Jungles when photographed with an opportunity for layers behind characters. Raptors gnawing at the camera. Most of the 3D lacks the needed aggression, particularly in a spectacle as overdone as this. If 3D dinosaurs peak your interest, the first Jurassic Park received a gorgeous conversion.
An unsurprising powerhouse of a DTS-HD 7.1 mix is included here, boomy and ferocious. All of the beautiful subtly from the first Jurassic’s audio mix is gone. Here it’s explosions and roars for two hours. There are quaint moments. Airports and park centers are lively – plenty of ambiance to go around. Jungles too. Birds and insects are on constant call. Inside the gyroscope ride, the machine gives a nice swirling hum.
Then the attacks begin. Surrounds are effortless in their engagement. Branches fall and collapse in all directions. Creatures can be heard approaching from each channel as needed. Raptor chases are excellent for appreciating how the audio keeps track of positions.
I. Rex provides the power, stomping through the soundstage with awesome low-end force. His roar is guttural. Each step provides the track with oomph. By the finale, it’s a bass-a-thon, with smashing buildings, roars, and dino choreography. There is limited separation between effects – everything is reaching deep for the best possible rumble. While a touch boring, the impact is not.
On the 3D disc, six minutes of deleted scenes and a sit down interview with Chris Pratt and director Colin Trevorrow (nine minutes) are offered. They’re not in 3D and since they’re also on the 2D disc, they seem somewhat pointless in their inclusion.
Continuing on, Welcome to Jurassic World features Spielberg and others dissecting the series and their approach to this fourth entry. Dinosaurs Roam Once Again acts like a commercial for special effects, touting endlessly about realism. Jurassic World All Access Pass feels like the remnants of a planned pop-up feature, going through the film and discussing certain scenes for ten total minutes. A short tour of the Innovation/Visitors Center features Pratt and designers discussing the set. The following sponsored highlight reel is a greatest hits album of attacks from the whole series.
Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.