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Jurassic Park: Great Video & (finally) Uncompressed Audio,
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This review is from: Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
In the light of so many negative customer reviews of this set, I decided, before writing this review to do a direct comparison between the DVD version of Jurassic Park vs. the Blu-ray. I made it a point to set my BD player audio compression to wide range and set the volume levels for each version to be approximately at the same level for the spoken dialog to give each version a fair comparison.
I chose four sections to compare:
1. The scene at Sam Neill's dig beginning with the brushing away of sand from a fossil.
2. The helicopter ride into Jurassic Park.
3. The first encounter with the brachiosaurus beginning when the jeeps come to a stop and Sam Neill and Laura Dern first see the creature.
4. The night storm scene with the T-Rex encounter.
All of the above begin at a chapter change of both disc versions, making them quick to locate.
The video: In no instance can the DVD version compare with the Blu-ray.
In scene 1, the sand particles are fully defined in the Blu-ray and are a blur with the DVD. When Sam Neill rises into the frame the landscape is richly defined in the Blu-ray until the camera refocuses onto Neill's face. Later we see the sheen of sweat on Neill's face with the Blu-ray which is not noticeable at all with the DVD. The improvement in facial definition of the people standing behind Neill when he is lecturing them.
In scene 2, the improvement in the definition of the sea water below the helicopter, the facial definition of the passengers, the clear definition of the weave in Sam Neill's hat. Later the foliage clarity as the helicopter (a miniature, I believe) flies through the canyon.
In scene 3, the improved definition of the tree foliage which is a blur with the DVD and outstandingly defined in the Blu-ray. The definition of the details of the creatures they are observing.
In scene 4, the improved details in the night scene, objects really look wet from the rain. The amazing definition of the wet scales of the T-Rex.
The audio: When I first heard the audio of the DVD, I knew that it was shamefully compressed compared with the LD (Laser Disc) issue that I still have. Also missing were the fundamentals in bass sounds which also have been fully restored with the DTS sound track of the Blu-ray.
In scene 1. When the seismic charge in detonated, you can feel it in the floor with the BD. Not there at all with the DVD.
In scene 3. When the brachiosaur rises on its hind legs and howls, it is really loud with the BD, terribly compressed with the DVD.
When it falls back down onto its forelegs, you feel it in your chest. No such thing with the DVD.
In scene 4. The sound of the thunder, the bass elements of the T-Rex growls, the thumps of its footsteps are all very powerful with the BD and missing in the DVD. When the T-Rex howls at the children and they clap their hands over their ears you hear why they are doing it with the Blu-ray.
The DVD doesn't capture this at all.
The above noted audio differences will not be noticeable at all when using standard TV speakers. A decent home audio system is required with the Blu-ray player set to wide range audio (least compression). I recommend monitoring your volume setting carefully at first to safe-guard your speakers.
I can say without reservation that all three of the films in this collection benefit immeasurably with the Blu-ray format in picture and sound.
The films themselves:
Jurassic Park: Of course the film most people will remember because it made the greatest initial impression. It deserves to be remembered because nothing quite like it had been previously accomplished from a technical standpoint. It's an enormously entertaining and absorbing picture with a fine cast and somehow manages to convince you of the possibilities implied, at least for a while.
The Lost World -- Jurassic Park: The most disappointing of the three, especially considering that it was directed by Spielberg. It more resembles a "monster movie" in the class of "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" or some such -- one highly improbable crisis after another. There are a few CG errors noticeable even in the DVD version. In the stegosaurus scene, the creature's front foot suddenly unrealistically moves horizontally in the pond water without being lifted, which should have been corrected.
Jurassic Park III: An interesting title considering that there is no film titled Jurassic Park II. Still, a greatly entertaining film in the style of a grand adventure. The search for the missing young boy makes the story more compelling. This film also benefits from a fine cast which the second film generally lacks.
I would have preferred the packaging to be similar to the book form used for the "Star Wars" saga in the interest of saving shelf space but I certainly find the collection to be very entertaining and technically very impressive.
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Showing 1-10 of 113 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2011 6:15:54 PM PST
I would just like to note that the helicopter did not use a minature. The scenes with the helicopter flying were all filmed with a helicopter flying, and another helicopter flying, filming.
Posted on Nov 25, 2011 11:08:53 AM PST
Doc Holladay says:
You went above and beyond, and I am grateful! After reading some of the negative reviews, I was having some serious doubts about buying the BRs. Glad to see someone actually do their homework.
Posted on Nov 26, 2011 9:32:24 AM PST
Emory J. Safford says:
You did an excellent job with your review. Attention to detail. Thank you.
Posted on Nov 27, 2011 10:33:37 AM PST
Reference 54 says:
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2011 11:35:09 AM PST
Bruce G. Taylor says:
As I've stated before on another post, the scene of the cast watching the DNA film is obviously a process shot. The film image and surrounding border was added later. The people "watching" the film actually weren't seeing anything. The "grain" seen in the black border surrounding the movie screen is not as noticeable in the DVD version simply because the DVD does not have the resolution to define it. I did see "Jurassic Park" in a theater but it's many years ago now. But I would be willing to bet that the definition of what I saw on a movie screen in a local theater did not have the ultimate definition and detail that the Blu-ray of it seen on a good 1080 LCD does have.
A few of Spielberg's films on Blu-ray have been criticized for having grain problems. I watched the "Close Encounters" BD the other night. In the scene of the meeting of Dreyfuss, Balaban and Truffaut in a room with very dark walls, you can see precisely the sort of grain activity you are speaking of in the DNA movie scene. There are some scenes in Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" that exhibit similar characteristics. Whether this is a characteristic of the way Spielberg's films are originally photographed and how they translate to the television medium I can't say. However, I predict that when "Jaws" finally shows up on BD, it will be condemned for the same reasons.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2011 7:23:05 PM PST
Responding to your comment on the grain in Close Encounters, I do agree, it is quite noticeable, but in that film, the grain was expected; it was more natural to the film at that time, and as such, was understood to be a part of the Blu-Ray film transfer. Close Encounters has one of the best film transfers I've seen.
Now having watched the 3 jurassic park films in blu-ray, I do notice the greater amount of grain in the indoor scenes, but I don't feel like they're detracting from the film's quality. Yes, it's not a perfect transfer, and definitely not a complete remaster as they make it out to be, but I do agree with you in that the films look better than they ever have. It's quite possible that people just expected more when it came to the film quality for these three.
Posted on Dec 4, 2011 12:29:28 PM PST
Great review! The best and most objective so far -- and the most objective are always better and worth the time to read. Your review was extremely helpful. Thank you.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 5:25:09 PM PST
P. Solinger says:
Maybe my sound system isn't as touch as your's is, but I never noticed the white noise. If it was there, it was barely noticeable.
Posted on Dec 8, 2011 1:09:30 PM PST
J. R. McCleery says:
I already own the blu ray set, and fully agree with everything above.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2011 9:19:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2011 7:50:28 PM PST
Bruce G. Taylor says:
Note to Reference 54:
"This Blu-Ray has NOT been remastered. It has merely been transferred." I don't quite know what you mean by this. Transferred from what? Transferred to what?
When a motion picture film is prepared for television use (broadcasting or to be transferred to a recorded medium (tape or disc), a new release print is drawn from the film's negative. If the print is judged acceptable, i.e. if restoration is not required or is considered economically unfeasible, the film is mastered to a professional grade magnetic video tape digital format. If editing is required, this is the stage at which it's done, rather than alter the print. If the end use of the video tape is intended for mastering a DVD or BD, sophisticated compression techniques and authoring programs are used -- completely different programs for the two types of disc formats.
The tape format used must conform to the television system intended. If the end result is a DVD, the tape format must conform to the NTSC television standard which has been in use in the U.S. since 1941. In some cases when a wide screen film is involved, electronic anamorphic compression is used to provide the original wide screen picture. If not the picture conforms to the original 4:3 television frame consisting of a 525 line frame having a 486 line visible raster.
If the end result is to be an HD broadcast or an HD disc such as Blu-ray, the system used is the High Definition Television system using digital compression that was approved around 1993 providing a 1,080 line image. The old NTSC television standard does not use digital compression as broadcast.
Therefore the two standards are not compatible with each other and one cannot be easily transferred to the other. I suppose it's technically possible to do it, but it would be pointless since the result would not approach HD television standards.