Chet Greason, Popcornucopia
I just saw Jurassic Park 3D. Excuse me while I gush.
For me, Jurassic Park will always be the perfect movie. Every generation has one; that magical cinematic odessey you saw as a kid that made you fall in love with films. Older gents will scoff at Spielberg’s Mesozoic masterpiece, saying it pales in comparison to their generation’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Great Escape, Star Wars, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, in the same way I might turn my nose up at younger buffs who put Avatar in the same vein as my beloved Jurassic Park. (I should clarify...Avatar was great, but you get my point.)
Rewatching Jurassic Park for the first time on the big screen since grade six made me re-realize a few things. Firstly, the film’s greatness is not just found in its special effects, although that’s a big part of it. The computer generated graphics set a standard still adhered to today, (but nothing beats the realness of the robots.)
No, what makes Jurassic Park truly great are those moments between the car chases and the raptor hunting. It’s the treatises on ethical science; the lessons in Chaos Theory; life finding a way; and the reminders that, at it’s heart, the entire film is “...still the flea circus”; pulling the wool over our eyes, masking falsity as truth.
By the time the final credits rolled and that epic John Williams score began playing, I had tears in my eyes. That’s how much I friggin’ love this movie.
Now, a note on re-releases. I think they’re a fantastic idea. I used to love going to classic movie marathons at the Bloor Cinema when I lived in Toronto, and the Hyland Cinema in London will occasionally play them. Even Silver City has begun hopping on the bandwagon, feeding people’s desire to see those favourite films of bygone ages on the big screen again.
Unfortunately, the big-name chain cinemas don’t give you your heart’s desire for cheap. Seeing Jurassic Park in 3D, despite having a “free admission during the month of your birthday” voucher, still cost over $23 for two tickets; and that’s without the $19 popcorn and pop. You have regular admission, PLUS the additional 3D charge, PLUS the additional IMAX charge, which, in London and on a regular sized screen, is a complete and total rip-off.
Don’t get me wrong, the 3D was fantastic. You were fully immersed in the movie, noticing things in the background that you never saw on VHS and DVD. But was this because of the IMAX? And was it worth that big a hike in ticket prices? I don’t think so.
What make movies great has always been their accessibility. During the worst of the Great Depression, folks could still afford the nickel to see a movie and escape life for a hour or two. It’s what made it the medium of choice for the past century.
With today’s economic realities, we still need that escape. Instead, we have an industry that cries poor, attempts to limit our digital rights due to “online piracy”, ups the ticket prices at the box-office, reaches record-breaking numbers in revenue, and then continues to cry poor. All this while independently run cinemas continue to close up shop due to astronomical operating costs.
Why the money grab? Are movies better now? If anything, the proliferation of CGI and green screen technology has cheapened production costs. No, as Ellie Sattler puts it so eloquently in Jurassic Park, “It’s still the flea circus. It’s all an illusion.”