Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jurassic Park 3D!

So, last night a buddy and I went and saw Jurassic Park in 3D. I remember seeing it when it was originally released -- I must have seen it three times in the theaters and dozens of times (if not close to a hundred) over the years: first on VHS then DVD. It was one of my all time favorite movies and when I first heard it was to be re-released in 3D, I was excited -- well, more than excited, actually. I was giddy! This was my top "wanna see" movie of the year.

So, how did it go? In one word: AWESOME!!!

It's been a couple of years since I've actually watched it on DVD. And even though I've seen the movie enough to memorize lines, seeing it once again on the big screen made me notice things that I don't think I'd ever noticed before. It also brought back some great memories from my teenage years, which was my age when I first saw it. And seeing it in 3D? Well, it was amazing!

The nearly one hundred people involved in converting a twenty year old movie to the new Real D 3D technology did an unbelievable job. Was it flawless? Not exactly. There were a couple of parts where one could notice a bit of ghosting. This was the first time I've noticed that in any of the Real D 3D movies I've seen, and I assume -- though I could be wrong -- this was due to Jurassic Park not originally being shot for 3D technology. All of the other 3D movies I've seen have not had the ghosting effect, and they've all been shot in 3D and not converted in post-production. However, this is a very, very minor complaint, and was only noticeable in two or three scenes, usually when the people are inside talking. Never noticed it in any of the action scenes.

With that minor observation out of the way, let me say that I was really blown away by the 3D in this movie. The prologue, where the raptor kills the worker, puts you right into the 3D world and it really does feel as if you are there. From there on out, the entire movie really gave me at least a dozen "WOW" scenes, where the depth perception was just astounding. My favorite? Well, it's gotta be the T-Rex scene! I mean, that was ALWAYS my favorite sequence anyway, but in the 3D it was truly amazing -- and yes, even a bit scary.

The technology makes you feel like you're right there when the T-Rex breaks out of paddock. You feel like you're in the car with the kids. You feel like you're looking into the eyes (and mouth) of the T-Rex when Grant tries to trick it with the road flair. And the greatest scene of all -- my favorite -- you feel like you standing right there when the T-Rex EATS THE LAWYER who is sitting on the toilet! People in the theater laughed, clapped, and I almost couldn't stop. It's one of those classic moments in film history than will live beyond us all.

The rest of the movie is just as great. The raptors are scary -- the kitchen scene is -- well, pretty much as awesome as you remember, but even better in 3D. And of course, the ending is one of those "hero" moments that you just have to applaud for. 'When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.'

One final thing I noticed is just how real so many of the dinosaurs look. And that's probably because they are "real." Jurassic Park was made during a time when puppetry and animatronics were still consider "cutting edge." And even today, what was used in Jurassic Park would be cutting edge. The dinosaurs, and in particular the T-Rex looks like a real, living, breathing Tyrannosaurus. Throughout the movie Spielberg used both puppets and, the then new, CGI technology to make a nearly seamless film. The Brachiosauarus in the "Welcome to Jurassic Park!" moment looks -- real! I don't know what else to say. And this was using twenty year old computer animation technology. Sure, they've probably updated some of these scenes a bit, but still . . . .
I mean, think about it. How many movies today, using CGI, don't look even half as good as this? Spielberg did something that very few people have ever done since -- make you believe that what you're seeing on the screen is real.Yes, some of the science of the movie is a bit dated now, and we know more about dinosaurs now than we did twenty + years ago, but this is truly a classic movie.

One last thing to note was how much fun the audience had, both young and old alike. There were a lot of young people there who were either not old enough to remember seeing Jurassic Park in 1993 or weren't even born yet. So this was their first experience seeing it on the big screen! And I could hear people talking as they left the theater, saying just how great it was. For people like myself, who were in high school when this came out, it brought back my own memories as well. And while people say this all the time, seeing this particular movie in 3D, on the big screen, really was like seeing it for the first time!

If you've never seen Jurassic Park on the big screen, or know someone who hasn't you simply must go! Take them. You may not ever have this opportunity again. It will bring back memories, create new memories, and is just an all out fun ride, that will awaken the child inside of you!

And do it fast, because I believe this is only running in the theaters for one week.

Friday, April 5, 2013

So many books, so little time!

I'm an avid reader, or I try to be. I'm currently reading three books -- Terry Goodkind's final book of the Sword of Truth Series, Confessor, Kim Harrison's White Witch, Black Curse (book seven of The Hollows), and Bree Despain's The Savage Grace. Why three at once? Well, because I can't choose which book I want to read next, so I just begin multiple books at once -- and then realize I can't actually focus on more than one at a time and so two get shelved while I read the third.

The biggest problem is that while I'm trying to read three novels, I'm also writing two more books myself (another non-fiction, religious themed book that is bound to piss people off. It's in the very early stages, so it will be some time before it is out) and I'm learning the craft of fiction writing, in the form of a YA novel. All of this writing really puts a damper on how much reading time I can actually squeeze into a day. Not to mention after spending 3-5 hours staring at, and typing, words, I can barely stand to look at MORE words in the evening. So I tend to get burned out. Which means I have even LESS time to read all of these books.

That's not to mention all of my other daily activities, duties, and side projects that I have going at any given time. For example, I'm a pyrotechnician -- in other words, I blow up fireworks! Actually, I'm more into the artistic aspects of planning, laying out, and putting together a fireworks display. Yeah, blowing them up is cool, but to me, if it doesn't look good in the sky, it's not really that much fun. Anyway, this is the time of year when we start trying to get shows. We have three on the docket so far, but it is a lot of work. Far more work than just setting some stuff off in your backyard. There is a real art and science to it, and SAFETY is always priority number one.

So back to reading, or the lack of reading I've been doing.  I'm just too darn busy to write books AND read, and plan fireworks, and manage my multiple chronic health issues, and everything else that comes in a day. But what is a person to do? I love to write. And I love to read. And I'm not going to give up any of these other activities and jobs. Often I find myself not even watching television anymore. I suppose that's a good thing. I'd rather be reading. But life gets in the way.

So what is the point of this little blog post? Nothing really. I just felt like complaining, in a very public way, about how that old time adage is true -- so many books, so little time. What I wouldn't give to be like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and be able to read books in a matter of seconds. Just think, I could have read the entire Sword of Truth Series in two minutes, rather than two years. Yes, it took me two years to read that series. But that's another blog post for when I finish -- then you all can hear about my love/hate relationship with those books and Mr. Goodkind.