"They do move in herds," Sam Neill marvels, purportedly gazing at his director's miracle dinosaurs but in reality directing his wonderment right into the camera-- and right out at us, the viewers whose herdability made such smash successes of Jurassic Parks one and two. (Our failure to turn out for director Joe Johnston's part three suggests that we at least prefer to be corralled by a master.) If you want to feel better about how Steven Spielberg can cue your brain to stirrings of fear or awe, it helps to think of him not as an artist but as an m.c.: Dude moves the crowd. Now converted to more-impressive-than-usual-3D, the original Jurassic Park is again set to herd in an audience, this time of parents already appreciative of its uneasy mix of Spielbergian wonder and Spielbergian terror, and of kids ready to discover the perverse pleasure of watching actors in their own demo scream and weep at the gnashing of T. rexes. Schindler's List, the other Spielberg hit of ’93, acknowledged that children in terror are actually no fun at all; perhaps that's why that one's shown as homework and this one's given a multiplex re-issue. The T. rex is worth the wait, but the wait itself is even more memorable—that water-shaking rumble scene was the go-to demo reel for peddlers of surround-sound home theater systems for most of the '90s. For all the still-dazzling CGI and creature puppetry, what sells this is the storm's-coming wonder Spielberg hadn't summoned so smartly since Close Encounters, here spliced with the candied dread of Jaws.
Steven SpielbergSam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Samuel L. Jackson, BD WongMichael CrichtonUniversal Pictures