The holidays are a popular period for people to invest in a brand new television. These days, that’s likely to be a 4K specimen, so now that the holiday break is here you might be looking for some great content that lets it flex its muscles. And while Home Alone, Elf and Love Actually are wonderfully appropriate movies to watch, a suggestion we’d like to make is the 5-movie Jurassic World box set in 4K, which features the original three Jurassic Park films as well as both currently released Jurassic World films. Here’s a closer look.
It’s hard to imagine that Jurassic Park is approaching its 30th anniversary, especially when you consider how well it holds up to this day. A new benchmark for visual effects upon its release, it’s still a great piece of visual storytelling from Steven Spielberg. Even on later viewings, the excitement is palpable when you see the park’s iconic gates, get your first view of a massive brachiosaurus and hold your breath during the T-Rex scene.
The Lost World and Jurassic Park III lacked that sense of wonder, but still feature a few great set pieces, and Lost World in particular is a great candidate for 4K thanks to a few darker scenes and intense weather conditions that really benefit from the audiovisual boost, which we’ll discuss later. One scene in particular comes to mind here, and it includes twice the amount of T-Rexes compared to the first film – and three if you count the baby Rex.
After the lukewarm reception that Jurassic Park III received, the series went dormant for a long time until a renamed sequel was released starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dalls Howard. It reignited interest in the franchise in a big way, and another sequel dubbed Dominion is planned for next summer – one that will also bring back original cast members Sam Neill and Laura Dern.
Both Jurassic World movies in this boxset adhere to the “bigger, louder and more teeth” message that also underlies the idea behind the cloning and DNA manipulation which are important plot points. They’re audiovisual spectacles with dinosaurs that are bigger and stronger than those that existed in real life, and despite warnings about the dangers of cloning this is a set of movies that’s less thought-provoking and more about pure entertainment – and they succeed gloriously. Fallen Kingdom even features catastrophic scenes with a volcanic eruption that’s going to lay waste to every living thing in the island – creating a perfect storm of dinosaurs and destruction.
This 5-Movie collection contains both a 4K (UHD66) disc and a regular (BD50) disc for each of the films, but where a lot of similar boxsets only contain the extras in BluRay format you’ll be able to see all of them in a full 4K resolution here. That’s great news, because there is a wealth of awesome content here, especially for the original trilogy, for which there is a lengthy 6-part documentary that is close to two and half hours long and a must-see for fans of the franchise. It covers everything from the birth of CGI dinosaurs to acting with animatronics and from sound effects to behind the scenes footage.
While none of the special features are new, this boxset represents the first time they’ve all been brought together like this in a single set, and having all of these stills, trailers, featurettes and other materials in 4K is another perk. The only thing that feels missing is a Spielberg commentary track, but the maestro himself has never recorded one so we’re not holding our breath either.
The main attractions, however, are the films themselves, and for the most part they look and sound spectacular in 4K. HDR support is included, and we thought the first film in particular benefitted from it. From the metal surfaces of cars and buildings to the glorious outdoor shots, it’s easy to forget that this was shot on regular film were it not for the presence of a little grain. Close-up shots also reveal a ton of facial detail that you never realized was there before, so we’d say that the original film received the biggest upgrade.
The Lost World’s generally darker tone doesn’t benefit as much from the new tech when compared to the previous BluRay, though flashlights piercing the dark are impressive thanks to HDR. By comparison, Jurassic Park III is much more colorful, and seems to have gotten a boost in the color department during the transition to 4K as well.
Unsurprisingly, the two most recent films are the best looking ones due to how they were shot and the state of the digital technology that was used, though the upgrade from the previous BluRay discs is more marginal here. In 4K there’s additional sharpness and detail in close-ups of faces, clothing and dinosaur skins, and the use of HDR means things are a tad more vibrant as well, but because the existing BluRay copies were already solid you have to pay attention to notice the differences here.
And while we were impressed with the video, the audio is absolutely spectacular if you have a good surround setup for it. All movies come with a DTS:X audio track, which makes the original Jurassic Park feel incredibly rich due to a plethora of sound coming from the rear speakers and positional audio effects as things fly overhead. The rain, the thuds of the T-Rex walking around – the audio is extremely atmospheric and just as much a part of the audiovisual experience as the special effects.
With its jungle scenes and extreme weather, the same is true for The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III even starts to feel like an underappreciated gem when you factor in the stellar surround sound mixing featured on these discs. Sure, the story and acting aren’t the best of what’s on offer here, but the rich audiovisual delivery makes up for a lot in 4K with DTS:X enabled. And as you’re expect, both Jurassic World titles follow that trend comfortably – its theme of “bigger and more spectacular” comes across gloriously when the Indominus Rex stomps around, fights with a T-Rex and pierces our ears with its roar. Add an extinction-level volcanic eruption to that in Fallen Kingdom, and you’ll remember why you invested in that sound setup in the first place.
Covering 25 years of “Jurassic” films with over 10 hours of movie content as well as a host of special features, this is the best collection of the franchise out there thus far. Existing fans will enjoy the increased audiovisual fidelity, especially through the visual boost the earlier films received, and the thunderous audio track is certain to delight as well. Having all the special features in 4K is a nice bonus as well, so unless you already own the existing BluRay versions this is an easy recommendation for dinosaur fans looking for some home cinema thrills over the holidays.