There's only so much you can do with a second sequel. Especially one in which you've got one remaining original character, no best-selling book to adapt, no Spielberg to direct, and no John Williams score. Well, okay, so you keep the best bits of the old John Williams score, but see what I mean. The amazing thing is, in spite of all that could've gone wrong, I liked Jurassic Park III.

Joe Johnston has directed one hell of a movie. Now, don't jump to conclusions. This is no candidate for Best Picture. This movie will not likely win awards for anything but special effects. But this movie, ladies and gentlemen, is a good old-fashioned summer blockbuster, the likes of which haven't been seen since Raiders of the Lost Ark or, yes, the original Jurassic Park.

I noticed several things about this film that piqued my interest right off the bat. One: the rousing score by Don Davis (whom you may remember from The Matrix or the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation). At first listen, the music seemed to be classic John Williams updating his original Jurassic Park theme with a deliciously Star Wars-ish quality. That is to say, the music both jumps out at you and grabs your attention, and at the same time directs your focus to the events onscreen. Davis does a superb job of mixing familiar elements of the original score with wonderful new elements of his own.

The second thing I noticed was that director Joe Johnston somehow manages the impossible task of giving us a whiz-bang bucketfull of character development at the beginning without slowing anything down. We meet our new cast of characters, understand them almost instantly, and are quickly whisked away on the adventure without wasting any time. While Spielberg tends to dwell on the more touchy-feely elements, Johnston seems to understand quite well that this is a movie, for crying out loud, and we want to be entertained.

The third thing I noticed was the writing. Again, this movie will certainly not win an Academy Award, but where Jurassic Park was chock full of pretentious foreshadowing and goofy transparent plot development, and where The Lost World was full of rehashed half-baked crap, Jurassic Park III succeeds in being a simple story. No time is wasted on stupid lines -- every line in this movie means something and goes somewhere and gets the job done.

What about the dinosaurs, you ask? Oh, they're wonderful. You'd think that, by the third movie, we'd have lost the sense of wonder that Spielberg seemed to keep trying to shove down our throats. It was obvious that Spielberg loved dinosaurs as a kid, and that's great, a lot of us did, but it almost seemed as if the humans were only there as an excuse to fill the screen with prehistoric creatures.

Johnston doesn't succumb to the same folly. We have finished being amazed by dinosaurs, and now we understand that most of them have huge claws and sharp teeth and would like nothing more than to impale people with one or the other or both. He uses this to great effect; the action sequences here are well-thought out, well-directed, and spine-tinglingly good.

I honestly cannot think of a single thing about this movie that disappointed me, which is more than I can say for any other new movie I've seen in the last few months.


Wow. I wasn't aware opinions could now be deemed "right" and "wrong". I oh-so-humbly apologize for having such a terribly wrong opinion, kind sir, and thank you for pointing out the inexcusable error of my ways. It will not happen again, I assure you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby retract the above review because, as tandex was so kind to point out, I was completely and utterly wrong. I can't imagine what came over me.

Does anyone actually watch these movies before they’re released?

If I were Stephen Spielberg (and I know, he’s an easy target, yes) I’d have my name ripped off this movie shortly before its incineration.

I'm making a check list for the movies I’ve seen for the last year: Here’s a little sample:
Check one of the following:

  • A _ Just Bad
  • B _ Amazingly Bad
  • C _ Wonder if you can get your money back by falling down the aisle stairway
  • D _ Try to forget you paid 7.50 for this film and try to get some sleep
  • E _ Pass a law banning American Films.

I thought it was just me. I honestly, did. I’ve been told that I am incapable of just going to a movie and suspending my sarcasm and disbelief long enough to enjoy mindless entertainment.

After Jurassic Park III I’ve found that I don’t care if it is me. Movies lately have just sucked ass - and this one is no different. I could sit though a 24 hour marathon of Battlefield Earth, A.I. and Plan 9 from Outer Space, with a goofy grin on my face than watch even another trailer from this … movie.

Yes, Sam Neill returns to “recapture” his role as Alan Grant, Paleontologist- and Dino guru- along with Laura Dern (who gives a forgettable cameo appearance to support some kind of unimportant back story- and provide an important plot device), William H. Macy and Tea Leoni (who do far too well playing a couple of mind-bogglingly stupid people) - all in search of a lost boy (I’m not going to bother finding out the actor’s name - because he deserves to be diced and fed to small creatures for the crime of appearing in this film.).

The line I’ll quote from Ereneta from the review in Jurassic Park 3 is : I have a hard time believing that an audience is going to get excited with velociraptors running around mainland Costa Rica.
If that had happened, this film MIGHT have been interesting. If that had happened I would have stood and cheered that they decided to take an actual risk in plot.
This was the most predictable movie I have EVER seen - even The Green Mile held more surprises and I read the goddamn book!

I’m not going to comment on Wonko's write-up other than to say he’s just wrong. I’m wondering what kind of drugs he was taking when he saw the film so I can get my hands on a fistful just to forget it.  I keep wondering if I saw the same film as Wonko.

Consolidating:Too violent for kids, too dumb for adults. But really, what should I expect, Amadeus?

This film should be burned.

I know, I know, that wasn’t fair. It was just another useless, trolling rant. So, I’ll go into some details and try to support my opinion on this piece of reeking shit...

Everything below this line is a spoiler:

They come to the island in an attempt to find a little lost boy, the “resourceful” son of William H Macy character and Tea Leoni (who cares what their character names were, after ten minutes of watching these two you wanted their names to be “dinner”). How these two people could have raised anything other than a gerbil is beyond me.  They fool Alan to accompany them, by promising lots of money to help his recent digs, telling him they are just going to fly over the island.  When Alan realizes what's happening they bonk him on the head and land the plane at an abandoned airstrip.

The couple, some mercenaries they've hired, Alan and his assistant get off the plane where we are introduced to plot device D5.  

Now, apparently, the T-Rex from the previous two movies got too much airtime, thus signaling a lawsuit from the Dino-Actors union. To soothe the discrimination suit, they downgraded the big bad dinosaur, and added in a bigger, badder, dinosaur (with a name that thankfully escapes me). They just discovered the bones for this creature in the last few years and thought it would be cool to go ahead in incorporate it into this tale. They have him kill a T-rex to drive the point home just how BAAAAD he is.

The first scene where you get a good look at the creature is near the beginning when they are trying to take off in a plane. It runs in front , snapping up a tasty character, and causes them to graze across it and crash into the jungles of Isla Sorna. It pursues them, breaks the plane in half, and rolls it around endlessly - everyone is screaming and yelling appropriately. This scene reminded me of the “Cripple Fight” scenes from a recent episode of South Park because it went on FOREVER.

Everyone should have just been eaten. Period. Close the set, roll the credits. Fin.

Unfortunately, most of them escape.

After the harrowing scene of carnage they continue searching the jungle for the kid. While strolling the jungles they trip across a raptor nest. Alan Grant’s assistant, an annoying pretty boy who’s acting is as transparent as the plot, steals a few of the eggs (it eventually becomes an -“I was gonna sell um and save the farm, Alan! Yuk,yuk”- plot device)… this is supposed to be a secret - but is telegraphed so badly that you can practically see the writers sniggering at their laptops.

Eventually they run across the old lab compound from JP2 and are subsequently attacked by raptors. We lose our last victim at this point. The rest is running around and screaming.

Also, they “upgraded” the raptors to allow them to communicate via series of whoops and gurgles, made them smarter - and even made one up to look like the character “Stripe” from Gremlins, crest and all. Apparently Alan didn’t notice any of these “smarter, communicative” raptors in the first movie. Maybe these were just pulling the strings then, who knows, maybe they were just full.

Alan is separated from the main group by raptors and is subsequently rescued by “Dino-Boy”, king of the jungle, with a handful of tear gas canisters. The boy takes Alan back to his hiding place and they have a heartwarming conversation about love, and parents, Ian Malcolm, blah, blah, blah… do they really need to drop the names from the other movies? I could practically hear the Director shouting “One more time, Tommy. This time with feeling!

Alan and the boy eventually reunite with the rest of them.

As the mother hugs her darling son (Who’d managed to stay alive for 8 weeks on the island - fah!), I sensed another chase scene coming on and was rewarded by the T-rex upgrade. Not content to let the characters wander or die, the upgrade chases them into a shabby-looking building near a foggy cliff - spooooky!

It is here that Alan discovers that his assistant has taken the raptor eggs - thus explaining why they were attacked by the raptors! No one ever would have assumed that the raptors were just hungry, would they? He decides to keep them, because the raptors knew they had them. His reasoning was “what will they do to us if the find out we don’t have them” (insert dramatic music, close-up on Sam Neill placing the eggs back in the pack- groan!).

I guess he was depending on the keen, moral sensibilities of the velociraptor.

They find a “back-way” out of the building and walk down precarious staircases and metal walkways into the next plot element: The Aviary.

In the book, Jurassic Park, Alan and the children eventually find their way into the Aviary and it’s a decent scene.

This Aviary is just miserable.

At one point the boy is picked up and dropped into a high-perched nest as food. Since he’s a kid, you know he escapes. Frustratingly, movies like this have kids that are far more brave and resourceful than real kids - or movie adults. They also have that “hurt, but not too bad” magic shell surrounding them that strips any scene, with their presence, of any real tension or drama. Predictably, the kid lives at the “apparent” price of Alan’s assistant. He’s seen fighting of Pterodactyls while trying to stay afloat.

The rest of the crew escape the aviary - leaving the door open “for another sequel”- and make it to a boat they’ve spotted on the shore.

To describe the next few scenes as “Blah, blah, blah, heartwarming bullshit, Brontosaurus, blah, blah, blah, they find William H Macy’s satellite cell phone in a big pile of poop” is merciful, so that’s how I’ll describe it.

Actually, the above isn’t a bad analogy of the whole movie.

In any case, Alan makes a desperate call to Laura Dern’s character while they’re simultaneously attacked by the T-Rex upgrade. The biggest moment of tension here is when Alan drops the phone and it slides across the deck of the boat. The roaring was far too loud in the theater, not the Dino, I was just laughing, so I couldn’t hear what exactly he said to her. You’re left wondering if she really “got the message”. Who cared?

Unfortunately, no one dies in this scene, either. Or any more that follow. I’ve seen more mystery watching “the weakest link”. At least there you really don’t know who will be left.

They manage to barely fight off the upgrade and make it to the shore where they’re surrounded by angry raptors- looking for their eggs. Wow, that Alan is sure a bright fella!Good thing he kept them eggs! They give back the eggs and Alan uses a mock-up of a raptor’s resonance chamber (created during the exposition phase early in the “film” -for ‘just such an occasion’) and fools the raptors by mimicking their call for help. They flee- idiots.

As the raptors run away the helicopters predictably arrive.

They run to the beach to find that Laura Dern’s character apparently had connections in the pentagon. She has managed to call out the navy and the marines in a full-out beach assault. Since Spielburg produced this film I figured he had extras left over from his last war movie. They storm the beach, saving the day- more American Flag waving around… who hoo! We’re saved! Hack!

As the helicopter flies across the open ocean, Alan finds that his assistant has also been rescued and they share a heartwarming moment over Alan’s hat. Outside, the pterodactyls soar across the sky, chase them at first, and then bank off into the next sequel.

Oh, quick aside. the "upgrade" dino was called the "Spinosaurus"...(got that one from
Oh, and Pyrogenic it's not a high horse, it's a high Dino.

Wonko: Temper, temper - anyway, you've got much higer rep on yours so it is apparent that many more people agree with you. They're wrong too <grin>

One last edition. A friend of mine sent a link to E! online where they had to say the follwing regarding JP3:

Director Joe Johnston (Jumanji) says the dino franchise flick could have been extinct before cameras ever rolled. In fact, Johnston himself tried to get off the film just five weeks prior to shooting. The reason? JP III had no script.
Why am I not surprised?

Boy, am I glad wonko's is the first writeup in this node. I went into this movie expecting the worst, and left feeling my $6.50 had been well-spent. It's fast, fun, and even has its scary moments. I conceed that the end of the movie was its worst moment* -- ten seconds of explanation was all we needed. Something along the lines of, "The U.N. resolved to firebomb the island, we had to make sure there was no-one left alive." But no. The dinosaurs looked great, and their fights amongst themselves were, in a word, spectacular. Sounds, crushed vegetation, integration with the live-action characters were all great. It's not Shakespeare -- some of the dialogue was pretty awful -- but it's good enough, as is the acting.


I'm sorry tandex can't see that from his high horse. His loss.

Fryed says "The reason the whole army showed up was that Laura Dern's character's husband worked for the DoJ, doing foreign relations stuff (or something like that), so he presumably had connections." Still, the response was enourmous and overnight. Just didn't sit well -- it felt entirely off hand.

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