Jurassic Park III

"OK"

Jurassic Park III Review


In 1993, the first "Jurassic Park" took Hollywood's first giant step into the world of computer generated special effects, rendering from scratch huge life-like dinosaurs that genuinely interacted with the humans they chased and chowed on. There were a few tell-tale signs of CGI style that savvy audiences now recognize (soft-focusy skin on some critters, for example). But there wasn't a movie-goer on Earth who wasn't agog at how real those dinos looked.

CGI effects have evolved exponentially in the last eight years and in "Jurassic Park III" the movie's biggest stars are so seamless blended and thoroughly convincing that the very concept of these ancient beasts being a special effect barely even crosses your mind. It only occurred to me once, for about 10 seconds, during a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and this movie's even bigger, meaner baddie called Spinosaurus. Half way through the furious dust-up, it hit me: "Holy cow, these things aren't real!"

I might not even have thought about the effects at all except for being drawn to the extreme deliberateness of the movie's big-budget post-production by the over-amped, over-bearing, Dolby'd-to-death sound effects, apparently designed to shatter eardrums.

Director Joe Johnston ("Jumanji") steers "Jurassic Park III" faithfully through the franchise formula of trapping a handful of scientists, civilians and at least one smart kid on the island overtaken by dinos after it was abandoned by the greedy genetics firm that spawned them in the first film.

The excuse this time: A hardware store owner (William H. Macy) and his ex-wife (Tea Leoni) pose as millionaire adventurers offering to back a big research project if series staple Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) will be their tour guide on an illegal charter flight over the island. Real motive: Their 12-year-old son (Trevor Morgan) disappeared while para-sailing in the same locale (also illegally) on a bonding trip with his mom's new boyfriend.

The plane, of course, crashes after a close encounter with the ominous new Spinosaurus -- a savage, 45-foot carnivore with a crocodile snout and a big, bony fan arched along its back -- and it isn't long before everybody is on the run and expendable cast members are being eaten."Jurassic Park III" is largely a blockbuster B-movie exercise in Filmmaking 101, but it just so happens this is Johnston's specialty. He's a director who can take the most ritualized script and turn it into wonderfully entertaining fare, as he did with 1999's "October Sky" and 1991's "The Rocketeer."

He has a couple clever accomplices too, in the form of screenwriters Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. The sardonic wits behind the social satires "Election" and "Citizen Ruth," they infuse this otherwise obvious affair with a peppery sense of humor that manifests itself in subtle ways throughout the movie. (Example: Macy and Leoni aren't the only ones lying about their identity. The mercenary they hired to get them to the island and back safely isn't really a mercenary either.)

Fending off the occasional well-organized Velociraptor hunting party (it's implied in the story that Raptors are far more intelligent than scientist have suspected before), our protagonists eventually find the resourceful kid, who has survived by hiding out in an overturned tanker truck and developing his own camouflage.

Hoping to get rescued, they make for the coast through "Spino" territory and a colony of voracious Pterandons (the flying dinosaurs). But Neill's paleontologist pal (Alessandro Nivola) can't resist swiping some Raptor eggs from a nest, which turns the second half of the movie into a hide-and-seek game as the angry reptiles come after their ovum.

This picture has its problems with logic (either Spinos know how to make satellite phones ring or some other explanation got cut out of the movie) and, ironically, in spite of the incredible computer effects there are some conspicuous soundstage and green-screen moments that don't even involve the dinosaurs. Luckily, Johnston knows enough to move past such moment swiftly and quite literally cut to the chase.

Over-produced and highly predictable, "Jurassic Park III" really isn't all that thrilling. Let's face it: If you've seen one "Jurassic Park," you've seen them all. But there is just enough innovation here to propel this second sequel beyond its highly contrived immediate predecessor (the actually boring "Lost World") and into that movie quality limbo I like to call "OK as a bargain matinee."

Excitment builds for the new movie Jurassic Park 4, or 'Jurassic World': With the cast in place, what do we know so far about the fourth Jurassic Park movie, 'Jurassic World'?



Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 18th July 2001

Box Office USA: $180.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $368.8M

Budget: $93M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Studios, Amblin Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 78 Rotten: 81

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dr. Alan Grant, William H. Macy as Paul Kirby, as Amanda Kirby, as Erik Kirby, as Billy Brennan, as Mr. Udesky, as Cooper, as M.B. Nash, as Dr. Ellie Sattler, as Mark Degler, as Ben Hildebrand, as Enrique Cardoso, Blake Michael Bryan as Charlie, Sarah Danielle Madison as Cheryl Logan, Linda Park as Hannah

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.