In 1993, the original Jurassic
Park wowed moviegoers with on-screen
dinosaurs the likes of which had never been seen before. Animals that hadn't
walked the Earth for millions of years were (seemingly) alive and terrorizing
the cast. The film packed theaters and sold a lot of popcorn. I actually went
to see the movie twice. Once to watch the movie and the second time to admire
the dinosaur effects.
Park III (2001)
Starring: Sam Neill, William H. Macy, and
1997 brought The
Lost World: Jurassic Park, the inevitable sequel. In four short years, CGI effects had become
commonplace and the dinosaurs failed to
amaze like before. The fact that the storyline was clichéd and the acting
quite wooden didn't help things either. Still, it packed theaters and sold
a lot of popcorn. (I only went once and still haven't seen it a second time.)
2001 brought Jurassic
Park III, the still-inevitable sequel. The first two
films were based, albeit loosely, on the books by Michael Crichton. Jurassic
Park III was written directly for the screen by no less than three people,
which usually means problems. In fact, shooting began on the film before the
script was completed, which is also not a good sign. Alas, those problems show
up on screen as Jurassic Park III is a mindless film that does what it can
with what is has to work with but ultimately winds up being more of the same
Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), having survived his encounter with the dinosaurs
of Dr. Hammond's Jurassic Park, has gone back to digging up fossilized dinosaurs
and begging for grants to continue his research. No one seems to want to know
about the dinosaurs of the past anymore. They want to know about Grant's experiences
at Jurassic Park or about the events at Site B and San Diego (from the second
film). Grant declares at a fundraising seminar that real dinosaurs exist only
in fossils and that the dinosaurs he'd dealt with on Isla Nubar were genetic
amusement park attractions and not worthy of scientific study. Nothing, he
claims, would make him want to return to the island he'd barely escaped before.
Enter the Kirbys (William H. Macy
and Téa Leoni), a rich, married couple
who offer Grant the opportunity to write whatever check he'd like for his research
if he'll be a tour guide for a fly-over of the dinosaur-inhabited island. Grant
reluctantly agrees, but soon finds that the Kirbys are not who they say they
are. Unfortunately, he finds out shortly before the plane they're on crashes
onto Isla Sorna, the Site B from The Lost World. Once again, Dr. Grant must
lead a team of paleontology-impared civilians to safety or face being lunch
for a number of different dinosaurs, including a few new creatures not seen
in the previous films.
Bringing back Sam Neill as Dr. Grant,
who'd skipped the first sequel, adds a little weight this time out. William
H. Macy is always dependable and his
character is truly worth watching for the humorous anecdotes he gets to spout.
Unfortunately, everything else in Jurassic Park III is strictly mediocre. Except,
of course, for the special effects, which are outstanding to say the least.
The plot-device to get Grant and company to the island is threadbare and hokey.
Casting Michael Jeter as a mercenary with heavy weaponry is farcical. And,
someone, please tell me how Téa Leoni gets cast in anything. Director
Joe Johnston is simply not Steven Spielberg, who only served as Executive Producer
on this outing. In its favor, the running time is mercifully short.
Park III did nearly $200 million in business, it's probably
a safe bet that Jurassic Park IV will be released in 2005 -- if the four year
span between the first and second and second and third films is to be trusted.
Hopefully, someone can write a decent script between now and then.
effects crew used 250 gallons of oatmeal to simulate Spinosaur droppings.
Internet Movie Database)