Cast & Crew
Dr. Alan Grant
William H. Macy:
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Larry Franco; Directed
by Joe Johnston; Screenwritten by Don Davis,
Peter Buchman, Craig Rosenberg, Alexander Payne and Jim
Action/Adventure (US); Rated PG-13 for mild
blood violence; Running Time - 90 Minutes
Domestic Release Date
July 18, 2001
by DAVID KEYES
who said that third times are a charm sure said a mouthful.
That, at least, would excuse the reason why I found myself
completely enthralled by "Jurassic Park III," the latest installment
in an obligatory franchise about genetically engineered prehistoric
giants. Much less science-driven narrative and more of a brainless
action adventure than either of its two predecessors, the
film has classic symptoms of B-movie status, something that,
frankly, the series could have used from the very beginning.
Though the original endeavors--both "Jurassic Park" and "The
Lost World"--effectively used special effects to generate
creatures that had died out millions of years before man,
the writers failed to realize the full potential of their
stories, thus ending up in mediocre payoffs. Here, they've
finally gotten things right--the dinosaurs are as realistic
as ever, the characters are intelligent, and the story is
such nonstop silly entertainment that, by the end, the only
complaint we have is that it all ends too soon.
movie reconnects the character of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil)
to the unfolding saga of the living dinosaurs. At the opening
of the movie, Grant is lecturing the public regarding his
theories that the engineered Velociraptors--arguably the
centerpiece of the first movies--are more intelligent than
simple paleontology could have ever discovered. He describes
their methods of communicating between each other, and even
remarks that, without the catastrophic events that killed
the dinosaurs millions of years ago, they could have easily
became the dominant species of Earth, wiping out humans
before they themselves ever had a chance to evolve and combat
them. The crowd is not convinced, but it's Grant that is,
and such is the reason why he is so hesitant to go anywhere
near the two dinosaur-infested islands that InGen so unwisely
created just a few short years ago.
that's just when he is propositioned by Paul Kirby (William
H. Macy, an adventurous businessman who, along with his
wife Amanda (Téa Leoni), are planning to fly over Isla Sorna
(the site in "The Lost World," not to be confused with the
one in the original picture) and see for themselves how
science has recreated the past. They want Grant to be their
guide, but it takes a check with big numbers written on
it to convince him. There's just one reservation: they can't
land the plain on the island itself. Needless to say, Grant
has no say so in the matter.
it turns out, Paul and Amanda have divorced, and their young
son Eric is stranded on the island somewhere (we see how
he gets there in the movie's prologue), waiting to be rescued.
Armed with little defense equipment, their wits, and the
remains of their newly-destroyed air transportation, the
two Kirbys, Grant and his young pupil, Billy (Alessandro
Nivola), descend into the treacherous forests of Jurassic
Park, finding there terrors that they could had never imagined.
warning has taught us to anticipate the arrival of any new
"Jurassic Park" film--it automatically means new dinosaurs.
From its arsenal, "JP3" offers up a delicious supply of
creatures for us to gaze at: some old, some recreated, some
totally new, and others completely unexpected. The movie's
prime visual treat is the Spinosaurus, a carnivorous and
intelligent creature that has a fin-like growth on its back,
and is so fast that it can snap the neck of a T-Rex like
a twig. Keeping with tradition addition, the Velociraptors
are even more stunning than before, fast and foreboding,
with intelligence so realistic on screen that you'd easily
mistake them as the real thing. But one of the most notable
products of the movie's special effects are the flying dinosaurs,
whom were used merely as a teaser at the end of "The Lost
World," and now occupy a good chunk of this movie. The complexity
behind their movements and actions is uncanny; no doubt
Stan Winston struggled with them on numerous occasions.
director is Joe Johnston, an impresario for nonstop action,
who has, among other things, "Jumanji" and "October Sky"
on his list of achievements. With "JP3," he adds a sense
of fearlessness and risk to the inane atmosphere, something
that the series' original director, Steven Spielberg, never
did. Aside from the sense of tension he successfully builds
as the humans confront their prehistoric enemies, one of
his most effective (but audacious) stunts lies in the movies
closure, which is abrupt and unexpected, but wisely leaves
the door open for a fourth "Jurassic Park" film (an idea,
not surprisingly, Spielberg is already considering).
does this picture rank compared to its predecessors, though?
Dead even, I'd say. On a scientific level, the original
"Jurassic Park" picture is still the best of the series;
on a production scale, it's "The Lost World." But when it
comes to packaging in thrills and chills, this is by far
the most balanced, most entertaining and most audacious
picture of the series.
2001, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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