Jurassic Park III
Review By: Gringo

If you're not familiar with the quality of the Jurassic Park series, let me break it down for you in a convenient list:

Jurassic Park: Good.
The Lost World: Bad.
Jurassic Park III: Ugly. I mean...okay.

That's right. Put your hands in the air and wave them around in a manner which suggests you just don't care; this, the third in the dinosaur action adventure series, is a perfectly decent movie. Naturally it follows the standard curse of not being as good as the original it's spawned from. But at least it's superior to the second entry in the series, which was essentially an hour and a bit of a dinosaur chasing Jeff Goldblum. Steven Spielberg and the other clever folk behind that movie were probably hoping that if nobody went to see it, then it'd never be known how bad it was. It's the American way! However, millions of people saw it, hated it and yet paid full price tickets for it. That money train led to the inevitability of a third time round to see some dinosaur-related mayhem.

The movie takes place on the 'second island' of Isla Sorna; the convenient plot hole they failed to mention in the original which meant a whole new island of dinosaurs was there for the cash-cow milking. In a nutshell (hello, stupid sentence beginnings), the plot is: Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is conned into flying over the second island. There is a boom bang crash and Grant, along with a merry band of half-wits, find themselves stranded. Cue the dinosaurs. Hey Jimmy, I have never seen such an original idea! Let me quickly introduce you to the story. Please. I have nothing else to do. Alan Grant is the dinosaur boffin who refuses to go to the island. Then Paul Kirby, man with a moustache, (William H. Macy) offers him goods and services. Realising that this is exactly how he got into all that trouble at Jurassic Park, Grant...agrees to Kirby's plan. Sense!

What follows is a lot of shouting and running, the former particularly by Amanda Kirby (Téa Leoni) - the ex-wife of Macy's character. Their son - who amazingly is watchable and not played by the kind of young actor you want to punch in the face - went missing on the island, so they fly out to get him back. They took Grant because he knows his dinosaurs. He sent off for a correspondence course on Dinosaur Fun! in the back of his local newspaper. Everything's in place for a perfect rescue. Only now the plane carrying them has crashed, and everybody is lost on the island. I'm not going to give away any more of the plot because there really isn't a great deal left. But don't forget the shouting by Ms. Leoni. She grabs a megaphone and shouts "HELLO! I AM MEAT! KILL ME!" (or words to that effect), thus summoning a kill-beast dinosaur.

Yet...she continues to use the damn megaphone! The characters in Jurassic Park III never seem to learn their lessons. They create noise, and nearly die. So later they create more noise. They run from dinosaurs, attracting their attention. So later when they have the chance to stand still and go unnoticed, they run. Apart from annoying things like this, the script's not too bad, and there's some humorous references to the previous movies, as well as some subtle mockery of the present one. WIN! Joe Johnston took over directing duties from Steven Spielberg. I don't know if Mr. Johnston has a beard to rival Mr. Spielberg, but he manages the action well enough and even gets a few scenic shots in. Because scenic shots are exactly what we want to see in an action adventure movie. Thanks, Joe!

For a second sequel, the producers have managed to assemble a pretty decent cast. Sam Neill and Laura Dern from the original movie return, and Dern's cameo actually has a point. Compared to the cameo of the two kids in The Lost World, whose entire role was the great task of shaking Jeff Goldblum's hand. And did they know where his hand had been? As I've already written above, William H. Macy is in this movie and that alone is a huge redeeming feature. He's funny in a nerdy-guy funny sort of way (if there is such a thing), and even gets to stick his hands deep into dinosaur poop! Hmm...I'm noticing a subversive trend amongst the Jurassic Park movies. Somehow dinosaurs and hands are the answer to everything. And poop. I am a master detective!

The major defect with this movie is the focus - much like in the second installment - on the action scenes at the expense of any other development whatsoever; plot, character, and all those other things. Wait a minute. Major defect? I'm such a moron. It's not like they put together a great movie, released it and said "Oh no! The machinery caused a defect! Now it is only okay! Damn you, evil movie machine! You win this round!". Anyway, there are several key scenes which drag on for a few more minutes than they should, and one very predictable 'surprise' return of a character that gets dino-attacked earlier on. The inclusion of several over-done action set-pieces will make you realise that whilst Jurassic Park III is good, it's nothing new. That might just be because there were already two movies made.

I suppose I had better write some sort of summary for the following reasons: I've nothing more to add and I want to go and watch Ninja Academy for the 10,000th time. One of those reasons is a lie. Work out which. To be perfectly honest (no) I quite liked Jurassic Park III. It's far better than The Lost World albeit nowhere near as good as the original movie. Ain't that just a damn kick in the teeth? Okay, I've just managed to repeat the first few lines of this review but in a different way. Hooray for me! The movie's certainly not an original one, but it is decent and worth watching. Go on. You know you want to. Oh, and there was a trailer for Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes nonsense. But I missed that, because I had to go pee.

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