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Jurassic Park III
Review written by: Alex Sandell


"I knew the T-Rex, and
Spino, you're no T-Rex!" 

What's the story?:

Producer Steven Spielberg needs to make a quick buck after the disastrous box-office returns of A.I..

So, how is it? (Get to the point, already.)

"Directed by Joe Johnston" was the first sign that Jurassic Park III wasn't going to be anywhere near as good as the first two Jurassic Park films.  "Music by Don Davis" was the second.  "NOT based on a book by Michael Chrichton" was the third.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  This movie is missing all of the elements that lent substance to the earlier Jurassic Park movies, was slapped together as quickly as a Big Mac, and leaves you feeling just as empty.  

First of all, let's face it; Joe Johnston is a hack.  He has already screwed up potentially good films such as Jumanji and The Rocketeer with his tension free directorial style, and now he's come back, like an ugly wart that you thought you had permanently removed, to screw up the Jurassic Park series, and, in that respect, he doesn't disappoint.  

Jurassic Park III is missing two key elements that were plentiful in the first two installments:  1.  terror 2. suspense.  It's also short on creativity, special effects, innovation, plot and a general sense of wonderment over seeing really neat dinosaurs.  Johnston, unlike Spielberg, does not have the patience to build up the adequate suspense to make a film like this work.  Spielberg made us wait for over an hour for the first scary T-Rex moment to occur in the original Jurassic Park, and once it occurred, it was well worth the wait.  Jurassic Park III, credits excluded, is only 80 minutes long.  It actually ends only 15 minutes after the first Jurassic Park began actually scaring the hell out of us.  

Johnston wastes no time on petty things like character development, and quickly brings us to the island, where one dino after another, with no proper introduction, or build-up, can pop out at us and go "roar."  Johnston also doesn't bother with annoying things like trying to surprise the audience.  You can guess, early on, exactly who will live and who will die, and by the time you've guessed, most of the people in the "die" category have already been chomped on, during the first half of the film, which is actually kind of fun, and then we spend the entire second half watching our heroes running away from numerous CGI dinosaurs.  

The only attempts at innovation in Jurassic Park III are changing the looks of the Velociraptors a little bit, making them look like prehistoric Toucan Sam's, and then giving them bigger brains.  The Dino super-intelligence makes the film come off as incredibly cheesy in parts (watch out for the abrupt, and ludicrous, finale), and the Toucan Sam look is almost comical, making the CGI that much more apparent.  Even the animatronic dino's look a lot more, well, animatronic, than they did in the first two films.  

Like so many blockbusters this summer, Jurassic Park III feels lazy. It's unfortunate that the movie isn't just a walk in the park; it's more like a quick ride at Universal Studios, where you might find yourself jumping here and there, but you're never genuinely terrified, and it feels like it's all over before you get to the good part.

What does it make you feel like eating?

Steven Spielberg, for doing exactly what he said he wouldn't do to his Jurassic Park series, by letting it decline in quality just like the Jaws' films.

What are you selling us here???

Another good series gone bad.

If it won an Oscar, what would it be?

"Most horrible finale of the year" - Jurassic Park III (tied with Tomb Raider)

On a scale of 1-10?

4 (If the finale wasn't so absolutely idiotic, I'd give it a 5)

Agree? Disagree? Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com 

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Text (Copyright) 2001 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].  If you copy this, without my permission, well, I have teeth like a T-Rex, and I'm not afraid to use 'em!

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