Final Score
 "Worth Watching"

    When I sat down to watch Jurassic Park 3, the latest installment in one of the most successful franchises ever, I wasn't really expecting much. JP3 had been dumped on by pretty much every critic I had read. They say it wasn't worthy to share the name Jurassic Park, and that it was made out of pure greed by Universal Pictures. When I stood up, after the film had wrapped, I couldn't help but agree...sort of.

    As expected, Jurassic Park 3 didn't live up to the heart pounding original, or the less powerful, but equally entertaining sequel. Jurassic Park 3 was obviously NOT a Steven Spielberg film, but it WAS entertaining. JP3, as a film, will not be nominated for a single Academy Award, but it will likely be a top grossing production. 

    Directed rather blandly by Joe Johnson (Jumanji, October Sky), the film's pounding action sequences seemed to compensate for the lack of directorial creativity. But, unfortunately, these same sequences took up way to much time, and, without Spielberg's suspenseful genius, quickly became rather repetitive. Extended dinosaur attacks became annoying, as you waited patiently for someone to die, as that usually signifies the end of such sequences. The first major attack took place after the plane landed on the island, and was attacked by a large, bizarre dinosaur. The plane attempted to escape, but crashed in the process. The dinosaur quickly caught up, and attacked. The rest of the scene mostly consisted of shots of the dino trying to chew his way through the plane's flimsy hull, something it had considerable difficulty doing. The entire sequence was a rip from Jurassic Park's T-Rex attack, but lacked the suspenseful buildup, and was very unsatisfying.  

    The plot, as well, was a serious weakness, and would be quickly forgotten if the writer hadn't made a point to remind you ever other second. The film opens with a simple intro sequence: Some idiot took his friend's kid parasailing near Isla Sorna, the infamous Site B from the second film. The boat is attacked by some unknown creature that kills everyone aboard, but leaves the boat intact. This causes great distress for the parasailers, as the boat is heading for a large breaker reef. The boat crashes, and the parasailers float down to "safety" on Isla Sorna. This sequence felt a lot like the intro sequence for The Lost World (JP2), in which a rich family lands on the island to party, and their little girl is mauled by the Compies. 

    The boy's family enlists a funding-hungry Dr. Alan Grant to help rescue the boy. Unfortunately, they neglect to inform him of the rescue mission, telling him that they were adventure seekers looking to fly over the island. Grant is suitably upset when he finds out he was duped into landing on yet another dinosaur infested hellhole, but is more preoccupied with dealing with some new breed of Raptor to be pissed about it. 

        Yet another one of Jurassic Park 3's shortcomings was the rather jarring change in the physical appearance of the Raptors. In the first two films. Spielberg was adamant about staying as true to life as possible, and took very few detours from it. In JP3, the Raptors had odd spines on their heads, and sported different color schemes, as opposed to simple brown. The "Alpha Male" was white with grayish stripes, while other dinosaurs had splotches and such. Of course, there is no way to know what color the dinosaurs' skin was, but odds are it wasn't spotted. Plus, the first rule of a sequel is to remain true to the preceding films. Jurassic Park 3 steered clear of Spielberg's proven methods, and tried out new, dangerous waters. Unfortunately, it seems that JP3 may drown.

Jurassic Park 3 stretched its credibility  beyond any limit. While the whole concept of Dinosaurs being resurrected is ridiculous, you could actually believe it, due to scientific explanations behind it. It seemed real. Many parts of Jurassic Park 3, however, did not. When the trapped posse finds the parachute used by the parasailers, they also find the badly decomposed corpse of the adult friend. The weird thing was he was still hanging in the parachute harness, in one piece. No clue what killed him. He also managed to work his way in into the cover of a tree, so he could fall down unexpectedly and get tangled up with the only woman of the group. There were several other gaping reality holes, including the young boy's survival for 8 weeks. The one that really got me rolling my eyes was the end sequence. Dr. Grant used a satellite phone recovered from a dinosaur's...excrement to call his partner, Dr. Sattler. He never was able to speak to her, due to some rather extreme calling conditions (drowning), but she figured it out none the less. Within an hour or so she had dispatched squads of Marines, Navy choppers, and TWO Aircraft Carriers. This woman somehow managed to mobilize a attack force worthy of Desert Storm in two hours, and steam them all to Costa Rica as well. This is absolutely inexcusable. Come on, AIRCRAFT CARRIERS? The film ended with a crappy prelude to a JP4, a flock of Pteradons flying up into the clouds.  

    In conclusion, Jurassic Park 3  doesn't measure up to the blockbuster original, or it's tamer, but equally exciting sister. It does, however, merit the admission price, and you should see it. JP3 IS an exciting movie, just not nearly as heart-stopping as the Spielberg two. Teenagers are far more likely to enjoy it, and adults might get a kick out of it too. Check it out.


Copyright 2001 Trevor Gordon. All Rights Reserved. Jurassic Park is Copyright Universal Studios

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