Whilst The Lost World: Jurassic Park was another financial hit, critically it was met with a much more mixed reception. Four years later another sequel was made, this time just titled Jurassic Park III. This one was different as it was the first one not to be based off a Michael Crichton book and the first one not directed by Steven Spielberg, instead Joe Johnston takes the helm. The ultimate question though, is this movie any good?

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The story for this one starts out with a kid and adult doing parasailing near the restricted Isla Sorna, but then the boat gets attacked and the two end up stuck on the island. Later Dr Alan Grant is confronted by Paul Kirby who wants him to go with him to Isla Sorna to try and find his son. Then it pretty much becomes a dinosaur survival fest. Compared to the other two movies this one goes for a much more standard plot which depending on your taste can either be a good or a bad thing.

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The acting here is definitely more of a mixed bag when compared to the other movies. Sam Neill returns as Alan Grant, but isn’t as likable as he is in the first movie. I preferred him when he loved the dinosaurs, but after the incidents of Jurassic Park he now considers them nothing more than monsters. Laura Dern also returns as Ellie Satler but is majorly side-lined here.  The new characters however do very little for me. Whilst some like Paul Kirby and Billy Brennan are passable, others are irritating. The kid here is one such case (though not to the extent of Kelly Malcolm), but the worst of all is Tea Leoni as Amanda Kirby. GOD she was annoying. She spent most of the movie just yelling for her son or just screaming at the scary dinosaurs. After a while you just want one of those beasts to put her out of her misery.

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How about the special effects though? I’m not sure whether it’s the change in direction or whether the novelty is now gone, but the dinos just don’t look as good here as they did in the previous two films. One of the main problems could be the designs of some of the dinos, like the Velociraptors. Here their colour pallete isn’t as good or as threatening looking as the previous movies and the spiny Mohawk makes them look sillier. The Brachiosaurus also appear to be over coloured and not as natural looking as the ones in Jurassic Park. Lightning may have struck twice but it couldn’t strike a third time here.

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One of the things that made the first two movies great was how it gave you time to get to know the characters and setting before letting the dinosaurs out. Here though the first dinosaur attack comes within the first 20 minutes, and here lies a problem. We’re just not given enough time to get to know the characters therefore we don’t care when they start getting picked off. If you know nothing about a certain character chances are they’ll end up as dino snacks. Oh and speaking of the dinosaurs how about that Spinosaurus? Never heard of him? Well get used to him, because he’s the main predator here. The T-Rex at one point shows up to fight him but the Spinosaurus kills him in about 50 seconds. Yeah, you heard me right. The T-Rex, the star attraction and poster child of the first two movies killed within a minute and replaced with a far less iconic dinosaur that the movie expects us to like more.

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Not only that but that Spinosaurus has some real beef with our main characters. At least in the other movies the dinosaurs weren’t attacking out of villainy but merely following their own animal nature. Here though the Spinosaurus proceeds to hunt down our protagonists like a serial killer. It can’t be for food, he just killed a T-Rex which would provide tonnes of meat, and yet he still goes after these mere bite-size humans? What a dick. And that seems to be a general theme with Jurassic Park III, the dinosaurs here seem to exist purely to make life miserable for our protagonists, and in turn they’re less fascinating and more generic monsters.

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There is one scene which I quite enjoyed, and that was the scene that takes place in an abandoned aviary where the group get attacked by Pterodactyls. I liked this scene because the setting was dark and isolated with some scary set pieces, plus the Pterodactyl are flying dinosaurs so it made for an action scene very different from what we’ve seen before. The other action scene that stood out was when the Spinosaurus attacked the boat and the team were trapped in a cage. When it wants to this movie can be quite dark, but there’s only so much it can do with it’s paltry run time of only 90 minutes. Action scenes don’t feel as tense as they should be and there’s even less time to make the characters we’re supposed to care for interesting, and that’s sadly the way this movie goes.

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It’s safe to say that this movie feels more like a B-movie with dinosaurs. The run time is short, the characters are bland, the story admittedly doesn’t get in the way of the action but it still goes by too quick and really doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression. The best I can say about this movie is if you want a simple dinosaur survival movie and don’t quite have two hours to kill then I guess it’s harmless enough, but as a Jurassic Park movie it’s a failure.

I give this movie 2 out of 5.

 

So now I’ve talked about all of the Jurassic Park movies I hope to enjoy Jurassic World. I guess I can use the previous movies as my measuring stick of quality. I’m not expecting it to be as good as the first one, but just please let it be better than this one, and anything as good as The Lost World would be a happy medium in my books.

Jurassic World

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