Jurassic Park III (2001) – Joe Johnston

It’s back to the Park again with the Sci-Fi Chronicles. This one, honestly, feels like a rehash, which is way too bad, because it has so many people involved in it that I like. Director Joe Johnston directed one of my favourite superhero movies, The Rocketeer, and following this would go on to direct Captain America: The First Avenger. The cast includes Sam Neill, one of my all time favourite actors who I delight in seeing anytime he does a role, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Micheal Jeter, Bruce A. Young, John Diehl, and a brief appearance by Laura Dern.

This time around, a young boy, Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan) has been lost on the island after a parasailing accident, and his parents, Bill (Macy) and Amanda (Leoni) want to breach the restricted space around the island to save their child.

They figure it would help to get a dinosaur expert, perhaps even one who has seen live dinosaurs, and the persuade (pay) Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) to join them. He’s under the belief that they are going to the fly over the island and take in the sights; it’s an adventure trip wedding anniversary.

But every one in the film has lied to Grant, and he soon finds himself in big trouble.

The problem is that no matter what version of the tale you tell, it always has to be the same. People go to the island, dinosaurs cause havoc, people die, the hero escapes to tell the tale.

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No matter what Johnston was given to do, he was simply rehashing a film that had already been remade, a couple of times (especially if you go all the way back to Micheal Crichton’s original theme park gone wild story of Westworld).

There’s nothing new to it.

Sure it’s cool to see some dinosaurs we hadn’t seen before, as well as see the fan favourite velociraptors (still no pleiosaur), but you can predict, beat for beat what is going to happen, and then it doesn’t become an enjoyable film. No matter who is involved.

The dinosaurs continue to look amazing, the cast is great, and the whole Ellie-Alan thing is a bit bittersweet, because you want to know what happened to them. You can guess, but you are still left to wonder.

Unfortunately, it’s not that type a film, with a sleek 92 minute runtime, that’s including credits, there isn’t a lot of character development, or much in the way of arcs, actors are left to emote with what they have, and it seems the dinosaurs have more grist to chew on.

So as awe-inspiring as it always is to see film creations (practical and computer generated) that look like real dinosaurs (which, lets be honest is the only way we are ever going to see them, sigh) I’ll stick with the first film, which remains iconic for a reason.

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