CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Kim Morgan (oregonianlive.com), MaryAnn Johanson (flickfilospher.com), Annette Cardwell (filmcritic.com), BeatBoxBetty (beatboxbetty.com), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Ron Wells (filmthreat.com), Steve Rhodes (internetreviews.com), Louis B. Hobson (Calgary Sun), Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald), Emily Blunt (bluntreview.com), Paul Clinton (CNN.com), Rob Morlino (matineemag.com) ^ * * * out of 4 stars (PG-13)
My wife Becki and I decided to rent “Jurassic Park II: The Lost World” before watching the third film in the series. Neither of us saw the movie before and when the videotape finally ended – we wished we never started. Strangely, we still looked forward to seeing Jurassic Park III. Three was much better than two and now we want part four!
“Jurassic Park III” starts out as a rescue mission and later turns into survival of the fittest. The Kirby’s – Paul (William Macy) and Amanda (Tea Leoni) trick Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to fly to the dinosaur-infested island where their 14 year-old son ended up missing during a parasailing accident. The plane crashes and they now must outsmart Raptor’s, dinosaurs with intelligent brains. These creatures appear more intelligent than some critics!
Kim Morgan (oregonianlive.com) said, “Maybe if you’re younger than 10 you’ll be scared or thrilled by this film. Otherwise, be prepared for one of the most unexciting pictures this summer.” Keep writing like that, Kim and readers will be calling your publication “The Oregonian Dead.” “Jurassic Park III” is one of THE most exciting films of the summer! Other critics got it right: ^ — “Jurassic Park III is a helluva lotta fun.” MaryAnn Johanson (flickfilospher.com) ^ — “You’re not likely to have a better time at a blockbuster this summer. It’s just loud, smash-and-crash monster movie fun at its finest.” Annette Cardwell (filmcritic.com) ^ — “This installment is better than the last two blockbuster flicks combined. And yes, all of the prehistoric goblins are there with plenty of chills and thrills.” BeatBoxBetty (beatboxbetty.com) ^ — “This movie does a good job of doing exactly what it wants to do. ‘Jurassic Park III’ is not as awe-inspiring as the first film or as elaborate as the second, but in its own B-movie way it’s a nice little thrill machine.” Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)
Ron Wells (filmthreat.com) said, “Clocking in at a very brief 85 minutes, the movie still feels padded. It might as well be a crappy pilot for a Jurassic Park TV series or a feature version of Sid and Marty Krofft’s ‘Land of the Lost.”
I think your review must have come from the land of the lost, Ron. I wish it were still there – lost! Spielberg made the mistake of having a whopping 134 minutes of running time in his sequel. Joe Johnston wisely filmed “Jurassic park III” to end in 90 minutes – forcing the writers to write tight. It worked and other critics thought so, too: ^ — “The best part of the movie may be the length. Just when you are completely satisfied and before you ever have a chance to get tired and start checking your watch, the movie concludes quickly and efficiently.” Steve Rhodes (internetreviews.com) ^ — “Johnston paces ‘Jurassic III’ like a runaway train. It all wraps up in 90 breath-snatching, heart-pounding minutes leaving the audience begging for more.” Louis B. Hobson (Calgary Sun) ^ — “An amusement park thrill ride packed wall-to-wall with dinosaurs and more dinosaurs, clocking in at less than 90 minutes with as little dialogue and subplot as possible.” Annette Cardwell (filmcritic.com) ^ — “One of its charms is its length – less than 90 minutes. It doesn’t overstay its welcome.” Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)
Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald) said, “The first sign Jurassic Park III would be a wash was the announcement that Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two movies and can recognize a dead horse when he sees one, would only serve as executive producer this time.”
A wise choice, too! Spielberg himself created a dead horse called “Jurassic Park II.” Director Joe Johnston turned this franchise back into a terrifying, live dinosaur!
Many critics complained of the movies weak story – that they’ve seen everything before. Emily Blunt (bluntreview.com) got it right; “Sure, the story is wafer thin; it’s part three for criminey sakes. But where else you gonna watch a Tyrannosaur rex battle a Somethingamabobersaur?”
Paul Clinton (CNN.com) summed the movie up best: “Wisely held down to a breath-taking 92 minutes, ‘Jurassic Park III’ is actually just what it’s supposed to be — a popcorn-chomping thrill ride that’s perfect as a summertime distraction. And yes, the ending leaves things wide open for ‘Jurassic Park IV.’
If there is a sequel (did I actually say if?), I agree with Rob Morlino (matineemag.com) who says “no more stuck-on-an-island stories.” Agreed! And instead of bringing Dinos to America, why not have them land in Japan?
I actually welcome a fourth sequel, but that’s only because I’m pretending “Jurassic Park II” never existed.
Posted on July 24, 2001 in Features by Herb Kane
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- JP3’S EVOLVING DINOS: AN INTERVIEW WITH STAN WINSTON
- SPIELBERG TO DIRECT “JURASSIC PARK 4?”
- LIFE-SIZE “JURASSIC PARK” DINOS
- JURASSIC PARK III
- FRANK MARSHALL GOES SEQUEL CRAZY
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