Jurassic Park 3 (2001) – movie review

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Movie Review by Susannah Macklin

Starring: Sam Neill, Tea Leoni, William H Macy, Alessandro Nivola
Director: Joe Johnston

Stay calm. I repeat, stay calm. This is not THE LOST WORLD, again, this is not THE LOST WORLD!

Yep – Spielberg’s epic dino franchise finally hits the screens, and after at least a year of pure speculation we can all breathe easy, because there’s not a whiff of a dodgy sequel about this third instalment.

JURASSIC PARK 3 deposits us back on Isla Sorna (Site B) where carnage last ensued in 1997. Though we were dumb enough to voluntarily go there the last time – this time round Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) has a reasonable excuse. Tricked into going by ‘entrepreneur’ Paul Kirby (William H Macy) and his estranged wife played by Tea Leoni, Dr Alan Grant ends up in a rescue bid to find their son, lost in a parasailing excursion. Grant and his team descend on the island only to find that 4 years is a long time in Hollywoodasaurus-evolution and the raptors have become acutely intelligent, the T Rex more vicious and the creatures generally bigger and better.

Again the dinos try and make mince meat of our B list cast. Again our heroes unbelievably manage to spend whole nights and days dodging the ultimate killing machines (we find one character has survived on the island for about 8 weeks!!) and that is about the extent of the plot. It is a little holey in places (quite why any mother would let her son go parasailing over people-eater island is anyone’s guess!) but the characterisation is strong and by the third dino-snack – you actually care about who might be next on the menu.

What JURASSIC PARK 3 lacks in substance however – it more than makes up for with style. The eye candy of Isla Sorna proves exhilaratingly spectacular and Joe Johnston knows when to tease the audience with unnerving titbits. In fact, it should help to remove at least some of the nails from the coffin of his 1995 godamnawful movie JUMANJI. The only real bone of contention is poor old Spinosaurus, JURASSIC PARK 3’s supposed trump card, who looks more like Naffosaurus next to the brilliantly realistic (according to my primary schooling!) Pteranodons who give us that much needed first time wow factor that we didn’t really get with the last movie.

They nearly lost it with THE LOST WORLD – but this proves it’s back. With JURASSIC PARK 3 Johnston and Spielberg have sunk their teeth into something a bit less fleshy in length – but they’ve delivered the goods. Hopefully we’ll see at least a fourth movie added to the no doubt looming box set, because unlike the ‘Dyathinkhesaurus’ jokes that provide a new round of drunken hilarity whenever ILMs T Rex rears his ugly head – this is one franchise that deserves to go on.

5 out of 6 stars