Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


JURASSIC PARK III (2001). Director: Joe Johnston.

In this third installment of the Jurassic Park series -- the fourth, Jurassic World, is just about to open -- paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is importuned to travel with his associate Billy (Alessandro Nivola) to an alternate dinosaur-riddled island due to the manipulations of an estranged couple, the Kirbys (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni). The Kirbys don't tell Grant that they are searching for their young son, who was lost on the island when he and his mother's boyfriend unaccountably went paragliding near the island. After their plane is destroyed by a dinosaur, Grant has to wonder if anyone can survive let alone if they can find the boy, assuming he's alive after all this time. Jurassic Park III is an entertaining film with outstanding special effects, and if you ignore its stupid moments and uneven characterization you can concentrate instead on that wonderful and scary spinosaurus who keeps popping up for a snack when you least expect it. As usual in movies of this nature, the pilot and another man are quickly eaten and then forgotten about, but even stranger, even the boy and his mother seem to have zero feelings about her boyfriend, whose half-eaten corpse she comes across. As for the acting, Macy and Leoni are so busy being "cute" that they never quite get across that a.) their son may be dead or b.) they may never get off the island even if they find him. Neill and Nivola strike a more realistic note. Along with that marvelous spinosaurus, there are also the usual complement of nasty, intelligent raptors, big apatosauri, and of course flying pterodactyals, who carry off more than one member of the cast. The climax on the river is a bit disappointing, but basically this has more than enough thrills to keep fans of the genre satisfied and it has less ugly scenes than the first two pictures.

Verdict: Give that spinosaurus his own movie! ***.


angelman66 said...

Great to see all these again...all over the TV since the new one is now out. Eager to find out what you think of Mr. Pratt and Jurassic World, Bill...

My favorite Sam Neill performance has to be as Damien in The Final Conflict...I always liked Neill best as an elegant villain!

William said...

He was always a good actor, and it's time for me to see "Final Conflict" again, which I remember as a highly imperfect but entertaining and well-made movie.

As for Jurassic World and Mr. Pratt, they interest me but I think I may wait for the DVD.