If you weren’t sure where the producers of this series could go for a third film, well, apparently neither were they. For as much cash as the first two films pulled in, you’d think the studio would have been able to produce a little more fanfare for a new chapter in the series. What we got is just filler for the boxed-set. Merry friggin’ Christmas, Mom and Dad!
Probably the biggest reason for the steep decrease in the hoopla (and apparently the budget) is the replacement of superstar director Steven Spielberg with the decidedly adequate Joe Johnston. Original author Michæl Crichton is also nowhere to be seen in favor of screenwriters Peter Buchman and the team of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor of Election fame. Now you might be led to believe the shift at the helm would deter any sort of Spielberg-like excess of schmaltz. Let’s nip that idea right in the bud. You know all that touchy-feely crap that was surprisingly missing from A.I.? It’s all right here wrapped up in a big bow of carnage. But hey, don’t believe me? Just look at the story: ^ When we first catch up to Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), he’s still pissed off about his experiences in the first film. Worse, in his lectures, his time at Jurassic Park is all anyone wants to hear about. Unfortunately, all the fame and attention it bought him fails to produce the funds necessary for him to complete his dinosaur dig in Montana. A few weeks away from being forced to shut down, he and his best student Billy (Alessandro Nivola) get an offer from a seemingly rich pair of idiots. Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) offer up a wad of cash for Grant to play tour guide on a low-flying ærial run over Isla Sorna (the island from the second movie). Backed against a wall, he accepts. It’s not like they’re going to actually land, right?
Well, on approach for landing, the good doctor realizes he’s been conned. About eight weeks earlier in the opening sequence Amanda and Paul’s young son Eric (Trevor Morgan) was parasailing near the island with his divorced mother’s new boyfriend. Disaster struck, so now the divided couple has pulled together in a desperate effort to rescue their only child. Yes, the plot is every bit as stupid as what I just said. The worried ‘rents bring along a few mercenaries as muscle, but three guesses who becomes the first appetizers. Yes ladies and gentlemen, what we really have here is a heart-tugging story of a family healing together, at the price of the horrible deaths of most of the supporting cast. I know I’ve got a warm feeling inside, how about you?
Man, what’s the point? Was anyone really screamin’ for this thing? Sure, the dinosaurs were cutting-edge SFX technology in 1993, but eight years later you get stuff that looks at least this good on TV. The only new elements are the flying Pteranodons and slightly smarter Raptors. Whoopdi-s**t. Clocking in at a very brief 85 minutes, the movie still feels padded. It might as well be the crappy pilot for a “Jurassic Park” TV series or a feature version of Sid and Marty Krofft’s “Land of the Lost.” Of course, then you could at least expect a second sun, a bunch of Sleestack, or at least an ape-boy. Any of those could have spiced up the tired cliches now occupying “Jurassic Park.”
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