Jurassic Park III
Jurassic Park III After The
Lost World, expectations on this latest edition of dinosaur mayhem
were not terribly high. All we expect are good dinosaur CGI effects, and
as usual, Spielberg and company do deliver.
In any case, I
wasn't surprised that the story for J3 was pretty weak. At this
point, the filmmakers know everyone just wants to see dinosaurs (especially
new ones). But we also want to see dinosaurs eating people, and here
J3 did NOT deliver. We only get to see three people get their genetically-engineered
The other major
problem with J3 was that, other than Sam Neill, there were no
characters to really care about. The only way to create tension (and
keep people from all-out rooting for the dinosaurs) is to have some
affable characters with a stake in the audience's emotions. I sat there
wishing everyone but Sam would get eaten, and was very disappointed
by how many characters survived.
The lame para-sailing
opener would be the first thing to go. Not only was it preposterous,
but it only put two characters on the island to rescue (really only
one, but whatever).
A better way to
go about this would be to have lured Dr. Grant into guiding a boat to
the island, with no intentions of docking. He is there with a whole
boatload of potential victims, thinking that it isn't too far beneath
his principles to get some grant money for playing tour captain. You
can make it a coerced mission if you must, but the point is now you
have more people in peril, and you can lose the whole stupid "Dino-Soar"
Since none of the
filmmakers were at all concerned about the hows and whys of people being
on Dino-Island, it doesn't matter if this version is better or not.
The good thing is, you can kill off lots of peripheral characters in
a couple of nice sequences early on, and then develop the survivors.
Another thing that
bugged me was that everyone seemed to have super-sensitive hearing.
How many times did a character need to say "listen, you hear that?"?
I didn't hear a damn thing, and it was making me crazy. It was good
once (with the phone), but after that, let the audience hear it first,
and then the characters can simply discover it.
III clocked in at 90 minutes. So I felt a little ripped off. Another
30 minutes could easily be packed into this movie. Give the characters
more to do, more dinosaurs to evade, and a bigger discovery than "Raptors
talk to each other". The novel "Lost World" had a number of interesting
scientific themes that were ignored for that movie. Why ignore them
for this movie, too?
The movie was so
rushed that my head was spinning when the troops suddenly appeared to
save the day. The fact that they were there at all was unnerving, since
the mayday message was so brief and incoherent. It again seemed unrealistic
that any kind of response would be possible, let alone one of this magnitude
(tons of marines, ships, helicopters... bah, too much).
The movie didn't
resolve anything other than the "rescue", which was such a foregone
conclusion it was boring. Eight weeks alone on the island was way too
long for one boy to survive. Everyone else could barely last eight hours.
With my boat accident version, you don't have to suspend as much disbelief.
We're talking about dinosaurs running around. Isn't that suspension
pushed pretty far already?