Every other week Jack Reda, The Script Doctor, tells the powers that be in Hollywood why they should listen to him. You decide if he's right.

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 comeuppance. Sad.

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" concept.

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.

Jurassic Park 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?

Jack Reda


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