Evolve or Die: Jurassic Park 3

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Dr. Grant: With the best intentions? Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.

In Steven Spielberg’s seminal 1993 blockbuster, Jurassic Park, it was established that Raptors where clever. They could open doors, fall off of ladders, run into reflective surfaces and hack into Unix systems to access the full 3D schematics of the compound (that last bit may not be true). However in The Lost World, Raptors where stupid. They confused backpacks for people, watched in awe as Ian Malcolm ran around and performed skits like a meth-addled Buster Keaton, and stood back to admire Malcolm’s daughter gymkata one of them to death (while basically holding up scores out of 10). However in Jurassic Park 3 things were set to change. The Raptors where smart, really smart. They could hide in jars, lay traps and very much like a lizard Russell Brand, they could smell eggs from a mile away.

The Raptors weren’t the only thing that changed. The T-Rex was now playing second fiddle to dinosaur that is half boat/half lizard – the Spinosaurus. This was a sad sight. While the Spinosaurus was impressive and very well rendered, the sight of T-Rex being put in the drawer was a sad one. It felt like William H. Macy in Boogie Nights having to watch a load of people enjoying his wife while he stands of the periphery looking sombre, except that rather than shooting his wife and then himself, the T-Rex is murdered by the Spinosaurus early on via a gratuitous neck break (one of two in the film, oddly) that feels both unnecessary and a bit silly.

Talking of William H. Macy, we have the cast in this film. Sam Neill aside (who is probably the highlight) no one else feels like they should really be here, in fact it feels like some sort of filmic version of “Wifeswap“. Somewhere a competent cast of dynamic actors are making a film about some missing cheese. Tia Leone plays Mrs Kirby like a Manson family member. Strange, disconnected and generally brainwashed into being weird. She seems to be acting with a distracted lilt, like she has Patty Hearst in a wardrobe or is hiding a small device in her bra. William H. Macy plays Mr Kirby and doesn’t fare much better. He ambles his way through as only he can. He’s a nice guy and is perfectly believable as a man that runs a plumbing store, but the more action related scenes later on feel like an odd fit for Macy.

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There were also rumours at the time that Macy didn’t like being in the film. While he denied it afterwards, if you watch the making of film, he seems very unhappy about the time it took to shoot the plane sequence. Alessandro Nivola plays Alan Grant’s assistant and extreme parachute man (sigh) Billy. If there is a more bland performance recorded on film, I have yet to see it. It is so bland that when his life becomes in peril towards the climax, you are actually rooting for the dinosaurs and worse still, when he is revealed to be alive at the end, it makes the heart sink. Then there is the Kirby’s lost son, who has gone feral and is living off of his wits in the forest by himself by collecting T-Rex piss. Something about his demeanour and the trauma that he has been through leads the viewer to inevitably come to the conclusion that this will be a hobby that will continue long after he has left the island, poor lad.

Jurassic-Park-3-Gifs-jurassic-park-28760717-500-195A big problem with Jurassic Park 3 is that the island itself feels empty and only really populated by one (dead) T-Rex, one Spinosaurus, about four Raptors and some Pterodactyls, consequently you are not left with the same feeling of menace. You don’t get the impression that the first film gave you that another strange creature was lying in wait just around the corner. Instead we have a party of mis-cast buffoons being stalked by a giant Jason Voorhees and some Raptors who can detect ovum from miles away.

That’s not to say it is all bad. The effects (practical and CG) are outstanding as ever with the Pteranodon sequence particularly standing out. The practical work marrying with the CG is as always seamless and you can rarely tell where the CG ends and Stan Winston begins.

All in all it is a fairly forgettable film with one of the silliest endings in movie history, in which our heroes basically do an impression of a raptor via a home made raptor nose to a band of watching raptors, like some sort of jurassic X Factor. Luckily the army arrive to save the day, however they forget to blow up the island, AGAIN. Oh and talking of silly, there is a moment where Alan Grant dreams that a raptor talks to him. Presumably the dream he had about wearing a leather jacket and water skiing over a shark was left on the cutting room floor? They also steal a Simpsons joke during Alan’s lecture when he asks for a show of hands. You  know the one I mean.

Jurassic Park 3 had one of the earliest examples of a modern teaser trailer (which came with the DVD release of the first two films), with a fairly generic walk through the jungle accompanied by  familiar and warmly remembered sounds and music from the first film. This perhaps is the best summary of the film than anything I can come up with. Good job, trailer.

 

Originally posted 2014-05-20 14:12:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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