Diminishing returns often befall a film series that really had nothing new to offer past its initial installment. Jurassic Park is unfortunately such a series. The original Jurassic Park was a cultural phenomenon, creating an excellent monster/survival movie to go along with its groundbreaking special effects. The Lost World: Jurassic Park was a letdown as it didn’t bring much of anything new to the table besides a bigger helping of the Goldblum (which was appreciated but the movie around him wasn’t much to write home about) and what was new was ridiculously silly (the San Diego sequence that served as the climax). This brings us to the threequel, Jurassic Park III. I remembered liking this movie when I saw it in the theater, as I was nine years old and seeing dinosaurs on the big screen was amazing in any context (see: Disney’s Dinosaur), but looking at it now it’s by far one of the worst sequels I have ever seen and a major downgrade from even The Lost World, itself a major downgrade.
The film reunites Doctor Grant (Sam Neill) with the dinosaurs who he has been so outspoken against their existence ever since the events of the first film. He is tricked into going to Site B through even more ridiculous circumstances than Jeff Goldblum’s character in The Lost World. The circumstances here being a husband and wife (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) want a planed tour through the second island with him as a guide. This is a ruse, however, as the couple’s true motivation is to find their son who has been stranded on the island since the film’s opening scene. In the meantime, they spend most of the movie on the run from poorly realized dinosaurs (the special effects in this film are worse than the original), including the Spinosaurus, a dinosaur who inexplicably did not exist in the last film even though it takes place on the same island.
Jurassic Park III doesn’t fall into the trap of The Last Crusade syndrome that I talked about when I reviewed the recent Riddick film. The Last Crusade syndrome being the efforts on the parts of filmmakers to make a third installment of a film series echo the tone of an original after a poorly received second installment (like how people felt Temple of Doom was too dark, or Ocean’s Twelve was too European). Here, what we have is a retread of a retread, a lazily put together film to still capitalize on the brand name. With the announcement of a fourth installment, Jurassic World, that suggest a different direction will be taken, let us hope that the powers that be look at this film and use it as an example of what not to do at every turn.
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