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Jurassic Park III

Return to dino island, where the inhabitants are bigger, badder and smarter than ever.


Paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) vowed never to return to the now-quarantined Jurassic Park--until, that is, he's hired by a wealthy, thrill-seeking couple, Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni), as a tour guide for their flyover above Isla Sorna. But the Kirbys aren't really wealthy, aren't married anymore and don't intend to just visit--what they didn't tell Grant is that they plan to actually land on the island to search for their son, Eric, who disappeared there two months earlier on a parasailing trip with Amanda's reckless boyfriend. Grant, his hunky protégé Billy (Alessandro Nivola), the Kirbys and their pilots soon find themselves running for cover from the highly intelligent raptors, sharp-toothed T. Rexes, and the biggest and most vicious dino of them all, the Spinosaurus (new with this sequel)--while managing to find Eric (Trevor Morgan) along the way.


Neill, who (perhaps for best) wasn't part of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, wears his familiar role from the first movie as well as he wears his broken-in hat. Wise and world-weary, he's the quintessential scientist-cum-adventurer who finds dinos fascinating and humans exasperating. Macy's ever the hapless regular Joe caught up in events he can't control. Apparently, the annoying Leoni's main assignment as halfwit Amanda was to scream and thrash about as much as possible at the most inopportune times (you may find yourself rooting for her to wind up between a dino's jaws). It's the kid, however, who turns in a particularly nice performance as the fearless accidental castaway who's the reason they're all stuck there in the first place. Watch for Jurassic Park vet Laura Dern making a crucial cameo.


Hold onto your hats, you're in for a wild ride! Jurassic Park III boogies, clocking in at a whirlwind 92 minutes, and the action is nonstop. Reminiscent of Spielberg's first dino flick rather than its sequel (although it's nearly impossible to recapture the jaw-dropping effect of first seeing the dinosaurs back in '93), this latest sequel tosses off some pretty amazing moments of its own--witness the flying Pterodons, who mount their attack from the air, and the scene in which our human friends get caught up in a stampede of panicked herbivores. This film's lack of over-the-top gore is a pleasant surprise. More emphasis on the thrill of the chase than on the potentially gruesome end result makes for a scarier movie. Some irritating moments do occur (mostly between Paul and Amanda, who seem to forget they're stuck, possibly for good, on an island where the wild things are).

Bottom Line

Predictability notwithstanding, JPIII is rousing, popcorn-munching fun that makes perfect summertime fare.