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Jurassic Park III

Move over Godzilla

By Cesar L. Espitia

Directed by Joe Johnston

Written by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor

Based on characters by Michael Crichton

Starring: Sam Neill, William Macy, TÉa Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, and

Trevor Morgan

Rated PG-13

Nothing has ever compared to what Steven Spielberg first introduced to us nearly a decade ago. But much has changed since the first Jurassic Park, and for the third installment, Spielberg took the back seat and allowed Joe Johnston to do the driving and to give the public a spectacular movie. The dinosaurs received major face-lifts, and new species were introduced. The latest film is full of action, suspenseful scenes, a darker mood, and lacks the thought-provoking questions that pervaded the first two movies. Jurassic Park III is packed with fast-paced, nonstop action and is worthy of another Universal Studios park ride.

The film opens with Eric (Trevor Morgan) parasailing with his father and becoming stranded on the dangerous dinosaur habitat of Isla Sorna. Paul and Amanda Kirby (played by William H. Macy and TÉa Leoni) deceive Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) into entering Isla Sorna to save Eric. From here the movie is pretty much a nonstop ride of CGI beasts.

Though sequels usually don’t fare too well, this one holds up pretty well. Joe Johnston steps into Spielberg’s shoes and fills them nicely. Johnston, who directed Jumanji and Honey I Shrunk the Kids and was art director of the original Star Wars trilogy, was certainly prepared for Jurassic Park III. He knew exactly where and when dinosaurs should pop out and what he wanted from both dinosaurs and actors. Jurassic Park III has plenty of action, and no dopey sidekicks or overdrawn amounts of humor.

In this movie we get the classic panoramic shots of the dinosaurs grazing in their habitat and the suspenseful scenes where the humans and predators run side by side. In one of the best fight scenes (one that can compete with Star Wars’s light-saber scenes), we get treated to a T-rex vs. Spinosaurus match. Even Barney the Dinosaur, though very much hated by teenagers, makes an appearance that gives a good dose of humor to the movie at its pinnacle.

Although the dinosaurs look as good as technology can make them, a few aspects fail in the movie. The coloring of some of the dinosaurs was awkward, especially the ones whose skin resembled army camouflage. Also at times, the raptors looked too much like chickens running amok, instead of the fierce creatures we saw in the first two films. This is quite depressing because they are often on screen.

In addition to the old favorites, like the T-rex and the raptors, we get a glimpse of the new Spinosaurus, which looks good, except for the Subway sandwich-looking mouth. There are also plenty of Pterodactyls, which look awesome and convey fear instantly.

In addition to the massive software upgrades to create the dinosaurs, the movie gets a dose of new faces like TÉa Leoni, who does an excellent job as Eric’s exasperated mother. William H. Macy brings small chuckles to the screen by portraying Paul Kirby as a small weakling, who doesn’t do much but sell fixtures for restrooms. As Dr. Grant, Sam Neill hashes out his famous one-liners, such as “We shouldn’t be playing God.” Overall, all the actors do an excellent job of fearing the terrorizing dinosaurs. If you’re looking for some action with real people, real dinosaurs, and real action, and not some tear-jerker, comedy, or bogus action flick, then Jurassic Park III is worthy of the box-office price.