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Movie Reviews

Jurassic Park II  

Sam Neill, Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Alessandro Nivola, Laura Dern
Directed by Joe Johnstone

Trailers: Official trailer | Teaser
Official Website: www.jurassicpark.com
The Z Review Preview Page

Basic Plot: A couple entice Alan Grant back to the island to help rescue their son.


Jurassic Park 3 opens with the Universal logo that ends with a water ripple effect mimicking a scene from the first movie. A great touch and the first of many enjoyable features that this film has to offer. This time round the filmmakers haved spared us the scientific aspects/ facts behind the process of creating the dinosaurs that both the first film and The Lost World heavily featured. Sure there is a little of that here, but Jurassic Park 3 focusses on set piece action almost from the start.

It is great to see Sam Neill back as paleontologist Alan Grant. Here he's joined by a superb cast. We've got Tea Leoni (Bad Boys), the excellent (as always) William H. Macy, one of my current favourite actors Alessandro Nivola (Face/ Off, Best Laid Plans) and even a short appearance from Laura Dern who also reprises her role (Ellie) from the first film. Finally in the role of Eric, the boy lost on the island, is fourteen year old Trevor Morgan who we've seen briefly in The Sixth Sense and The Patriot. This film is more character driven than the first two and even the dinosaurs themselves develop personalities. The Kirby's (Macy and Leoni) are on the island for a reason, their son is missing and with the US Embassy and Costa Rican authorities refusing to help. So they are their sons final hope and out of desperation go themselves coaxing Grant into helping them too. All actors give great performances, Macy again standing out as he always does.

Onto the other stars of the film, the dinosaurs themselves. Well, here we have a couple making their debut. The Spinosaurus who is the real star of the picture taking over from those Raptors and the Pterodactils, you know those flying 'saurs that we caught a glimpse of in the second film. Here, they too have a larger role as our heroes stumble upon a 'birdcage' full of them and their offspring. The effects in the movie are without doubt better than anything i've seen before. The technology has developed so much since 1993 when we were first treated to Jurassic Park. The only thing that I will say, and this is really just picking holes, is the first scene where Eric and his friend are paragliding, you can tell that they have been super-imposed and with the outstanding CGI moments elsewhere in the film, you would have thought they could have cleaned that minor effect a little better.

To end, and to summarise a little, Jurassic Park 3 is a true popcorn movie and achieves what it set out to do. It easily out does The Lost World when is comes to entertainment factor and equals the original. Johnstone brings a slightly darker edge to the series, but in terms of edge of your seat frights and subtle comedy moments, he equals the two films that Spielberg brought us. I may go even as far as to say that he has delivered a better movie. I may say that, but at the moment i'm still making up my mind.

Paul Heath

Editor, The Z Review

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