Dinos losing their bite

I never saw the second Jurassic Park, but should it matter? Ordinarily, I am quite mindful of watching things in order. But the Jurassic Park movies are just the sort of thing that are going to be self-contained enough to see on their own.

So, yes, this is the sort of "blockbuster" movie that's intended to have wide appeal and have a happy ending in order to rake in the big bucks.

Of course, they finagle a way to get people back into danger with dinosaurs - namely by means of a young vacationer's hang gliding mishap near the island - only this is actually the second island, not the first (which must have been the main thrust of JP2) - and this guy's parents (William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) lure and manipulate several people, including Dr. Grant (Sam Neil) from the first movie, to help rescue their son.

With a budget this size you can put enough talented people in a room to make sure the script is going to be witty and creative, and certainly the third Jurassic Park is. And of course you're going to hit the same themes that enabled this to be a franchise to begin with - tampering with nature, running away from dinosaurs, the constant threat of whatever's going to happen next.

But the themes are tired - there's not even much effort on the tampering-with-nature thread. The formula has been worn through. Sure you have well-produced decent escapist entertainment here, which is what they tell us the summer audiences want, but there's not much new about what we're seeing. While the details may be creative, we know in our minds that it's the same thing we've seen already. We know ahead of time who is going to die and who is going to live - going so far as putting spoilers in this review would be to risk seeming redundant.

One thing I can't decide about is the speculative science shown in the film. The script is too tight for us to mistake it for setting - while it is imaginative for the writers to come up with some of these things, it feels manipulative because we know every time it's just setup for something we're going to see later on. On the one hand, it's almost to be expected - that's the form this kind of movie is supposed to take. But on the other hand, it's so transparent I'd beg them to save the ideas for a better movie.

The good things? Let's see - dinosaurs, camera movement, almost anything related to what we see and hear, really. The actors are all fairly good at their job, but a movie like this almost doesn't have time for acting.

Really, all we have is generic thrills for an hour and half. Nothing special, but I'll forgive you for indulging in it once - you'll probably not feel the need for a second time.

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