Scott Hardie | August 1, 2001
saw JP3 tonight with Kelly's parents, after much hard work to convince Mr. Lee to go. The movie was so-so, but the experience was awful.

What is it with Jurassic Park movies? I had one of my worst theater experiences ever with The Lost World, when two teenagers a few rows forward talked loudly through the entire feature, cheering at certain parts and making asses of themselves. They stood up, cheered, and applauded when the Ingen executive got eaten in the ship's hull near the end. What the fuck? So tonight I saw the sequel, and there are not only rowdy teens a few rows over, but two little boys a few rows back who wouldn't shut the fuck up. Their father kept shushing them, but they just keep prattling on. To top that, the theater's speakers kept loudly scratching from the pre-movie slide show to the closing credits, and for a ten-minute stretch in the middle, the movie's color palette kept changing, so that the picture rapidly switched from red tint to blue tint to green tint, et cetera.

Despite all of that annoying nonsense, the movie itself wasn't bad. After seeing the wonderful A.I. a few weeks ago, I found myself missing Spielberg's touch in this movie. Even if you don't like his humanistic overtones, you can probably admit that the man knows how to pace an effective action/thriller sequence. His successor, Joe Johnston, tried and failed. The opening action scene, as the airplane crashed on the island and was attacked by the spinosaurus, was particularly poorly executed. There was a nice sequence with pterodactyls in the middle of the film, however. It was also amusing to hear the characters making fun of their predecessors from the first two movies.

The biggest disappointment to me was not the replacement of the absent t-rex with the bigger but less scary spinosaurus, which was only cosmetic but, imo, robbed the movie of a familiar villain. Instead, I was most saddened by the new intelligence of the velociraptors. The raptors in the first two JP movies were a little bit intelligent, demonstrating an ability to open a doorknob for instance. But these raptors were able to communicate with each other, and even with the humans! It was a huge let-down to have the final man vs. dinosaur showdown be won when man figured out how to reason with the dinosaurs. When the dinos became smart enough to bargain with the humans for valued items, to set traps, to function as a fairly complex team, they lost all of the primal essence that made them so terrifying in the first place. Now, instead of surviving them, the heroes must merely outsmart them. Yawn.

Anyway, while Kelly thought it sucked (and was basing her opinion on the relative quality of a ten-year-old novel that almost everybody realizes has nothing to do with this movie), I mostly enjoyed it. It could have been vastly better if a more talented director was involved, but hey, you could do worse for two hours' entertainment.

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