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:: Jurassic Park 3

Dinosaurs have fascinated humans since they completed their first grade school project about them. They represent a world where humans are not at the top of the nature chain, a world where many bullets will not stop a giant carnivorous Spinosaurus. The Spinosaurus was a larger and more ferocious dinosaur than the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but lesser known because they weren’t as common. While the difference is corrected via dialogue the educational component of Jurassic Park 3 may be lost. The Spinosaurus has a back fin like sail and the jaw of a crocodile, but the few shots showing its distinction will be missed as the audience watches the wave of destruction the mighty beast leaves. It’s a shame because the 44-foot model took the animation team over 10 months to build.

Working closely with paleontologist Jack Horner the puppeteering team made an attempt to make the dinosaurs as realistic as possible. New scientific information about Velocirapters made them look different from how they were originally represented in the first two Jurassic movies. Given the loyalty to realism, it seems strange that a fictional species such as the Pteranodon, was created. The flying reptile places its shadow over Jurassic 3 promotional posters and is they escapee at the end, able to fly to other movie storylines, although I doubt the simplicity in another Jurassic. Pteranodons are like the Pterosaur, and are not the Pterodactyl. They appear to be a recognisable dinosaur, but it is unclear why it was made up and how different it is from the real species. The creature may be a reflection of an original idea of the flying dinosaur now also updated, that needed inclusion because of the characteristic and storyline possibilities of a talon wielding mother with hard to reach nest. Like the updated Velocirapters, the third instalment points to the discovery of new information about dinosaurs, with a lecture and demonstration about a communication system between dinosaurs. While dinosaurs are believed to have small brains it is unrealistic to think that they did not talk to each other, but it holds for the duration of the story.

Jurassic Park presented the idea of a theme park zoo of genetically made dinosaurs, a reproduced species that overpowered manmade fences and reclaimed the pecking order. It was reiterated for the second movie, this time the movie sees a third dinosaur island Isla Sorna represent a self-contained sanctuary where human life must be removed. Common to a Jurassic genre is the attack of the carnivorous, and the safety of the herbivorous, a stampede of grazing dinosaurs and the safety of the original cast.

Most audience would already have seen a Jurassic film; therefore those will not be impressed with the concept. This is an audience looking for special effects, and wondering where the story is going this time. It is also a story that Spielberg decided to sit back in the executive producers chair and leave the direction to Joe Johnston. While he had asked to direct the sequel, his experience as visual effects designer for four Spielberg films only paid due for the third installment. On a movie that required such special effects, Johnston’s grounding as visual effects designer included work with George Lucas on the Star Wars Trilogy and work as director on Jumanji and others. Spielberg along with the other producers Kathleen Kennedy and Larry Franco gave Johnston Sam Neil as Dr. Alan Grant, and Laura Dern as paleobotanist Ellie Sattler on maternity leave. Of the original cast Neil and Dern’s familiarity signalled a return to Jurassic Park as strength. This may also be seen by the simplicity of the title.

Tea Leoni stars as the mother who along with her divorced husband travels to the island to find her son who was lost there on a para-sailing accident. While she screams at the initial siting of a skeleton, she is made to be a gutsy mother, if inappropriately dressed. The blond actress acted a number of the stunts herself. Her audience may be men, and male reviewers as production notes wink a quote by actor Macy “. The good news was that almost all of us ended up on top of Tea Leoni”, but she’s not unlikable. Her character is meant to mirror the dinosaur mothers whom we understand as attacking only to feed or protect their young.

William H. Macy’s (Fargo) portrayal of the average small business owner this time of a bathroom fitting shop in a suburban mall, is amusing. A superhero this time is 14-year-old Eric played by Trevor Morgan (The Patriot). Parasailing in treacherous waters, he survives two months alone on the dinosaur island living in an upside-down jeep in the middle of a swamp. He is well read and brave surviving many giant beak pecks from the Pteranodons. If parents can bear to take their kids to another Jurassic movie he will be a hit. Look out for continuity scars, mobile phones and the American Dorothy the dinosaur.

Screening on general release including the Classic Cinemas