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"Jurassic Park III"

Directed by Joe Johnston.
Written by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. 
Starring Sam Neill, William H. Macy and Téa Leoni.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  7/22/01 


Furthering the trend of "When are the good movies coming out?", sequelitis hits again this weekend with "Jurassic Park III."

Did you see "Jurassic Park II"?  What a piece of shit!  Save for one of the funniest scenes in movies in years--where lots of Asian-American citizens are running down a street from a giant dinosaur, a great rip on "Godzilla" movies--Jeff Goldblum and Vince Vaughn looked lost as they tried to find the large bag of money they took making that sequel.

And, who sells out this time?  Sam Neill AND Laura Dern, the stars of the first movie!  How badly did Neill need a paycheck to even read the script for a third dinosaur film?  I thought this guy was an actor; shit, this guy is Merlin, remember???

So, with that in mind, you come into "JP3" with low expectations, and the film delivers on some middle-of-the-road thrills.  Its plot, however, blows.  It will also be noted that for the second time in three weeks, I have seen a film that features only one black character, and that character is killed swiftly and without remorse.  Ahh, tokenism.  Anyway, the plot.  Neill's Dr. Grant is hanging out at home, speaking about dinosaurs and writing books, in the aftermath of his experiences from the first "Jurassic Park" on Isla Nublar.  A wealthy, mysterious investor and his wife (William H. Macy--who I respected before he made this film--and Tea Leoni) enlist an unwilling Dr. Grant to show them around an island right next to Isla Nublar for big money...and promise Dr. Grant that they just want to do a fly-by.

Of course, this is a lie.  So, Grant and a few other unlucky souls get stuck on the new dino island and try and figure out a way back to civilization with no weapons and below-average foot speed.  Needless to say, most of the name actors make it off the island alive; all of the extras don't.  (If you think I just "ruined" the ending, you need to see more movies!!)

And, while the plot does suck, the special effects and Dr. Grant's quick wits save the film.  The dino-chase sequences are well-done once again, and even though you know who is going to "get what's coming to them", that doesn't mean you can't enjoy watching Leoni and Macy running from dinosaurs.  It does feature an ending that feels tacked on, as if the production ran out of money (strange, given that the first two movies made about five zillion dollars), but at least the film is short, about 90 minutes long.

Will Hollywood release a good movie this summer?  If "Memento"--it has been out now for FOUR MONTHS; movies don't last four weeks anymore, folks--doesn't get at least nominated for Best Picture in this weak field of films, I will never watch another movie again.  You heard it right here.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09