There's only so much you can do with a second sequel. Especially one in which you've got one remaining original character, no best-selling book to adapt, no Spielberg to direct, and no John Williams score. Well, okay, so you keep the best bits of the old John Williams score, but see what I mean. The amazing thing is, in spite of all that could've gone wrong, I liked Jurassic Park III.

Joe Johnston has directed one hell of a movie. Now, don't jump to conclusions. This is no candidate for Best Picture. This movie will not likely win awards for anything but special effects. But this movie, ladies and gentlemen, is a good old-fashioned summer blockbuster, the likes of which haven't been seen since Raiders of the Lost Ark or, yes, the original Jurassic Park.

I noticed several things about this film that piqued my interest right off the bat. One: the rousing score by Don Davis (whom you may remember from The Matrix or the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation). At first listen, the music seemed to be classic John Williams updating his original Jurassic Park theme with a deliciously Star Wars-ish quality. That is to say, the music both jumps out at you and grabs your attention, and at the same time directs your focus to the events onscreen. Davis does a superb job of mixing familiar elements of the original score with wonderful new elements of his own.

The second thing I noticed was that director Joe Johnston somehow manages the impossible task of giving us a whiz-bang bucketfull of character development at the beginning without slowing anything down. We meet our new cast of characters, understand them almost instantly, and are quickly whisked away on the adventure without wasting any time. While Spielberg tends to dwell on the more touchy-feely elements, Johnston seems to understand quite well that this is a movie, for crying out loud, and we want to be entertained.

The third thing I noticed was the writing. Again, this movie will certainly not win an Academy Award, but where Jurassic Park was chock full of pretentious foreshadowing and goofy transparent plot development, and where The Lost World was full of rehashed half-baked crap, Jurassic Park III succeeds in being a simple story. No time is wasted on stupid lines -- every line in this movie means something and goes somewhere and gets the job done.

What about the dinosaurs, you ask? Oh, they're wonderful. You'd think that, by the third movie, we'd have lost the sense of wonder that Spielberg seemed to keep trying to shove down our throats. It was obvious that Spielberg loved dinosaurs as a kid, and that's great, a lot of us did, but it almost seemed as if the humans were only there as an excuse to fill the screen with prehistoric creatures.

Johnston doesn't succumb to the same folly. We have finished being amazed by dinosaurs, and now we understand that most of them have huge claws and sharp teeth and would like nothing more than to impale people with one or the other or both. He uses this to great effect; the action sequences here are well-thought out, well-directed, and spine-tinglingly good.

I honestly cannot think of a single thing about this movie that disappointed me, which is more than I can say for any other new movie I've seen in the last few months.


Wow. I wasn't aware opinions could now be deemed "right" and "wrong". I oh-so-humbly apologize for having such a terribly wrong opinion, kind sir, and thank you for pointing out the inexcusable error of my ways. It will not happen again, I assure you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby retract the above review because, as tandex was so kind to point out, I was completely and utterly wrong. I can't imagine what came over me.