before we get into the eggheadstuff like story and character, let's cut to the question you really want to ask. How cool are the dinosaurs? Well, they're pretty impressive. They're now designed with textures and patterns that make their skin look leathery and real, not plastic. They also come in more varieties than ever before.
In addition to Jurassic stalwarts like T-Rex and the Velociraptors, we meet the beady-eyed Spinosaurus, which duels with a T-Rex in the film's most fun and furious sequence, and the fictitious Pteranodons, birds of prey that are more terrifying as peckish babies than as adults.
The dinosaurs may look convincing, but they aren't really characters. They have no motivation, no goals, no deep secrets. They just eat people.
The people in this film aren't really characters either. They just make stupid decisions and run for their lives.
Sam Neill returns from the original Jurassic Park as paleontologist Alan Grant, who's been conned into taking a divorced couple (William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) back to the dreaded island to look for their lost son. Along for the ride is Alessandro Nivola (Mansfield Park) as Grant's cocky protégé.
Before you can say "Look behind you, morons!," the gang are chased so long and hard, I asked my companion to wake me up when somebody dies already.
Macy and Leoni try valiantly to sass up their sappy roles, and Neill is dependably heroic -- kind of like Indiana Jones's elder brother -- but they're basically stuck on an island with nothing to do except run around for 90 minutes.
Can't blame them for looking a bit tired.
JURASSIC PARK III directed by Joe Johnston, written by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Larry Franco, with Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Téa Leoni and Alessandro Nivola. 87 minutes. A Universal Pictures film. For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 64. Rating: NN