Movie reviews: “Jurassic Park III”

The dinosaurs are bigger and better than ever; the story is not. That is the essential crux of all of the reviews for Universal’s Jurassic Park III, which opened Wednesday. “The sheer physical presence of these creatures is much more believable and convincing than what can be generously characterized as the film’s plot,” writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. “The story’s tired, as are the main characters,” writes Rita Kempley in the Washington Post. “But the velociraptors, the triceratops and a brood of winged pteradons are among the most marvelous effects in the history of animation.” Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News writes his review in the form of a letter to Steven Spielberg, who produced — but didn’t direct — the latest Jurassic sequel. “This is even more of a Steven Spielberg movie than the two you directed,” he writes. “In some ways, it’s a better movie than the two you directed. There are more dinosaurs, more action, and less scientific hooey trying to justify the whole thing.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times gives the movie its best review among the major critics, even though he drags his feet — or at least his fingers — doing so. “”There was nothing I disliked about it,” he writes double-negatively, “and a lot to admire in its lean, efficient storytelling. I can’t praise it for its art, but I must not neglect its craft, and on that basis, I recommend it.” Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post doesn’t agree, however, calling the sequel “so inferior even to Jurassic Park 2 that you can only hope it will be the last of its kind.” Finally, Philip Wuntch sums up in the Dallas Morning News: “Jurassic Park III directly shows us how much audiences have gained in the name of special effects. And indirectly it shows how much has been lost.”