Paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) vowed never to return to the now-quarantined Jurassic Park–until that is he’s hired by a wealthy thrill-seeking couple Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) as a tour guide for their flyover above Isla Sorna. But the Kirbys aren’t really wealthy aren’t married anymore and don’t intend to just visit–what they didn’t tell Grant is that they plan to actually land on the island to search for their son Eric who disappeared there two months earlier on a parasailing trip with Amanda’s reckless boyfriend. Grant his hunky protégé Billy (Alessandro Nivola) the Kirbys and their pilots soon find themselves running for cover from the highly intelligent raptors sharp-toothed T. Rexes and the biggest and most vicious dino of them all the Spinosaurus (new with this sequel)–while managing to find Eric (Trevor Morgan) along the way.
Neill who (perhaps for best) wasn’t part of The Lost World: Jurassic Park wears his familiar role from the first movie as well as he wears his broken-in hat. Wise and world-weary he’s the quintessential scientist-cum-adventurer who finds dinos fascinating and humans exasperating. Macy‘s ever the hapless regular Joe caught up in events he can’t control. Apparently the annoying Leoni‘s main assignment as halfwit Amanda was to scream and thrash about as much as possible at the most inopportune times (you may find yourself rooting for her to wind up between a dino’s jaws). It’s the kid however who turns in a particularly nice performance as the fearless accidental castaway who’s the reason they’re all stuck there in the first place. Watch for Jurassic Park vet Laura Dern making a crucial cameo.
Hold onto your hats you’re in for a wild ride! Jurassic Park III boogies clocking in at a whirlwind 92 minutes and the action is nonstop. Reminiscent of Spielberg’s first dino flick rather than its sequel (although it’s nearly impossible to recapture the jaw-dropping effect of first seeing the dinosaurs back in ’93) this latest sequel tosses off some pretty amazing moments of its own–witness the flying Pterodons who mount their attack from the air and the scene in which our human friends get caught up in a stampede of panicked herbivores. This film’s lack of over-the-top gore is a pleasant surprise. More emphasis on the thrill of the chase than on the potentially gruesome end result makes for a scarier movie. Some irritating moments do occur (mostly between Paul and Amanda who seem to forget they’re stuck possibly for good on an island where the wild things are).