I watched the trailer for the new Jurassic Park film recently and felt the need to relive the older films back-to-back on DVD. I normally write longer reviews, going more into detail (which mostly springs from my inability to “switch off” when watching a film); this time, though, I thought I’d try a little something different.
I set aside five minutes (max) for each of the three films to write whatever came into my head. I may have gone over by a few seconds each time (I’m not perfect), but generally stuck to my target.
Be it that these are stream-of-consciousness writings, the structure is not of great concern. Editing was also kept to an absolute minimum (correcting misspellings/factual errors, such as actors/dinosaurs names).
Jurassic Park (1993)
People get eaten; people die; the dinosaurs look mean as fuck. The action set pieces are well crafted – the scene in the kitchen involving the kids getting stalked by raptors is a real heart-pounder – and the special effects combine CGI with animatronics and look better than much of the stuff put out today. There’s plenty of suspense and one-line quotables (“Hang onto your butts” – says Samuel L Jackson, in one of his earlier, smaller roles); and the human characters get the right amount of development that they seem interesting for all their pros and cons. Jeff Goldblum is the coolest scientist going (despite being a womaniser); Sam Neil seems fascinated yet terrified at the same time; Richard Attenborough obviously admires nature, but is more a Capitalist trying to play God; and Bob Peck as Muldoon likes to think he’s an expert on genetically-modified raptors, but even he ends up getting eaten alive.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Growing up, I used to think this was better than the first one. I’ve since changed my mind. It’s good for the following reasons: Jeff Goldblum returning, the awesome T-Rex tag-team against the humans on the edge of a cliff; the animal rights vs hunter angle; and PETE FUCKING POSTLEHWAITE. Julia Ann’s good, too; and the CGI has improved (obviously with the help of a bigger budget). The film’s not as scary as the first; and things go too far in the final third with the Godzilla-esque “T-Rex causing mayhem in the city” scenes. Don’t expect much from the plot, either (this is just an excuse to throw a load of humans back into the mix again). But, other than that, this is a pretty solid follow up.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Is this trying to be a b-movie on purpose? It definitely looks like a b-movie, and it’s easy to see why fans were divided at the time of its release. I enjoyed this more the second time around ’cause I knew what I was expecting in terms of visuals. It doesn’t look great – the CGI is the worst its been in the series – but the film does have a certain charm. The plane crash/dinosaur feeding scene at the beginning is hilarious; and it’s good to see Sam Neil back reprising his role. Tea Leoni is incredibly annoying; as is her on-screen ex (I don’t remember his name). There’s a theory about raptors being more intelligent than humans first thought, which is pretty interesting; and the best action scene comes with the introduction of the Pteranodon (a flying reptile – NOT a dinosaur). Seriously, seeing the Pteranodon emerge from the smog and attack the humans on its own patch was the best part of this movie. The final action scene with the (now-swimming) Spinosaurus is also great. Not a lot of room for character development; much of the dialogue is annoying; and the plot is the same as in the others. Not a bad film, though.