The third instalment in the phenomenally lucrative franchise finds Joe Johnston ("Jumanji") taking over the directorial reins from Steven Spielberg. Otherwise, though, it's business as usual, with Alan Grant (Sam Neill) returning to assist an ill-conceived rescue attempt on Isla Sorna - the 'Lost World' that formed the setting for "Jurassic Park" 's first sequel.
Rumours of last-minute script revisions and behind-the-scenes tensions stoked fears that "JP III" would be a disaster. (Actor William H Macy publicly criticised the film at one point, asking "Who launched a $100 million ship without a rudder?") Compared to some of this summer's blockbusters however, this is better than average, its only real weakness being how little it adds to the tried and tested formula.
New beasties include the massive Spinosaurus, which at one point goes head to head with the Tyrannosaurus rex in a scrap Ray Harryhausen would be proud of, and the swooping Pteranodons, which provide several of the film's most hair-raising moments. They're certainly more than a match for Macy and his ex-wife Amanda Kirby (played by Téa Leoni), whose attempt to rescue their 14-year-old son - stranded on the island after a paragliding accident - goes pear-shaped the moment their plane goes down.
Movies of this type often depend on plot contrivance, but it's still hard to swallow grown adults behaving as stupidly as they do here. From repeatedly using a loud-hailer to taking eggs from a Velociraptor nest, the characters make one blunder after another, unwittingly disproving Darwin's theory of natural selection in the process. Small wonder, then, you find yourself rooting for the dinos.
Visit the picture gallery, watch a set report, and find out more at our "Jurassic Park III" mini-site.
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