Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World is essentially a rehash of the original. Man messes with nature. Things go wrong. People get eaten. The major difference is in the last part which is quite sophomoric and not at all fitting of Steven Spielberg.
It is four years after the horrific disaster that happened at Jurassic Park. Again, we meet the good doctor, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), no longer at the head of his company but still pulling a few strings behind the back of his son, Peter (Arliss Howard). The original base camp of operations set up by Hammond on Isla Sorna, Site B, still exists and there are living colonies of dinosaurs there. Hammond, who has gone from capitalist to naturalist, wants to observe the creatures in their natural habitat and put to rest years of speculation about the lives of the great animals.
Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is asked to come on board the team sent to scout the island where the dinosaurs live. He refuses until he learns that his girlfriend, paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) is already alone on the island. He then becomes part of a rescue mission including himself, photographer Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn), equipment specialist Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff), and his daughter Kelly Curtis (Vanessa Lee Chester) who stowed away in the back of the van.
Besides the animals who would like to have humans for din-din, Malcolm's team has to cope with Peter Hammond and Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite). Tembo's goal is to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex to prove man is the greatest hunter. Peter wants to capture the animals and bring them to the mainland to create "Jurassic Park, San Diego". Bad idea.
Spielberg and company, clearly realising they had a winning formula the last time around, don't deviate very much from it. By the time the Tyrannosaurus Rex gets to San Diego, I couldn't help but thinking I had just seen Jurassic Park again.
What is missing in this movie compared to the original is the intellectual aspect. There's no talk of chaos, no background about how the animals were bred and raised, no delving into evolution about how the animals could overcome their lysine deficiency, and no "this is Unix, I know this stuff!" Viewers are simply expected to have this knowledge, and this means more time for bone crunching effects. As a result, we have a movie that is darker and gorier than the original.
The movie is entertaining and has some interesting messages about cruelty to animals and leaving nature alone to do as it will. See it for the matinee price but don't spend the big bucks on this one.
Jurassic Park 3 is a fast-paced action film filling its short running time with adequate plot and action, but the film doesn't tread any new ground.
The first film in this series was scary and almost ground breaking. The second, Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, showed promise but the ending was so contrived that it turned into a B-movie. The third also has a hokey ending, but thankfully we're not exposed to it for long.
Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who made his appearance in the first but not the second film, returns to guide a wealthy couple Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Téa Leoni). They wish to fly over the island of Isla Sorna for some sightseeing. Unknown to Grant however, the couple have an hidden agenda of finding their son who ended up on the island where dinosaurs created by InGen still roam.
This time, Grant and his companions have to deal with vicious prehistoric creatures like the Velociraptor (which is now capable of great levels of communication), the Tyrannosaurus rex, the Spinosaurus, and the Pteranodon. This makes for some amazing scenes which are awe-inspiring, but no more so than either of the previous films. The sound is also excellent and complements the terrific effects.
As the movie winds down, it begins to resembles the Jurassic Park ride in Universal Studios. The ending is a bit of an anticlimax but it is done quickly, and, like the ride, as you head to the exit, you realise that falling through the jaws of the Tyrannosaurus wasn't really that satisfying after all.
The good thing about Jurassic Park 3 is that it does move fast and doesn't wear out its welcome. Definitely a good time killer and because of the awesome graphics, worth the matinee fare on the big screen.