After the travesty that was the Lost World, the world decided that there must be a better Jurassic Park sequel. And they got one. Joe Johnston takes over the director’s chair and Sam Neill returns as Dr. Alan Grant. Dr. Grant is duped into a rescue mission to save a divorced couple’s son, Eric.
Sam Neill’s presence in the film reawakens feelings of nostalgia from the first film. Once again the dinosaurs are magical, majestic creatures. There is a sense of wonder. There is a scene in which Dr. Grant and young Billy see dinosaurs grazing by the river; it is very reminiscent of the iconic Brachiosaurus scene in the original.
The ethical issues raised by the first film come up at various times throughout the movie. The group discovers an InGen lab with dinosaurs at various stages of development. “Is this how you create dinosaurs?” asks Tea Leoni. Dr. Grant replies, “No, this is how you play God.”
The running length is only 94 minutes, so it is a much faster film. It is an action film. There are a few new cool dinosaurs like the Spinosaurus and the flying Pteranodons. The CG takes a step backwards, and some of the sequences feel rushed, but the story is much improved and the characters are much more relatable. This is not nearly as good as the original, but it feels more like a proper sequel than the shitty second installment.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Steven Spielberg has directed or produced some of the most iconic and influential films of the last half century: Jaws, Back to the Future, E.T., The Indiana Jones Trilogy, Hook, The Goonies, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List…. All great films, but Jurassic Park is his masterpiece.
Every five to ten years a movie comes along that changes everything. It blends genres, it appeals to all ages, critics love it, audiences love it and above all else it makes movies fun again. Not just fun, magical, something that you watch and absorb and want to share and so you take your friends, your mom, your crush and you drag them out to sit in the dark and experience this event. Jurassic Park is the film that showed that computers could create realistic creatures, that showed virtually anything a director envisioned could be put on screen.
There are so many timeless moments in this movie. Dr. Grant pointing up at the Brachiosaurus and exclaiming, “It’s a dinosaur!” It was a dinosaur. I still think it’s a dinosaur. The music swells up and time stops, that sequence is stuck in your head forever. You don’t even have to have seen Jurassic Park and you know that scene. It is a staple of modern cinema; it symbolizes the transition to modern CG. There are many other great sequences, namely anything with the T-Rex. It doesn’t even matter that the ground in the T-Rex paddock suddenly drops fifty feet for dramatic effect. The Velociraptors were cunning and the kitchen sequence with the trapped kids freaked me out as a youngin’.
Jurassic Park brings up a lot of ethical questions. Is man justified in playing god? Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm represents chaos theory and he blatantly states the film’s themes: “life finds a way” and “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.” (“Dinosaurs eat man, woman inherits the Earth.)
The CG was groundbreaking. It still holds up today. Sure it’s not 100% there, but it serves the story and the story makes the movie. Dinosaurs were cool again. More importantly, movies were fun again.
Critically Rated at 16/17.
This is the sequel to one of the best films of all time. And it is a mediocre sequel. The magic is gone. The thrill is gone. And you are stuck there, just going through the motions, hoping that something amazing will redeem this movie, but nothing does.
The problem lies with making Dr. Malcolm Reynolds the main character. He doesn’t care about dinosaurs. He doesn’t see their grace or how majestic they are. If your protagonist doesn’t care about what is happening, the audience wont give a fuck either.
Yeah, the CG is improved and you see more dinosaurs doing more things in more shots, but the story is so mediocre that the effects have no relevance. The first movie tackles ethical issues like man playing God. This movie tackles issues like a T-Rex destroying San Diego. This became a lame Godzilla movie. This first movie was all about how dinosaurs were animals, real creatures and how they don’t belong in the modern world. This sequel is about how dinosaurs are scary monsters. T-Rex running though San Diego doesn’t have the same impact emotionally as when the T-Rex chased the Jeep in the first one.
This is a rushed, hollow sequel. It cheapens everything about the first one. If you watch the behind the scenes material, you get the sense that the filmmakers knew that they were making an inferior product. Lazy, shoddy writing, with a few decent action scenes, there’s no memorable moment that stands out in this movie. Pretty, pretty lame movie.
Critically Rated at 8/17.