Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Dinosaur Hell the Jurassic Park Series

Although box office spectacles, summer extravaganzas and leaps in special effects Jurassic Park was fairly unrealised compared to Michael Crichton novels. The three films in total grossed a whopping $1,902,110,926, that’s a lot of dino-dough. Here are some thoughts on the franchise so far...

In 1993 after queueing forever I watched the much hyped film and left the cinema unfulfilled, I still feel the same way. The effects still hold up well, although the seams between C.G.I, animatronics and puppets are even more apparent it was a mile stone.

Jurassic ParkAlthough Michael Crichton's book wasn't fully realised Steven Spielberg's film adaptation has some fantastic set pieces, notably the T-Rex attack, raptor kitchen action and closing finale.

Sadly, even though superior in scope it's not as balanced as West World,the in between segments feel like gap fillers and the characters are given little, albeit some witty dialogue, usually from the most developed character Ian Malcolm played by Jeff Goldblum others are are wasted. Laura Dern is good but the script let's her down at times making her unnecessary dated feminist fodder. Sam Neill is on form but is given some cringe-worthy dialogue usually involving the kids.

The supporting cast are fine, even the child actors are likable and superb. Samuel L. Jackson Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck are solid and Wayne Knight as crook Dennis Nerdy is memorable. Nevertheless, characters fleet in and out, either killed or never seen again. There are a too many cliffhangers and throw away gags. Events appear as just that, events and it doesn't flow as well as it should. In addition, the editing doesn't compliment the earlier action or the dialogue scenes as much as in the later half. Too much happens off screen and I don't just mean the dinosaur shenanigans.

Jurassic Park (Widescreen Collector's Edition)John Williams score is simply wonderful, and the location feel gives it a unique atmosphere. Even with a lack of blood and an archetype hero to root for Jurassic Park still manages to thrill but these magic moments are few and far between compared to Spielberg's other works.

An entertaining benchmark in effects history but as a dino-bite of cinema but I prefer the flow of Joe Johnson's third instalment.

Four years after the disaster at Jurassic Park on a nearby island (site B) dinosaurs roam free but InGen a plan to capture and bring the dinosaurs to the mainland.

The Lost WorldSteven Spielberg's follow up to Jurassic Park bears little resemblance to the novel and is more reminiscent of King Kong. Missing an opportunity to include Dodgson from Crichton's novel and the first film, both Joseph Mazzello as Tim and Ariana Richards as Lex briefly return. Like Richard Attenborough's John Hammond they are welcomed, although simply throw away cameos. There's far too many unnecessary characters in The Lost World, that said, hunter Pete Postlethwaite and Vince Vaughn are notable. Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, but paranoid after the events of the first film and must rescue his partner Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore).

The Lost World: Jurassic Park - Original Motion Picture SoundtrackIt's welcomingly darker and pacier than Jurassic Park but unfortunately it's less consistent in tone and feels rushed which is surprising for Steven Spielberg. Nevertheless, the sound and John Williams score is on the money, the practical and visual effects are superb there are some stand out scenes, including the capturing of the dinosaurs, the raptor attack in the long-grass and the T-Rex cliff assault. Aside from the jarring and disjointed closing act set in San Diego, the set pieces flow making it as satisfying as its predecessor.

Overall, The Lost World: Jurassic Park is packed full of dinosaurs but is also full of peaks and troughs.

An odd couple with ulterior motives convince Dr. Alan Grant to go to Isla Sorna (InGen'a dinosaur site B) to find their missing son.

Jurassic Park III: The Original Motion Picture SoundtrackSteven Spielberg's hands over the directing reigns to Joe Johnston who does a great job at mixing the feel of Jurassic Park and the velocity of the Lost World. The events of The Lost World are mentioned briefly, which is a nice nod and link for fans of the second but it also allows the action to swiftly move on. Jurassic Park 3 injects some surprises, however, they're mostly reworked, unused segments from Crichton's first novel. Despite, Téa Leoni annoying character Amanda Kirby, the other players are entertaining enough including reliable William H. Macy and the welcomed return of Sam Neill in the lead role and Laura Dern (in a cameo).

Jurassic Park III (Widescreen Collector's Edition)Although many ideas and themes are regurgitated from the Jurassic Park novels and movie predecessors, it's all done slicker by ILM, Stan Winston and Johnston. Topped with John Williams original theme and some great dinosaur setups, including a boat attack, the Pterodactyl aviary and T-Rex battle Jurassic Park 3 doesn't miss Spielberg's directing magic but isn't perfect either, it lacks depth. That said, it's still a tight entertainment ride.

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