Blu-ray Review

Jurassic Park III

JURASSIC PARK 3D Sam Neill
Image credit: ILM
JURASSIC PARK 3D Sam Neill
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Movie Rated: PG-13; Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy; With: Tea Leoni, William H. Macy and Sam Neill; Distributor: Universal; More

Third installments can get a bum rap. They're often the bastard children of franchise films. Take Jurassic Park III (2001, 1 hr., 33 mins., PG-13), which is finally available as a stand-alone Blu-ray. I don't know if it's because this was Sam Neill's first khaki-clad adventure without Steven Spielberg behind the camera (future Captain America director Joe Johnston stepped in), but critics ripped into the film like a herd of ravenous T. rexes. Here's the thing, though. It's actually a much better movie than its predecessor, 1997's The Lost World. The setup is this: Neill's paleontologist, Dr. Alan Grant, is hoodwinked by a couple (William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) into returning to the doom-drenched Isla Sorna to find their missing son. JPIII makes up for that uninspiring premise with characters fueled by sinister motives, a ferocious menagerie of new beasties (the croc-like Spinosaurus is a honey), and one of the series' best set pieces: Neill leads his group over a rickety, fog-enshrouded bridge only to discover that they're actually in a giant birdcage full of nasty, shrieking pteranodons. For that sequence alone, the film deserves its day in appeals court. B+

Originally posted Mar 20, 2013 Published in issue #1252 Mar 29, 2013 Order article reprints