Bienvenu, mes amis, to Junk Food Cinema, which has a certain, as the French say, “ordure.” Our beloved Brian will be back next week, when he returns from his vacation ghostbusting. Until then, you can pin the blame for your eyeball blisters on me, Mrs. Junkfood-Cinema. I’ll be piloting this trash barge over the choppy waters of murky, questionable cinema, picking our precarious way through the flotsam and jetsam of a capsized wreck of a film.
But just when you start to panic and look for the life vests (there are only 2. BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!), we arrive at the golden shores of redemption. I throw out beach towels so we can all bask in the warm glow of this film’s not-so-crappy side. And like any good day at the beach, I brought snacks. Unhealthy snacks. This week…well, this week, allow me to set the stage:
Ahh, it’s a good day to be white off the coast of Isla Sorna. But what is this? CG fog? Bad green screen? What’s happening?! This isn’t the Jurassic Park Crichton envisioned, painstakingly researched, and that had audiences everywhere scared to ride in Jeeps for months afterword. This isn’t even the Jurassic Park 2 Crichton begrudgingly churned out and to whose script he turned a tactful blind eye. This is the notorious, superfluous, suck-o-saurus:
Jurassic Park 3. JFC JP3.
The point is, you’re alive when JFC starts to eat you. So, you know…try to show a little respect.
What Makes It Bad?
I really only have two complaints with JP3: the plot and the dinosaurs. The “premise” for this “movie” rests shakily on William H. Macy and Tom Cruise Tea Leoni, “hiring” Sam Neill to take them on a “tour” of Isla Sorna that turns out to be a “rescue mission” for their “son.” Also raptors are smart. Boom. Script.
That’s right. I said Sam Neill. I don’t know how they got him back, but it came at the cost of losing any semblance of paleontological integrity, as well as Jeff Goldblum.
At least there’s no source material for them to butcher into unrecognizable ridiculosity; just pre-history, which godless heathen scientists probably made up and can’t prove anyway. The filmmakers quite obviously borrowed the animatronic dinosaurs from the Universal Studios ride in Orlando for their practical effects. Their special effects budget went to get Sam Neill back (“There are a lot of numbers I can write on this check, Mr. Neill…well, not too many..but some! There are, like, two numbers I can…please, Mr. Neill?!”), so they just copied and pasted dinosaurs from one of those Discovery Channel specials, “Here’s What Dinosaurs Possibly Did!” and the second season, “When Dinosaurs May or May Not Roam The Earth Again In Our Cities, Maybe!!” And still, STILL, they get the brachiosaurs wrong. They’ve had 8 years since the first movie to fix that neck, the neck that Michael Crichton described in loving detail in the SECOND BOOK. THE BOOK FROM WHICH THEY BORROW HEAVILY FOR THINGS TO DO SINCE THERE’S NO REAL PLOT HERE.
But who’s counting? (Me. It’s me. I’m counting)
At least they get the raptors…on screen. In director Joe Johnston‘s defense, he did his research into the latest theories regarding raptor accessories. Thus, the males look like they got hit by the business end of Mardi Gras, replete with feather quill headdresses and absurd technicolor patterning. THROW ME SUMTHIN’, MISTAH! I kid, but there is some evidence that certain saurids had strategic feather placement. They’re called Archaeopteryx. OOOH! Shut up; that would’ve killed at an ornithology conference.
In other (made up) evidence, Johnston takes the bold position to make the raptors crazy-smart. Like, albino lab mouse smart. The raptors talk to each other. The raptors set traps. The raptors are out for revenge. The raptors are basically an allegory for marriage, except that they show compassion at the end (I love you, Brian!). Oh, Lord, that end. The deus ex machina..the miraculous recovery of Billy…the CG pteranodons flying into green screened clouds… I won’t spoil it for you, because the movie does a pretty good job of spoiling itself.
Why I Love It!
It’s really an okay movie! Guys! Bear with me. The score is still John Williams-esque. Spielberg is still executive producer (whatever that means). Sam Neill is still tremendous, even with that adorable American accent. And, most importantly, dinosaurs. Yes, the dinosaurs are in both sections. Deal. Even though I put it up top, I don’t care at all that they are silly looking. I don’t care that they are probably not biologically accurate. I don’t care that most of these dinosaurs probably didn’t live in the same eras, or probably couldn’t live in our modern climate, especially in a house plant rainforest. I care that someone took the time to create a movie around silly looking, biologically inaccurate, house plant living dinosaurs, as slipshod as that movie might be.
I saw Jurassic Park when I was 10; I have since spent 17 years perfecting my velociraptor impression. Ask me what a velociraptor sounds like, I dare you. Ask me to hunt my dogs or husband or roommate around the house. It’s my terrifying party trick when I’m tipsy, and my even more terrifying party trick if I’m cold sober and you’re asleep or hiding in one of my kitchen cabinets to keep away from me. I squealed with glee when I realized JP3 revolved around raptors and I still get warm and fuzzy from that stupid deus ex machina. Guh. I only wish that dumb resonating chamber plaster mold were a real thing, just so I’d have someone to talk to. In raptor.
Junkfood Pairing: Prehistoric Dinosaur Candy Eggs
Ok, a little spot-on. However! The entire reason the raptors are after the puny humans in the first place is because the puny humans stole some eggs. And because the puny humans failed to bow down and swear fealty to their Saurian Overlords. So enjoy this perplexing, somewhat illogical combination of crunchy shell, milk chocolate and *gulp* “exciting” gummy dino fetus. Just remember: the attack comes not from the front, but from the side.