It’s against the rules of filmmaking that this is so good. According to the Law of Diminishing Returns, JP should be a vapid and ill-conceived mess that would kill the franchise forever and leave Spielberg thanking his lucky stars he wasn’t behind the camera.
It’s five years after Site B was quarantined and Alan Grant (Neill) is happy to use his toothbrush while digging dino-bones and beg for money from any source so long as his excavations continue. He never wants to see a living dinosaur again. But he’s the star of the film, you say. That’s a situation that cannot last long, surely?
Indeed it doesn’t. Along come Mr. and Mrs. Kirby (Macy and Leoni), who are thrill-seekers extraordinaire and want Grant to come along as they fly over Site B, Isla Sorna. Initially resistant, Grant’s brain goes ker-ching! when Mr. Kirby opens his cheque book and hands Grant a pen to write down any figure he likes.
But, rest assured, that’s not the whole story. The Kirbys’ ride around the island ends with their party of assistants diminished and the remainder having no way out of the Land That Time Wants To Forget.
To this point, the dinosaurs are - mainly - heard and not seen but the rest provides the meat that we’re paying to see. While Macy is brilliant, it’s the T-Rexes, the raptors, the Pteranodons and the new Spinosauri you came to watch. The mixture of animatronics and CGI is seamless. Whether fighting each other, stampeding, or after our heroes, they’re brilliant to watch.
But the stars do hold candles to their post-production colleagues. Neill is fine as the dino expert who realises the danger they’re all in; Leoni and Macy are great as the exes with a secret and even the kid (Morgan) wipes the floor with the irritating brats from the first two Jurassic Park’s.
As for the story, well, there isn’t much of one: people want off Monster Island; monsters want to eat them. The film rattles on pitching its humour and terror nigh on perfect (the... sequence is a particular highlight). That is until the finale, which is all-too-sudden. There needs to be one last mother of a battle that seems almost promised. Ultimately, it leaves a sense of disappointment but, if you love dinosaurs, you’ll love this.
As far as creature-features go, JP is a winner. The set pieces are breathtaking (just take a look at the ‘birdcage’ sequence) and the action is spot-on. If only more modern-day sequels could be this good!