Universal's Jurassic Park 3
Release Date: July 18th, 2001
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, John Diehl, Michael Jeter, Téa Leoni, William H. Macy, Trevor Morgan, Alessandro Nivola, Mark Harelik, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Taylor Nichols, Bruce Young
Premise: Anxious to fund research for his new theory of velociraptor intelligence, renowned paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) is persuaded by a wealthy adventurer (Macy) and his wife (Leoni) to accompany them on an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. This infamous island, once InGen's site B, has become both a primordial breeding ground for John Hammond's magnificent creations and a magnet for thrill-seekers eager to encounter them. When a tragic accident maroons the party of seven, Grant discovers the true reason his deceptive hosts have invited him along. In their perilous attempt to escape with their lives, the dwindling group encounters terrifying new creatures undisclosed by InGen, and Grant is forced to learn the dreadful implications of his raptor inteligence theory first hand.
Jurassic Park 3 is accourse the third installment of the popular Jurassic Park series which began back in 1993 followed by The Lost World in 1997. But this is much different from the other two for several reasons. First off, this is the first Jurassic Park film not directed by Steven Spielberg. Joe Johnston who worked on The Rocketeer and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids takes the reins this time around. This film is also the shortest in the series, only 90 minutes long. Another reason is that this film actually has new dinosaurs on the island which is much needed in the series.
The story goes that Dr. Alan Grant is asked to guide a group of rich thrill seekers over Isla Sorna or Site B but when they crash on the island it turns out that the couple is only looking for their son who crashed here eight weeks earlier. They now try to reach the coast before the dinosaurs catch them.
Where to start with this film? This is not the worst film in the series with The Lost World being the worst for me. Director Joe Johnston tries to make a good film with elements that should have been done in the second film and being too little, too late in the third installment. The story doesn't seem to hold together well and the film seems way too predictable especially as the film progresses to the end.
The acting is all right but what do you expect from a film where actors are running away from CGI dinosaurs? Sam Neil probly did this just for the fact that he couldn't find any other work. The cast deserves better then some what of a sloppy storyline.
Though Jurassic Park 3 is not the best film, it does do a better job for me then The Lost World did. The film also seemed a bit too short but that is not much of a complaint. Overall, the problem is a sloppy storyline and too much predictability with the series. Maybe Jurassic Park 4 can revieve the series once again.
My Rating: *** out of 5
Touchstone Pictures' Pearl Harbor
Release Date: May 25th, 2001
Cast: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Dan Aykroyd, Alec Baldwin, Ewen Bremner, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Tomas Arana, Andrew Bryniarski, Matt Davis, Colm Feore, William Fichtner, Peter Firth, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Kellner, James King, Mako, Leland Orser, William Lee Scott, Michael Shannon, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Guy Torry, Scott Wilson, Greg Zola
Premise: Set against the setting of the raid on Pearl Harbor, this is the tale of two friends; one an aviator in the U.S. Army Air Corps (Hartnett), and the other (Affleck) in the British Royal Air Force (American pilots were recruited by them before the U.S. entered WWII); who find themselves in love with the same woman. It's worth stating that the emphasis on the film is said to really be on the love stories; with history the amazing and tragic backdrop.
"December 7th, 1941 ---- a date which will live in infamy --- the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Empire of Japan."
Those words stick out greatly in American history the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and killing nearly 3,000 American soliders. The trailers pulled many people in, including me, and boy did it deliver (for me at least)! I was skeptical at first, thinking this was just Disney's version of Titanic but the film proved that it was much different.
The story goes that two men who are enlisted in the U.S. Airforce fall in love with the same woman. One who met her first joined others Americans fighting with the British Royal Force and was presumed dead and the other, his best friend. This is all set around the tragic event of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The storyline holds together very well especially for a three hour film. The story doesn't seem to slow down that much and when it does, it picks up very quickly with plot twists or action sequences.
There were very few problems with this film. Pearl Harbor seems a bit too long (about three hours total) and the Doolittle Raid seems a bit unnecessary but other then these small problems, the movie does a very good job.
The performance in Pearl Harbor were the best in a Disney film that I have seen in quite some time. Ben Affleck really sets himself out in this film and Josh Harnett is on his way to becoming a big star in Hollywood. Dan Ankroyd, who has done few dramatic roles, gives one of his best performances. The rest of the cast does a great job of setting a diverse group of characters.
Overall, Pearl Harbor is nothing short of spectacular. This film was the highlight of the summer and is sure to be an extremly hit at the box office. The movie really proves its worth and sets itself apart from other war epics.
My Rating: ****1/2 out of 5
Disney's Atlantis the Lost Empire
Released: June 15th, 2001
Starring: Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Claudia Christian, John Mahoney, Leonard Nimoy, David Ogden Stiers, Jim Varney, Phil Morris, Don Novello, Florence Stanley, Cree Summer
Premise: Set in the early 20th century, an explorer, Milo Thatcher, uses a mysterious map to lead a mission aboard a submarine to find the lost city of Atlantis. Suddenly, they find themselves captured by a giant squid... and sure enough, they're taken to Atlantis! Complications arise as getting home becomes quite an obstacle, and division between the crew hinders them further...
Disney's latest venture into the traditional animation arena follows in the steps of the Iron Giant and Titan A.E. The Walt Disney Company is straying away from the campy musicals that made the studio famous.
The story goes that Milo James Thatch is hired by a billionaire who wants to find the lost continent of Atlantis which Milo claims to the location of from an ancient book. On the journey they encounter many fantastic and terrifying things including a mechanical monster. When they find the city, it turns out that they plan to get more then just artifacts.
Atlantis is one of the darkest animated films to come out of the Mouse House since The Black Cauldron back in 1985. The story doesn't hold together as well as other Disney animated films, probably because this is the first entry by Disney into the action animated film genre. The story though does seem eerily familar to a Japanese animated film called Nadia: Secret of the Blue.
The characters are very diverse which is rare among most animated films which tend to stick the usual comedic or emotional stereotypes but unfortunately Disney doesn't spend that much time allowing the audience to connect with the characters. Voices like Michael J. Fox and James Garner do exceptional jobs in their voice over roles.
Overall, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a good escape from the typical Disney animated film but the story doesn't hold together well and when action sequences do appear, they seem way too short. Disney seems to be slipping more into this form of animated films, leaving the musicals that made them famous. If they decide to this then the stories must be better then Atlantis.
My Rating: *** 1/2 out of 5