Jurassic Park III
Returning to Jurassic Park a second time wasn't the most fruitful journey (remember that debacle with Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn?), so it's no surprise that the third trip back to the dinosaur-ridden island borders on the offensive. To be accurate, Jurassic Park III doesn't even return to Jurassic Park. In 1997's The Lost World, Moore, Vaughn, et al. were stuck on Jurassic Park Site B; III's hapless reptile chasers are marooned on a remote island called Isla Sorna, the original dino-themed Disneyland being long gone. JP3 is a carbon copy of a carbon copy, and what the characters are doing there doesn't even matter anymore.
Actually, nothing much matters in this egregious outing, and director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) seems cognizant of this. JP3 is structured like a porno movie: The characters meet and, before you can blink, they're being devoured by tyrannosaurs and hunted by velociraptors. There's no romance here, no shaking water cups that signal the arrival of a monstrous carnivore. Johnston doesn't bother messing with nonsense like plot buildup, suspenseful chases, or character development; he gets right down to the vulgar business of mano à dino.
Like Johnston, the actors seem all too aware of their unfortunate complicity in this project. Left holding the bag for the horrid dialogue and pathetically trite plot (rich parents William H. Macy and Téa Leoni deceptively drag Sam Neill's expert paleontologist to Isla Sorna to find their stranded son), the actors seem as perplexed about what they're doing in the film as their characters are about what they're doing on that island.
Macy reportedly had complaints about Steven Spielberg's lack of involvement in the project--the Jurassic Park/Lost World director stayed on the sidelines as executive producer this time around--and JP3 certainly bears the battle scars of a disorganized production. But who knows if even Spielberg could have saved this movie from going down in flames (although, consummate craftsperson that he is, he probably would have at least made it a more enjoyable ride). At some point Johnston must have figured out what kind of film he was making; it's only too bad he didn't go all the way and insert a little pork in the park, if only to liven things up.