THE COUNTER-INTUITIVE CACOPHONY: JP3

THE COUNTER-INTUITIVE CACOPHONY: JP3
coun·ter·in·tu·i·tive
ˌkountərinˈt(y)o͞oitiv/
adjective
1. Contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation (but often nevertheless true).
ca·coph·o·ny
kəˈkäfənē
noun
1. A harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.
The words I’m about to say are harsh. Even potentially offensive. It goes against common sense and operates against all human decency and intuition to allow us to survive as a species. However, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Jurassic Park III is a steaming pile of ****.

I hate it.

I hate it like this guy hates Peter Pan.
I hate it like this guy hates Peter Pan.

The good about the film begins and ends with Sam Neill being cast in the film.

Its director, Joe Johnston (whose name even sounds like the generic brand of director you’d buy at the super market when you can’t afford real Oreos), is actually a capable art director. Some of his credits include Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. That’s a whole lot of impressive. But Joe Johnston is a black plague or communal love during no shave November as a DIRECTOR.

"You can leave the light on."
“You can leave your hat on.”

He lowers the quality of the people surrounding him and consistently produces substandard work. Jumanji isn’t a bad film. But you know what was better? Zathura. I’m kind of ambivalent toward Rocketeer.

"TO INFINITY...AND BEYOND!"
“TO INFINITY…AND BEYOND!”

To its credit Honey, I Shrunk the Kids isn’t awful.

The Wolfman somehow managed to lose money in the middle of the vampire/werewolf renaissance. Steven Spielberg vouched for the guy so he did have that going for him, and he admitted to his mistakes.

“I had three weeks of prep on WOLFMAN, a ridiculously inadequate amount of time to try to bring together the fractured and scattered pieces of the production. I had taken the job mostly because I had a cash flow problem, the only time in my career I’ve ever let finances enter into the decision process.

Money is almost always the wrong reason for doing something that requires passionate devotion. The production was a leaky, rudderless ship in a perfect storm suffering from bad decisions, infighting, and reluctance of the powers-that-be to take responsibility, and too many under-qualified cooks in the kitchen. The good news and bad news about directing is that when the picture works, you’re showered with all the credit, and when it doesn’t work, you’re dumped on with all the blame. Both scenarios are undeserved. I take full responsibility for THE WOLFMAN not working because it goes with the territory”

I don’t respect bad film-making, but I do respect it when someone can say “my bad.” But Joe Johnston did have the all-star team: Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and Benico Del Toro. And during the Werewolf/Vampire Tsunami. Have you watched Twilight?

"RUN!"
“RUN!”

I hope you answered no, but chances are your lady (or potential lady) wanted to and you did.

Twilight movies are just ridiculous. Like terrible fan-fiction that couldn’t even be bothered to Wikipedia Bram Stoker’s Dracula or the basic tenants that make something a vampire or a werewolf. Inability to stand in direct sunlight. Animagus whose transformations are brought on by a full moon and so on. And they made a ton of cash. We were seven dollars away from putting Robert Pattinson on US currency.

No disrespect to Sacajawea.
All due disrespect to Sacajawea.

And Joe Johnston still somehow failed. It was nickle night at the whore house and he couldn’t make it work.

He was also responsible for Captain America: The First Avenger. If the man has any consistency to his work, it’s that whatever entry he is responsible for in a franchise, it will always be the weakest.

Well, almost always.
Well, almost always.

Of all the Marvel properties, or at least the ones to date, Captain America: The First Avenger is probably my least favorite. I still don’t see Chris Evans as Cap. I think he was a more convincing SUPERHERO in Winter Soldier and Marvel’s The Avengers. But, ultimately, I still think he was miscast as Steve Rodgers. RDJ wouldn’t let him take a drink order from him, much less tactical command during a siege on New York. And as Johnston was directing First Avenger, I’m assuming he had some heavy involvement in the casting process.

I just gave Toby Keith wood.
This just gave Toby Keith wood.

THAT is Captain America.

cap-1

That is the Human Torch in a Halloween costume.

Gary Cooper. Charleton Heston. Steve McQueen. Robert Redford. All of these men I could have accepted as Cap. If Chris Evans had a fourth the presence any of these men had, it would have been fine. Captain America, after Wolverine and Spider-Man, is one of the greatest characters Marvel has in its stable. I should have been filled with overwhelming patriotic desire. As it was, the most exciting piece of the film was the set-up for the Avengers at the very end. That was directed by Joss Whedon.

Jurassic Park (1993) is one of the greatest summer blockbusters ever maid. Period. No room for discussion. It is as it is. Jurassic Park III spits in its face and squanders its legacy. It’s basically the equivalent of Paris Hilton. In addition to making the lesser Jumanji film, the weakest Marvel film, and an unprofitable lycanthrope narrative, he crippled Jurassic Park in the same way that Batman and Robin hobbled that franchise for a number of years.

Jeff Goldblum's reaction to Jurassic Park III
Metaphor for everyone’s initial reaction to Jurassic Park III.

Much in the same way they probably lured Sam Neill into doing the movie after he read the script, Dr. Alan Grant is offered a large sum of money to do something he doesn’t want to do and brought to Isla Sorna – and that’s where our problems begin.

Issue number 1
Problem, numerical uno.

Problem 1: Velociraptors do not have feathers.

I don’t care if John Science (the creator and co-founder of science) came down from Biology Mountain and told me himself.

This is what a Raptor looks like.
This is what a Raptor looks like.

If I want feathers, I’ll sneak into a Sorority house during one of their topless pillow/tickle fights.

Problem 2: Robert “SHOOOOOT HER! SHOOOOOOT HER!” Muldoon cannot make it ten minutes outside of the visitor center without being killed.

Jurassic’s Park’s Steve Irwin can’t even stop them with a dinosaur-killing shotgun. It’s a shotgun whose sole purpose in life is to murder dinosaurs. Not tranquilize. Not lull into a false sense of security and bed them. It does not rest until you are dead. It is a SPAS-12 multi-role convertible 12-gauge shotgun designed for special military and police operations, and we don’t even get to see it in action.

Upon seeing it, former president of the NRA Charleton Heston instantly achieved an erection.
Upon seeing it, former president of the NRA, Charleton Heston instantly achieved an orgasm.

One could make the argument that the raptors sensed that Muldoon was a genuine threat. They knew that if he was somehow allowed to continue living, their very existence would be at stake. They sought out the alpha… and killed it.

They spied Justin Beiber there and figured he’d just end up locking himself in a refrigerator or huffing paint fumes or something. But if that’s what you think, it’s because you’re stupid.

Just guess what he thinks of your decision.
Just guess what he thinks of your decision.

My final and largest problem with the film is the showdown between the Spinosaurus and the T-Rex. Or the lack thereof.

 

It lasts all of a minute and a half and occurs in the first third of the film. This should have been the climactic battle that crescendo’d into the climax. John Williams’ “Duel of the Fates” should have been playing when these two met up. As it appeared, I couldn’t have cooked a Hungry Man dinner in the space of the fight.

And Rex goes out like a wuss.

Imagine if in Rocky II, instead of there being an actual rematch between Rocky and Apollo at the end of the film, Rocky just goes up to Apollo and runs him over with a motorcycle. How pissed would you have been? You’d feel like you just watched Rocky V, wouldn’t you?

In Johnston’s defense, Steven Spielberg and Micheal Crichton couldn’t even make an adequate follow up to the original Jurassic ParkThe Lost World is a mishmash of things that really work and girls that defeat raptors with gymnastics.

"I felt the same way, Ian."
“I felt the same way, Ian.”

The Spice Girls appearing and using girl power to stop a T-Rex is the only situation I would find more implausible. Jurassic Park III is awful, but at least it’s short. It’s a brisk 93 minutes. The Lost World is a tenuous 129 minutes, but has some considerable highlights. And Jeff Goldblum’s pronunciation of dinosaurs.

The Lost World isn’t entirely unwatchable. It’s just miles away from its predecessor. Jurassic Park III is a blindfolded game of grab*** in prison with everyone playing naked.

If you have a series of films that you want to shut down for several years or want the immediate follow-up to seem superior by comparison, Joe Johnston is your guy. If you want to continue making pant loads of cash, you’d honestly be better off just hiring the next person or object you see.

Jack Lalanne's Power Juicer's Jurassic Park IV, Summer 2015
Jack Lalanne’s Power Juicer’s Jurassic Park IV, Summer 2015

 That’s just my opinion. Should be yours.

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