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Wednesday - July 18, 2001
- Jurassic Park 3 Opens to Mixed Reviews
- Ted Berman Passes Away
- Team Atlantis Sinks From TV Schedule
- News Link of the Day - Hollywood's Bummer Summer

Jurassic Park 3 Opens to Mixed Reviews
Jurassic Park 3
(by Jurassic Park 3 opened today in over 3,200 theaters domestically. The movie, acknowledged to have major production problems, is receiving highly mixed reviews from mainstream critics. Most critics are praising the film for the dinosaur visual effects and lambasting the movie for a poor story and very weak ending.

Regardless of reviews, Jurassic Park 3 is expected to have a huge opening. And even with a poor story and weak ending the movie plays much better than most "big" movies released this year like Tomb Raider and A.I.

Here are select quotes from critics about Jurassic Park 3:

Cody Clark of ABC's Mr. Showbiz - "...the dinosaurs are as fantastic as we've come to expect from the dream team of George Lucas' ILM and F/X maestro Stan Winston. But even at a trim 92 minutes, Johnston can't sustain the movie's momentum — there's a surprising amount of downtime between dino attacks — through to its super-silly deus ex machina ending. The ending is so absurd, in fact, that it feels like it was improvised by a committee of 6-year-olds. If the raptors truly were intelligent, they'd have eaten the final reel."

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times - "The dinosaurs are getting smarter. The people are getting stupider. A lot stupider. But really, what did you expect?...Some of the film's creatures, such as the flying pteranodons, are noticeably chilling, while the raptors, fierce as they can be, have a tendency to occasionally look like demented chickens on steroids. But it matters not. Humans may be stupid and fragile, but dinosaurs, dinosaurs are forever."

Philip Wuntch of the Dallas Morning News - "the lack of empathetic characters seems more a filmmaking deficiency than some grand cinematic plan. The viewer definitely leaves the movie feeling unsatisfied. As a result, Jurassic Park III directly shows us how much audiences have gained in the name of special effects. And indirectly it shows how much has been lost."

Paul Clinton of CNN - "Wisely held down to a breathtaking 92 minutes, Jurassic Park III is actually just what it's supposed to be -- a popcorn-chomping thrill ride that's perfect as a summertime distraction. And yes, the ending leaves things wide open for Jurassic Park IV. Was there ever any doubt? Don't think so."

From Monday's Digital Media FX Newsletter Review of JP3 - "...Jurassic Park 3 has a weak story, weak character development, a weak ending, and a script written on the fly like the hastily written (and poorly produced) score for Tomb Raider. So how does Jurassic Park 3 manage to be better than Jurassic Park 2? The answer is in the casting (particularly Sam Neill) and the introduction of new dinosaurs like the flying Pterandons. The Pterandons are quite possibly the best dinosaur villains yet because of their strategic ability to attack from the air. This new element of 'dino-fright' plays well in Jurassic Park 3. So does a short (and I mean short) battle between a T-Rex and Spinosaurus."

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Ted Berman Passes Away
(by A memorial service is being held today for former Disney animator Ted Berman, who passed away on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, CA. He was 81 years old.

Berman shared directing duties with Richard Rich on two Disney animate features - The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron. In addition he worked on several other animated Disney movies like The Rescuers. He worked 45 years for Disney, starting in 1940.

Ted Berman`s accomplishments as an animator at Disney include designing the characters of Michael and John for Peter Pan and the puppies in 101 Dalmatians. His story credits include Jiminy Cricket`s, animated sequences for the original Mickey Mouse Club and Ludwig Von Drake shows for The Wonderful World of Disney, plus the story and script for Disney`s Academy Award-winning featurette, It`s Tough to be a Bird.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "Berman took special pride in working on four films up for Academy Awards -- 'Paul Bunyan,' which was nominated in 1958; 'Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too,' nominated in 1974; 'It's Tough to Be a Bird,' named the Best Short Film in 1969; and 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks,' which won for Best Visual Effects in 1972."

Berman was also a talented writer.

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Team Atlantis Sinks From TV Schedule
(by Prior to the release of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Disney had been hard at work on a new animated TV series based on the movie. The series (which Digital Media FX announced on June 13) was called Team Atlantis and would follow the adventures of the Atlantis team beyond the movie. Changes at Disney along with a poor box office showing for Atlantis: The Lost Empire has resulted in Disney quietly canceling the planned series even though pre-production had been underway for several months.

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News Link of the Day - Hollywood’s Bummer Summer

According to MSNBC:

"So an ape, a dinosaur and Chris Tucker walk into a bar ... That’s the unfunny setup for the suddenly stressful back end of summer 2001, whose fortunes rest heavily on Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park III and Rush Hour 2. The punchline: Thanks to spiraling ticket prices and stagnating admissions, Hollywood’s key moviegoing season could wind up well below initial sky-high predictions..."

Click here for the full story.

Unsolicited dFX Tip to Hollywood - "Make Better Movies and They Will Come"

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