We then get a scene that’s a clear call-back to the dig site scene of the original. Except with considerably less people and tools chipping away at thing, and the Raptor seems to have more prominent teeth here.
Grant arrives at the site where he meets his partner Billy Brennan, and we get a slight nod to Grant’s still-lingering distaste for computers (“You like computers, right?” “I like the Abacus”). He uses says computer-and a 3D printer-to produce an Velociraptor resonating chamber by scanning the skull cavity. While the resonating chamber is a goofy plot device, the technology used to make it is an early example of more mainstream 3D printing.
and just like that film, Grant is given a somewhat vague reason to go to the Island, this time by Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni), who pass themselves off as rich thrill-seekers who just want to look at the island from the air and have Grant as their guide….and like back then, he’s kind of conned into it by the promise of money to fund his dig site. You’d think Grant would do a background check here.
On the side, although he mostly does more serious, lower-budget work or comedies, is pretty good as Eric Kirby here nonetheless. His somewhat fish-out-of-water acting here actually works for the character. Leoni not so much, she kind of grates a bit.
So of course it’s off to Isla Sorna, and we get Don Davis’s version of the Jurassic Park theme, which is pretty much the same as the original’s (There’s no trace of The Lost World’s more primal music here)…Sorna, it should be noted, looks a lot more like Nublar this time around, probably because it was filmed in Hawaii where JP1 was, and not in California like the first sequel.
We get a brief but stupid dream sequence of Grant hearing a raptor with Billy’s voice saying his name:
and then it’s on to the island. I think it’s kind of clear here right from the get-go that Joe Johnson doesn’t quite have Spielberg’s skill when it comes to handling CG animals, as the Dinosaur ‘reveal’ is really just a few vague herds seen from overhead. Not exactly the majestic Brachiosaurus or Stegosaurus from the last two film. Grant starts to try to guide them (although earlier he described them as “theme park monsters” he sure seems to treat them like real Dinosaurs now), but soon realizes nobody’s listening to him.
Of course they land after knocking a reluctant Grant out, and Amanda uses a megaphone to call for her boyfriend and son, which of course alerts the film’s main villain, the Spinosaurus, who makes quick work of two of the mercenaries and the plane, once again stranding the main characters on the Island. The Spinosaurus, while visually distinct from the Raptors and T-rex, seems like a much weaker animatronic to me, moving in many frames like one of those robotic Dinosaurs you see at theme parks rather than a living animal. Perhaps most of the budget went into the robot Raptors who actually move far sleekly than in the earlier films. Spinosaurus is one Dino that actually comes off a lot better in CG.
Although Grant and co. evade the Spinosaurus, they run straight into a male T-rex (you can tell by it’s color scheme) who also doesn’t look quite right (It’s unclear btw if this is the same T-rex from the last film that eventually attacked San Diego, or even the offspring). Grant of course asks that they don’t move, but they do anyway…
…..and the Rex runs into the pursuing Spinosaurus, and we get a short fight scene between the two carnivores. While kind of cool, it’s also extremely short, and ends with what amounts to heresy for JP fans as the Spinosaur *kills* the T-rex.
Grant of course is not too pleased at the mess the Kirbys have gotten him into, and the Kirbys tell the truth about their son getting lost on the Island, and they needed Grant to help them find him. Only problem, Grant’s never been to Isla Sorna, just Nublar/Jurassic Park. Maybe they should’ve asked Malcolm, although I’m sure he’d have been less than thrilled as well.
Grant does get a great, chilling line here: “Either way… you probably won’t get off this island alive.”