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Baseball, apple pie, the Fourth of July and .. dinosaurs?
Yes, big-budget monster (in more than one sense of the word) blockbusters have become a standard part of summer in the United States. Jurassic Park III is the latest in the series of Michael Crichton-inspired dino-thrillers, and in many ways, it is superior to its darker, gorier, and overlong predecessor The Lost World.
(Contains minor spoilers in the form of high-level plot details with very little specifics.)
Jurassic Park III (hereafter JP3) takes us once again to the island of Isla Sorna (which, as you will recall, was the site of the carnage of The Lost World.) As a result of a parasailing accident, a boy and his guardian become trapped on the island, which is conveniently still crawling with the terrible lizards that made such a feast of the previous film.
Back in the States, the boy's divorced parents (played by William H. Macy and Tea Leoni) enlist the help of two paleontologists (played by Sam Neill and Allesandro Nivola.) Neill, who reprises his original role from the first film as Dr. Alan Grant, is a welcome addition to the film. His sometimes incoherent ramblings about the meaning of life and the mysteries of Mother Nature are just as silly as they were the first time around, but they provide welcome interludes between rounds of furious, white-knuckled sci-fi action.
Once the expedition has been assembled, it embarks to Isla Sorna via airplane. Naturally, there is a well-thought-out plan that consists of the plane landing in a safe location and the expedition quietly going in to retrieve the boy. Naturally, the plane crashes, and naturally, the expedition is left to fend for themselves in the heart of Dino Central. After all, if everything went according to plan, there wouldn't be much of a movie, would there?
William H. Macy brings an interesting but awkward screen presence to JP3. Macy is primarily known for playing the parts of flawed but sympathetic characters; his roles in Fargo and Boogie Nights are excellent case studies. Here, Macy doesn't quite "fit." As it turns out, however, this isn't the first time that Macy has found himself in an uncomfortable situation. In JP3, Macy gets himself out of those situations by doing a lot of running. As it turns out, he's used to it.
After he graduated from high school in 1969, during the heart of the Vietnam War, Macy fled to Europe to avoid being drafted by the U.S. armed services. There, he lived a life of splendor, thumbing his nose at freedom. While his contemporaries were risking their lives in defense of their country, what was Macy doing? Studying English Drama at a posh school in Reading, England. English Drama indeed.
Once the threat of the draft had passed, Macy returned to the United States and enrolled at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. It was there that he fell under the corrupting influence of playwright David Mamet. Mamet, whose "plays" consist of little more than sexual irresponsibility and endless strings of almost unbelievable profanity, has done very little to advance American culture. In point of fact, he has contributed much towards its destruction. And those contributions are very evident in the actions of Mr. Macy, who has been at Mamet's side through all of the trash and filth.
In recent years, Macy has tried to redeem himself, but he has failed. He has joined the Republican Party and given heavy donations to the Methodist Church. However, when one considers that this is the Christian sect that is considering sanctioning homosexual marriage, one has to wonder how serious Macy is about abandoning his prior liberalistic stances and adopting more conservative and moral ones. Somebody should let him know that making big, public donations to a church, especially a church as shady as the Methodist Church, does not cleanse you of your past (or present) sins.
This much is clear: William H. Macy is a cowardly son of a bitch, a damnable monster. If he had a single shred of human dignity, he would be ashamed of himself.