From the Chicago Reader (June 1, 1993). — J.R.
Cloned prehistoric animals run riot in a contemporary theme park in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 fantasy adventure, which is less scary than Jaws or Raiders of the Lost Ark but still has its tense moments. Within the first ten minutes you can tell that the characters who’ll be eaten are the ones who exhibit greed — not that this makes them anything like the director, who positioned the movie as the central unit in a line of merchandise and even integrated its own advertising logo into the plot. The film’s ersatz moral, about the dangers of tampering with nature, harks back to The Lost World (1925) routed through King Kong (1933) and Island of Lost Souls (1932), though there’s more soul to be found in any Kong close-up than in this film’s overplayed reactions. Adapted from the Michael Crichton novel by Crichton and David Koepp; with Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough. 126 min. (JR)