After the global phenomenon that was Jurassic Park, it was a given that novelist Michael Crichton would conjure up a sequel and that Steven Spielberg would then commit it to film. Considering the potential profit involved, it was practically a commercial mandate. Perhaps it was inevitable that both efforts were contrived, and well below the talents of Crichton (well, maybe) and certainly Spielberg, who just didn't have the heart for this recycling after the artistic triumph of Schindler's List. What we're left with, for better and worse, is a redundant blockbuster that still benefits from Spielberg's mastery of high-intensity action sequences and the further development of amazing computer-generated special effects. What's missing is the awe and wonder that made Jurassic Park a technical marvel and a dazzling product of scientific imagination. The story's a no-brainer: after the deadly fiasco of the original dinosaur theme park, we're taken (along with returning star Jeff Goldblum) to a second island where genetically engineered dinosaurs still thrive under the watchful eye of Goldblum's biologist girlfriend (Julianne Moore). But a devious capitalist (Arliss Howard) is determined to export dinosaurs to a new park in San Diego, financing a hunt-and-capture expedition that results in another series of fatal disasters. In Spielberg's hands this movie's more exciting than it has a right to be, given the creative paucity of Crichton's novel and David Koepp's adapted screenplay. The special effects are state-of-the-art, and the T-Rex's rampage through the streets of San Diego is nothing short of spectacular; but apparently an improvement upon the shortcomings of Jurassic Park was too much to hope for. --Jeff Shannon
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