It'd been years since I watched any of the Jurassic Park films - in fact, I probably got the trilogy box set before I even had a proper player, only watching them on my PC, and for some reason I decided to give the trilogy a go. Strange thing is, I had no recollection of having any feelings towards the second film one way or the other, despite owning a comic book adaptation long before I ever had the movie on any format so the story was always reasonably fresh in my memory.
And yet, after watching it again after so many years, I came to realize - I really don't like this movie.
The first movie still holds up to this day, thanks to it's heavy use of practical effects and keeping CGI to a minimum or in scenes where the effects aren't too obvious, barring the Gallimimus scene, but most of all, it had a sense of fun to it - it felt like a theme park ride in itself.
The second movie, however, doesn't really feel fun at all. For one thing, it's a much darker film - not just because so much of it takes place at night, but because of the massive amount of carnage and death. The first movie had what, four confirmed character deaths? Samuel L Jackson's character's death wasn't shown at all, and the others were quick and to the point. TLW in the other hand tends to linger with them without much in the way of subtlety. The one that really sticks to mind the most is the death of Eddie Carr whose death scene is very drawn out and almost feels like it's taunting you with the possibility that this guy might actually make it, only for the movie to go "haha nope" and then have him literally torn to pieces on screen. And even when the campsite is attacked by the T-rex, I guess you're not supposed to feel bad for any of the characters who get slaughtered because what, they're mercenaries? They work for InGen so they're the bad guys by default? The movie does seem to have a significant themes of not only conservationism, which is probably why the InGen party is portrayed as the villains, and also corporate greed which reduces Hammond to a bit part, but outside of maybe two characters most of them just struck me as guys on the job who didn't deserve to die the way they did. Granted, the same could be said for many characters in the first, but like I said, the first movie didn't take an almost sadistic glee in portraying any of their respective fates. The movie plays out more like a horror film than the adventure film that both the first and the third film were (I still haven't seen JW), and actually feels a bit mean-spirited.
Then there are the two absolutely massive plot holes that I have to address. The first is Sarah Harding's bloody jacket from treating the baby Tyrannosaurus' wound. Only realizing this at the campsite in itself I could sort of understand - but what makes it especially jarring is that Trembo - the guy who's supposed to be a career hunter - actually draws attention to it, and then proceeds to do absolutely nothing about it! Sure, his pal Ajay is supposed to be tracker, but you'd think even he'd realize why walking around with a jacket smelling like baby T-rex might be a bad idea. The other is the cargo ship that crashes to the pier; what the hell happened there? The movie doesn't do a very good at establishing the course of events; you got a guy explaining Harding why the T-Rex woke up and went berserk, how does he know all this? Was he aboard the ship? How did he survive, when the T-rex apparently somehow managed to eat even the bridge crew from inside the bridge which, apart from blood stains and dismembered limbs, appears to be undamaged? There's probably more plot holes you could poke through, like how did Kelly hide in the trailer the whole time, but these two were the ones that really stretched my suspension of disbelief to a breaking point.
Another minor gripe about the movie is that the entire hunting scene early on reeks of toy commercial, with the InGen party riding around in a vast variety of increasingly gimmicky vehicles built for the sole purpose of capturing dinosaurs; you can bet all of them were made into a toy at some point.
I guess I should say something positive about the movie, like praising Pete Postlethwaite and Jeff Goldblum's performances and the few good laughs the movie does provide like the little visual gag with the animal control car, but the more I think about the movie, the more I find things to complain about instead.
I gave this movie 6/10 on IMDB and even now I think that might've been a little too high.