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Dinosaur tale sounds GE warning

Published: 6:48AM Friday August 24, 2001

Protesters against genetic engineering were prominent at the Australasian premiere of the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park III in Dunedin on Thursday night.

The premiere was hosted by the star of the film, Kiwi actor and Queenstown resident Sam Neill.

The protesters greeted guests arriving at a pre-movie cocktail party and later stood outside the Regent Theatre where about 1,000 people watched the premier.

Protest spokesman Duncan Eddy says the dinosaurs-gone-wrong movie is a classic example of their cause.

Eddy says in Jurassic Park, cloned dinosaurs bite off people's heads and he believes equally strange things will happen in real life if we release genetically modified organisms into the environment.

A smiling Neill gave a quick message of support on the way into the theatre, calling out "GE free" to the group. He later said he sympathised with the protesters' cause.

It was a glittering night for Dunedin with Neill joined by stars like singer/songwriter Tim Finn and actor Temuera Morrison, who just the night before was in Auckland attending the premier of his new movie, Crooked Earth.

There was a relaxed atmosphere to proceedings, so much so that the movies started an hour late but no one seemed to worry, least of all the star of the film.

A laid back Neill even suggested an alternative to Dunedin's new "I Am" slogan.

"My motto would be, 'Dunedin: It's bloody marvellous down here'," he told a cheering audience.

As for the movie, it seemed to be received very well. Projectionist Russell Campbell, who worked with Neill at the National Film Unit in the 1970s, was most impressed.

"It just look lovely on the screen," says Campbell. "I can't really praise it enough actually."

A sentiment Neill wholeheartedly endorses.

"Well you should always listen to projectionists," he says. "If projectionists say its a good film, take their word for it."

Jurassic Park III opens in cinemas around New Zealand next week.

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