Jurassic Park III (2001)

jurassic park iii IMDb

If Jurassic Park taught us anything, it was that “life finds a way” (Also, to always pay the guy who controls everything as much as he wants.). Jurassic Park III teaches us that Hollywood finds a way… of ruining perfectly good movies by making half-baked sequels.

One positive thing to be said about this movie is that Sam Neill is back! Though I’m not really sure why he’d return to the series now, after refusing to participate in The Lost World. I wonder if he wasn’t tricked into making the film, much like Dr Alan Grant is tricked into returning to Jurassic Park by a desperate couple hoping to find their missing son (William H. Macy and Téa Leoni). Laura Dern is back too, but her part is very minimal. So they weren’t smart enough to completely fool her… clever girl.

The premise of JPIII is what really stinks. A kid winds up on the island after a paragliding mishap and manages to survive for weeks until his parents assemble a rescue team. This concept was borrowed from the novel of The Lost World, but in that case it was an adult paleontologist who goes missing so his survival is considerably more plausible. In fact, this movie has a bad habit of scavenging Michael Crichton’s books for any scenes not included in the first two films. I mean, if they weren’t deemed good enough to feature before this, why use them now? The only marginally cool thing is the introduction of the Pteranodon aviary (lifted from Jurassic Park), but even that feels like too little, too late to save this lackluster movie.

Another problem is that I didn’t care about any of the characters except Dr Grant. He’s the only one the audience knows and the only likable one on the island. The script does a terrible job of developing the other characters, and I was left wishing that they’d all meet the same untimely end as that lawyer in the first movie. The same criticism extends to the dinosaurs. The Spinosaurus just didn’t instill the same kind of fear as the T-Rex. Just give me the classics, please– Raptors chasing people all over the island.

JPIII is a pale imitation of Jurassic Park. It even lacks the charisma of The Lost World. The special effects are splashy, but the story is ultimately lacking. To paraphrase Dr Grant, after some consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse this movie.

Rating: D-

I remember liking this film a lot more than when I watched it a few days ago. I saw Jurassic Park 3 in theatres when I was traveling around England. I saw it in a theatre in Leicester Square in the middle of London. Maybe it was the excitement of seeing a film somewhere that historic that made me defend it? When I watched it on the couch a few days ago, the euphoria of an English holiday was replaced by disappointment. Jurassic Park 3 is not a good film. It is a barely there plot cobbled together from sections of the previous two books that Spielberg could not fit into the first two movies. The director of the first two films has also moved on to better things, replaced by the usually good Joe Johnston.

The third Jurassic Park film reintroduces us to Alan Grant (Sam Neill), a surviving paleontologist from the first movie. He is hired, along with one of his assistants (Alessandro Nivola), to lead a tour of Site B from the second film for Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni), a thrill seeking couple who claim to want to get as close to the dinosaurs as possible. Turns out the couple are actually divorced and hope to land on the island to find their son (Trevor Morgan) who has gone missing after a mishap with Amanda’s new husband. Stranded on the island now, Alan must find his way to the coast and hopes to find a passable boat to get them to safety. Obviously things do not go as planned, and chaos ensues when they run into dinosaurs.

This is a pretty ordinary film, from the very beginning when they trick the audience into thinking Alan Grant has settled down and married Ellie (Laura Dern), only for us to learn later that he was just babysitting her kid with someone else. I am not sure how they convinced Sam Neill to even be in this film. He was outspoken in his reluctance to be in the second film, so I am very surprised he would consider being in the third. I’m sure money eventually talked, but I felt like it would take more than that to get Neill on board.

The big bad new dinosaur is a Spinosaurus, a gigantic dinosaur with a huge fin on its back, twice the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I am sorry but this new dinosaur does not feel scary at all. There was a certain amount of menace attached to the T-Rex and the Raptors from the first two films. This giant monstrosity has none of that. There were some cool scenes featuring a Pterodactyl attack though, a species that has rarely been seen so far in the series.

I didn’t really care about any of these characters except for Alan Grant. The underhanded way that the Kirbys get Grant onto the island make them instantly unlikable. I did not care at all whether they lived or died, and that goes double for their annoying son.

Jurassic Park 3 is not a great film, if anything it tarnishes the original’s greatness. An obvious cash grab that should have been left on the cutting room floor.

Rating: D

One thought on “Jurassic Park III (2001)

  1. Pingback: Jurassic World (2015) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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