Thursday Night Movie Club
Jurassic Park 3
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: July 18, 2001

Director: Joe Johnston
Sam Neill
William H. Macy
Téa Leoni
Alessandro Nivola
Trevor Morgan
Michael Jeter
John Diehl
Bruce A. Young
Laura Dern
Taylor Nichols
Mark Harelik
Julio Oscar Mechoso
Blake Michael Bryan
Sarah Danielle Goldberg
Linda Park
Dr. Alan Grant
Paul Kirby
Amanda Kirby
Billy Brennan
Erik Kirby
Mr. Udesky
M.B. Nash
Dr. Ellie Sattler
Mark Degler
Ben Hildebrand
Enrique Cardoso
Cheryl Logan
Jurassic Park 3 movie poster Jurassic Park 3 movie poster Jurassic Park 3 movie poster
Michael Jeter, Alessandro Nivola, Téa Leoni, Sam Neill and William H. Macy in Jurassic Park 3This is one scary movie. The action is non-stop from the opening sequence clear through to the finale, which like the previous Jurassic Park movies just ends. Unfortunately, something is missing.

This movie is missing the influence of novelist Michael Crichton, director Steven Spielberg, and the innocence and awe of dinosaurs once again walking the earth. All that remains is a tour-de-force action movie that is predictable and not predictable at the same time. I will explain this.

The movie begins with a man and boy illegally chartering a parasail company to fly them along the coastline of Ilsa Sorna, off the coast of Costa Rica, the site of the second dinosaur creation lab from Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Of course, something immediately goes wrong. Guess who lives and who dies.

Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park 3The boy, Eric, is the son of estranged parents Amanda and Paul Kirby. The man is currently dating Amanda. Conveniently, he doesn't last long. The Kirby's con dinosaur expert Dr. Alan Grant (from the first movie once again played by Sam Neill) and his new assistant Billy into giving them a tour of the island. They offer to fund Grant's research. The real purpose is a rescue mission of their son Eric. Of course, they come prepared with a couple of soldiers of fortune. Now would you like to guess who lives and who dies. This is the predictable part.

The only thing that is not predictable is the way that the unlucky victims die. This is very brutal but these movies still retain a PG-13 rating for the box office returns.

Sam Neill in Jurassic Park 3 movieThere is a lot of humor to accompany the non-stop mayhem, most notably the cellular phone. To explain further would ruin the joke.

The dinosaur effects are top-notch. Advances in special-effects technology only makes these movies more intricate and realistic. The dinosaurs move with greater smoothness thanks to employing actual life-sized anamatronic dinosaurs. Unfortunately, just in case the audience is not paying attention, the movie-makers hit you over the head with "sequel-itis".

With the appearance of JP3's signature dinosaur, the Spinosaurus which was not on the original list of species that INGEN created for the original theme park, Dr. Grant wonders what else INGEN has been doing lately. JP4 will probably explain this or not depending on how long Universal Pictures can milk the franchise.

Jurassic Park 3 movieThe pteranodons make a major contribution to the action of this movie. They are safely contained in their man-made bird cage until the influence of Dr. Grant and company. They promptly escape their confines thus insuring another sequel, one regarding new dinosaurs that INGEN is still creating and another to follow where the pteranodons eventually fly to....New York??? (Been there, done that? Also reappearing for dramatic effect are the raptors, Dr. Grant's signature dinosaurs. Just to add suspense to the movie, Dr. Grant "informs" us that the raptors were the most intelligent species to set foot on the planet. They are even more intelligent than Man. Somehow, I don't think Crichton would have written that.

Just in case you are not sure of the predictability of this movie, Laura Dern reprises her roll as Dr. Ellie Sattler. Grant has depended on her help throughout his career. Sattler was always the one who could come through in a clink. Sattler is able to call out more than just the Marines to save Dr. Grant. The unanswered question I have from this movie is: How many of the survivors will spend the rest of their lives rotting away in a Costa Rican jail for illegal trespassing.

A Pteranodon in Jurassic Park 3 movieYou may get the impression from this rather cynical review that I thoroughly hated this movie. It is a very good thriller, just the kind of thing for a summer outing. But there is very little otherwise. Even though Spielberg is not directly involved, the plot revolves around his usual dysfunctional family that resolves its conflict by the end. We end with a happy family reunion. Unfortunately, the predictability of this ruins what "should" have been a much better movie. The soldiers of fortune get bumped off after only a few hours on the island while an untrained child can survive for eight weeks all alone. You really have to swallow the "red herring" on this one.

With special effects to lead the way, the Jurassic Park series seems to be trying to knock off the James Bond franchise as the most successful in movie history. Hopefully, they follow the Bond blue-print and actually make a good movie every now and then.