JURASSIC PARK III
The Ultimate Tourist Trap
Release Date: July 18, 2001
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Audience: Teenagers & adults
Runtime: 91 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Joe Johnston
Executive Producer: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy & Larry Franco
Address Comments To:Stacey Snider, Chairman
Ron Meyer, President/COO
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
After a brief prologue, JURASSIC PARK III opens with Sam Neill reprising his role as Dr. Alan Grant from the first movie. Dr. Grant is a beleaguered man these days; all people want to discuss are his experience on the first of two dinosaur islands constructed by a genetics engineering company. The sensationalism surrounding his escape has dried up funding for Grant’s new theory about the intelligence of one dinosaur species, the dreaded velociraptor. Desperate for funding, he accepts the proposal of wealthy adventurer Paul Kirby and his wife, Amanda, to accompany them on an aerial tour of the second dinosaur island.
All is not what it seems with this seemingly happily married couple, however. Grant suspects something’s not right when the pilot prepares to actually land on the island. Angry and alarmed, Grant protests, to no avail. When a huge carnivorous spinosaurus interrupts their brief stay, the plane crashes after trying to take off again. Thus, Grant and his young protégé, Billy, are stranded on the island with the Kirbys and one of their pilots. The real reason for the Kirbys’ visit to the island is finally revealed, followed by some surprising developments. Furthermore, Dr. Grant is forced to learn the terrifying implications of his raptor intelligence theory firsthand.
Director Joe Johnston, the MOVIEGUIDE® Award-winning director of such movies as THE ROCKETEER and OCTOBER SKY, has fashioned the first completely thrilling action flick of the summer. The flair for fast-paced action and creative storytelling he displayed in THE ROCKETEER and JUMANJI serve him well here.
Helped by good acting, the characters seem stronger and more likeable in this new sequel. Viewers get a chance to sympathize more with the exasperated Dr. Grant. Also, the family dynamics behind the Kirbys’ real motives give the plot a strong emotional hook. It’s a good blend that makes the notion of dinosaurs chasing and attacking people more fun. After all, most viewers have seen this kind of monster movie countless times before, even if they haven’t seen the first two movies in the series.
JURASSIC PARK III also seems more redemptive than the other two movies, to the very end. There are many moments where one or two people help another person survive, or where one person is ready to sacrifice himself for another person or even the whole group. The Kirbys’ situation is also resolved in a redemptive fashion. All this adds to the movie’s satisfaction level during its scenes of jeopardy.
Of course, Dr. Grant mentions macro-evolution at one point in the story. He believes that the nasty raptors are social animals who are more intelligent than dolphins or monkeys and capable of evolving into sentient beings. However, Grant also condemns the genetics engineering company for trying to “play God,” and he says “God bless” about one of the characters who appears in the movie, a person who happens to be a familiar face. Mixing evolution with God sounds contradictory, but there are people in this world who believe in macro-evolution, even human evolution, but who are also ethical monotheists, or believers in a personal God who demands ethical behavior. At the very least, however, this kind of thing might be very confusing to many people, not just children. What does seem contradictory, however, is the movie’s final shots of three members of one dinosaur species which, although they attempted to eat the humans before, are now seen, in the final shots, as majestic creatures just trying to find a new place to nest.
Naturally, there are plenty of scary dinosaur attacks in JURASSIC PARK III, including some images of blood. Because of the violence and the scary parts, this is not a movie for younger children, and it also deserves a caution for older children. The obscenities and profanities are lightweight and mostly exclamatory, however.
Director Joe Johnston, of OCTOBER SKY, has fashioned the first completely thrilling action flick of the summer. JURASSIC PARK III also seems more redemptive and morally compelling than the other two JURASSIC PARK movies. Dr. Grant makes some brief comments supporting evolution, but he also makes a couple important, positive acknowledgements of God. Naturally, the movie includes plenty of intense, scary action violence. Therefore, this is not a movie for younger children, and it probably deserves a caution for older children.