"The Ultimate Tourist Trap"
In JURASSIC PARK III, Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, once again gets duped into traveling to one of the two dinosaur islands created by a genetic engineering company. This movie is the most thrilling, redemptive action movie of the summer so far, but it includes some scary, intense violence and an awkward mix of evolution and God that may be too much and too confusing for many children, especially younger ones.
If you hated the first two movies, you won’t like JURASSIC PARK III, but if you liked the first two, or have been waiting for them to get it right, you might just love this new version of what is, by now, a familiar plot: people get stranded on an island filled with dangerous, people-eating dinosaurs and try desperately to escape. What makes the third movie more successful than the other two is the family drama that takes place this time.
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.
(BB, CC, Ev, Ro, LL, VV, M) Moral worldview with some redemptive elements plus two brief, somewhat positive references to God, marred by a couple evolutionary concepts & statements as well as a few scenes which reveal a romantic notion regarding animals, both of which might be, at the very least, confusing to many people; 5 lightweight obscenities & 12 exclamatory profanities; scary, intense action violence with some blood that will be too much for children, especially younger ones, & even some teenagers & adults, such as terrifying dinosaurs often attack & try to kill or eat people, plus plane crash, two men explode junk plane with gun & boy in danger; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol use; no smoking; and, lying & subterfuge rebuked.
After a brief prologue, JURASSIC PARK III opens with Sam Neill reprising his role as Dr. Alan Grant from the first movie. Grant accepts the proposal of wealthy adventurer Paul Kirby and his wife, Amanda, to accompany them on an aerial tour of the second dinosaur island created by a genetic engineering company. All is not what it seems, however. Eventually, Grant and his young protégé, Billy, are stranded on the island with the Kirbys and a pilot. The real reason for the Kirbys’ visit to the island is revealed, followed by some surprising developments. Finally, Dr. Grant is forced to learn the terrifying implications of his new theory about one species, the dreaded velociraptor.
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.