a critiQal film review Jurassic Park III (2001)

Dr. Grant (Neill) is back working on fossil excavation when he is contacted by Paul (Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Leoni). They tell him they want to go sightseeing over the island of Isla Sorna, the second dinosaur island. After they knock him out and land the plane on the island, they tell him the real reason they came to the island: their son, Eric, crashed on the island 8 weeks earlier. As dinosaurs attack, Dr. Grant must try to keep everyone alive.

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  • ...even pterodactyls can't save this third film.

The third (and hopefully final) installment of the Jurassic Park (1993) blockbuster series continues the tradition set out by the first two films – the first was the best, and they just keep getting worse as they go.

The characters in Jurassic Park III were decently acted, but not very complicated. Sam Neill, the old pro from the first two films, doesn’t give much info, and basically just repeats his earlier two performances.

Tea Leoni, the girl who helped make Deep Impact (1998) one of the worst movies ever (and helped to pull Mulder out of “The X-Files” (TV)), still doesn’t impress here. From this film, all you can tell is that she would probably be decent as a bit actress in a horror movie – she can scream pretty well.

William H. Macy, unforgettable in Fargo (1996), brings his laid pack performance style to this film, and it works pretty well.

The plot is very thin. This is the only film of the series not based on a Michael Crichton novel, and it shows. Michael Crichton pays strict attention to plot (although, when rushed for a sequel, as in The Lost World, he doesn’t pay as much attention as he should), while the creators of this film apparently decided any excuse would work, as long as they could get the characters to the island and show off their dinosaurs.

Not a good idea, especially if the dinosaurs don’t live up to it. Plus, no matter what scientists have discovered, why make the velociraptors speak, after two films of them being mute? It ruins the continuity.

The special effects are a huge letdown, especially after the incredible effects of the first two. This time around, the dinos look plastic. Another odd switch from the first two films, this film decided to go a bit crazy with the dino colors – it looks like they were colored by a 5-year old. While they did try to listen to the complaints of moviegoers, and put in more dinos, they didn’t spend enough time creating the lifelike qualities of the first two films. They should have just left them out, rather than rushing the job, and ruining it.

With a thin plot, too many changes throwing off the continuity of the series, and a sad imitation of the special effects of the first two, Jurassic Park III is an embarrassment to the series. Hopefully, this is the last gasp for this series, which I, for one, am glad. Don’t ruin the first any more – haven’t you folks done enough already?

If you do decide to rent this film, don’t bother watching the movie – watch the special features instead. They are a lot more interesting. After watching those, go back and watch the original Jurassic Park (1993) again – you’ll thank me for it.

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