‘Jurassic Park III’ has smarter dinosaurs, but dumber humans

Our Score:
The dinos are back in ‘Jurassic Park III’

Have I become a cynic or did I just see the same movie with different actors? There is nothing new here.

Paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is back to take the helm of this lackluster tail with a new hunky assistant, Billy (Alessandro Nivola). We find Dr. Grant doing speaking engagements to raise research money for his foundation. He newest discovery is the fact that raptors were indeed smarter then he first anticipated. In fact, Dr. Grant now believes that they have the ability to work together as a team and have social skills. Well, they should have gotten together and re-written this script.

Dr. Grant declares that nothing will ever get him to go back to visit the island. That is before Kirby Enterprises writes him a check to fund his research. Mr. and Mrs. Kirby. (William H. Macy and Tea Leoni – minus her pearls) dupe Dr. Grant into going to Isla Sorna. The Kirbys convince Dr. Grant that they are globetrotting thrill-seekers, and seeing Isla Sorna is truly the last frontier. They want to celebrate their anniversary and what better way than to be the anniversary dinner?

Actually it is Billy that suggests that Dr. Grant meet with the Kirbys. This leads you to think that Billy is somehow involved when the plane lands on Isla Sorna. But this plot line is just dangled in front of us and the writers never pursue this line of thinking.

The Kirbys real intention is to locate their son who has been lost on the island after going Para-sailing eight weeks earlier. The Kirby’s are from Enid, Oklahoma and this fact gets mentioned three times in the movie. Having been to Enid, Oklahoma I know that JP3 will be showing non-stop at both theaters there. I was more impressed with the Oklahoma reference then with the story line.


There is some great casting with this movie. William H. Macy is always wonderful to watch on screen. Seeing his character evolve from milquetoast company man to family protector is a joy to watch. As for Tea Leoni, there is nothing new here. She plays Macy’s wife. She does a lot of screaming and yelling and that is about all.

Besides Macy, the other real jewel in this movie is Michael Jeter. He is playing against cast as the mercenary that organizes the trip. You can just see the excitement in his face. He really gets into the role as an action figure.

JP3 does take the time to introduce us to some new dinosaurs. The flying pteranodon finally makes its screen debut. Michael Crichton had these lovely creatures in the original book. It’s sad that its taken three movies for them to finally appear on the scene. But, when they do, this is one of the most riveting parts of the movie.

The 44-foot spinosaurus is awesome and destructive as it rips apart the airplane and used its passengers as a rolling pin. I found this scene very frightful. I am acrophobic, claustrophobic and “dinophobic.” This scene will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. The special effects are truly exceptional. The general mass of the spinosaurus and the brachiosaurus is reminiscent of the first “Jurassic Park.”

I still expected more from this movie. The dinosaurs have gotten smarter, why haven’t the humans?

Steven Spielberg turned over the direction of this film to Joe Johnston. Joe made the movie 30-40 minutes shorter then the previous. Why Joe? Was it because you were having script re-writes straight up to the time you began shooting? Say it isn’t so Joe.

In 1993, I was truly amazed that there were dinosaurs for me to see. I am still amazed, but let down. This movie was anti-climatic. Sure its entertaining but at what cost? Has Steven finally reached into his bag of trick and finally come up empty? I can’t answer that. But for me, this movie was one big trailer for Jurassic Park IV: The Pteranodon.

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