Jurassic Park III (2001) (PG-13)
"Jurassic Park III" should have been an easy success. It builds on the solid foundation of Michael Crichton's brilliant premise and Steven Spielberg's incredible first movie in the series. Closing the trilogy (though perhaps not for too much longer, as another movie is currently in the making), "Jurassic Park III" brings back the character of Alan Grant.
Grant (Sam Neill, effortlessly awesome as always) has been biding his time, working with dead dinosaurs. He enjoys the fact that he works with the bones of the savage beasts—the dinosaurs he sees are long deceased...he's quite fine with that.
He will give lectures on raptors, which have become his area of expertise. More research has revealed that these smart killers may have been much more intelligent that originally thought. They could have had they own language and Grant hypothesizes that had they not died off, they could have become the dominant species on earth instead of humans.
But rather than actually listen to Grant's ideas, much more people are interested in his experiences on Isla Nublar (from the original film). One person asks him if he wouldn't rather return to the island and view dinosaurs living and breathing...study their habits instead of creating guesswork. Grant replies that no force on earth was strong enough to take him back to that island.
Enter the Kirby family, husband and wife, who are interested in sight-seeing on Site-B of the Jurassic Park adventure land—this new island is Isla Sorna. The Kirbys think that if they make a hefty contribution to Grant's study he'll be more than happy to be their guide as they fly low over the island...they have special permission from the powers that be for this vacation. In other words: they grant Grant a grant.
So apparently, Alan can be forced back to the island of dinos with just a little money. He is accompanied by his assistant Billy, an inquisitive young man who regrettably gets most of the terrible lines in "Jurassic Park III" and of those, there are many.
But the star that outshines the others as far as bad acting goes is the usually likable Téa Leoni as Mrs. Kirby.
Anyways, the party that flies over the island decides that they are going to land. Grant soon learns out that the Kirbys are looking for their son who went missing while vacationing next to the islands. He's been missing for eight weeks and they have conned Alan here with money that they don't have.
Now they have to survive on the island and try to find their son.
"Jurassic Park III" is filled with illogical decisions lined up nicely after each other like impossible dominoes. If you take the dinosaurs out of the movie, you are left with completely irrational decisions, terrible dialogue, and a premise that is paper thin at best. When you add the dinosaurs back in, you get an operatic odyssey in bad that somehow manages to feel entertaining when it's all over.
If we listed all of the movie's sins, we'd be here for quite a while. There is no period for mourning for dead souls, there is no listening to the sage advice that never ceases to flow from Alan Grant's mouth, there is no reason for why people suddenly become selfish, courageous, or cowardly, and there is absolutely no reason that a dinosaur who breaks through metal barricade can't knock down a flimsy door to a...wait for it....glass building.
Yet there are good moments in the film as well, a few surprises manage to be somewhat startling. Sam Neill is always fun to watch and he can deliver great one-liners like few others...even if those one-liners are borderline cringe inducing.
For a few moments Laura Dern reprises her role from the first movie, but her great talent is wasted with the terrible script. This is odd because the script was written by three writers, two of whom went on to receive Oscars for screenwriting! There should be no reason that movie has the terrible dialogue that it does.
Maybe we should blame the director, Joe Johnston, for ruining the movie. After all he also made "Captain America: The First Avenger", so he hasn't exactly evolved into a great filmmaker since his dino-days.
Still, the special effects aren't all bad—though they don't compare with the original.
There is romance where there should be none, drama where they should be action, and no dinosaurs where there should be more. freakin'. dinosaurs.
"Jurassic Park III" somehow forgets that the first movie wasn't a monster flick...it was a study about humanity. If they had stayed true to their roots, maybe the movie could have been a success; but they didn't, and it wasn't.
Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones