Jurassic Park III: Bigger, Scarier, Meaner and with more Teeth
Symposium Leader: Does anyone have a question?
[The entire audience raises their hands]
Dr. Grant: Fine. Does anyone have a question that does not relate to Jurassic Park?
[several audience members lower their hands]
Dr. Grant: ...Or the incident in San Diego, which I did not witness.
[The entire audience except one person lowers their hands]
Dr. Grant: Yes, sir?
Male Student: Your theory on raptors is good and all, but isn't all this conjecture kind of moot? I mean, once the U.N. and Costa Rica and everyone decides how to handle that second island, scientists will just go in and look for themselves.
Dr. Grant: Dinosaurs lived sixty-five million years ago. What is left of them is fossilized in the rocks, and it is in the rock that real scientists make real discoveries. Now what John Hammond and InGen did at Jurassic Park is create genetically engineered theme park monsters, nothing more and nothing less.
Female Student: Are you saying you wouldn't want to get onto Isla Sorna and study them, if you had the chance?
Dr. Grant: No force on earth or heaven could get me on that island.
Epic Foreshadowing for Jurassic Park III: Dr. Grant’s Revenge
I’m starting this review with that quote, because the one thing this movie does great is foreshadowing. The last few blog reviews have been on decent films, but now unfortunately we are going to start reviewing some films that fall short of not just being entertaining but are pretty much just cash grabs. So much cash grabs that although InGen may be bankrupt, they might as well have come up with the continuation of the Jurassic Park and later Jurassic World series.
We begin our film with the introduction of Ben Hildebrand and Erik Kirby as they go on an illegal parasailing adventure around Isla Sorna. You know that island in the previous film that had all the dinosaurs allowed to roam free? Well, Ben Hildebrand is one of those step-dads that thinks he is cool and goes to an illegal island where dinosaurs can do whatever they want and don’t care if you are illegally coming to their island. Might as well come on over with a giant sign saying, ‘Eat Me!”. So not only is Ben doing something illegal, he is endangering his step-son Erik Kirby just, so they can go see dinosaurs. I wonder if anything bad will happen? Gasps.
Charlie: [Forcing a Brontosaurus and Triceratops to fight] Rawr! Rawr! Rawr!
Dr. Grant: No, Carlie these are carnivores and they really like fighting with each other. They’ll use their teeth and claws to rip each other’s throats out.
Ellie Degler: Alan, he’s three. Let’s wait for the dinosaur lecture until he’s five.
Segueing to our film’s protagonist and the only good thing about this movie is Sam Neill returning as Dr. Alan Grant. Where he teaches three-year-old Charlie about the difference between herbivores and dinosaurs before his mother Ellie Sattler decides to wait until he is a bit older. We catch up with Grant, and Sattler and find out that the latter has started a family with someone in the state department and has two kids. Grant discusses his new findings that raptors were smarter than even primates. I mean they can open doors after all…
The next time we see Grant he is talking at a lecture about dinosaurs and trying to get funding for his paleontological digs. Grant as always, and many in his field are strapped by cash. Money is a very important theme in this film, which we will discuss later. During the questions Grant is berated by people who want to know about his experience on Isla Nublar. Another student, as seen in the quote at top wants to know why Grant doesn’t want to go to Site B, aka Isla Sorna to look at the dinosaurs in action. His retort is that dinosaurs died 65 million years ago, and he would never go back. Well, I guess the film is over, time to go on a rest room break.
The film continues despite our foreshadowing where we are introduced to Billy Brennan who is probably the most engaging, conflicted, and most interesting character in this movie besides Grant. Billy is a graduate student paleontologist who apparently Grant trusts a lot. Billy shows him some new technology which the future of paleontology is going to look like. Another reason why paleontologists need money, all the new tech. Grant luckily doesn’t touch it, don’t want to happen what transpired in the first film now do we.
Soon they are joined by a con-man, I mean a wealthy adventurist named Paul Kirby of wait for it… Kirby Enterprises. He invites Grant and Billy, whom he already knows apparently to dinner with his parents. It is here at some dingy little bar in the middle of nowhere that Grant should see some red flags starting to appear. They are introduced to his wife, Amanda Kirby where more red flags come up about them asking him to be their guide to Isla Sorna. Grant is dead set against it until Mr. Kirby offers to pay whatever he needs on a check. Greed is an important theme about this film. (What is this The Hobbit?)
Dream Velociraptor: Alan! Alan!
Grant wakes up on a plane with a dream of a velociraptor talking to him. He wakes up as they approach the island. Once on the island, we see the dinosaurs, and the second red flag comes up that nobody is actual interested in the dinosaurs besides Grant and Billy. Then, the final red flag where everything starts to come into focus is when they ask to land. Grant gets upset saying that they can’t land on this island. One it is illegal, and two it is dangerous. We will see why Grant was correct later taking on Ian Malcom’s prophetic nature from the previous film.
Grant once again wakes up, this is a reoccurring theme. Maybe this is all a bad dream sequence by Steven Spielberg? No, it’s not as Grant wakes up and asks if they landed. He wakes up to screaming and shouting and Mr. Kirby tries to rationalize with Grant only for him to lecture Mr. Kirby about his wife’s stupidity. Amanda decides to use a megaphone to call for her son Erik, which starts to bring the plot of the movie into fruition.
Paul Kirby: Dr. Grant said that is a very bad idea.
Before we are given further explanation, we hear a dinosaur roar in the distance. Grant’s prophecies come true. He fears that it is bigger than a T-Rex and everyone runs back into the plane. Except for one, a mercenary named Cooper who gets left behind. The plane starts to take off and Cooper walks out bloody before he is eaten by a Spinosaurus. The plane hits the Spinosaurus and is damaged, so it lands in the forest.
They are not out of the park yet as the Spinosaurus followed them and eats the pilot Nash. Important note, Mr. Kirby had a satellite phone and was calling someone, for some reason Nash had it before he was eaten. This is very important, and very moronic plot device later. The Spinosaurus does a barrel roll with what is left of the plane before the five survivors including Dr. Grant, Billy, Udesky and unfortunately the Kirby’s.
The remaining group of survivors flee the Spinosaurus only to encounter a T-Rex scavenging on a carcass Grant tells them not to move and everyone including Billy run. The Rex follows suit, but don’t worry the Spinosaurus saves them. There is a stupid scene where Grant is trapped in a log and escapes the fight only to rejoin the others. Oh, yeah to make fanboys cry, the T-Rex is killed by the Spino. Grant escapes the log and meets up with the others, where we finally get an explanation on why the plot hasn’t been revealed yet.
Apparently, we hear a sob story about their son going on an illegal excursion with Miss Kirby’s current boyfriend/husband. It’s a complicated relationship. We find out The Kirby’s are divorced, but throughout the film we see their awkward romance be rekindled, unfortunately. This takes prominence over most of the plot and takes time away from any actual progress of escaping the island.
They find the glider in a tree and see that Ben was unlikely and apparently died. The sob story about how the US Embassy told them just to except the inevitable. Although, you can see Mr. Kirby’s anger, I mean he and his wife let this guy take their son to an illegal island. Not the government’s fault you are bad parents, now is it? They also pretty much kidnapped Dr. Grant so they are not good people. Just two, very stupid and very lucky people.
Dr. Grant: Why me?
Paul Kirby: He said we needed someone who’d been on the island before.
Udesky: Yes, but I did not tell you to kidnap somebody!
Dr. Grant: I have never been on this island.
Paul Kirby: Sure, you have, you wrote that book.
Billy Brennan: That was Isla Nublar. This is Isla Sorna – Site B.
The couple goes off on their own and finds some dinosaur eggs. While Billy takes the glider as they might use it. We get a bit of back story that Billy knows how to use one. This comes in handy later. See this scene sets up another scene. If this movie does anything right is that it foreshadows events correctly.
Another foreshadowing comes later, after Grant is alerted by the dinosaur eggs. Grant, the Kirby’s and Udesky continue with Billy nowhere to be seen. Grant yells for Billy is zipping his pack. After saying that he was looking at the dinosaur eggs. This not only foreshadows the upcoming scene, but also a revelation that occurs later.
The group of five make their way to a compound. A blurred shadow of a raptor foreshadows the upcoming encounter. There is a funny scene where they find some vending machines. Mr. Kirby looks for some change, but Billy being reasonable breaks the glass of the vending machines that are obviously out of service and takes some food. Paul Kirby tries the same thing, but it turns into a comedic moment where he can’t accomplish the same feats.
Amanda: This is how you make dinosaurs?
Dr. Grant: No, this is how you play God.
They now enter a lab, where the morality of the previous films comes into question. It is here that Amanda Kirby goes off on her own and sees a raptor in a test tube. Ha-ha, no it wasn’t in the test tube, it was just an optical illusion and it lunges out at Amanda. The raptor then attacks them and all five of them flee. I mean I get that they don’t know if the raptor is by itself, but there is five against one in a laboratory. I’m sure they could have found something to use against the raptor. Instead we get a wacky, wily coyote chase scene. Which ends with the raptor calling for help.
Grant and his fellow adventurers leave the compound and manage to trap the raptor momentarily. Only for them to be separated by a charging herd of dinosaurs. Udesky is left behind and killed by a raptor. While Billy and the Kirby’s hide up in a tree. Here is when Amanda the genius looks and sees Udesky. She things he is still alive, because they the arm move. Billy points out that something looks weird, and when Amanda trips and almost falls, the raptors spring their trap. This movie switched from being a horror film to being Mouse Trap, except it’s the raptors who are trying to trap the humans.
The remaining raptors follow Grant, who is saved by a smoke grenade and a small boy. He is taken back to a downed convoy where it is revealed the boy is none other than Erik Kirby. Apparently, the kid is far more intelligent and resourceful than his parents and has survival skills. He is surprised his parents are here together. Erik Kirby bonds with Dr. Grant, who apparently likes kids now, a complete character growth from the first film.
Erik: I read both of your books. I liked the first one more. Before you were on the island. You liked dinosaurs back then.
Dr. Grant: Back then they hadn’t tried to eat me yet.
Erik and Grant continue down the coast as does the Kirby’s and Billy. On the way Erik hears the jingle of his father’s phone. Erik begins to yell for them. On the other side of a fence, Billy and the world’s most amazing parents hear their son. They met on the end of a fence. Where two questions are asked.
The first red flag that things are not as they seem is when Billy insists that Grant give him the bag. But, they don’t get to resolve this quite yet. Erik tells his parents they found them due to the phone jingle. We are then reminded that Nash had the phone before he was eaten and then the Spino appears behind them.
Grant and Erik run to a small crack in the fence and escape. Everyone looks back for a nice family picture scene. That image is destroyed when the Spinosaurus just rams into the fence and chases after them. Luckily there is a building behind them and luckily there is a castle type lock to keep the dinosaurs out. *Rolls Eyes for convivence*
Billy Brennan: You must believe me, this was a stupid decision, but I did it with the best intentions.
Dr. Grant: With the best intentions? Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions. You know what, Billy? As far as I’m concerned, you’re no better than the people that built this place.
It is here, that the big can of worms comes out. Billy had stolen the raptor eggs and explains why the raptors keep chasing them. Grant does some holier than though attitude trying to make what Billy did equivalent to what Ingen did or even Hitler. The implication was out of anger, but didn’t Grant come to this island endangering Billy’s life so he could get some money from Kirby? I mean it is a moral hypocrisy that really sours the rest of the movie.
Although, Mr. Kirby wants them to get rid of the eggs, Grant understands that if he gets rid of them the raptors will get mad at them. This logic is also lacking any sort of logic. I don’t think raptors despite being intelligent would spare them. These are wild animals who lack sympathy and who see humans as food. All this scene is to shoe horn another one that comes up later in the film. It’s just lazy writing to push a certain moral plot point that isn’t veritable.
Dr. Grant: Oh, my God.
Amanda: What is it?
Dr. Grant: It's a birdcage.
Amanda: For what?
The group continues down some stair cases and enters some sort of bird cage. There are rickety bridges and rails. The whole pathway is sealed off by cages, so it means that they were there for a reason. Obviously, this foreshadows something bad. Grant and Amanda Kirby are the first to cross, and kiddo is next. Erik however sees a Pteradon and soon he is grabbed and taken to its nest.
The adults try to save Erik, but humans unfortunately can’t fly. Not even, ‘dinosaur man’ Dr. Grant. But, remember Billy knows how to use a glider and took one of the spares earlier. He uses it to save Erik but becomes a target of the Pteradons instead. His sacrifice is the most commendable part of the film.
After escaping the bird cage the four remaining get to a boat. It is one this boat that we get some more information about the boring rekindling romance between the Kirbys. As well as Dr. Grant feeling bad about what he said to Billy.
Dr. Grant: I have a theory that there are two kinds of boys. There are those that want to be astronomers, and those that want to be astronauts. The astronomer, or the paleontologist, gets to study these amazing things from a place of complete safety.
Erik: But, then you never get to go into space.
Dr. Grant: Exactly. That’s the difference between imagining and seeing: to be able to touch them. And that’s … that’s all Billy wanted.
Later a scene segues to a group of beautiful sauropods.
Erik replies: You know what, Billy was right.
Don’t worry, this shit storm has just begun to reach its climax. The four on their little river boat sail down the river. At night they hear the jingle and think it’s a Spinosaurus, instead its piles of steaming poop. A reference to the first film and an analogy to the film itself. They find the phone and use it to call Ellie.
It starts to rain, but all the fish are spooked. I wonder what that could be? The Spinosaurus attacks while it’s raining, and the four heroes hide in a cage that is on the boat for some reason. The boat begins to sink, as it does Grant gets a hold of Ellie. At first, she doesn’t understand him, but when Charlie growls like a dinosaur, she begins to sprawl into action.
There is a heroic scene where Mr. Kirby sacrifices himself and Grant shoots a flare gun at the Spinosaurus, the water around it became distilled with oil thanks to the tanker on the back of the ship leaking. This sends the Spinosaurus away, but seemingly killed Mr. Kirby. Unfortunately, dad of the year is still around, and this rekindles the Kirby’s love. So, there are two tragedies there. Poor, Erik.
With the Spinosaurus gone, the group head towards the coast by foot. Unfortunately for them the raptor squad appears and surrounds them. Grant thinks they have come for the eggs, so they offer the eggs. Apparently, Amanda is the head of the human pack for some reason and is the one who offers the eggs back to the dinosaurs. He thinks this will stop them from attacking for some reason.
The raptors low and behold take the eggs and still surround them. The raptors prepare to attack, but Grant takes out a fossil replicator of the raptor voice box. He tries to scare them off, but that doesn’t do it only incites them to be confused if anything. Like a US tourist speaking a foreign language in a foreign country very badly. Mr. Kirby probably says the smartest thing he ever said in the film that Grant should call for help. Grant calls for help, and then helicopters come. This scares off the raptors for good and the survivors make it the coast.
Eric: That lady you called.
Dr. Grant: Hmm?
Eric: Who is she? How do you know that she can help us?
Dr. Grant: She was the one person I could always count on. I owe her a lot. Although I don't think I ever told her that.
Eric: You should.
[Later, when they all are rescued]
Eric: Wow. You must thank her now. She sent the Navy and the Marines!
Dr. Grant: God bless you, Ellie
At the coast a man is waiting for Dr. Grant with a megaphone. They all bring back the megaphone incident from earlier. But, then a few Amphibious vehicles armed with marines comes to the island. I mean that is impressive. They are rescued but see some Pteradons have escaped. Oh, no… but at least the movie is finally over. Also, Billy survived.
This film was, well it’s problematic at best. There are some good decisions, but some equally bad ones that impact the whole film. Dr. Grant and Billy are the only characters I really enjoy. Everyone else is either annoying or extremely lucky. I understand that Eric had some survival skills, but his parents are completely stupid. As is everyone else who they brought with them.
There is a reason nobody is allowed on this island. It’s like if a group of people were to go to Sentinel Island. You would probably get killed by the natives. Isla Sorna is off limits because dinosaurs can live there, and they will eat you.
Greed is a theme of this film and even though Grant is a hypocrite in this film, at least he understands his misgivings in the end. Billy is interesting, because unlike Grant he found a way to make buck with those raptor eggs. But, Grant’s holier than though attitude gets in the way. Billy probably was thinking of himself, probably has loans to pay off and wants to help Grant with funding digs. He is the most proactive person in this film and because of it, is the most engaging. Everyone else is flat, boring, and well either is unlucky that they were killed or had plot armor.
The first two Jurassic Park films had a cast of strong women. This film had none of that, Amanda Kirby is the stupidest character in Jurassic Park history. The only reason she wasn’t eaten was because of plot device. Mr. Kirby isn’t much better, but Amanda is the only actual female lead in the field and after the likes of Ellie Sattler and Sarah Harding, she is not up to task. But, don’t worry the reboot has even more stupid woman.
Next week we will review the most disappointing remake/reboot in Jurassic History. Jurassic World, and how despite Jurassic Park III’s problems it is still a lot better than Jurassic World.