Jurassic Park III
|Jurassic Park III|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joe Johnston|
|Produced by||Kathleen Kennedy
Larry J. Franco
|Written by||Peter Buchman
|Based on||Characters created
by Michael Crichton
William H. Macy
|Music by||Don Davis
John Williams (original themes)
|Edited by||Robert Dalva|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||93 minutes|
Jurassic Park III is a 2001 American science fiction adventure monster film and the third of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is the first film in the series that was not directed by Steven Spielberg nor based on a book by Michael Crichton (though numerous scenes in the film were taken from Crichton's novels Jurassic Park and The Lost World). The film takes place on Isla Sorna, the island featured in the second film, where a divorced couple has tricked Dr. Alan Grant into going in order to help them find their son.
After the success of Spielberg's Jurassic Park, Joe Johnston expressed interest in directing a sequel, a film adaptation of The Lost World. Spielberg instead gave Johnston permission to direct the third film in the series, if there were to be one. Production of Jurassic Park III began on August 30, 2000. Upon its release, the film received mixed reviews, with many praising the visual effects and action scenes but finding the plot clichéd and unoriginal. Despite being less well-received than the previous films, Jurassic Park III was a box office success, grossing $368 million worldwide.
Despite deadly and dangerous incidents being connected with Isla Sorna, tourists Ben Hildebrand and Eric Kirby decide to parasail around the island. A dinosaur of unknown species attacks and kills the crew, but Ben uncouples the line and they go sailing into the wilderness of Isla Sorna.
Meanwhile, Dr. Alan Grant has become famous as a result of his survival and involvement in the scandal of Jurassic Park and subsequent dinosaur attacks. Ellie Sattler has married a lawyer named Mark Delger and has a son, Charlie, who calls Alan "The Dinosaur Man" and a baby daughter whose name is unknown. One afternoon, while out on a dig, Alan's assistant, Billy demonstrates how he can use a 3D printer to replicate the larynx of a Velociraptor, and he gives the piece to Alan. They also discuss how raptors are far more intelligent than they had previously believed, and had a complex social structure and hunting pattern. A wealthy couple, Paul and Amanda Kirby, drop by and offer Alan some generous funding for his research if he will give them an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. Desperate for the money to fund further research, Alan reluctantly agrees. He flies there along with Paul and Amanda, Billy, plus Kirbys' associates, Udesky, Cooper and their pilot, Nash. The group flies over the plains of Isla Sorna, populated with groups of Brachiosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Corythosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus.
Alan learns that the Kirbys plan to land on the island, which contradicts what they had promised earlier. When he objects, he is knocked out by Cooper, only to awaken to the sound of Amanda calling out to someone on the island using a bullhorn. This attracts a hungry Spinosaurus and Cooper manages to lead it into the path of the plane before he is devoured. The plane then crashes into a tree and the Spinosaurus attacks the plane, killing Nash. After fleeing the plane, they manage to briefly lose the Spinosaurus after it gets caught between two trees. As they flee to safety, a Tyrannosaurus appears, and the Spinosaurus returns but the humans escape while the two distracted dinosaurs fight each other; the Spinosaurus kills the T.rex by breaking its neck.
Alan demands an explanation about what is really going on and the Kirbys confess they're actually a middle-class divorced couple who are using their life savings to look for their lost son, Eric, who vanished with Ben eight weeks ago near Isla Sorna. Alan is dubious that Eric could have survived eight weeks on Isla Sorna. Further exploration leads them to find the parasail entangled in a tree, with Ben's decomposing body still attached to it. A video recorder shows them Ben and Eric's final descent onto the island. When they stumble upon some raptor eggs they flee, taking the parasail with them. They find an abandoned compound and search in vain for communications equipment. After finding a broken-down vending machine and phones, they make their way to a derelict laboratory.
Amanda sees a Velociraptor and the group flees, but the pursuing raptor signals its pack mates to chase them, demonstrating the complex social structure and coordinated actions earlier theorized by Alan and Billy. During the ensuing chase, Udesky and Grant become separated from the others after causing a herd of Corythosaurus and Parasaurolophus to stampede, Alan grabs Billy's satchel that he dropped, and Udesky is killed by the raptors. Alan suspects the raptors are searching for something. He is rescued by Eric, who has managed to survive for eight weeks in an overturned supply truck, clearly impressing Alan. Eric recognizes the sound of his father's satellite phone, which was lost when Nash was devoured; they're reunited with the Kirbys and Billy before the Spinosaurus arrives again. They hide inside a small building and bar the doors. After failed attempts to open the doors, the Spinosaurus leaves.
Billy becomes possessive of his satchel; Alan realizes he has taken two eggs from the raptor's nest in the hope the contents will fund their next dig, and this explains the raptor attacks. Alan berates Billy for his careless behavior, comparing him to InGen. They make their way to a large outdoor complex, and Alan realizes in horror that the complex is a giant cage to house Pteranodon; they attack the group and fly away with Eric, taking him as food for their young. Billy uses the remnants of Ben's parasail to rescue Eric, shortly before he falls into the river below, then is attacked and seemingly killed by some of the Pteranodon.
The group find their way out of the cage, leaving the door unlocked in their panic. They make their way down river using a small boat. Alan is shocked by Billy's 'death' and explains to Eric that Billy was a person who wanted to do something, not just sit by and watch. The boat passes by a valley containing herds of Brachiosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Corythosaurus, Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus while Eric states that "Billy was right".
The group finds and retrieves the satellite phone from inside the feces belonging to the Spinosaurus. A Ceratosaurus appears and is repulsed by the smell. The Spinosaurus attacks and capsizes the boat as Alan is trying to contact Ellie, and he is only able to convey the words "The River, Site B" before he is disconnected. Alan and Paul manage to drive off the Spinosaurus for good by lighting the boat's fuel on fire, and the next day they start making their way toward the shoreline. Close to their goal, they are surrounded by raptors who see Amanda as a female 'leader' and a threat to their clutch of eggs. Using the imitation raptor larynx, Alan manages to communicate with the raptors, and Amanda surrenders the stolen eggs before the sound of helicopters startle off the raptors.
Returning to the beach, they find that Ellie had called in the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy to rescue them. They discover that Billy, while seriously injured, is alive, and has Alan's hat, which he had lost earlier. As they leave the island, they see the Pteranodon group flying free, and Alan recounts that it's time for them to find their place in the world again. The pterosaurs fly off into the clouds, seemingly satisfied of being freed of their cage.
- Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, the world-famous paleontologist who survived the incident on Isla Nublar and has since developed an important theory concerning Velociraptor intelligence.
- William H. Macy as Paul Kirby, the owner of a hardware store who poses as a wealthy businessman in order to lure Grant into helping search for his son.
- Téa Leoni as Amanda Kirby, Paul's ex-wife, who accompanies the group to Isla Sorna to search for her son.
- Alessandro Nivola as Billy Brennan, a young and over-enthusiastic graduate student from Grant's dig site; he knows how to fly a parasail and he is very physically fit.
- Trevor Morgan as Eric Kirby, Paul and Amanda's 12-year-old son who's stranded on Isla Sorna.
- Michael Jeter as Udesky, a meek but sardonic mercenary pilot who flies the airplane to Isla Sorna. Also a booking agent.
- John Diehl as Cooper, a tough mercenary and weapons specialist.
- Bruce A. Young as M. B. Nash, also a mercenary pilot: according to his dog tags he is a former Sergeant Major.
- Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Degler, née Sattler, a paleobotanist who also survived Isla Nublar.
- Taylor Nichols as Mark Degler, Ellie's husband and an expert in treaty law at the U.S. State Department.
- Mark Harelik as Ben Hildebrand, Amanda's boyfriend.
- Julio Oscar Mechoso as Enrique Cardoso, the owner and operator of the illegal "Dino-Soar" parasailing service.
- Blake Michael Bryan as Charlie Degler, Ellie and Mark's 3-year-old son who calls Grant "The Dinosaur Man."
- Sarah Danielle Madison as Cheryl Logan, one of Grant's graduate students at the Fort Peck Lake dig site.
- Linda Park as Hannah, Ellie's secretary.
Dinosaurs on screen
Joe Johnston had been interested in directing the sequel to Jurassic Park and approached Spielberg, a friend of his, about the project. While Spielberg wanted to direct the first sequel, he agreed that if there was ever a third film, Johnston could direct. Johnston never had any concrete concept for the third film, other than stating the film would be "more stand-alone" and feature a lot of flying reptiles. The third film was greenlit in August 1999 and Craig Rosenberg wrote a script involving teenagers who get marooned on Isla Sorna. An earlier storyline by Spielberg featured Alan Grant living in a tree on one of the islands and studying the dinosaur population.
New writers were brought in to scribe a story involving Pteranodon escaping from Site B and causing a spate of mysterious killings on the mainland, which was to be investigated by Alan Grant and a number of other characters including Billy Brennan, a naturalist named Simone, a tough military attaché, wealthy Paul Roby, and Roby's teenage son Miles. Grant's group crash-lands on the island, while a parallel investigation is being carried out on the mainland. The aviary sequence and laboratory set piece were initially much longer and more complex, including Velociraptor stealthily entering the hatchery as the team spends the night there. Sets, costumes, and props were built for this version, before Johnston rejected the entire script five weeks before filming in order to pursue the "rescue mission" plot, which had been suggested by David Koepp. Johnston said that the script was never finished during production: "We shot pages that eventually went into the final script but we didn't have a document". During the pre-production phase, concept artists created advertising for the film using a number of working titles including Jurassic Park: Extinction and Jurassic Park: Breakout.
After a teaser trailer debuted with Pokemon: The Movie 2000 on July 21, 2000, Production began on August 30, 2000 without a finished script, with filming in California, Oahu, and Molokai. The storyline contains minor scenes from Crichton's Jurassic Park and The Lost World novels that were not featured in the film versions, such as the Pteranodon aviary and the use of the boat. In a deviation from the previous films, the Spinosaurus is considered the primary antagonist: Johnston stated, "A lot of dinosaurs have a very similar silhouette to the T-Rex ... and we wanted the audience to instantly recognize this as something else." The silhouette of the Spinosaurus is also on the poster behind the Pteranodon, taking the place of the Tyrannosaurus which had been used in the previous films' posters. Baryonyx was originally considered to be the "big bad" before Spinosaurus was chosen, and early concept posters reflected this. Within film dialogue, Billy interprets the animal encountered as a Baryonyx or Suchomimus, but Dr. Grant corrects his analysis based on its sail.
The special effects used for the dinosaurs were a mixture of animatronics and CGI. Due to new discoveries and theories in the field of paleontology, the portrayal of several dinosaurs differed from that of the previous films. Discoveries suggesting that Velociraptor were feathered prompted the addition of quill-like structures on the head and neck of the males in the film. "We've found evidence that Velociraptors had feathers, or feather-like structures, and we've incorporated that into the new look of the raptor", said paleontologist Jack Horner, the film's technical adviser.
Given John Williams was busy writing the music for Spielberg's own A.I. Artificial Intelligence, he recommended Don Davis to write the Jurassic Park III score. Williams' original themes were integrated into the score as well as several new ones, such as one for the Spinosaurus that focused on low sounds, with tubas, trombones and timpani. The fight between him and the Tyrannosaurus, compared by Davis to King Kong fighting a dinosaur in the 1933 film, had a juxtaposition of the Spinosaurus theme with the one Williams wrote for the T. rex. In addition, "Big Hat, No Cattle", a song by Randy Newman, was used in a restaurant scene.
The film earned $181,171,875 in the United States and $368,780,809 worldwide, making it the eighth-highest-grossing film of the year worldwide but still earning less than either of its predecessors. As with the other films in the franchise, there was a large marketing push, including seven video games and a novelization aimed at young children. The film was released on VHS and DVD in December 2001. It was re-released with both sequels in December 2001 as the Jurassic Park Trilogy, and as the Jurassic Park Adventure Pack in November 2005. The film has also been released as a two-disc DVD set alongside Hulk. In 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray as part of the Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy. The soundtrack was released in July 2001.
Scott Ciencin wrote three children's books to tie in with the film; the first detailed the eight weeks Eric spent alone on Isla Sorna; the second had Eric and Alan returning to Isla Sorna to rescue a group of teenage filmmakers; and the last involved Eric and Alan leading the Pteranodon home after they nest in a Universal Studios theme park.
Jurassic Park III has received mixed reviews from critics. It currently holds a 49% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 159 reviews. The general consensus stated that "The dinos are as cool as ever, but there's too much of a 'been there, done that' feel." It also has a 42 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews. On both sites, it is the lowest rated film out of the Jurassic Park trilogy.
Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman, who praised both the previous Jurassic Park films, awarded the third film only a C grade, writing "Jurassic Park III has no pretensions to be anything more than a goose-bumpy fantasy theme-park ride for kids, but it's such a routine ride. Spielberg's wizardry is gone, and his balletic light touch as well, and that gives too much of this 90-minute movie over to the duller-than-dull characters." Derek Elley of Variety Reviews felt likewise, calling the film "an all-action, helter-skelter, don't-forget-to-buy-the-computer-game ride that makes the two previous installments look like models of classic filmmaking". Ben Varkontine of PopMatters, however, called it "not as good a ride as the first", but "better than the second." Much of the criticism was leveled at the plot as simply a chase movie with no character development; Apollo Movie Guide panned the film as being "almost the same as the first movie" with "no need for new ideas or even a script". Empire magazine gave the film 3 stars out of 5, commenting that it was "Short, scrappy and intermittently scary" and that the film ultimately "skews young". There were also complaints about its short length and small cast.
Hasbro released a line of 3.75" action figures in the spring of 2001 to coincide with the release, including electronic dinosaurs, humans, and vehicles. The figures were scaled down from the original Kenner action figures from the pre-JP3 toy lines. A smaller die-cast line of toys was also produced, along with clothes, books, and an interactive game. An arcade game, produced by Konami, and a video game, were also part of the Jurassic Park 3 merchandise.
A long-awaited sequel titled Jurassic World, is set to be released on June 12, 2015.
Awards and nominations
|Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Film||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||Jim Mitchell, Stan Winston (uncredited), Danny Gordon Taylor, Donald R. Elliott, John Rosengrant||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Visual Effects||Nominated|
|Best Sound Mixing||Howell Gibbens||Nominated|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Horror/Thriller Film||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing - Effects & Foley||Howell Gibbens, Christopher Boyes, James Likowski, Frank E. Eulner and Ken Fischer||Nominated|
|Sierra Awards||Best DVD||Won|
|BMI Film Awards||Best Music||Don Davis and John Williams||Won|
|Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Remake or Sequel||Nominated|
|Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||Worst Actress||Tea Leoni||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing More Than $100 Million Worldwide Using Hollywood Math||Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, based on the book by Michael Crichton||Nominated|
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- Scott Ciencin (October 2001). Prey. Boxtree. p. 123. ISBN 0-375-81290-3.
- Scott Ciencin (March 2002). Flyers. Boxtree. p. 128. ISBN 0-375-81291-1.
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