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Jurassic Park III (2001)

Something else survived too.

Jurassic Park III (2001)There are dangerous sports and there are dangerous and stupid sports. Parascending with a small boy around an off-limit island swarming with carnivorous dinosaurs most definitely falls into the latter category and sure enough the whole affair ends in disaster. The boy’s biological parents are convinced that he is still alive so set about launching a mission to find him – clearly stupidity runs in the family. They do however have the foresight to take on board top dino-expert Dr Grant, a plane load of mercenaries and an irritating satellite phone with one of those jingles that is the bane of decent cinema-goers the world over. The slight snag is that they haven’t been entirely straight with the good doctor about their intended plan to actually land on the island and sure enough he is more than a little disgruntled when their true intentions are revealed to him, by means of a gentle coshing. Still the party have little choice once they are there because they foolishly go and wreck their plane, making their chances of escape slim to say the least. With Dr Grant’s realisation that his theories about velociraptors’ communication skills are correct and a dinosaur that trounces tyrannosaurs is on the loose, not to mention the flying peril offered by nests of pterodactyl, what possible chance is there that a lone child could survive for six minutes let alone six weeks? HAve a guess, this is executive produced by Spielberg after all…


Oh no. After the unmitigated travesty that was The Lost World you would have thought someone would have cried “Stop!” before greenlighting a further part but it was not to be – part two raked in shed-loads of currency and that’s the kind of action that’s hard to ignore. So Jurassic Park III arrives with less of a fanfare than its prequel, Mr S taking a sojourn from directing and Sam Neill back on board after wisely ducking away from The Lost Plot. So any improvement this time around? Well sort of. It is shorter…

Due to advances in CGI there are once again more dinosaurs and they are on-screen for longer, indeed the film wastes very little time outside the island before getting on with what is, in effect, one long ‘middle’ of a film. Any sense of more than superficial character development is ditched in favour of attribute revelation and a series of encounters, which could easily be shown in virtually any order (survivors excepting). Naturally market testing has determined that the public want – dinosaurs munching on humans, but even then, after the initial spate of killings there is very little sense of genuine danger. The Spielberg trait for sadism is still evident in a scene where one of the lackeys has his back deliberately broken (while he remains alive) by a pack of velociraptors in order to smoke out the remainder of the party who are cowering in the tree-tops. This is probably the only really objectionable scene in the (PG-rated) movie. The rest is solid, if uninspiring, family action fare. What you are left with is a relatively fact-free version of Walking With Dinosaurs but without Kenneth Brannagh.

One thing that Jurassic Park III manages to do effectively is provide a definitive solution to the all-too-common problem of divorce and its effects on the children in a manner that puts Relate to shame. By simply dumping your child on a dinosaur infested hellhole, the very process of getting them back solves all your relationship problems making a life-time of happy marriage a certainty. Maybe some resourceful government could instigate this policy as compulsory for would-be divorcees in order to maintain a stable family-based society. Or maybe it’s just horrible script writing.

Go and see it you really have nothing else to do.