A Jurassic Review, Vol. 3: Jurassic Park 3

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391892 14: Actor Sam Neill attends the premiere of the Universal Pictures film Jurassic Park III July 16, 2001 at Universal Studios in Burbank, CA. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for the next installment. Our previous adventure took us to Isla Sorna. Caught in the crossfire between Ingen mercenaries and a pair of angry Tyrannosaurus parents, it was pure chaos. Not to mention a rampaging father looking for his kin in San Diego, Isla Sorna has taught us a lesson about tampering with nature. Fast forward a few years, and we are heading on our next adventure. However, we’re revisiting Isla Sorna this time. Now, with a different cast of characters and themes. But this time, we’re encountering something scarier than a Tyrannosaurus. Something, much larger. Welcome, to Jurassic Park 3.

A Jurassic Review: Volume 3

Louder and Larger than a T. Rex

Ah yes, another year, another new millennium. 2001 brought us a highly anticipated sequel in the Jurassic Park franchise. Much like its predecessor, the movie brought in a slew of familiar and new faces. Veterans Sam Neil and Laura Dern return as both Dr. Grant and Ellie Sadler, which was pleasing to Jurassic Park purists in the audience. However, we are introduced to some new faces to the Jurassic Park family.

William H. Macy, better known for his work on Shameless, plays a hardware store owner named Paul Kirby. Tea Leoni, plays Pauls ex-wife named Amanda. Alessandro Nivola fills the role of a headstrong paleontologist who is a protege to Grant.

The stage is set for our characters, as they unfortunately land on the island of Isla Sorna. Under the guise as a simple vacation flight over the island, the Kirby’s reveal that their son went missing near the island after a botched parasailing trip. A simple flight turns rescue mission, the party encounter dinosaurs, and are running for their lives.

Raptors on the left and right, all the while being hunted down by a super-predator. Created secretly within the Ingen corporation, it was the largest land carnivore to have ever lived on the planet. Its name was Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. 

In 2001, we were introduced to the Spinosaurus. Armed with long sharp claws and a sail, this dinosaur looked like a badass on the silver screen. Despite leaving a bad taste amongst fans in the Jurassic Park community, it managed to take down an adult Tyrannosaurus rex. Isla Sorna was truly a jungle of nightmares.

Even with a new dinosaur that could beat a T. Rex into next week, was it able to save the franchise as a whole?

The Good: More Fangs and Claws

Despite having received mixed reviews at the box office, Jurassic Park 3 did not lack anywhere in the action department. First and foremost, the Spinosaurus was ruthless and vicious, just how dinosaurs should be. Relentlessly chasing humans down and taking down a full-grown T. Rex, Spinosaurus gets an A+. But of course, what is a Jurassic Park movie without Velociraptors? Smart, yet deadly. Sporting new aesthetic designs, the Raptors continued to deliver on the thrill factor.

Not to mention the Pteranodons during the birdcage scene shows those fliers have attitude and moxie. Alessandro should have earned an Oscar alone for his bravery and wit in saving his friends.

More screen time from both T. Rex and Velociraptor would have been nice. But, in a way, it is somewhat refreshing to see a new dinosaur, like Spinosaurus, get added to the mix. The chase scenes involving the Raptors and Spinosaurus manages to keep viewers on their seat the entire time. It begs them to ask, “oh my gosh, are they going to make it?”

Overall, it was exhilarating to see new predators take on the role of the antagonist in the film.

The Bad: Weak Acting and No Depth

Despite heart-pounding action and brainiac raptors, the movie could have been handled better. The plot itself was not bad by any stretch, but the acting and dialogue could definitely have used a rework or two. The exchanges between characters and weak character growth made the film somewhat stale. In some aspect, it looked more like a tourist adventure gone wrong instead of a true tale for survival.

While both Macy and Leoni are great actors in their own right, their characters seemed a bit…meh. Both of their characters needed a major “oomph,” and a stronger presence. To put it bluntly, they needed to show some backbone. It almost seemed that they should take the lead on this dangerous rescue mission, but they always had to rely on Grant for everything.

To put it shortly, the cast altogether needed to take the bull by the horns and act like they needed to survive. Not just mouth the words and move on.

Last Word: Mixed Feelings, The End of an Era Perhaps?

Alas, Jurassic Park 3 was supposed to be the revival of the franchise, to be the phenomenon of everyone falling in love with dinosaurs again. You had equal parts good, bad and ugly from this film. It managed to become a major summer blockbuster flick, but the film could have definitely been handled with more time and care. At the end of the day, fans were left wondering if this is it for the franchise. Thus, the memes poured in and left everyone wondering: when is Jurassic Park 4 happening?

 

 

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