Jurassic Park III

Directed By: Joe Johnston

Starring: Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Téa Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, and Michael Jeter

The hardest reality for a Hollywood studio executive to face is that some of the best movies don't require sequels.  Some of the finest in blockbuster cinema include those films that remain untarnished by needless follow-ups.  These films stand on their own.  Though there are few films that meet this standard anymore, they do exist.  The quintessential example is Inception.  To this day, it's best that we don't know whether Cobb's totem ever dropped.  As time has told (and may potentially tell all over again in June of this year), one film that's never really required a sequel is Jurassic Park.  Regardless, it’s gotten them anyway.  If the first sequel The Lost World is a few notches below the original, then the absolutely pointless Jurassic Park III is even farther below that one.

Foolishly and recklessly, Ben Hildebrand (Mark Harelik) decides to take his girlfriend's 12 year-old son Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan) parasailing around the notorious Isla Sorna, the island offering living proof that InGen once tried to play God.  Things naturally go wrong, and Ben and Eric end up getting lost on the island full of genetically modified dinosaurs.  However, former married couple Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy & Téa Leoni) are not going to leave Ben and their boy Eric to fend for themselves on the island.  To find their son, they turn to renowned paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and his graduate assistant Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola).  There's just one problem.  According to the good doctor, no force on heaven or earth could get him on that island.  With this in mind, the Kirby couple employs more treacherous tactics to get him there.

Jurassic Park III is unnecessary.  It's completely and absolutely unnecessary.  With clearly digitized dinosaurs, the graphics are cheap and not as aesthetically delightful as the original movie that was released some eight years ahead of it.  These underdeveloped visual effects just don't fly in 2001 (especially not in retrospect in 2015).  Without the touch of Steven Spielberg, the film lacks style.  Director Joe Johnston doesn't use the tools at his disposal to elevate this to blockbuster cinema that's simultaneously breathtaking and horrifying.  There are no techniques or cinematic flourishes that attempt to elevate this film to something more, and it's quite noticeable.

The premise of Jurassic Park III is nothing short of idiotic.  A kid and his pseudo father figure go parasailing near Isla Sorna against the warnings of multiple governments and get stuck.  Then, the parents trick a world-famous paleontologist familiar with the horrors on that island to fly there directly over it for a “tour” but not land for whatever reason.  On this Costa Rican island, we also have velociraptors that can vocalize.  On top of all this, a twelve year-old boy has managed to survive on this island alongside T-Rexes, pterodactyls, and velociraptors for eight straight weeks on his own.  Now, I am one who can suspend my disbelief and immerse myself in just about any movie.  However, the storyline in Jurassic Park III is just inane.  It is absolutely one of the most ridiculous plots in recent cinematic history.

For what it's worth, the cast doesn't exactly give Johnston a helping hand.  Reprising his role as Dr. Alan Grant, Sam Neill once again gives us the amusing grouch who transitions into a caring male figure.  Without fellow cast members like Jeff Goldblum or Laura Dern from the original, however, Neill's performance as the gutsy paleontologist seems a bit underwhelming.  For their roles as divorcees Paul and Amanda Kirby respectively, William H. Macy and Téa Leoni are profoundly irritating above all else.  They offer slippery, spineless characters who have no business in a film like this.  Playing entirely too much into this, their constant cluelessness on screen as these two characters translates to our continued annoyance in the audience.

Jurassic Park III is a film that should have never been made.  It's a clear and simple money grab.  Marked by poor writing, poor acting, and poor direction, Joe Johnston's Jurassic Park III is nowhere near the caliber of either of its predecessors.  This third outing gets a wasted rating.  Kamikaze shots are a must for this one.