Jurassic Park III is the 2001 film sequel to The Lost World: Jurassic Park and the third entry in the Jurassic Park franchise. The film was directed by Joe Johnston and stars Sam Neill, Alessandro Nivola, Téa Leoni, William H. Macy, and Trevor Morgan.
Four years have passed since the events of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The public is aware of the existence of cloned dinosaurs on Isla Sorna but humans are now prohibited from making contact with the island. Taking advantage of this is an illegal boat-Dino-Soar" has been set up to give "safe distance" coastal tours of the island. Young dinosaur enthusiast Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan) and family friend Ben Hildebrand decide to go parasailing. However, the boat is seemingly attacked by reptiles and left unmanned, heading towards a cluster of protruding rocks. Eric and Ben then detach the tow rope and drift towards the Isla Sorna.
Meanwhile, we revisit Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern). Both have continued their paleontological careers but are now working independently; Ellie is married and has two children while Grant has furthered his digging career, now with a young protégé named Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola). Together they have made some interesting discoveries about raptors, even producing a replica of the creature's resonating chamber, equivalent to a voice box.
Grant is approached by Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Téa Leoni), who claim to be wealthy thrill-seekers who want Grant to give them an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. Grant is very reluctant to begin with, but once the Kirbys' propose a donation to fund his dig, he can't say no.
The plane carrying Grant, Billy, the Kirbys and three mercenaries arrives at Isla Sorna. Piloting the plane is Nash and a self-styled "booking agent" named Udesky. Grant suspects something is not quite right when the Kirbys try to land the plane. Grant becomes agitated and is knocked unconscious by another mercenary named Cooper. Billy wakes Grant after the plane has landed, and we hear Amanda shouting someone's name through a megaphone. Grant tells her to stop, but she persists; we hear a very loud roar in the distance. The mercenaries, who have entered the jungle to make sure the area is "safe", burst through the trees and urgently insist on leaving the island. Billy notes Cooper's absence, but Udesky urges him back into the plane. Cooper appears on the runway as the plane begins to take off, yelling for them to stop the plane. A Spinosaurus emerges from the undergrowth and nabs Cooper as Nash is forced to make a premature takeoff.
Clipping the Spinosaur's sail, the plane falls back into the jungle where it crashes into the branches of a tree. The survivors find themselves intact and immediately look for a way out, only to the find Spinosaurus has followed them. The Spinosaurus decimates the plane and devours Nash before chasing the rest of the group. Escaping, the group encounter a Tyrannosaurus rex which pursues them, encountering the Spinosaurus (again). The two titanic predators engage in a brutal tussle and despite having the upper hand, the Tyrannosaur was eventually overpowered by brute force.
Soon after the battle, the group discover a cluster of raptor eggs by a river. After Billy has finished photographing the nest, the group enters a derelict InGen laboratory. After exploring the compound, they are attacked by a male Velociraptor. The group flees the building while the raptor calls for help. While running through a herd of Parasaurolophus and Corythosaurus, Grant picks up Billy's satchel that he dropped and becomes separated from Billy and the Kirbys. Udesky is also separated and runs into the jungle into more raptors, who attack him. Billy and the Kirbys are hiding in a tree and notice his crippled body. He moves his arm, indicating he is still alive. As they descend the tree, Amanda slips and clings to a branch; two raptors scurry out of the bushes and leap towards Amanda, trying to pull her down. They stop their attack and leave after hearing the other raptor calling. Before leaving, one raptor kills Udesky, and Billy realizes they set a trap.
In the meantime, Grant is rescued from the raptors by Eric, who has been living in an abandoned truck for 8 weeks. Eric has salvaged supplies and food from the InGen compound and has been using gas grenades to evade dinosaur attacks.
Everyone is soon reunited, but their harmony is interrupted by the Spinosaur, who they notice after hearing the satellite phone ringing from inside the dinosaur. They manage to find shelter in an abandoned observatory and the dinosaur ends the pursuit. Grant discovers that has Billy stolen some raptor eggs, explaining the earlier attacks and new behavior. He is furious with Billy, claiming he is "no better than the people who built this place."
The group attempts to reach a barge docked in a nearby river. However, they are forced to pass through a massive aviary and are attacked by Pteranodons. Using the para glider he salvaged, Billy tries to rescue Eric from a nest of Pteranodon chicks and is attacked by several adults. He plunges into the river as they continue to attack him, seemingly killing him.
Grant and the Kirbys board the boat, encountering some Parasaurolophus, Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Ankylosaurus grazing in a field. Grant marvels at the way they coexist with each other and their environment.
While floating down river they hear a familiar ring tone. They find some Spinosaurus dung containing the undigested bones and clothes of the mercenaries. Among them is the satellite phone, swallowed by the Spinosaurus when it devoured Nash. A Ceratosaurus approaches but is warded off by the smell. As they set off down the river, Eric notices the fish in the water seem spooked. The Spinosaurus emerges from the water and rips the boat to pieces, tearing the engine open and spilling petrol into the river. Grant attempts to contact Ellie, but only manages to say "The river! Site B!" as the boat is submerged. They swim to the surface where Paul distracts the Spinosaurus by climbing a construction crane while Grant fires a flare gun, igniting the split petroleum and scaring the beast away.
The group is close to the shore when the raptors suddenly reappear, wanting their eggs back. The eggs are returned to the raptors, and using the raptor resonating chamber, Grant fakes a signal that momentarily confuses the carnivores, who retreat with their eggs when they hear the approach of some helicopters.
The group arrives at the beach to see a detachment of the United States Marine Corps, including two aircraft carriers, no doubt sent by Ellie and her husband. As they board a helicopter, Grant finds Billy, still alive but severely injured. As the helicopter heads towards an amphibious assault ship, the Pteranodons fly past (a scene similar to the pelicans in the first movie), apparently looking for new nesting grounds.
- Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant: World-famous paleontologist who survived the incident on Isla Nublar and has since developed an extensive and groundbreaking theory concerning raptor intelligence.
- Alessandro Nivola as Billy Brennan: A young and overly-enthusiastic graduate student at Grant's digsite whose impulsive actions land the entire rescue party in jeopardy.
- William H. Macy as Paul Kirby: The owner of a hardware store who poses as a wealthy businessman in order to lure Grant onto Isla Sorna to help search for their son.
- Téa Leoni as Amanda Kirby: Paul's ex-wife who accompanies the group to Site B, feeling guilty for having lost Eric. Knows very little about dinosaurs.
- Trevor Morgan as Eric Kirby: The 12-year-old son of Paul and Amanda who ends up stranded on Site B for eights weeks, and fends for himself without Ben Hildebrand.
- Michael Jeter as Udesky: A meek but sardonic mercenary "booking agent" who travels with his two associates to the island, and is ultimately crippled and killed by raptors.
- John Diehl as Cooper: A tough mercenary who's quickly abandoned by Nash and is killed by the Spinosaurus on the Site B runway.
- Bruce A. Young as M.B. Nash: The mercenary pilot who abandons Cooper and is subsequently eaten by the Spinosaurus while carrying the satellite phone.
- Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler: A paleobotanist who also survived Isla Nublar and is Grant's former flame, and makes good on her promise to help him when he needs it most.
- Taylor Nichols as Mark Degler: Ellie's husband and an expert in treaty law at the US State Department, who uses his connections to help Grant's group get rescued from Isla Sorna.
- Mark Harelik as Ben Hildebrand: Amanda's reckless boyfriend who does not survive his landing on the island after he is killed.
- Julio Oscar Mechoso as Enrique Cardoso': The owner and operator of the illegal "Dino-Tours" parasailing service, which offers to take tourists close to Site B so they can see the dinosaurs. Cause of death is unknown; possibly Pteranadons or the Spinosaurus.
- Blake Michael Bryan as Charlie Degler: The three-year-old son of Ellie and Mark, who thinks of Alan Grant as "The Dinosaur Man."
- Sarah Danielle Madison as Cheryl Logan: A graduate student who flirts with Billy (or who is flirted with) at Grant's dig site in Montana.
- Linda Park as Hannah: Ellie's assistant whose duties include dealing with Tom, Ellie's editor.
- Tyrannosaurus rex
- Suchomimus (mentioned only)
- Baryonyx (mentioned only; cut)
- Carnotaurus (cut)
- Mosasaurus (cut)
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JP3 was originally going to be called "Jurassic Park: Extinction", but then Universal decided to drop it. JP3 was greenlit in 1999, with the story by Steven Spielberg of Alan Grant living in a tree after eight years on one of the islands, to study the animals. Joe Johnson rejected it because he felt it was like an episode of "Friends", and no one wanted to see six college students on the island. Johnston never had any concrete concept for the third installment, other than stating the film would be "more stand-alone" and feature lots of flying reptiles.
Production began on August 30, 2000 without a finished script, with filming in California, Oahu, and Molokai. Although it is an original story, not based on a Michael Crichton novel, it contain's minor scenes from Crichton's Jurassic Park and The Lost World novels that were ultimately not featured in the film versions, such as the Pteranodon aviary and the use of the boat. In a change from the first two films, the Spinosaurus replaced the T. rex as the main antagonistic dinosaur. As to why the Spinosaurus was chosen for the role, 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." Baryonyx was originally considered to be the "big bad" before the Spinosaurus was chosen.
The special effects used for the dinosaurs were a mixture of animatronics and CGI. The portrayal of several dinosaurs differs from that of the previous two films. Due to new discoveries and theories in the field of paleontology, suggesting that Velociraptors were feathered, the male Velociraptors in the film have quill-like structures on the head and neck. "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, dino adviser on the film.
Allusions to the novels
A major point of critic on Jurassic Park III was that it wasn't based on a novel of Michael Crichton, but was merely the product of the script writers. However since Crichton only wrote two novels, a third movie could only contain novel material that had not already been used in the first two films.
- Like in the novels Ellie Sattler marries and has children with a man that isn't Alan Grant.
- Billy steals dinosaur eggs, just like Lewis Dodgson, Howard King and George Baselton do in The Lost World.
- The laboratories of the InGen Compound resemble those of the Lost World novel. The laboratories were not specifically seen in The Lost World: Jurassic Park but did show an abandoned facility building.
- The Aviary first appeared in the Jurassic Park novel (but was ultimately not seen in the first film).
- The Pteranadons ultimately fulfil the role of Cearadactylus in the first novel.
- The travel with the boat over the river and the subsequent attack of the Spinosaur ultimately resembles the scene from the first novel. There Dr. Grant and the kids travel in the rowboat over the river and are attacked multiple times by the Tyrannosaurus.
JP3 opened to mixed reviews and audience reaction. IMDb has given it a rating of 5.8, based on +100,000 ratings. RottenTomatoes holds a 50% positive rating, based on 157 reviews counted. The general consensus states that "The dinos are as cool as ever, but there's too much of a 'been there, done that' feel."
Some believed it was an improvement over The Lost World: Jurassic Park, while others felt the series was spiraling into B-movie territory, something that had also happened to the Jaws franchise. It has been described as a "continuous chase scene", heavy-handed on the action and adventure but doing little in the way of character development. Although the film was a big success, earning $180 million domestic and $365 million worldwide, it grossed less than either of its predecessors.
Fans also reacted unfavorably to the Spinosaurus vs. T. rex Scene, claiming they were "throwing away the icon of the series". (source?)
The film was criticized for being a shallow cash in on the series, as unlike the first film. Critics and fans who hated JP3 did not praise the direction of Joe Johnston.
- JP3 is the first Jurassic Park film not to be directed by Steven Spielberg, written by David Koepp, or composed by John Williams. It's also the first film in the series not based on a Michael Crichton novel, although it ultimately contains minor scenes from Crichton's Jurassic Park and The Lost World novels that were ultimately not featured in the film versions.
- According to director Joe Johnston, he was interested in directing the sequel to Template:Film and approached friend Steven Spielberg about the project. Spielberg said that should interest come in doing a second sequel, Johnston would be allowed to direct.
- This is, so far, the only Jurassic Park film where the T. rex is not the lead giant carnivorous dino-star. That role was instead given to the Spinosaurus. In the Spinosaurus vs. T. rex Scene a Tyrannosaurus rex is killed by a Spinosaurus. This in itself was due to the advice of Paleontologist Jack Horner, Speilbergs's chief Paleontological expert advisor. He actually expresses his obvious disdain for Tyrannosaurus on a behind the scenes video clip, claiming Spinosaurus was the real super-predator and that it could 'cause an extinction on the island'.
- Several of the action sequences, such as the Pteranodon aviary and the Spinosaur's river attack, were ultimately featured in the original Jurassic Park novel, but were previously abandoned due to budget and story concerns. The sequence in the laboratory, with all the dinosaur fetuses in the tanks of liquid, was in the Lost World novel, but ultimately not in the film.
- The landscape of Isla Sorna is very drastically different from that in The Lost World. In reality, this is because much of The Lost World was only shot in the coniferous forests of California, while JP3 was instead filmed in Hawaii. This is considered a major flaw by many Jurassic Park fans, although this could be because the parts of the island seen here are in the lowlands of the island which is tropical, while the sections scene in TLW is only from the highlands of the island. While this is possible, some dispute that such changes in terrain would occur on an island the size of Sorna.
- Surprisingly, a vast majority of jungle scenes are actually studio based with artificial trees and plants.
- Some draft scripts featured Billy's death. He was brought back in late revisions to remove all tragic elements from the ending in order for the film to end on a higher note.
- The film originally included Jeff Goldblum and his character, Ian Malcolm. A few days into filming, Goldblum injured his leg and decided to drop out, stating that his character wasn't that important to the script. Many fans were pleased Goldblum dropped out, saying that the character would get boring if they used him for a third time. The irony though should be noted as his character injured his leg in the first movie, and in before the third, he broke his leg, following in the steps of his character.
- The film was going to be released in Summer 2000, but delay of production reslated the film for a Summer 2001 release.
- There were also some other titles for this movie such as Jurassic Park: Extinction, and Jurassic Park: Breakout. The DVD shows some early poster artwork.
- If you look closely, you will see that in the first scene to feature the Spinosaurus, a fly lands on Mr. Kirby's shoulder as he is talking with Dr. Grant.
- In the "Valley of the Dinosaurs" scene, you will notice a number of small white birds resting on the dinosaurs' backs and flying above their heads. They likely accompany the herbivorous dinosaurs on the island, and perhaps eat harmful parasites from their skin while perched on their backs, in a similar fashion to the relationships between Oxpeckers and Rhinos and African Buffalo of the African plains.
- A child is watching Barney the Dinosaur while Dr. Alan Grant is being attacked by the Spinosaurus.