The F*ckin Black Sheep: Jurassic Park III (2001)

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Jurassic Park III (2001)
Directed by Joe Johnston

"As a stand alone film, Jurassic Park III remains pretty entertaining."

After more than a decade of having no dinosaurs on the big screen (not counting that spectacular Jurassic Park 3D re-release), all of fandom recently received an early slice Thanksgiving goodness with the premiere trailer for Jurassic World. Reactions seemed…mixed. Some online folks praised it as a return to form while others bitched about the seemingly subpar CGI. Frankly, I dug it. Why not, right? A lot shitty franchises continue to spit out profitable garbage, so why not a Spielberg-produced-giant-CGI-summer blockbuster? Sounds good to me (that giant shark thing looked quite badass, but not sure about new Superstar Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle with a pack of raptors).

So…what a better time to revisit the film that put the franchise on ice: Jurassic Park III.

The story revolves around the return of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill who sat out part two) to Jurassic Park when a supposed wealthy dude (William H. Macy, always a great addition as he essentially brings back Jerry Lundegaard with a little more class and slightly more dignity) hires him as his guide to find his lost son who disappeared while parasailing along the shores of the island (don’t ask). Grant doesn’t wanna go, but can’t turn down the cash or Macy’s offer to fund future research. Obviously, things don’t go as expected as everyone’s favorite dinosaurs either eat grass or eat people.

Clocking in at less than 90 minutes, it’s one of the shortest “big” movies that I can remember, and yet it often feels rushed at times as we jump from one set piece to another without all the pesky character development getting in the way. Actually, if I have a true bitch about the film it’s the lack of any true moments. Director Joe Johnston (who took over for Spielberg) never allows a scene to breath so the audience can give a shit about the characters or even the dinosaurs. Audiences need that shit.

At the same time, obviously the third time isn’t exactly the charm as the law of diminishing returns caught up with most people's expectations. How many times can we be awed by watching big ass CGI creatures wander around? How many times can we return to the island? Hell, I kept expecting Grant to mumble that he’s too old for this shit. But as a stand alone film, Jurassic Park III remains pretty entertaining with Grant back as a poor man’s Indiana Jones with his backpack and broad hat. At times he’s close to that but he just doesn’t have enough to do here. Regardless, he’s a welcome return to the franchise. It’s too bad, however, that Jeff Goldblum didn’t get the call for the new adventure. Why not? Get the gang back together and give them a purpose.

Now I don’t want it sound like I don’t dig Jurassic Park III. I do. The action is mostly pretty good. I dig the new dinosaurs (my brain can’t remember all their names beyond a T-Rex) and most the new sequences like the river boat scene and when they are caught up in the big bird cages. Even when things get a little silly (like the whole parachute part), it’s still entertaining. Imperfect sure, but still entertaining. How can't you enjoy stellar dialogue like: “Is this how you make dinosaurs?” Grant: “No, this is how you play God.” That's the stuff blockbuster are made from.



Source: Arrow in the Head

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