Jurassic Park III

By Mark Ramsey | 2001/07/19

I should have known Jurassic Park III would be a disaster the moment Jaws 3 veteran Lou Gossett Jr. poked his head into the frame long enough to proclaim “Beware the Ides of March!”

Where to take the franchise now? Enter Michael Crichton, author of the original book who wasn’t involved in this movie other than to make a run to the bank to deposit bundles of unmarked cash: “How about a theme park of man-made cowboys who spin out of control. Oops, I did that in Westworld in 1973.”

“How about a theme park of man-made futuristic robots who spin out of control. Oops, I did that in Futureworld in 1976.”

jurassicpark3_surrounded.jpg“How about a theme park of man-made Robert Downey Jr.’s who spin out of control. Oops, that’s any suite in Vegas and any club in Hollywood.”

Things go to Hell in a proverbial hand-basket as a guy and his boy act out their endearingly suicidal desire to parasail off the shore of an island full of dinosaurs, including flying Pteranodons! What’s with the lame parasailing close-ups, anyway? They look like they’re shot on a soundstage with actors against a green-screen pretending to fly. I know this because mid-way through the flight, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint drove by in North by Northwest.

Sam Neill gets things off on the wrong foot by suggesting that Raptors were smarter than humans – especially those humans who are fans of professional wrestling – and if they had been on the planet at the same time, Raptors, not humans, might have been the dominant species. One look at the cast of Big Brother 2 and one is forced to conclude Sam’s right.

Since every sequel has to be bigger – if not better – JP3 brings us a bigger dinosaur, Spinosaurus, who proves all the backbone is on the screen, not at the studio. It also proves that once you outgrow T. Rex there are definitely diminishing returns to scale. What can we look forward to in JP4, WorldTradeCenterosaurus? StateofRhodeIslandosaurus? EddieMurphysEgoasaurus?

Finally, here’s a Jurassic Park movie where the big dinosaurs fight each other. That way, instead of seeing stuff we’ve seen before in other Jurassic flicks, we can see stuff we’ve seen in a bazillion movies since 1925. Bring it on. And on and on.


Super-actor William H. Macy brings his best Ned Flanders imitation to this Dino-snore. Hot-diggity-dino-doo! If you think you have to suspend disbelief in order to accept living dinosaurs, wait until you try to accept Bill Macy and Téa Leoni as a couple.

Am I the only person who finds Téa relentlessly and stridently annoying? Like a retard, she keeps shouting for her son on an island of deadly dino predators! I don’t know if Raptors are smarter than humans, but they’re undoubtedly smarter than Téa Leoni.

After watching some Raptors shriek, Sam concludes these intelligent beasts are talking to each other. What are they saying? I took a videotape of JP3 and that question to the head of the department of Linguistics at USC, who translated one conversation for me:

Raptor 1: Hey, isn’t that Téa Leoni?

Raptor 2: No way, dude. Not in that frumpy, house-frau get-up.

Raptor 1: Dude, check it. That’s her, Mrs. David Duchovny!

(Both Raptors laugh uproariously)

Raptor 2: I thought she got wasted in a tidal wave?

Raptor 1: I know, with that Maximillian Schell dude!

Raptor 2: Should we eat Téa’s sorry ass?

Raptor 1: No dude, let’s let her live with the consequences of her dismal career decisions.

Raptor 2: And David Duchovny!

(Both Raptors laugh uproariously)

Says Sam, Raptors “were capable of sophisticated vocalizations,” which is more than we can say for singer Mandy Moore. The social life of Raptors is best revealed by Sam’s discovery: A black velvet painting featuring several Raptors playing pool and smoking cigars. Rack ‘em up, boys.

The familiar Jurassic Park soundtrack is hauled from its mothballs with portions re-recorded by musicians who reportedly shielded their faces with jackets on their way into and out of the studio.

Hey, I’m still waiting to see what happened to that canister of Dino embryos that washed out to the ocean when Newman from Seinfeld got munched-osaurus. How many roman numerals will it take to get back to that?

My favorite moment occurs when Sam and company dive into a gigantic pile of Dino-dung. If any image could serve as the establishing shot for this entire film, that’s the one.

Photos Copyright ©2001 Universal Pictures


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