Jurassic Park III (2001) starring Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, Laura Dern directed by Joe Johnston Movie Review

Jurassic Park III (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park III

Too many missing links in this monster movie

After "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" there was part of me which hoped they wouldn't make a further movie in the series as although it was on okay movie it lacked the magic of the original. Sadly "Jurassic Park III" was made and as I feared it again failed to deliver on the magic of "Jurassic Park". Despite bringing back Sam Neill to reprise his role of Dr. Alan Grant it firmly based itself as an unintelligent monster/rescue movie. Not that "Jurassic Park III" is a terrible movie it's just another average monster movie which trades on the success of the original "Jurassic Park" to bring in the loyal audiences.

Having tried to put the past disaster of Jurassic Park behind him Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill - Bicentennial Man) finds himself facing up to his fears when Paul Kirby (William H. Macy - A Civil Action) and his wife Amanda (Tea Leoni - The Family Man) promise to back his research if he will be their tour guide on a flight over Isla Sorna. But when the plane lands in the middle of the jungle he realises that he has been duped into returning to the land of dinosaurs to aid a rescue party in search of the Kirby's lost son.

William H. Macy, Tea Leoni and Alessandro Nivola in Jurassic Park III

You could point fingers at that "Jurassic Park III" not only isn't based on a Michael Crichton screenplay but also that Spielberg handed over the directional reigns to Joe Johnston as to the cause of the issues but in reality it isn't. The trouble is that trying to come up with something new and clever for a monster movie, especially one which set an amazingly high bench mark was never going to be easy, so you get a sense that they didn't bother and just went all out for big action instead of a clever storyline. By doing this it feels very similar to what went before in the first sequel and a lack lustre story about rescuing a lost child provides no real impetuous to generate anything new to add to a predictable storyline.

You just need to watch the incredibly poor ending to realise that story innovation was never a priority rather than big, often over the top action being the call of the day. But then the action sequences are well choreographed and are surprisingly entertaining, in some ways making up for the lack of an intelligent plot. But there are issues and that is at times the action is too outrageous and tied to some nonsense dialogue there are areas of "Jurassic Park III" which are unintentionally laughable. I'm sorry but even in a fictitious adventure movie there are some limits to what can and can't be done.

As for our old friends the CGI dinosaurs, well there are some new prehistoric monsters to watch and of course several of the old favourites such as the Raptors returning. But it feels like something is missing and the awesome might of these animals seems to have been lost and are no longer frightening. At times it feels that the CGI effects have been a little rushed and don't feel as polished as in the earlier movies. Those miniscule elements, such as flesh tone and movements just doesn't seem to be right and the magic of watching these prehistoric monsters aside humans no longer has that magical impact.

As previously mentioned Sam Neill returns and in doing so does a better job than when Geoff Goldblum appeared in the previous sequel, but even so his character lacks any of the impact that it had in the original. Coming across more like Indiana Jones than Dr. Alan Grant, Neill certainly provides a good basis for a lot of the action but it's just wrong, all those things which made the character interesting in the original have been over looked. Saying that he still comes over better than any of the other stars such as William H. Macy and Tea Leoni who really add very little to the movie. Plus as for the cameo for Laura Dern, reprising her role as Ellie Sattler well it's a waste of talent and being critical is more like a catch to get people to watch in the belief that Dern would have a more prominent role. But then I feel that all the actors have done what was expected in a movie which concentrates on action more than story telling.

What this all boils down to is as I originally thought after a couple of adequate if a little disappointing sequels, the original "Jurassic Park" remains the best of the three and still holds the magic which the others lack. As just an action, adventure movie then "Jurassic Park III" competes admirably with other monster movies within this niche, but in comparison to the original it is seriously lacking. I just hope that Jurassic Park IV never comes to fruition.