Jan 30, 2015

[Movies] Jurassic Park III (2001)

There's something about movie trilogies that results in really bad third movies. It's almost a statistical certainty that the third movie in a trilogy tends to be a pretty sucky one. Or even if you go beyond trilogies and just look at any movie with multiple sequels. Things almost always go downhill after the third movie.

Jurassic Park III is a particularly good example of this tragic Hollywood phenomenon. I had almost completely forgotten the fact that I had actually watched this movie several years ago. But going over a few YouTube clips and the Wikipedia synopsis, all the memories started to come rushing back. It goes without saying that it wasn't a pleasant moment of revelation.

Why did this movie even get made, right? After all that had happened in the first two movies, why do these characters decide to go back to these dinosaur-infested islands? Don't people experience trauma? Even beyond trauma, don't people at least learn from past mistakes? Are all movie characters fated to be stupid in subservience to the demands of the flimsy plot approved by the studio executives?

Synopsis: Jurassic Park III is the 2001 third installment in the Jurassic Park movie franchise. The story for this movie involves a completely original plot not based on any of the Crichton books.

Despite negative reports related to Isla Sorna and the entire plot of the second movie, tourists continue to vacation around the island. Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), one of our heroes from the first movie, is approached by the rather wealthy couple Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) offer ridiculously generous funding for his research in exchange for taking them on an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. Of course this is all a farce and they actually had plans of landing on the island in order to search for their lost son.

The rest of the movie consists of the search for their lost son (you know they're going to find him), introducing bigger and badder dinosaurs compared to the ones introduced in the last two movies, and of course all the usual human-dinosaur antics. You kinda already know how things will turn out and who have the biggest chances of survival. We've seen all of this before after all.

I don't understand why Dr. Alan Grant would agree to go anywhere near the islands affiliated with Jurassic Park and InGen. The man barely escaped with his life during the events of the first movie and despite all that had gone on before, he suddenly jumps at a shot a money? And who takes aerial tours? I don't see how the same Dr. Alan Grant who had all the smarts to figure out a way to survive without weapons in Jurassic Park would make such foolish decisions.

I'm not fully sure what the goal was with this movie. It had weird elements drawn from the first two movies like the couple wanting to go to the island or the guy trying to steal dinosaur genetic material to advance his own agenda. And we even had the token kid thrown into the mix so we have that somewhat child-friendly element. But for the most part the movie remained sadly hollow without an actual story of its own.

I think this movie might have made a bit more sense had the creators not opted to drag in characters from the first movie to act as protagonists. Just because it's sequel doesn't necessarily mean we need to see the same characters over and over again - the dinosaurs were always the stars of these movies and for the most part these are the only things people really pay to see.

So when you ignore the stupid humans, the movie has some decent dinosaur fighting action and acceptable levels of CGI quality. Nothing particularly stands out apart from the battle between the tyrannosaurus rex and the spinosaurus, but it's really hard to take a dinosaur called a spinosaurus all that seriously.

Jurassic Park III is a sad sequel that didn't need to get made but here it is. When you remove the Crichton writing driving the plot and the Spielberg magic in terms of its direction and you're left with...this. And this movie only really gets 2 deja vu moments in the movie out of a possible 5.

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