JURASSIC PARK III is one scrambled dinosaur omelet that should have been left in the egg, the unmissed link in the series. The $93,000,000 retread made money in 2001–it was 9th in the U.S. evenly splitting the $368,781,000 worldwide gross, yet that marked a huge attendance drop from the previous adventure, as word-of-mouth circulated from fans that the critics were right—this kinda sucked.
‘Dr. Alan Grant’ (Sam Neill) is conned into visiting ‘Isla Soma/Site B’ at the behest of a rich couple who promise to fund his research. The sightsee junket devolves into a search for their missing son, then an instant survival course after their plane crashes on the dinosaur-stuffed island. Bellowing chases and miraculous escapes ensue. The shortest in the litter at 92 minutes (one good thing), it’s also the runt when it comes to story, characters and excitement. Even the special effects aren’t on par.
Directed by Joe Johnston, it sorely lacks the Spielberg touch. The half-baked script by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor is derivative (another herd chase, more raptors jumping), the characters are wafer thin, the humor is feeble, and it plays so loose with logic that any excitement factor is mitigated: this type of thing has to make some kind of internal sense within its fantastic premise, and lacking that, at least needs people to like and decent jokes to cover the gaps. Bill Macy and Tea Leoni as the couple are irritating, and the stuff with the kid is really lame. A booby prize goes to the most slapdash makeup job (the assorted cuts and scrapes on the actors are just pitiful) of any major movie, ever. Did they use lipstick?
Don Davis scored the music, and employs John Williams familiar theme from the first installments. Filming was done in Hawaii (on Kauai, Oahu and Molokai) and California. Ponder the tasty tidbit that the steaming piles of Spinosaurus feces were accomplished by gooping up 250 gallons of oatmeal.
At least we get an ankylosaurus this time. With Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter and John Diehl. Laura Dern cameos, reprising her character from the first epic.