“Jurassic Park III” was directed by Joe Johnston, who previously directed 1989’s “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids”, 1995’s “Jumanji” & 1999’s “October Sky”. This is the third film in the Jurassic Park franchise follow previous 2 films. This would also be the first film not to be directed by Steven Spielberg or not based on a Michael Crichton novel. Sam Neill would be the only character from the previous film to return for this one. The cast included William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan and Michael Jeter. Laura Dern also returned from the 1993 film but has brief cameos. David Koepp who wrote the previous 2 films, suggested an idea for the story and new writers Alexander Payne & Peter Buchman wrote a brand new script 5 weeks into the shooting schedule. This, we’ll get to later.
After a wealthy couple’s son goes missing off the coast of Isla Sorna, Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) is called for help from Paul & Amanda Kirby (Macy & Leoni). They charter a flight to Isla Sorna along with Dr. Grant’s assistant, Billy (Nivola), and a mercenary, Udeski (Jeter) and 2 of his associates. Once there, they quickly discover they are way out of there depth as a dinosaur kills the 2 associates. Grant & Billy also discover that Paul & Amanda are not actually wealthy or even a couple anymore. With them not only being pursued by dinosaurs but now they have to deal with a dysfunctional divorced couple and find there son, Eric (Morgan) who has been missing for 8 weeks now. Grant and the group must tread very carefully to find Eric and a way off this island before its too late.
From the very beginning, this movie was a major disappointment coming off 2 great films. I mentioned earlier about the script being rewritten after the film had already been in production. This caused a major shift in tone and in quality. From what I’ve read the original script was supposed to be much darker and didn’t revolve around a rescue like part 2 did. Once David Koepp made the suggestion, production stopped and a new script was written. The performances were terrible, visuals were awful and the storyline was mediocre at best. Sam Neill as Dr. Grant was amazing but we’ve seen him give a great performance before and probably make the film bare able for the time being. There’s a scene involving an aviary and pteranodons that was actually pretty cool but its a specific scene from Michael Crichton’s first novel. This film had 2 good things in it but was a massive disappointment overall. One thing that has always bothered me was that when people its better than part 2, which is completely bullshit. Nothing about part 3 even comes close to the entertainment value of part 2.
After Jurassic Park III had a successful opening weekend, Universal wanted to make a 4th film but it would be almost 15 years before the film, “Jurassic World” would actually come out. Steven Spielberg would remain as executive producer for the “World” trilogy in 2015’s film as well as its 2018 sequel would continue the series. Sam Neill and Laura Dern are expected to return to franchise in the upcoming 2021 film, “Jurassic World: Dominion”. Jeff Goldblum, who appeared in 2018’s “Fallen Kingdom” is also set to return.