Today’s Prayer Focus

Jurassic Park III

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for intense sci-fi terror and violence

Reviewed by: Carrie Rostollan

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Horror Drama Adaptation Sequel
1 hr. 32 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 18, 2001 (wide)
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Sam Neill in “Jurassic Park III”Visit the “The Great Dinosaur Mystery Online”

Editor’s Note: Of particular interest to Christians should be the worldview presented in this film. We caution parents to look at the underlying assumptions this film may present in terms of its possible Evolutionary teaching. Children (and adults) are constantly bombarded with such teaching, presented as fact, when they are nothing more than theories or guesses.

The Great Dinosaur Mystery online
For a better understanding of how dinosaurs fit into a biblical Judeo-Christian worldview, we highly recommend spending time at our graphically-rich and entertaining Great Dinosaur Mystery Online Web site.

We also recommend the 20-minute video, “The Great Dinosaur Mystery”, which can be viewed on-line. The book version is presented in the “Discovery Trail” portion of The Great Dinosaur Mystery on-line and includes audio track portions from the video. We also list various Creation materials useful in teaching a biblical view on these issues.

Featuring Sam NeillDr. Alan Grant
William H. MacyPaul Kirby
Téa LeoniAmanda Kirby
Laura DernDr. Ellie Sattler
Alessandro Nivola … Billy Brennan
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Director Joe Johnston
Producer Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
Steven Spielberg … executive producer
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Distributor Universal Pictures
“Ooh, aah. that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running, and screaming.”
—Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), “The Lost World”

“Some of the most terrible things have been done with the best of intentions.”
—Alan Grant (Sam Neill), “Jurassic Park III”

Please let this movie be something more than eye candy,” I thought as I went into “Jurassic Park III”, but my hopes turned out to be forlorn. “JPIII” falls flat, simply a vehicle for a long string of action sequences with no memorable moments.

Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Niell) reluctantly accompanies a man and his wife (divorced) on a search-and-rescue mission to Isla Sorna, the location of the second “Jurassic Park” film. Paul and the former Mrs. Amanda Kirby are trying to find their son, who has gone missing in the vicinity. Following the inevitable marooning of this group on the island, the story moves through one pulse-pounding chase after another. The final resolution made me want to remark, “So that’s it?”

I dislike writing that, but I feel justified because the film wasn’t even directed by Steven Spielberg, as I had expected. Joe Johnston (“The Rocketeer,” “Jumanji”) directed a script by debut screenwriter Peter Buchman. Michael Crichton served as one of the producers, but none of the story appears to have his touch. Also, the music uses themes from John Williams’ original score, but all additional music was done by Don Davis (“The Matrix”, “House on Haunted Hill”, “Beauty and the Beast”), another name I didn’t personally recognize. Is it really “Jurassic Park” without Spielberg at the helm and Williams at the podium? Sorry, I don’t feel it.

Unlike the first two films, which discussed the ethics of science and what some people call progress, there’s no enduring message (even a secular one) to come out of this film. The closest it comes is the portrayal of velociraptors as smarter even than humans; now they even use complex vocal patterns to actually talk to each other. Grant remarks that if the asteroid hadn’t wiped them out millions of years ago (Please don’t get me started refuting that one!), the velociraptors would have become the dominant lifeform on the Earth. Spare me! By the way, Grant seems to be very fast on picking up their language.

This film runs 1 hour and 32 minutes, and according to one Web site is scheduled to come out on video on December 11th, 2001. If you really must be the first on your block to critique ILM’s special effects work on this picture, go ahead and see it. Otherwise, I’d suggest you catch “Jurassic Park III” on video. There’s nothing objectionable as far as language is concerned. I counted two uses of “hell,” and that’s all. The rest is action, wound around a plot that struggles to find a voice. it’s less preachy about evolution, but it doesn’t find anything new to say, either.

Viewer Comments
I’d like to agree with the reviewer. I’d like to, but I can’t. After the first two Jurassic’s incessant rambling about how we shouldn’t play with nature and how sad it is that we’d even think about hunting one of these peaceful creatures, here comes the 3rd movie. No preaching. No moralizing. Just a simple story: 2 divorced parents have lost their child on the island, and those 2 parents, along with other people brought along to help in the hunt, get stuck on the island. Dinosaurs try to eat them. They try to avoid getting eaten. that’s about it.

And where the 1st films slowed down and sagged, this one only starts to slow down, and then ends. Bam. Now you don’t have to waste an extra hour with Jeff Goldblum trying to work chaos theory and complaining about Richard Attenborough. You can just sit and relax and then, leave. Very little mention of the origin of the dinosaurs, which is something that even Christians can’t decide on. The less said, the better, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a nice, Christian evangelistic film, go rent Bob the Tomato. If you’re looking for deep thoughts, check out Babette’s Feast. But if you’re looking for a fun, exciting film, I’d recommend this one for people over 13. There’s a couple of gory bits, but nothing too bad.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Scott Ward, age 28
Our family enjoyed the new diet version of Jurassic Park. How could they miss? I had great anticipation when I saw the team that Spielberg had put together. I really like the work of Joe Johnston (October Sky, Rocketeer, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids). He knows how to weave a fun B-Movie style adventure. It was good to see Sam Neill (who saved the day in Dish and Submerged) return to the cast. John Williams and Don Davis joined talents for a great score.

I know the plot was contrived, but it fit as a great transition between all the action. I do not accept the theories of evolution presented, but it is one of the best action adventures this summer. I will not debate the merits of biblical creation and where dinosaurs fit into the “creation” picture. Parents and Christians should be able to reasonably discuss these topics. I do believe that there is plenty of information (even on this Web site) about dinosaurs (from a Biblical perspective) available to Christians. They can “let their conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Col. 4:6).

I do recommend the film, but not to smaller children. My age barometer would be 10 and up.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Douglas Downs, age 45
The one Bird/Dinosaur fossil that Jurassic Park I and II based all their wacky evolution theories on has proven to be a hoax. This movie studiously avoids all mention of the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs, which causes much amusement to me. What strange, twisted evolution idea will be next to fall?
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Wayne Boettcher, age 42
Went to see it first before the kids. Was glad it was not a horror film with sick morals and message. A few parts I will cover my 10 yr olds eyes. As long as kids are well educated in creation versus evilution it should be fine. Pure fantasy and scary film for teens and above.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
Sue, age 42
Most everything notable in this film is covered in the review. The whole thing is formulaic, so it’s gut-level entertaining but not memorable. The herbivores are downplayed, and the carnivores (the old standbys, plus Spinosaurus aegyptiacus and Pteranodon) are a constant threat. As always, the animals are shown larger than life (for kids who’ve been spoiled by these films, seeing the world’s largest real T. rex skeleton at the Field Museum in Chicago would be a disappointment).

There’s little actual discussion of evolution, and nothing like the baloney in the first film about all vertebrates being inherently female (a denial of Genesis 1:27). Just a constant roller-coaster of terror, tempered with some really bad humor. I particularly dislike horror-comedies; I believe they desensitize us to violence even more than straightforward horror does. How is it possible to spend all these millions on special effects and come up with something this disappointing? Must be that dreaded disease, sequel-itis.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
Brett Willis, age 50
Definitely not as good as the first “Jurassic Park” or even the second film in this series. The dinosaurs are doing their thing as usual, but there was not enough tension in the plot to make it interesting. The last scenes in the movie looked like a set up for a possible fourth “Jurassic Park” movie, but this series of films need to go the way of the dinosaurs—extinct.
My Ratings: [Average / 2]
Hillari Hunter, age 39
Jurassic Park III continues on its ever-mindful attempt to prove that dinosaurs are smarter than man. Of course, evolution is the centerpiece. Yet, the graphics and special effects are captivating as usual. The intensity continues to build as the cast weaved they way throughout the carnivore-saturated jungle. Around every bush you expect to be face-to-face with a hungry raptor. The intensity is excruciating as the cast longs to escape with their lives.

New species are also introduced that seem to dwarf the old ones. In fact, a newly introduced dinosaur fights and kills a T-Rex, the king of the jungle. On a note of caution, I do not recommend this movie to young kids. The theater setting intensified the sound and visual effects to a frightening level. In fact, I sat next to a mother who brought her children ranging from 4-10.

During one intense chase scene the child began weeping and quivering into the back of his seat. Definitely not a movie for little eyes! Although I do agree with the review that the story and memorable moments lacks substance, the movie is one to see in a theater for its intense special effects.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
Calvin Lockhart, age 31
Jurassic Park 3 is better than its reviews have stated. It sets out to do one thing and one thing above all. To entertain! This movie has a good plot with likeable characters who you do want to see escape the clutches of the dinosaurs. Its comedy is a perfect addition in this non-stop action movie. Jurassic Park 3 is 2nd best of the series so far. A mostly clean and welcome addition to a summer movie lineup.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
Jason, age 22
Comments from young people
Fun, typical, slightly predictable—but we all love those dinos! Worth the ticket price (so long as you leave your brain at the door.) Oscar-worthy special effects.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
John W, age Teen
JP3’s script was, in my opinion, excellent. It consisted of good morals and was not at all offensive, except for the couple remarks regarding evolution. The violence was much less than in JPLW, in which two T-Rex dinos grab a man from opposite ends and tear him in half. There was very little offensive language.

The plot was a tad shaky and, at times, unbelieveable. The acting was very good. Neill, Macy, and Leoni delivered. I would not see this movie if you haven’t watched the first two. Personally, I would read the bestselling books written by Michael Crichton (“Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World”) after watching the first two movies.

All in all, this movie was excellent considering Spielberg didn’t direct it and Crichton didn’t write it. I feel I got my $7 worth. Children under twelve should not see it, though.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Matt Middleton, age 15
My brother and I went and saw “Jurassic Park 3” with our parents and we loved it. It was a great movie for mature kids and adults. The animation was the best so far (Out of the 2 movies). The action was great although I missed the suspense in “Jurassic Park.” “Jurassic Park 3” goes through one pulse pounding chase after another, but there isn’t really any storyline to this film! This movie was a lot better than “Lost World,” and if u r a big fan of the “Jurassic Park” movies this one is a must see movie. It is very clean and moral although there r some swear words.

I give this movie a 5/5 because it is one of the best movies I have seen in the theater for a while!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
Jackie, age 13
I liked this movie. It was better than “The Lost World,” but not as good as the first “Jurassic Park”. It had almost no cursing, and the violence wasn’t exaggerated. It put a little emphasis on evolution, but what can you expect from a movie about dinosaurs? I wouldn’t call this movie frightening or unsettling, but I wouldn’t recommend it to little kids. The end was kind of disappointing to me, but, overall, it was good.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
Jonathan Davis, age 15
Me and my family LOVED this movie. We were so glad they didn’t show much “nibbling” even though Speilberg didn’t direct it! Even my little 9 yr. old brother loved it. (But not all kids his age will like a movie like this.) The effects looked pretty close as if they were real! There is about 3 or 4 swear words in the movie. D____ and H___ were all I heard. Téa Leoni is seen in her bra, but I don’t think that presents much of a problem. But at least it wasn’t a “gore” movie. You see only a few people die, compared to 30 in “Lost World.”

As a Christian, yes, there was some objectionable stuff in there, but I’m into suspense and action, so this was the absolute perfect movie for me! (WARNING: If you want to bring kids under 11, you might want to close their eyes when,

1. The plane takes off the second time and a guy gets in the way and says “Please.”.

2. When, the plane gets ripped in half, the dino reaches in.

3. When a guy stops, looks down, and you hear him scream from far away (guy with orange mustache) during the raptor chase. You don’t have to, just a warning. And there is always suspense every 5 minutes or so. And if you see it a second time, you won’t be in suspense so much, but you probably will jump out of you seat again.

But, I tell you what, this is the most action packed, suspense filled, “Jurassic Park” I’ve ever seen. If you’re going to see, suspense, action, and a really good dino movie, this is the movie you’re looking for. The chasing and the (”RAAA!” and “AHHH!”) scary parts are the only thing that made it PG-13. BOTTOM LINE: Suspence + action + dinosaurs + great movie = JURRASSIC PARK 3!
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
Davie Powers, age 13
Movie Critics
…consists of various dinosaurs killing several people and trying to attack/kill others. Some of those scenes have bloody results… may be unsettling, suspenseful and/or downright frightening to some viewers…
…Compared to some of this summer’s blockbusters however, this is better than average, its only real weakness being how little it adds to the tried and tested formula…
Neil Smith, BBC Online
…Fierce new beasts help save “Jurassic Park III” from its banal script…
Kenneth Turan, LA Times