I was eight years old when Jurassic Park III was released.
I can vividly remember jumping in the car with my mom and dad and heading to the theater. It was hard to believe they had made a 3rd movie. Dinosaurs and the Jurassic franchise were my thing. My sister had Disney princesses, my brother had NASCAR —I had dinosaurs. I loved JP 3. I still do. For a long time after the movie’s release, it was by far my favorite of the three in the franchise. I can remember opening a huge (but very light) box on Christmas morning in 2001 to find that silver VHS. I couldn’t have been happier.
Over the years I began to love each of the three films equally, because I love the individual personalities that they bring to the screen. Jurassic Park brings wonder and awe of these amazing animals. The Lost World brings a feeling of wilderness and safari while exploring the dinosaur universe. Then Jurassic Park III came along and delivered a type of big-action, jungle vibe that was altogether different from the first two. I’m not saying that any of these three films are perfect. There are flaws in them as there are in every movie. However, they are darn good and entertaining. The question still stands — was Jurassic Park III a good stand-alone movie and solid addition to this franchise at the time? Maybe not. What is awesome, however, is that with the addition of a new trilogy and backstory, fans may want to take another look at it and its newfound place in the Jurassic universe.
Once I became more in touch with the internet as I got older, I realized something that both surprised and bothered me. There was some serious hate (and still is) being thrown JP 3’s way. I couldn’t believe it and had no idea why. Once I dug further, I realized it came from two main sources — Spinosaurs killing a T-rex (not even our beloved Rexy,) and the Kirbys.
Here you can see a nice, never before seen behind the scene footage from #StanWinstonStudio. Crew members used 2 hand #puppets to demonstrate the big fight in Joe Johnston's #JurassicPark III (2001). RIP T-rex! pic.twitter.com/AxbTVT6f71
— Stan Winston School (@SWinstonSchool) February 24, 2018
Dr. Grant said that Spinosaurus “wasn’t on InGen’s list,” and it made him wonder what else they were up to. Flash forward 14 years to Jurassic World — we can now venture a guess as to what InGen may have been dabbling in at that time. When Grant said that in JP 3, no one had any idea that the franchise was going to carry on, and the movie ended with hardly any other mention of InGen. We now know the origin of Spinosaurus, thanks to the Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG). Spino was one of several secret experiments by InGen, which began after Masrani acquired them in the late 90’s. DPG gave extra meaning to JP 3 by explaining where its main antagonist came from. No longer do we need to be confused as to why this beast seemingly fell from the sky.
Dr. Grant also gives a chilling warning in JP3 that now seems to foreshadow Jurassic World. He tells Billy “some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.” In Jurassic World, Vic Hoskins makes me believe that he has good intentions, even though his end game is more than likely making big money from his Indoraptor idea. In the end he loses his life, but before that, a large part of his concern is saving the lives of soldiers via militarized raptors. Grant’s words can really resonate with you when you see clips of the Indominus and Indoraptor wreaking havoc. In fact, I would get chills if they inserted his quote into the Fallen Kingdom trailer.
If the new Jurassic World trilogy did not exist now, would you care whatsoever about what InGen was up to back in the early 2000’s? Or care to wonder where Spinosaurus came from? Most likely not. If you look back at the movie now and listen to the confusion in Grant’s voice, it’s interesting to think (and now know) what Masrani’s acquired InGen team was working on somewhere in the world.
Jurassic fans should be happy with how much raptor intelligence was explored in the third film. We learned about their communication, their ability to set traps and their fierce loyalty to keeping their young in their possession. Jurassic Park let us know the preliminary information on these animals, but JP 3 really dove in. For this reason, it allowed me to be able to buy into the fact that they can be trained. Raptors are supposed to be brilliantly smart creatures. If dolphins, gorillas and whales can be trained, why couldn’t raptors? This is especially true when they come in contact with their alpha from birth, just like Owen. I totally bought into the idea that raptors could be trained, and a large part of that reason was because of how smart they were portrayed to be in JP 3.
In the movie, the Kirbys may have been slightly annoying, but at the end of the day they’re supposed to be parents scared to death that their son is dead. Amanda also did something that had a roundabout effect on what is going on in the Jurassic universe today. When escaping from the Pteranodon enclosure, she doesn’t take the time to fully shut the door. This allows the Pteranodons to escape their cage and flee from the island. It is now a known fact that those Pteranodons ended up in Canada. Who was tasked with the job of corralling them up? Vic Hoskins. And because of the excellent job and manner in which he presented his team in Canada, he was hired by Simon Masrani. A few years later, with his job at InGen, Hoskins would be plotting with Henry Wu to make an ultimate weapon of war — the Indoraptor.
It’s my theory that Hoskins and Wu worked to come up with something like the Indominus. They made it. They wanted it to escape. And when it did, Hoskins knew that he could exploit Owen’s raptors’ intelligence and tracking ability to hunt it. Then after their success, he could really push the idea of a shrunken Indominus without the T-rex DNA to use for war.
So now go back to Amanda running from the Pteranodon enclosure. If she stops to shut that door properly, does any of this ever take place? I think that’s a fair question. Would there be hybrid dinosaurs? Probably. In the late 1990’s, Wu was successfully creating hybrid plants. I think it would have only been a matter of time before he went to hybrid dinosaurs. However, would he have been corrupted in the way he was after Hoskins got to him? Hard to say for certain.
Is Jurassic Park III perfect? No. But, I find it highly entertaining, with great-looking dinos and fantastic graphics. Standing as a third and potentially final installment of the franchise, I would say this movie is lackluster. However, being the middle piece of the puzzle that fills in some gaps gives it meaning and value. When you watch this movie today, you can relate it to the future of the Jurassic franchise much better than you could have for the last 17 years. Today, its dialogue and premise makes sense and should be appreciated more for what it is.
What are your thoughts on what Jurassic Park 3 adds to the franchise? Sound off in the comments below!