Dino Sequel Doesn’t Bring Anything Fresh to the Franchise
In the weeks leading up to the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we’re revisiting the original Jurassic Park trilogy.
DIRECTOR: JOE JOHNSTON/2001
Let’s play a game of Good Decision/Bad Decision with these five scenarios:
- Good decision or bad decision? Parasailing with a kid right next to an island that is known for being the home of dangerous dinosaurs.
- Smart idea or silly idea? Lying to a dinosaur expert so he will take you to said island to save said kid who crashed parasailing.
- Sound logic or flawed logic? Not doing enough research to realize said dinosaur expert has never actually been to said island before.
- Awesome plan or dumb plan? Being said dinosaur expert that has witnessed firsthand the terrors of said dangerous dinosaurs, yet still going to said island because money.
- PhD thinking or elementary thinking? Repeatedly screaming, running off by yourself, and/or not following directions of said dinosaur expert on said island with said dangerous dinosaurs while searching for said kid.
I could keep going, but I think we’ll know the answer to any scenario before us. (I didn’t even get to the one where someone steals velociraptor eggs.) Jurassic Park is a series dependent on its characters making awful decisions, but Jurassic Park III takes it to the max.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park may have had storytelling problems, but Jurassic Park III’s worst crime is greater: it’s just plain ol’ boring.
The slew of new players (William H. Macy, Téa Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, and Michael Jeter) don’t bring anything fresh the to the franchise, mostly making empty-headed decisions except when the plot demands they don’t. Somehow III even manages to dumb down the only major returning role, said dinosaur expert Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) from 1993’s Jurassic Park.
Mind you, this same character rolls his eyes at luck, calling it “Reverse Darwinism, survival of the most idiotic.” He preaches, “Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.” He’s the man who starts the movie saying “no force on Earth or Heaven” could get him to go to Isla Sorna yet makes the trip when someone he has no history with offers to fund his research. I want to tell you this was intentional dramatic irony, but I couldn’t do it with confidence. And III expects me to believe that Grant is dense enough to let Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) go in the last 8 years so he can grow into a crusty bachelor, thus negating his character growth in said original movie? Nope, nope, nope—I refuse to believe it. I am deeming this movie non-canonical so I can continue believing they ended up together with a picket fence and 2.5 kids with dino obsessions.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park may have had storytelling problems, but Jurassic Park III’s worst crime is greater: it’s just plain ol’ boring. If Lost World scrambled ingredients in the wrong proportions, III is the movie that forgot to add seasoning to the recipe. You can still find threatening creatures, resourceful kids, and moral gray areas, but the motifs have been recycled until they’re worn out. The new pteranodons bring a few moments of excitement, but we’ve seen velociraptors creep up behind our heroes and T-Rexes thump onto the scene many times before, and in cleverer ways. You know you’re not doing something right when T-Rexes feel like old news.
The most original part of this movie is the poster with slashed claw marks creating the III, something you can get a good shot of it at the end of the trailer. In fact, I would recommend just watching that if you want the SparkNotes version of the best parts.
If your fear for the Jurassic World reboot has been that it would tarnish the legacy of Jurassic Park, stop your worrying—it’s already been done. Thank your Reverse Darwinism lucky stars for Jurassic World. Otherwise the series would’ve ended in an era worthy of extinction.