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JURASSIC PARK III (2001)

Jurassic Park 3 is a riveting, action-packed thriller, taking place on the infamous Isla Sorna, one of the islands featured in the original Jurassic Park film. A search party, led reluctantly by a shanghaied Dr. Alan Grant, risks life and limb to find and rescue a teen-aged son of a hardware store owner and his ex-wife. The 14 year old had disappeared while paragliding with his stepfather near the island. Using their wits and knowledge of dinosaurs, Dr. Alan Grant, and the group run a gauntlet of terror, seeing as they are pretty low in the food chain, and a variety of dinosaurs think that human beings would make a tasty snack!

The cast includes: Sam Neill, Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, and Laura Dern.

Directed by Joe Johnston, produced by Steven Speilberg.

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Promotional Lines: "Something Unexpected Has Evolved."
"Dream... Fantasy... Destruction... Evolution Adventure."
"This Time It's Not Just A Walk In The Park!

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Running low on money needed to explore his new theory of velociraptor intelligence, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant takes up Paul Kirby's generous, monetary offer to go as a guide on an aerial tour of the infamous Isla Sorna Island. Little did he know that he would soon be face to face with real, cunning velociraptors, where he could experience the validity of his theory first-hand in the field, in definitely more dangerous situations than Jane Goodall's experiences with the chimpanzees in the jungle.

The infamous Isla Sorna Island was the former breeding ground of John Hamilton's dinosaur creatures, created for his new amusement park, featured in the original Jurassic Park. The place naturally now draws thrill seekers and adventurers wanting to see these dangerous, unpredictable animals. Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), his young assistant Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola), a divorced couple, Paul Kirby (William Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni), plus other crew fly to the island, on the premise of just taking an aerial tour. Much to the horror of Dr. Grant, he finds out that he was deceived; Paul and Amanda want him to lead a search party for their son, Eric (Trevor Morgan), who disappeared while para-sailing with his stepfather from a boat off the shore of this deadly place.

When the rescue party's plane lands on the airstrip, they hastily make a fast retreat when a large, rather nasty, evolved, new and improved Spinosaurus, with a bad attitude about lesser creature visitors, makes a sudden appearance. When the Spinosaurus makes a tasty snack of one of the hapless crew members left behind on the runway, the pilot panics and crashes the plane into a tree, which traps the people inside, with the Spinosaurus trying to get at them. Most of them are saved when a T-Rex shows up, and starts a fight with the Spinosaurus. So begins their dangerous, unexpected adventure, as they use their wits to stay alive, and search for the lost boy, a resourceful lad who helps them survive once they find him.

How most of them squeak through many harrowing close calls, find Eric, deal with the velociraptors, and barely escape makes this film one of the best action-adventure-thriller movies made in 2001.

This riveting, thrilling screenplay of survival and adventure was written by the talented Peter Buchman, using some of Michael Crichton's original characters; Dr. Alan Grant, the brief appearances of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and a mention or two of Dr. Ian Malcolm. The audience is treated to great story of a game of wits between human beings and these clever animals called dinosaurs. There are twists and turns, and surprises in this tale that will keep the audience at the edge of their seats. While some of the search party loose the fight to survive, their demise isn't graphically shown, but done quickly and with taste.

The riveting fast-paced film was expertly directed by the talented Joe Johnston, who also directed such adventure films as "The Rocketeer," "Jumanji," and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids."

The various dinosaurs that terrify the humans are very life-like, are treated like animals, (not monsters) in the script, and make this adventure very believable, as they cunningly hunt these human intruders. The mechanical velociraptors move like real animals and are very creepy in nature. The cast had no problem reacting to these deadly true to life mechanical animals.

The cast does a marvelous job bringing the script to life, under Johnston's direction. Whether individually or as an ensemble group, they are fully convincing as people in a whole lot of trouble, who must act like a team and ultimately depend on Dr. Grant, his assistant Billy Brennan, their own abilities, and young Eric, a paleontologist in the making, to outwit the animals after them, and come out of the jungle alive.

Sam Neill is convincing as Dr. Grant, the reluctant head of the search party, who must use what he knows and act on what he only has theorized about velociraptors to keep them all alive.

Good looking Alessandro Nivola does a good job portraying Billy Brennan, a young co-worker of Dr. Grant who is absolutely fascinated to see live velociraptor nests, having only excavated ones made of stone in Montana. Billy inadvertently spices up their adventure there, and possibly saves their lives at the same time in the long run, when he secretly does something that Dr. Grant gives him a tongue-lashing for when Grant finds out about it.

William H. Macy and Tea Leoni are convincing as the divorced couple, the Kirbys, who are brought together in desperation to find any way to go to this prohibited island to find their lost son, Eric who they both dearly love. They find themselves doing things that they didn't know they could do in order to survive and accomplish their goals.

Trevor Morgan does a terrific job portraying young Eric, a dinosaur enthusiast with a gift for survival, a quick mind to put two and two together, and an inner resourcefulness that helps them all to survive. Trevor Morgan is a talented young man and has some big roles under his belt. You may remember Trevor as the bratty, self-absorbed kid, Tommy Tammisimo who threw Haley Joel Osmet into the haunted closet in "The Sixth Sense." Trevor also played Mel's son, Nathan, in "The Patriot."

One of my favorite, spine-tingling sequence of scenes starts when the Spinosaurus attacks their rag-tag tug boat on the river. The surviving humans have taken refuge under the boat's steel bar covering, as the Spinosaurus tries to bite his way through. As the boat is shaken by the frustrated Spinosaurus, the life-saving cell phone is sliding up and down the deck, just out of reach of our heroes. When someone finally manages to get the phone, Dr. Alan Grant calls his old friend, Dr. Ellie Sattler, but her young toddler son picks up the phone, at the same time when he is mesmerized by the Barney TV show. In the end they are not sure if Ellie (Laura Dern) gets their message for help or not. They defeat the Spinosaurus, because of a gutsy move by Mr. Kirby, who then saves the day by using the leaking gas from the boat and a flare gun.

Rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi terror and violence. While this film is a definite NO for kids younger than 13, it is terrific entertainment for those who enjoy the genre, and enjoy an intense, exciting adventure.

If you enjoyed JURASSIC PARK 3, you may like the original JURASSIC PARK, and/or the bloodier 2nd installment, LOST WORLD: THE JURASSIC PARK.