When reckless human endeavour meets commercial interest, the ingenious world of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is born. With the spark of long-preserved DNA and revolutionary science, dinosaurs are farmed and cloned to create a new existence of island-bound beings that, in turn, are made into a tourist attraction. Of course, in Crichton’s classic novel and Steven Spielberg’s iconic film, this dreamland is never fully realised, with the creator of the park, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), flying a little too close to the sun, forgetting the sheer greed and folly of man in such an operation.
The fact that ‘Jurassic Park’ never opens to the public is what makes the story so powerful. In an effort to exceed our own bounds of human capability we are, in turn, crushed by the enormity of our efforts. It’s a timeless parable that works so effortlessly, making Spielberg’s original film one of the very best of his illustrious career. In addition, it’s also a reason why the sequel Jurassic World trilogy has failed so miserably, ironically forgetting that at the heart of this story is a capitalist nightmare. For the story to succeed, the park must fail.
What better representation of commercial failure and human folly than Jurassic Park III, the ugly duckling of the franchise that is often overlooked for its whimsical nature and action-focused plotline. Somewhat abandoning the spectacular narrative of the original 1993 film, as well as its sequel The Lost World that too focused on the idiocy of humanity, Jurassic Park III featured an altogether more reserved plot; a rescue mission devised by a desperate mother and father.
Managing to recruit Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) of the original film by way of blackmail, the couple fly to Isla Sorna, site B from the original ‘Jurassic Park’ islands, landing on a disused runway together with Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola), Dr. Grant’s assistant. Their mission is to find the whereabouts of their son, dead or alive, who was part of a parasailing accident near the island’s coast. Though the motives to once again travel to this hellish island are questionable, they do make logical sense, particularly once it’s revealed that Dr. Grant was coerced into joining them.
Such creates a simple narrative that isn’t muddied with the complications of a wider, convoluted story. Their mission is quite simply to escape and find the missing child as an added bonus. With less focus on the grandeur of narrative, we are given more time together with the central characters, enjoying their company as each and every motive is slowly revealed and fleshed out. This all occurs as they walk across the fascinating island and explore its intricate failures, navigating the park in one of its most interesting iterations as a wasteland of capitalist dreams—a place illustrating the collapse of civilisation and the strange beauty that nature has transformed it into.
Such is reflected in the story and villainous dinosaurs themselves, as a vast array of the creatures are depicted and explored, well depicting the madness and chaos that now overwhelms the land. From the Pteranodon that attacks the group in the aviary to the Spinosaurus that stalks their movements on land and in the water as they traverse the island.
It’s the closest the series has come to reflecting true horror, taking the terror further than one fleeting scene of dinosaur head-biting, flicking humans into their mouths like M&M’s, preferring to imbue a constant sense of dread that endures. The plane sequence, aviary scene and climactic escape from the Spinosaurus aboard the boat are still scenes that remain pertinent in the series, demonstrating the most vicious, snarling moments of dinosaurs on-screen.
Traversing a capitalist nightmare punctuated by the remnants of civilisation, Jurassic Park III prefers to bathe in the very premise of Michael Crichton’s fictitious land than to add to its complicated bulging narrative. As the Pteranodon escape the island in the final scene in search of pastures new, we are treated to the mere thought of dinosaurs and humans coexisting without the actual bombastic action of such a reality.
As Jurassic Park III gracefully shows us, in spite of human intervention and grand plot, life merely finds a way to persevere.