Story

Jurassic Park III, directed by Joe Johnston, is the third in the Jurassic Park series, which first appeared in 1993. This movie revisits palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who has made every effort to put the horrific incidents of the Jurassic Park disaster behind him. He has continued his dinosaur research, but has been limited by a lack of funding. For this reason, he reluctantly agrees to accept a big donation for his research in exchange for his services as a guide on a small pleasure flight over the abandoned dinosaur-cloning site, Isla Sorna. The flight has been financed by wealthy businessman Paul Kirby (William H. Macy), who’s joined on the trip by pilot M.B. Nash (Bruce Young), ex-wife Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni), Grant’s PhD student Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola), and the slightly sinister Udesky (Michael Jeter) and Cooper (John Diehl).

Grant discovers the Kirbys’ real intentions for the expedition only after the plane gets near the island. They plan to land and look for their son, Erik (Trevor Morgan), who recently disappeared near the island after a freak parasailing accident with Amanda’s new partner, Ben Hildebrand (Mark Harelik). Despite Grant’s protests, the group lands, only to discover the true dangers of the island. More things go wrong when their plane crashes a few hours later, and they must use all their resources to survive.

Themes

Violence in the natural world; family breakdown; separation of children from parents; the role of humans and their technological interventions on the earth

Violence

This movie shows repeated physical violence among dinosaurs and between dinosaurs and humans. For example:

  • Dr Grant acts out violence between dinosaurs as he plays in the sandpit with his ex-partner’s son.
  • A tyrannosaurus attacks Dr Grant, Paul and Amanda Kirby, Billy Brennan, Cooper and Udesky in their crashed plane. During this scene, the massive dinosaur rolls the plane, then claws through the fuselage to reach the occupants.
  • Cooper fires a rifle at an unseen dinosaur.
  • A spinosaurus attacks and eats Nash (although the actual death happens off screen).
  • A dinosaur corners and lunges at Dr Grant and the team, who are trapped in a large metal cage. As the dinosaur clings to the cage door, they combine their strength to slam the dinosaur into the cage wall and escape.
  • A spinosaurus chases, bites and tosses Cooper several metres. Cooper lies crumpled and bloody on the ground. Later the dinosaur attacks again, biting Cooper in half.
  • A spinosaurus attacks and breaks the neck of a tyrannosaurus.
  • A velociraptor chases Amanda, and then lunges at her.
  • A spinosaurus chases Dr Grant, Billy, Paul, Amanda and Erik.
  • A pack of baby pterodactyls surround and attack Erik. They bite and scratch him as he tries to fight them off. Soon the adult mother pterodactyl arrives and chases Erik.
  • An adult pterodactyl chases and kills Billy (although the final attack happens off screen).
  • An enormous dinosaur attacks a small boat containing Dr Grant, Paul, Amanda and Erik. The dinosaur smashes the boat, traps the people underneath, and then lunges wildly at them.
  • Dr Grant intentionally burns a dinosaur to death by starting a fire in their wrecked boat.

There are also several heated verbal exchanges between Dr Grant and Mr Kirby. In another scene, Cooper knocks Dr Grant unconscious (although the actual blow isn’t shown).

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:

  • Many scenes show enormous, rampaging dinosaurs. Close-up shots of their eyes, claws and salivating mouths, and scary sound effects, add to the scariness of these scenes.
  • Ben Hildebrand’s mostly decomposed body is suddenly revealed, as it hangs eerily from his parasail.
  • Enormous, monster-like pterodactyls suddenly launch themselves into the sky. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has several scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • An unseen dinosaur predator plucks two characters from their boat and eats them. A heavy rolling fog hides some of the action, but large smears of blood are left on the boat’s seats and instrument panel.
  • Ben Hildebrand and Erik Kirby are forced to release the cables of their parasail from their high-speed towboat, after its occupants are presumably eaten alive by a dinosaur. They’re left drifting above a very rough and rocky coastline. It looks like they’ll die.
  • Udesky fires shots from a high-powered rifle into a crashed plane fuselage, causing the wreckage to burst into flames. 

From 8-13

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Mr Kirby’s plane crashes, and it looks like that the passengers might die.
  • Dr Grant, Paul and Amanda Kirby, Billy Brennan and Udesky get caught in a dinosaur stampede. As they run to escape the dangerous creatures, they frequently fall to the ground and it looks like one or more of them will die.
  • Dr Grant, Billy Brennan, and Paul and Amanda Kirby fall dozens of metres into a deep river after the collapse of a suspension bridge.
  • Velociraptors use the gravely injured Udesky as a lure to attract the other members of his group. The fact that the dinosaurs seem to know what they’re doing adds to the scariness of the scene.
  • Velociraptors circle and approach Dr Grant, Paul, Amanda and Erik. Tension builds as the creatures creep forward, and it looks like at least some of the humans will be eaten.
  • Dr Grant, Paul, Amanda and Erik are forced into the sea after a dinosaur attack demolishes their boat. It looks like they might die.
  • Several scenes also build tension through the use of effects such as deep growling, heavy thudding footsteps, and violently shaking bushes. 

Over 13

Some children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

There’s one mild sexual reference in this movie, when ex-partners Amanda and Paul glimpse each other while dressing. After observing that Paul had lost some weight, Amanda says, ‘You still look good …’. Bob replies, ‘So do you’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie has at least one example of substance use, when Dr Grant and Billy order alcoholic drinks while sitting in a bar with Paul and Amanda. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie doesn’t show any nudity or sexual activity directly. But one scene shows ex-partners Amanda and Paul Kirby changing clothes in front of one another. Amanda is shown from the waist up in her bra, and Paul is shown with a bare chest. 

Product placement

There are no products of particular concern in this movie. 

Coarse language

This movie has some mild coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Jurassic Park III is a fast-paced science fiction adventure. Although it has a better storyline than the second movie in the series, this movie again depends heavily on violent episodes for its impact. For this reason, Jurassic Park III is not appropriate for young children, who might be very scared by the graphic and realistic dinosaur attacks in the movie.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with older children include working together.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as family relationships. Real family relationships are complex, in contrast to the simplistic relationships shown in this movie. You might also want to talk about the impact of humans on the earth. 

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