Film: Jurassic Park III

"Great, just great. Here we are in the worst place in the world, and we're not even getting paid."
Alan Grant

Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) steps back into the spotlight in this third Jurassic Park movie, directed by Joe Johnston and released in 2001. Unlike the first and second films, it's not a direct adaptation of Michael Crichton's novels, though it does incorporate scenes from the books that were left out of the previous two movies.

Thanks to Grant's expertise in dinosaurs, he and his protégé Billy are asked to be tour guides to rich couple, the Kirbys, and their company, who desire to see Isla Sorna. They need funds for their research, so they agree. But not until they arrive there is the truth revealed: the party is not there as tourists, but as rescuers to the couple’s son, Eric, who disappeared near the island a while ago.

Like its predecessors, Jurassic Park III spawned half a dozen Licensed Games.

Followed by Jurassic World in 2015, after years of being stuck in Development Hell.


This film provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: When Grant and Billy are identifying the Spinosaurus, Billy points out that species wasn't on InGen's list of cloned dinosaurs and Grant wonders what else they've been up to. This plot thread isn't expanded upon after this scene and the Spinosaurus's presence on the island is left unanswered.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Inverted. The Spinosaurus, moments after breaking through a razor-wire-topped wall (one specifically designed to keep creatures of its ilk contained) to get to the protagonists, is foiled in its pursuit when the protagonists shut and lock a door on it. Let me repeat: The giant dinosaur is stopped by a locked door. People have lost their minds trying to explain this.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several between Paul and Amanda. Also between Grant and Eric after Billy's Disney Death.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Jurassic Park III is a mash-up of everything from the two books that didn't make it into Jurassic Park and The Lost World, such as the boat ride, the birdcage, and the dino cloning facility.
  • All Flyers Are Birds: The Pteranodons in general act alarmingly bird-like, between grabbing prey with a set of eagle-like talons (something that would have been physically impossible for real pterosaurs of any kind), bird-like nests, the babies begging for food the way baby birds would be expected to (a point rendered moot by the fact that they're shown to be capable of flight already), the constant pecking, etc. Grant even calls their enclosure a "birdcage", although this is kind of an accurate description (for what is an aviary if not a giant, expensive birdcage?).
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The producers wanted a dinosaur that could kick the T. rex's ass, so they selected the Spinosaurus, which then-recent discoveries indicated would have been larger than T. rex, if only slightly. Eric says at one point that T. rex urine repels smaller dinosaurs but attracts the Spinosaurus, implying that the Spino may even go out of its way to kill tyrannosaurs. Scientists now know from the anatomy of both dinosaurs that this match would be impossible for both sides. Bigger does not mean stronger bite (Spino 's bite was nothing to laugh at, but T. rex's was stronger), and stronger bite does not mean deadliness. Spinosaurus was specialised to hunt aquatic life, and would only hunt on land in times of extreme drought to avoid competing with other large carnivores for prey. T. rex was unable to fight anything larger than itself, due to its jaw muscles limiting the extent that its jaws could open. On the other hand, having gripping teeth and strong neck muscles means it can still tear apart flesh using the puncture-and-pull method similar to crocodiles and hyenas, so it could take down at least slightly larger opponents.
    • On top of that, recent findings have found that due to the Spinosaurus' bone structure, it was unable to pivot its palms downward, rendering the entire way it killed the T. rex in the first place impossible!
  • Animals Not to Scale: According to later discoveries, it turns out the Spinosaurus in the film was actually smaller than its real life counterpart.
  • Artifact Title: Like the second film, JP III is set on Isla Sorna — Site B, where the dinosaurs were bred by InGen. The fact gets brought up later in the film:
    Dr. Grant: Why me?
    Paul Kirby: [indicating Udesky] He said we needed someone who'd been on the island before.
    Udesky: Yes. But I did not tell you to kidnap somebody!
    Dr. Grant: I have never been on this island.
    Paul Kirby: Sure ya have. You wrote that book.
    Billy: That was Isla Nublar, this is Isla Sorna: Site B.
    Udesky: You mean there's two islands with dinosaurs on them?
  • Artistic License – Geography: The juxtaposition scene has the Spinosaurus attacking Grant & co. during nighttime, and Ellie's son being distracted by Barney during the afternoon. Costa Rica is in the same timezone as Central Standard Time, so there's no place in America where such a huge time difference would happen.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • One big mistake that stands out when it comes to dinosaur inaccuracies? Pteranodons didn't eat red meat (they didn't have the teeth for it).
    • Speaking of which, the Pteranodons do have teeth in this movie despite the fact that Pteranodon means "Wing without Tooth."
  • Aside Glance: A dinosaur, no less, does this. When the Ceratosaurus finds Paul, Alan, and Amanda by the Spinosaurus dung, it looks up at the camera with an expression that says "No way am I sticking around here."
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: After the plane lands on the island, the mercenaries set off to secure the area. One loud roar and several gunshots later, Udesky and Nash are running back to the plane.
  • Badass: The Spinosaurus wins a head-on collision with a plane before literally ripping it apart, takes down a T. rex after shrugging off its immensely powerful bite to the neck, smashes right through a massive steel gate, and is considered the unrivaled ruler of Isla Sorna in the novelisation.
  • Behemoth Battle: A Tyrannosaurus rex fights a Spinosaurus.
  • Behind the Black:
    • The group arrives at the deserted beach to find a lone man in a suit calling out for them with a megaphone. There's no boats, no parachute, nothing to indicate where he came from. The beach, the sea, and the sky are all perfectly vacant. They run at him to make him stop, and all of a sudden an entire landing force, complete with several amphibious vehicles and helicopters, appears spontaneously on the beach.
    • When Dr. Grant and Eric meet up with the rest of the group, the Spinosaurus somehow manages to sneak up on all of them, even though half of them are facing it.
  • Big Bad: The Spinosaurus, which is portrayed as the biggest and most lethal predator on an island filled to the brim with predators, and pursues the heroes so often and relentlessly that one starts to wonder whether it is actually sadistic.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Eric saving Grant from the raptors.
    • Billy saving Eric from the Pteranodons.
  • Bigger Is Better/Evil Is Bigger: Spinosaurus is made into one of the main threats in the film thanks to its size — larger than the T. rex.
  • Bluff The Imposter: Not in the usual sense of "imposter," but Billy tricks Paul into revealing that he never climbed K2. Every other lie quickly unravels.
  • Brick Joke: When the party lands on Isla Sorna, Amanda calls for Eric through a megaphone and Grant yells at her to stop because it's "a very bad idea." Later, when they're about to be rescued, the government agent is doing the same thing and they all run out onto the beach yelling "It's a very bad idea!"
  • Call Back:
    • When Grant and co. are confronted by T. rex, he still remembers that it tracks prey based on movement. Too bad that nobody listens to him.
    • The scene where everyone is digging through Spinosaurus dung to find the ringing satellite phone is a Call Back to the first movie where Ellie is digging through Triceratops droppings to discover why the animal has fallen ill.
    • In the end, Dr. Grant looks out of the helicopter window to see a flock of Pteranodons. He did the same thing in the first film, albeit he saw pelicans.
    • The conversation between Grant and Eric about Ian Malcolm's book (the second movie) and the guy's obsession with Chaos Theory (the first movie).
  • The Cavalry: In the end, the Navy and the Marines.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The model of the raptor voice box is one of the most straight-forward examples of this trope in any of the films.
    • When the characters escape the birdcage, we see Amanda left the door unlocked and half-open. At the end, we see that the Pteranodons have found their way out of the cage and are flying into the sunset.
    • The eggs Billy takes from the raptor nest.
    • The ringtone from Udesky's phone conversation with Paul Kirby later helps Eric find his parents.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Ellie and her family appear in an early scene. Near the end of the movie, Grant calls them for help.
  • Chekhov's Hobby:
    • Billy has experience in base jumping, which comes in handy during the birdcage chase when he deploys the parachute.
    • Paul mentions that he's taken up swimming, which comes in handy during the Spinosaurus attack at the river.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: T. rex vs. Spinosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus rex was the big heavy of the first two films, but loses the fight and the title of big bad to the Spinosaurus.
  • The Croc Is Ticking: The Spinosaurus eats Paul's satellite phone, and its ringing continues in its stomach. Bonus points since the Spinosaurus might have actually been the dinosaur equivalent of a crocodile.
  • Cutting the Knot: The characters find a row of vending machines, and Mr. Kirby starts pulling out change and counting how much he needs. Billy, remembering that they're on an abandoned island, simply walks up and kicks through the display window of the next vending machine and takes what he wants. Mr. Kirby tries to follow suit, to no avail.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Ben Hildebrand does not survive landing on Isla Sorna (he doesn't even make it out of the tree), freeing Amanda to get back together with Paul as a result of their experiences on the island.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Played with; all seems lost when the group realizes Nash had the phone on him when he became dino-chow. Said phone not only survives being eaten, but it is later dug up from a pile of dung and successfully used to call for help.
  • Disney Death: Billy is seemingly killed/drowned by Pteranodons, but survives and is picked up by The Cavalry to provide a Hospital Surprise.
  • Dumb Blond: Amanda Kirby.
  • Dwindling Party: The expedition starts with Dr. Grant, Billy, the Kirbys, and three mercenaries. By the end of the movie, although they found Eric, the party has been reduced to Grant and the Kirby family. Billy turns out to have survived, but the mercenaries are all dino chow.
  • Evolutionary Ret Con: The raptors are brightly colored and frilled as a nod to the then-recent discovery that they had feathers.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When Eric tells his parents that he found them by listening to their sat phone jingle, Paul explains that he no longer has the phone, having lent it to Nash just before he got eaten by the Spinosaurus. Cue the Spino.
  • Flanderization: The raptors were always very intelligent, but only by dinosaur standards in the first two films. They are now veritable evil geniuses that have their own language and are capable of setting traps that are at human levels of sophistication. Indeed, at times they seem even smarter than the human protagonists.
  • Flare Gun: Used to drive off the Spinosaurus the final time the characters bump into it. The Spinosaurus had ruptured the fuel tank when it attacked their boat, so the flare gun sets it on fire, at which point it retreats in pain.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Mr. Kirby tells Grant that he can pay him any amount of money, the song in the background plays the line, "And I lie, lie, lie..."
    • And careful listeners will hear Kirby talking on the phone to Udesky just before meeting with Grant. If it's just an aerial tour of the island, why would he need mercs with BFG's?
    • During the Q & A session following Dr. Grant's lecture, he has to specifically clarify that he neither saw nor was involved in the San Diego incident. The public's confusion about the events surrounding Jurassic Park and Site B is later exhibited by Mr. Kirby's mistaken assumption that Grant is familiar with the geography of Isla Sorna.
    • It seems quite likely, with the events of Jurassic World, that the Spinosaurus being an off-the-books creation of In Gen is an early attempt by some figures in the company to weaponise dinosaurs. Its seemingly enhanced ability hints at the I.Rex as well.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Grant doesn't ask what happened to Udesky when he and Eric reunite with the others, and the second party is a man short.
  • Giant Flyer: The Pteranodons.
  • Hand Wave: All of the issues with dinosaurs are handwaved by Grant who says that these creatures are mutants, not dinosaurs. Echoed in Jurassic Park The Game.
  • Hands Go Down: During Dr. Grant’s lecture:
    Host: Does anyone have a question?
    [all hands in the room go up]
    Grant: Fine. Does anyone have a question that does not relate to Jurassic Park?
    [most of the hands go down]
    Grant: Or the incident in San Diego, which I did not witness?
    [several more hands go down]
  • Heroic BSOD: Grant, after witnessing Billy's apparent demise.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Billy Brennan and Paul Kirby narrowly subvert this to Disney Death status.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade:
    • The real Spinosaurus, despite being huge and powerful, was probably quite slow on land. Also, while it was bigger (at least in terms of length, and probably weight) than Tyrannosaurus, T. rex was likely much faster on foot, had a stronger bite, and can tear apart flesh. Here, it's depicted as the ultimate superpredator who eats T. rexes for breakfast. They also enhanced Spinosaurus in terms of durability; it easily breaks out of a T. rex bite to the neck in the opening moments of their fight, and is not in the least hampered by the wound. In reality, such a bite would've been crippling, if not fatal to pretty much anything.
      • A case of Author On Board, as the paleontological consultant was rather contemptuous of the popular notion of the T. rex as the apex predator of dinosaurs, and used the film in part to advance his own pick for that slot.
    • The T. rex itself. Its biomechanical construction, while perfect for crushing armor, made it impossible to take on or even bite anything much larger than itself, making this a physically impossible fight. Taking down slightly larger animals is still plausible, however, considering it had gripping teeth and strong neck muscles for a puncture-and-pull method.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: After Paul Kirby narrowly averts a Heroic Sacrifice to save his wife and son from the Spinosaurus, the crying Amanda calls him an asshole and begs him not to leave them alone. Then he reveals that he survived the scuffle and they're reunited again.
  • In Name Only: During his lecture, Grant insists that the creatures on Isla Sorna are just "genetically-engineered theme park monsters" rather than true dinosaurs while trying to defend paleontology from accusations of obsolescence.
    • In Jurassic World, it's revealed that the InGen created dinosaurs differ from how real dinosaurs looked because they were supposed to look cooler and more menacing. Which means Dr. Grant is actually at least partially right.
  • It Can Think: The bits with the raptor climbing the mesh door, and setting a trap for Billy and the Kirbys, using Udesky as bait.
  • Karma Houdini: The Spinosaurus in the final confrontation simply flees after being burnt by fire.
  • Killer Rabbit: The baby Pteranodons may look cute, but they're also mighty deadly.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Spinosaurus is defeated when Grant shoots it with a flare gun, which bounces off and lands in a pool of spilt gasoline.
  • Lighter and Softer: The third film was filmed with the goal of being more family-friendly than The Lost World: Jurassic Park in mind. It has actually shown up on ABC Family several times. Notably, the film has a much lower body count than the previous film, with at least two Disney Deaths at that, and also includes the plot point of Eric Kirby, a 13-year-old, being able to survive for over eight weeks on Isla Sorna amidst the predators on his own.
  • The Load: The Kirbys. Paul and Amanda are clueless people on a hostile island filled with lethal predators and other dangers. They have no combat training like the mercenaries (who don't fare that long themselves due to what they're up against) and no dinosaur experience or knowledge like Alan and Billy, so they have to be told that it's a bad idea to use a megaphone. Averted by their son Eric, who's savvy enough to survive several weeks all by himself.
  • Logo Joke: The Universal and Amblin logos ripple along with a "THUD!" sound, referencing the Bad Vibrations when the T. rex walked.
  • Lowered Monster Difficulty: There’s a moment where the Spinosaurus, who was so hellbent on eating the protagonists that it bust through a massive reinforced fence 10 seconds previously ... is suddenly unable to break through an ordinary metal door and decides to give up after a few bangs on it.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Considering how determined the raptors in the third film are to get back their stolen eggs, one can only imagine how fiercely protective they must be of their young...
    • It's implied that one of the reasons the Pteranodons attacked the group was to protect their young.
  • Mauve Shirt: Udesky.
  • Meaningful Background Event: While Grant and the others are exploring the InGen facility, a raptor can be seen moving in the background.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Gibbons (native to South East Asia) can be heard.
  • Mythology Gag: Ellie Sattler is shown in this film to have eventually settled down, married and had children with another man, she and Grant simply remaining friends. In the original book, Grant and Ellie weren't romantically involved like they were in the first film, and Ellie indeed was planning to marry someone else.
    • An aviary full of Pterosaurs was one of the locations in the original book.
    • The book also featured the characters attempting to escape via river as a large predatory dinosaur pursues them through the water. In the book it was the Tyrannosaurus, whereas the film features the Spinosaurus.
  • Neck Snap:
    • Spinosaurus kills the T. rex by clamping its jaws on its neck, and twisting it. The T. rex attempted this, but for some reason, wasn't able to. Which is a bit puzzling since the T. rex has been confirmed to have a much stronger jaw strength than the slimmer and lighter Spinosaurus.
    • A raptor finishes off Udesky this way when it becomes apparent the others aren't going to come help him when they use him as bait.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Billy Brennan's attempt to bail his and Grant's research out by stealing Velociraptor eggs.
  • Non-Malicious Monster:
    • The Pteranodons. Sure they were aggressive, but can you blame them when they had babies to not only feed but protect?
    • For once in the series, the raptors. They chase the humans all the way to the beach, but it turns out that they too are out to protect their young, as Billy stole their eggs.
    • A Ceratosaurus confronts the group at some point. Unlike all of the other predators depicted in the series, it shows no aggression, and simply leaves after giving them a cursory glance.
    • Averted in the Spinosaurus's case. That thing really hates humans.
  • Noodle Incident: Eric never does say how exactly he managed to obtain Tyrannosaurus rex urine.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: What the hell happened to the two guys on the boat? The film seems to imply the Spinosaurus was responsible, but we never see anything to confirm it. The book explains that the Pteranodons did it, explaining why the boat wasn't completely wrecked; like it would have been with the Spinosaurus, but no such explanation is ever provided in the film; instead, the movie seems quite content to forget it ever happened and even go so far as to suggest that the Pteranodons weren't able to escape their cage until the survivors left the door open.
  • Numbered Sequels
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Everyone gets one when Paul says he left the satellite phone with Nash, who was eaten by the Spinosaurus, and they hear the distinctive ring nearby.
    • Grant has a big one when he realizes that the area he, Amanda, Paul, Eric, and Billy have sought refuge from the Spinosaurus in is a giant aviary ... which could only mean Giant Flyers. Given that nearly every animal on the island is from the Mesozoic, it takes him all of half a second to figure out what kinds of creatures those might be ... right before one of the said flyers swoops down and snatches Eric away.
    • Everyone has one when the Ceratosaurus shows up. Subverted when it smells them covered in crap and leaves. The Ceratosaurus, meanwhile is having a more literal Oh Crap! moment of its own, because the crap the humans are covered in belongs to a much more dangerous and aggressive predator, which is probably still in the area. It quickly departs the scene.
  • Ominous Walk: The first Pteranodon pulls a brief one at the beginning of the sequence it appears in. Simply put, the creature is surrounded by fog when it does this, and is slowly striding its way toward a thirteen-year-old boy. No one can blame said boy for screaming. Bonus points for the fact that an animal known for its flying prowess is introduced by walking menacingly.
  • Parachute in a Tree:
    • Ben Hildebrand falls victim to this and is later found half-eaten and still dangling from the canopy.
    • Billy gets caught on a cliff face while trying to escape from the Pteranodons.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Upon finding Hildebrand’s parachute, his corpse falls on Amanda.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After Alan and Paul successfully scare off the Spinosaurus for good by lighting their boat's fuel on fire, the next day as the group is about to escape, they are confronted by a few raptors, until Alan confuses them and Amanda surrenders the stolen eggs to them.
  • Ptero Soarer: While The Lost World had Pteranodon in the closing scene, this time they strike.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Upon running into a T. rex:
    Dr. Grant: Nobody –- move -– a muscle.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: The divorced Paul and Amanda Kirby trick Alan Grant into accompanying them on an expedition to save their son Eric after he got stranded in the dinosaur-filled jungle on Isla Sorna with Amanda's new boyfriend, Ben Hildebrand (who didn't make it). Through the dangers on the island they reconcile their differences and reunite as a family after Paul is almost killed saving them from the Spinosaurus.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Billy is on the receiving end of a rather scathing one when Grant learns that he stole a pair of Velociraptor eggs.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Billy's theft of the eggs comes to light, he sacrifices himself to save Eric from the Pteranodons. But he survives after all, and is rescued by the Marines.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The baby Pteranodons are absolutely adorable.
  • Sequel Escalation: Pteranodons and Spinosaurus, a threat bigger than T. rex, are introduced.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Cooper being the first one to die, and doing so virtually the second he sets foot on the island, could be a shoutout to Dino Crisis, where a team member named Cooper does the exact same thing.
    • Billy "rescuing" Alan's hat at the end is a mild one to Indiana Jones.
    • The Spinosaurus fin rising from the water when chasing the boat calls back another Spielberg monster.
  • So Last Season: How do we truly know the Spinosaurus means business? He kills the T. rex without much effort!
  • Stand-In Portrait: A raptor stands behind a glass tube to pretend it's one of the dead test subjects.
  • Stupid Question Bait: At the start of the movie, Alan Grant has just finished giving a talk to an audience, and asks if anyone has any questions. Hands go up all over the room. Grant adds that he means any questions that aren't about Jurassic Park, and most of the Hands Go Down. When he further specifies that he doesn't want questions about the events of The Lost World: Jurassic Park either, there are hardly any hands left.
  • Super Cell Reception: Kirby’s satellite phone works perfectly quite some time after being eaten by a dino. He does mention that they'll only get a single call out of it, but fortunately for the protagonists, this doesn't extend to call-backs.
  • Super-Persistent Predator:
    • The Spinosaurus, with the exception of the T. rex fight, spends all of its on-screen time trying to chase down the main characters.
    • The raptors subvert this; they do go to great lengths to kill the main characters, but it is revealed later on that they were motivated by Billy stealing their eggs, and, once they're returned, the raptors take their eggs and leave.
  • Take That: Grant and the others are being attacked by the Spinosaurus, so Grant uses the satellite phone to call Ellie for help. Her toddler son picks it up, and he would have gotten it to his mother a lot quicker were he not distracted by another dinosaur....
  • Tempting Fate:
    Eric: Mom, I've been in the jungle by myself for eight weeks. I think I can survive the next few minutes without you.
    [cue a Pteranodon snatching him up]
    • Also Dr. Grant at the conference:
      Alan Grant: No force on Earth or Heaven can get me on that island.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Those who are content to observe from a safe distance, and those who feel the need to explore hands-on.
    Dr. Grant: There are two kinds of boys: astronauts and astronomers.
  • This Way to Certain Death: Amanda Kirby's "very bad idea" is to use a megaphone in a predator-filled island.
  • Toilet Humour: Everyone has to go digging in ''Spinosaurus'' dung to find the satellite phone. And Eric keeping a flask of T. rex urine in his trailer. This, in turn, was turned Up to Eleven by Will Marshall.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mrs. Kirby seems to genuinely not understand why Grant is advising her not to shout through a megaphone while wandering aimlessly through a jungle full of giant, feral predators. Mr. Kirby, too; at one point he tells his wife to shut up because "Dr. Grant says this is very dangerous territory." Obviously, being chased by a Spinosaurus and a T. rex within seconds of each other wasn't enough for him to realize that by himself. They get better at it.
  • Voodoo Shark: Word of God establishes that the two guys on the boat were eaten by Pteranodons. This would certainly explain why the boat wasn't wrecked and why the Pteranodons had a human skull in their nest, but it gets really confusing when it's revealed later that they were essentially trapped in the aviary without any means of getting out until the protagonists accidentally left the door open.
  • Wham Line: While the protagonists take refuge in an unknown, seemingly abandoned enclosure, things seem to be going relatively fine ... until Grant gets a good look at the enclosure's ceiling and makes a startling discovery...
    Grant: It's a birdcage!
  • Wham Shot:
  • The Worf Effect: The T. rex suffers from this. Its species were portrayed as the biggest and baddest creatures, and now one is easily defeated by the Spinosaurus. Of course, there's a lot of debate about how this scenario would play out in Real Life, though. Pretty much everybody agrees that Spinosaurus would need to dodge when T. rex went for its neck rather than just no selling, though.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Eric says this in response to Grant's question about how he got a jar full of T. rex pee.


Alternative Title(s):

Jurassic Park 3