Jurassic Park III (2001)
Frequently Asked Questions
Paleontologist Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) agrees to guide an extremely rich couple, Paul Kirby (William H. Macy) and his wife Amanda (Téa Leoni), on a plane tour over Isla Sorna, the sister island to Isla Nublar and home of the second InGen dinosaur research lab. When they get there, however, they make an unexpected landing against Alan's better judgement and the Kirbys reveal that they are actually searching for their 12-year-old son Erik (Trevor Morgan), who went missing eight weeks ago while parasailing with his mom's boyfriend Ben Hildebrand (Mark Harelik). A second landing results in the plane crashing and Alan's worst fears coming true. The velociraptors are shown to be a communicating species, smarter even than dolphins and primates. Add to that a new hunter, the Spinosaurus aegypticus, more vicious than even the Tyrannosaurus rex, and the leisurely plane trip over the island becomes a fight for their lives.
Yes, albeit Indirectly. Although the script was written by American screenwriters Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor, the characters, settings, and numerous scenes were taken from Michael Crichton's novels, Jurassic Park (1990) and The Lost World (1995), which provided the basis for the first two Jurassic Park movies: Jurassic Park (1993) (1993) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (1997). Jurassic Park III was followed by Jurassic World (2015) (2015).
It's implied that the Spinosaurus attacked them in the open water, as later on in the film it is seen completely submerged with the exception of its sail exposed from the water, suggesting that this dinosaur is similar to a crocodile in that it sneaks up on its prey partially submerged in water but dwells on land. It's also possible that the Pteranodons seen later in the film attacked them, as we see human remains in their nest. Though it's not clear how they may have escaped their cage, we do see at the end of The Lost World that there was at least one flying without confinement.
Ben is shown on the camcorder to be alive when he and Erik are caught in the tree. He cuts Erik loose, and the camera shuts off. It is unknown how he dies, but we can assume that he was attacked in the tree due to the lack of flesh on the body. He may also have suffered a head wound when landing in the tree and passed out shortly after shutting off the camcorder.
No, not at all. Actually, we have no way of measuring how intelligent any prehistoric dinosaur was. Due to their small brain-cases, it is generally believed that even the brainiest of raptors were less intelligent than most of today's birds (who are, in fact, probably the most intelligent dinosaurs). The way Grant talks about this in the movie, however, suggests he was shocked at just how coordinated and intelligent the raptors really were. So this isn't so much a goof as it is artistic license to making a "discovery" in the film. If the raptors actually were of superior intelligence, it might have been a result of the genetic engineering involved in creating them (which aligns with the many times it has been stressed that the Jurassic Park creatures are not actual dinosaurs).
In the years between the second and third film, real discoveries were made that led scientists to believe that raptors had feathers. In the special features, director Joe Johnson stated that they were aware of this discovery and decided to include them on their male raptors. The type of quill-like feathers present on these redesigned raptors don't match the fossil evidence in any way, as it is known that raptors possessed the same panaceas feathers as modern birds and were indeed covered head-to-toe in them as opposed to just having them on their heads. To completely cover the raptors in feathers, however, would cause a significant continuity error from the first two films and likely be visually jarring to the audience used to the old look of raptors.
One theory that can fix the continuity error of the raptors appearances involves the mating habits of the raptors. As seen in the first movie, the dinosaurs were changing sex in order to reproduce. This obviously explains why there are now male and female dinosaurs in the later movies. Now, in the third movie, the group stumbles upon a raptor nest. This means that the raptors had just ended their mating season. This explains why the male raptors look so vibrant and feathered. Just as some modern day birds put on a "show" with bright feathers and dances to attract mates, the male raptors grew out display feathers and changed skin tones in order to attract females to mate with. As the mating season came to an end, the male raptors normal features began to return. The female raptors might have also changed skin color along with the male raptors during the mating season. As for The Lost World raptors, their skin tones resembled a tiger—orange skin with black stripes. This is most likely how the raptors normally looked when not in mating season. As mentioned in the first book, as a safety precaution, the raptors used in the park were genetically altered to be less menacing and dangerous.This manipulation resulted in a genetic defect in the raptors causing them to be larger than they should be with abnormal skin tones—9 feet tall and grayish-brown. This took place prior to the dinosaurs being shipped to the island. The lab in the park was just a cover up. The visitors were to be shown the "flawless efforts" of the geneticists in the tiny lab on the tour. The dinosaurs were actually created on Site B in mass productions, bearing numerous still-borns and defects. The few that did survive were used as test subjects, tagged, and released on the island to age and mature while being tested for diseases. If the dinosaur thrived, that genetic batch would be altered, created, then shipped to the park for display. Since Site B was shut down, the loose, unaltered dinosaurs were left to roam the island and eventually reproduce as they did in the park in the first movie. The raptors, in their unaltered state, underwent their normal mating rituals over the years, resulting in the third movie's post-mating season raptors. In the events following the third movie, the raptors would eventually return to how they appeared in The Lost World.
However, when thinking outside the film, it's easier to remember that it is simply a costume change (think of the new Klingon foreheads in Star Trek that were never explained) that you just have to go with. The third film was only loosely based on the first two: strictly a sequel rather than the next installment of a trilogy.
In the film, Billy (Alessandro Nivola) says "I don't remember seeing that on InGen's list," to which Alan replies "It wasn't, which makes me wonder what else they were up to." The Spinosaurus was an actual dinosaur but, in the books, they didn't know what dinosaur was being created until it was hatched. So it's possible that it was hatched and that they decided not to report it for some reason. Also, they might have mistaken it for a Baryonyx due to its crocodilian snout. That particular creature was on InGen's list.
Whether or not it was realistic, it was a way to "up the ante" for viewers. The Tyrannosaurus and the velociraptors had already ruled the two previous films, so coming up with something to "de-throne" the T-Rex was a way to create fresh excitement and wonder. The fight was to show the audience that there was a new King of the Island. The Spinosaurus, despite what the movie leads viewers to believe, was not as ferocious as depicted on film, feeding mainly on large fish and medium-sized dinosaurs, and would most likely not have beaten a Tyrannosaurus so easily. The fight is more relevant to the 'film-making' side of the show. Live Action robots for both dinosaurs were used to create some shots, but the fight involved computer-generated images, and sometimes merged both. However, you never notice a difference between what was filmed and what was inserted. It's a demonstration to the audience: this effects roller-coaster they started with the first film has now led to very realistic and believable scenes.
Many viewers think so, and it would not seem illogical, as both this movie and Jurassic Park: The Lost World are situated on the same island. However, each movie takes place on different parts of the island, and the worker's village that is seen in The Lost World is different from the one in this movie. A quick comparison between the scenes immediately shows difference. In The Lost World, there was a small gas station with two fuel pumps leftback of the car (which you can clearly see when Malcolm gets inside the car). In this film, there is no building or pump to be found anywhere near the smashed car. The car is standing in front of steps leading to the nearby main building's entrance; these steps are completely absent in The Lost World. The cars themselves are different too; the one from The Lost World is a smaller model with only two rows of seats, while the one in this film has three, like a large family car. Also, the building next to the area in The Lost World was a visitor's centre; the building they enter in this film says "Embryonic Administration" at its entrance. All these differences indicate that the two scenes occur in different areas. There is also the fact that, in the scene in The Lost World, the raptor ends up smashing through the whole window before Malcolm gets out of the car instead of just the little hole seen in this film.
Alan, Paul, Amanda, and Erik head toward the coast but suddenly find themselves surrounded by velociraptors looking for the eggs that Billy stole from their nests. The raptors think that Amanda stole the eggs, so they concentrate on her. Alan slowly hands her the eggs and Amanda places them in front of her as a peace offering. Alan notices the resonant chamber in his bag and uses it to call for help. The velociraptors recognize the call for help and disperse. Alan hears a whirring sound and runs for the beach to find that Ellie (Laura Dern) has sent in an Army and Navy flotilla to rescue them. In the final scene, Alan and the Kirbys fly away in the helicopter also carrying Billy, who is injured but alive. Pteranodons are seen circling the copter. Alan says that the Pteranodons are looking for new nesting grounds.
This topic has became one of the most frequently discussed among paleontology enthusiasts, mostly because of how much our understanding of these creatures has progressed, and because there are many fans of Jurassic Park who refuse to accept that the dinosaurs in the movie are in several aspects inaccurate. Further, since to many moviegoers these films provide the sole source of information about dinosaurs, arguments about the topic occur frequently when a more knowledgeable person points out their ignorance. These inaccuracies aren't all mistakes. While some dinosaurs were indeed changed to make them better movie monsters (especially the raptors), most are the result of the relatively limited knowledge we possessed back when the movie was made. It should be noted that paleontology is an ever-advancing field of science, and as such, our image of these animals is always changing. A general overview on these paleontologic inaccuracies present in this movie:
• The Tyrannosaurus is one of the most accurate to appear in any popular media, including documentaries. However the shape of the head is too blocky and a bit wide, while the eyebrow ridges are far too pronounced. The arms appear to be just a tad too long and articulated, and the hands are able to twits. In reality, the wrists were fixed into a nearly immobile position, facing each other, but this is a relatively new discovery. As is the one made about the creature's hide: fossilized skin impressions show the animal had a heterogeneous, goosebumps-like skin texture, as opposed to scales, and this is evidence that, at least early in its life, T. rex was feathered. Scales were probably present on its throat-sac and on various parts of its body, though, like the underside of its tail. Dr. Grant claims it's sight was based on movement, but this is untrue—although we have no way of measuring the exact visual capabilities of a T. rex, we do know it had phenomenal binocular vision, so it likely had no trouble seeing what's in front of it. In this movie, Eric Kirby uses a jar filled with T. rex urine to keep smaller dinosaurs away—but since modern relatives of the animal excrete their waste in the form of uric acid (see: bird droppings), it is improbable that T. rex was actually able to pee.
• Spinosaurus is a true movie monster. While it probably was larger than a T. rex in real life, it's highly unlikely it would have been able to dispatch it in the manner we see in the movie. Depicted as a violent and unrelenting hunter, spinosaurs were probably mostly fish-eaters. Some members of the group have long been believed to have fed exclusively on fish, akin to gigantic herons or storks. Their nostrils were placed high up their snout, so that they could breath with their nose in the water. They had slender necks and even thinner jaws—in fact, the jaws of Spinosaurus in particular were stunningly thin, and had a notch at the tip, which is less pronounced in the movie. All these signs, along with the fish remains preserved inside the stomach region of the spinosaur Baryonyx point towards a fish-diet, yet some claim that their jaws were much stronger than previously thought, and would have been over-engineered for mere fishing. Of course, it is possible that they needed strong jaws to tackle large fish and hunt smaller prey on land. Some think they could be better compared to modern-day bears, in that they both fished and actively hunted. At any rate, isotopic analysis of Spinosaurus' fossils reveal a semi-aquatic lifestyle, making the movie's terrestrial depiction, as well as the scene in which the animal has trouble catching people underwater highly dubious. Spinosaurus had a single crest in the middle of its snout, whereas the movie version has two, above the eyes. It's arms haven't been discovered yet, but since its relatives had surprisingly long and muscular arms, it's likely it had such arms as well. But it couldn't pronate them (twist them back)—no predatory dinosaur could! So it couldn't have rolled an airplane on the ground, nor could it hold down a struggling Tyrannosaurus. The perhaps most famous feature of Spinosaurus, its "back-sail" has likewise become a debated issue. Comparing the spines to those seen on the vertebrae of bison, some scientist reckon that Spinosaurus may have actually had a fleshy or fatty hump on its back, rather than a thin sail. Most recent depictions also have the "sail" run all the way down the tail, instead of only being present on the back. Following new findings and theories published in 2014, some scientists now also think that the animal had incredibly short, stumpy legs, giving it more of a crocodilian appearance, with its belly held close to the ground, although the front legs were most likely not well suited for walking, as believed in the 1980s and '90s. Some even think that with its short legs, it at times dragged its tail on the ground as it slumped across the terrain. If this turns out to be true, then the movie's depiction of the animal as a fast-running bruiser will be even more unrealistic.
• The Velociraptors in the movie became so embedded into public mind that a lot of people find it hard to accept that the real animals looked almost nothing like them. The raptors here are actually based on Deinonychus, a wolf-sized American dromaeosaur, rather than the Asian and turkey-sized Velociraptor. The book points this out, the movie does not. Even so, the anatomy of these "Deinonychus" is wrong in nearly every aspect. They are too big—shown to be able to look a human right in the eye, however true Deinonychus would only come up to our waist or chest. This is because the legs of raptors were surprisingly short. Despite what the movie tells us, they (or at least the more advanced raptors, such as Deinonychus, Velociraptor and the gigantic Utahraptor) were bad runners, and likely ambushed their prey. Their claws weren't suited for slashing, as their inner rim was more rounded than sharp, better suited for climbing and puncturing than making cuts. The tail of raptors is shown as relatively short and bendy in the movies, but they were really much longer and quite stiff (the animals belonged to a dinosaur group called tetanurae, meaning "stiff tails"). They were flexible to a degree, but incapable of flailing around. The skull of the movie-raptors is blocky and stout, and doesn't match that of any known dromaeosaur. Their arms, or rather wings, are almost human-like. In reality, they were unable to rotate their wrists, meaning their hands were permanently stuck in a "clapping" position. They would thus have been unable to open doors. They also didn't hold their wings in front of their bodies. Paleontologists believe they held them at their sides and to the back. This made them more aerodynamic, and kept their feathers from touching the ground.
Most famously, raptors were feathered. Fossilized feathers show these were the same as the pennaceous feathers of modern birds, and not the type of primitive "fuzz" that a lot of other dinosaurs (for instance T. rex) had. Their arms were lined with long, sturdy feathers, the type birds use for flying—many smaller raptors were indeed capable of using them to glide through the air, although not being able to lift them above their shoulder-line, they couldn't flap their wings. The wing-feathers extended from their middle digits, not from their wrists as many erroneous reconstructions show, which would have made the hands even less dexterous. Essentially, they had "wings with claws" rather than "arms with feathers". Raptors were covered head-to tail in feathers, and possessed fans on the end of their tail. Only the tip of their snout and their feet had scales, although some even had feathers sprouting from their toes.
There are a number of theories regarding their hunting strategy. The famous Fighting Dinosaurs fossil, in which a Velociraptor and Protoceratops were found locked in combat at the time of their death, shows the raptor sticking tis claw into the herbivore's neck, which many see as proof that raptors used their claws this way—others claim that the animal was trying to push itself away from the Protoceratops, and that the raptor wasn't the real attacker in this scenario. Another theory says that they would have gone for smaller prey, and then clawed it to death while standing upright over it, using their wings to balance themselves and to keep other raptors away by forming a "shield" around their meal. It is unlikely that they used their teeth or wing claws for killing. There is no evidence to suggest raptors were pack hunters. This theory was based on several Deinonychus skeletons that have been discovered together with the skeleton of a herbivorous dinosaur, but recent studies indicate that these weren't found together because they formed a pack when alive, but because they came to feed off the carcass, and subsequently fought over it, during which many Deinonychus were killed—their remains also show signs of scavenging, meaning they could even have ate each other. Also, while raptors were probably smart for dinosaurs, they likely lacked the necessary intelligence needed for coordinated assaults. However there exists a fossil trackway that shows a bunch of these animals walking in a group, so the question of whether they were social or not has yet to be cleared. Furthermore, different types of raptors had different jaws—velociraptorines had relatively weaker jaws than dromaeosaurines, which suggest that they relied primarily on their claws while hunting, which would have been more useful for bringing down larger prey. Thus some scientists still believe that the pack hunting theory holds water. They surely weren't as intelligent as the movie claims, though: the braincase of raptors were, compared to their bodysize, smaller than of modern birds. It is probably true that they were caring parents, however they could have laid their eggs into a common nest that then the males guarded—at least, their close relatives the troodontids are known to have brooded like this.
• Most of the other dinosaurs we only get brief glimpses of are so-so in terms of accuracy. The "compies" are naked, but we now think they were actually fuzzy. Ceratosaurus, the horned dinosaur, has a far too blocky head, while its teeth should be longer. Brachiosaurus nostrils were actually located on their snout, not their forehead. The design of Ankylosaurus was based on the outdated reconstructions from the beginning of the XX. century. Studies made in 2004 revealed the arrangement of their armor-plates differed from this, and that they had several large and flat plates covering their body, not just smaller, more pointed ones. They were also wide, really wide animals, while in the movie, they look a bit "tubular".
• The Pteranodon are, like the raptors, presented as movie monsters. They are inaccurate in almost every aspect. Firstly, they have teeth, however their name even means "winged and toothless". They are covered in scales, yet pterosaurs are known to have been fuzzy. Their beaks should be curving upward. They wouldn't be able to lift up humans and fly off with them, because their legs were suited for walking, not grabbing, and also, the sheer weight of a human would have made it a physical impossibility for them to stay aloft. Pteranodon only weighed about ten or so pounds. Only males had such large crests, while juveniles lacked them altogether. Although no nests of Pteranodon have ever been found, other pterosaur nests are indeed known, and these tell us they nested not on cliffs but on soft ground. Since even the babies had strong wing bones, it is unlikely that adults fed them, since they were able to fly right out of the egg. One anatomical aspect that the movie did get right is the way the animals fold their wing fingers when on the ground: they fold from the back to the front, and not from the side—this is a detail most media, including BBC's famed Walking with Dinosaurs (1999), usually get wrong.
Due to the fact that according to both the novel and movie, these "dinosaurs" and "pterosaurs" are actually just human-engineered mutants, most of these inaccuracies can be explained in-universe as being just the results of the geneticists' tampering. In fact, this is explicitly spelled out in the original novel. The movies have briefly acknowledged this too—in this film, Grant says that dinosaurs existed 65 million years ago, and that what InGen created were just "theme park monsters".