Australian Council on Children and the Media

Jurassic Park III

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Not recommended under 12, PG to 15 due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Jurassic Park III
  • a review of Jurassic Park III completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 August 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes
Children aged 12-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Jurassic Park III
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jurassic Park (2001), directed by Joe Johnston, is the third in the Jurassic Park series, which first appeared in 1993. The film revisits paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who has made every effort to put the horrific incidents of the Jurassic Park disaster behind him. In the intervening years, Grant has continued his dinosaur research, but has been limited by an ongoing lack of adequate funding.  For this reason, he reluctantly agrees to accept a sizeable donation for research in exchange for his services as guide for a small pleasure flight over abandoned dinosaur-cloning site, Isla Sorna. The flight has been financed by wealthy businessman Paul Kirby (William H. Macy), who is 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), in addition to the slightly sinister Mr. Udesky (Michael Jeter) and Cooper (John Diehl).

Grant only discovers the Kirbys’ real intentions for the expedition after the party near the island. It then becomes clear that they plan to land on the island and begin looking 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 for themselves the true dangers of the island.  Added misfortune eventuates when their plane crashes a few hours later, and the group must draw upon all of their resources to survive.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

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

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is repeated physical violence amongst dinosaurs and between dinosaurs and humans in this movie, such as when:

  • Dr. Grant simulates violence between dinosaurs as he plays in the sandpit with his ex-partner’s son;
  • A tyrannosaurus attacks and terrorises Dr. Grant, Paul and Amanda Kirby, Billy Brennan, Cooper and Mr. 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 brontosaurus attacks and eats Nash (although the actual death occurs off-screen);
  • A dinosaur corners and lunges at Dr. Grant and the team, who become 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 brontosaurus chases, bites and tosses a Cooper several meters.  The man is then shown lying crumpled and bloody on the ground.  Later, the dinosaur attacks again, biting Cooper in half;
  • A brontosaurus attacks and breaks the neck of a tyrannosaurus;
  • A velociraptor chases, then lunges at Amanda;
  • A brontosaurus chases and terrorises Dr. Grant, Billy, Paul, Amanda and Erik;
  • A pack of baby pterodactyls surround, then attack Erik, who sustains multiple bites and scratches while trying to fight them off.  Soon, the adult mother pterodactyl arrives and chases Erik;
  • An adult pterodactyl chases and presumably kills Billy (although the final attack occurs off camera);
  • An enormous dinosaur attacks a small boat containing Dr. Grant, Paul, Amanda and Erik.  The dinosaur smashes the boat, traps them underneath, and then begins wildly lunging at them through the debris; and
  • 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 and in another scene, Cooper knocks Dr. Grant unconscious (although the actual blow is not shown).

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including:

  • Numerous scenes depicting enormous, rampaging dinosaurs.  Close-up shots of their eyes, claws and salivating mouths, and the accompanying sound effects intensify the frightening nature of such scenes;
  • Ben Hildebrand’s largely decomposed body is suddenly revealed, as it hangs eerily from his parasail; and
  • Enormous, monster-like pterodactyls suddenly launch themselves into the sky.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are several scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Two incidental characters are plucked from their boat and presumably eaten by an unseen dinosaur predator.  While the incident is obscured by a heavy rolling fog, 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 were presumably eaten alive by a dinosaur.  They are left drifting above a very rough and rocky coast line and it appears that they will die; and
  • Mr. Udesky fires shots from a high-powered rifle into a crashed plane fuselage, causing the wreckage to burst into flames.

 

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is one scene in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen:

  • Mr. Kirby’s plane crashes, and it appears that the passengers may die;
  • Dr. Grant, Paul and Amanda Kirby, Billy Brennan and Mr. Udesky become caught up in a dinosaur stampede.  As they run to escape the dangerous creatures, they frequently fall to the ground and it appears that one or more of them will die;
  • Dr. Grant, Billy Brennan, and Paul and Amanda Kirby are plunged dozens of meters into a deep river after the collapse of a suspension bridge;
  • Velociraptors use the gravely injured Mr. Udesky as a lure to attract the other members of his party.  The deliberate nature of this ploy 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 appears that at least some of the humans will be eaten;
  • Dr. Grant, Paul, Amanda and Erik Kirby are forced into the sea after a dinosaur attack demolishes their boat.  It appears that they may die
  • Several scenes also build tension and promote the idea of approaching menace, through the use of sound effects such as deep growling, heavy thudding footsteps, and violently shaking bushes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

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

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There is 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, she adds, “you still look good…” and Bob replies, “so do you”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There are no direct depictions of complete nudity or sexual activity in this movie.  However, one scene shows ex-partners Amanda and Paul Kirby changing clothes in front of one another.  Viewers see Amanda front on, from the waist up in her bra, and Paul is shown bare-chested.

Use of substances

 

There is at least one instance of substance use in this movie, including:

  • One scene depicts Dr. Grant and Billy ordering alcoholic drinks while sitting in a bar with the Paul and Amanda.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my God
  • Damn it
  • Goddamn it
  • What the hell…

 

In a nutshell

Jurassic Park III is a fast-paced science fiction adventure. While providing a more satisfying storyline than the second film in this series, this movie again depends heavily upon violent episodes for its impact. For this reason, Jurassic Park III is not appropriate for young children, who may well be terrified by the graphic, quite realistic depictions of dinosaur attacks.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Working together

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The complexity of family relationships, in contrast to the simplified, two-dimensional depictions contained in this film
  • The potential outcomes of human interventions on the earth

 

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