Jurassic Park 3 | 2001
Jurassic Park was the original and The Lost World allowed T-Rex to run amok on the mainland, but Jurassic Park 3 lacks the Spielberg touch and doesn’t really add much that’s new – except perhaps the Spinosaurus, larger and more vicious than the T-Rex, which was suggested by the series’ technical consultant, palaeontologist Dr Jack Horner.
The excuse for a return to Isla Sorna (Site B) is the disappearance of young Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan) while parasailing along the coast of the raptor-infested isle (not recommended).
The production returns to Hawaii, but where the previous films used Oahu and Kauai (with Maui and the Big Island, the four largest islands of the group), JP3 includes Molokai, a smaller island that seems to link Kauai and Oahu with Maui and the Big Island like a little hyphen.
The coast of ‘Isla Sorna’, with its rocky outcrops, is the northeastern coast of Molokai. Dubbed the ‘Friendly Isle’, Molokai is less developed than the four bigger islands, so don’t expect glitzy malls and a raucous club scene. It is the place, however, for that peaceful idyll with tropical rainforests and deserted beaches. There are no direct flights from outside Hawaii, but it’s easy enough to get flights from Honolulu or Maui.
Chaos theoretician Ian Malcolm is out, but palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) returns when Eric’s desperate parents Paul and Amanda (William H Macy and Téa Leoni) pose as filthy rich adventurers to persuade him to act as a guide for a simple flyover of the island.
There’s a brief return, too, for Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), now settled down to quiet domesticity – which in Hollywood terms must mean LA’s suburban neighbour Pasadena – right? Yes, it is.
Dr Grant, still as intrigued by the intelligence of raptors as ever, he visits her ‘Washington DC’ home, which is 1230 Milan Avenue, just south of Monterey Road, South Pasadena. This is only a few houses north of the home of Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) in 2004’s The Girl Next Door, and of the lovable mutt in 1992 comedy Beethoven.
Hoping to raise funds to continue his research, Dr Grant lectures to a less-than-enthusiastic audience in Thorne Hall of Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Eagle Rock, between LA and Pasadena – a regularly-used campus seen in Clueless and Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, among many other films.
The ‘Fort Peck Lake, Montana’ dig, where Grant’s assistant, Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola) is patiently uncovering another skeleton, is one of the many gravel quarries, which form the major industry in Irwindale, a few miles east of Pasadena.
Grant, who’s sworn that no power on heaven or earth could tempt him back to the islands ‘off the coast of Costa Rica’ finds himself tempted by a generous offer made by the Kirbys.
The bar in which they meet up is based on the real Hell Creek Bar, 502 Main Street, Jordan, a town of 350 inhabitants on Hwy 200 in the wilds of eastern Montana. It’s the last stopping off place for dinosaur hunters before heading off to Hell Creek State Park and, yes, Fort Peck Lake. While researching the film, director director Joe Johnston visited the real Dr Jack Horner, on his dig here.
It doesn’t bode well for the venture when we see the crack team of aviators who’ll be flying the plane having fun blowing stuff up at a dodgy-looking salvage yard in the middle of the desert. The site is actually Aviation Warehouse, a props hire company specialising in plane and plane parts for the movies, 20020 El Mirage Airport Road, Adelanto, about 20 miles northwest of Victorville, Southern California.
The trip naturally turns out not to be what Dr Grant was expecting, when he comes round from a punch in the face to find they’ve landed on the island. Strictly speaking he hasn’t broken his promise not to return. As he explains to the clueless Kirbys, he was on ‘Isla Nublar’, not ‘Sorna’.
The tiny island landing strip is part of Dillingham Airfield, a public and military use airport, two miles west of Mokuleia, on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s operated by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (under lease from the United States Army) and mainly used for gliding and sky-diving. The Airfield might be familiar to you as a location from the TV series Lost. The fuselage from the fictional ‘Oceanic Airlines’ flight 815 was stored at Dillingham and transported to the beach for filming.
Many of the jungle scenes were filmed at Jurassic Kahili Ranch, Kilauea, on Kauai. Despite the name, this is a working cattle ranch covering 2,500 acres on the North Shore of Kauai. Its diverse terrain encompasses waterfalls, streams,and lush forests leading to more mountainous areas. Kahili has the distinction of having appeared in all of the first three Jurassic Park movies, as well as the 1998 version of Mighty Joe Young, and the 2011 Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It (though it doesn’t appear to be open to visitors).
The dinosaur stampede was filmed on Heeia Kea Ranch, about which I can discover nothing other than Heeia Kea is on the eastern side of Oahu, north of Kaneohe.
Grant and the survivors guide the old InGen barge along the Wailua River, on the east of Kauai, though the spectacular panoramic view of dinosaur herds is at Puu Ka Ele Reservoir, back at Jurassic Kahili Ranch, which is where the grazing dinos were first seen in the original Jurassic Park.
A couple of miles to the northeast you’ll find the beach at which the military finally come ashore, to save the day. It’s Pilaa Beach, a comparatively sparsely visited beach east of Kilauea on Kauai’s northeast shore. It’s not the easiest beach to access and the rocky ocean bottom and rip tides mean it’s not ideal for swimming.