The Talking Raptor In Jurassic Park 3 Is Good, Actually

When I joined /Film, I didn't anticipate becoming the go-to loudmouth defender of universally disliked installments in film franchises, but if this is my cross to bear, I carry it with pride. I was a toddler when "Jurassic Park" hit theaters, which means my introduction to Spielberg's classic was from the comfort of my home on a rented VHS tape. "Jurassic Park" blew my little mind, and I spent years convinced I was going to become a paleobotanist like Dr. Ellie Sattler — but alas, I'm a theater dork who sucks eggs at all things plant science. I apparently saw "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" in theaters, but have no recollection of ever doing so because I was six. I do, however, remember quite vividly when Joe Johnston's "Jurassic Park III" hit theaters.

Having directed "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," "The Rocketeer," "The Pagemaster," and "Jumanji," Joe Johnston might as well have been a cinematic god in my child-eyes. Having to follow Spielberg feels like a setup for failure, but Johnston was smart and completely diverted from Spielberg's trademark style to create a film all his own. The result? An incredibly fun adventure film filled with straight-people problems and plenty of dinosaur shenanigans. It's as if Johnston took the energy of low-budget B-movies and gave it a million dollar polish. I was fearful my love was based solely in nostalgia, but after a recent rewatch, I'm thrilled to announce that I still think "Jurassic Park III" is a blast and a half, and that includes the infamous line delivery of "Alan!" from a dream vision raptor.

Everybody 'talk' the dinosaur

"Jurassic Park III" put Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) back in the protagonist spotlight, having been convinced to do a fly-over investigation of Isla Sorna which turns out to be a rescue mission for Téa Leoni and William H. Macy's son, the bully from "The Sixth Sense." (Sorry, Trevor Morgan, you're really good in "Mean Creek.") Typical "Jurassic Park" dinosaur madness follows, complete with a lot more running, screaming, and getting snacked on by hungry, genetically modified, dinos. If you told me Joe Johnston's storyboards were just Topps' "Dinosaurs Attack!" trading cards stuck to a corkboard, I'd believe you. "Jurassic Park III" is a one-way ticket to banana town no matter how you slice it, and the moment that most fans declare the franchise "jumped the shark," is when Dr. Grant has a nightmare.

Earlier in the film, it's established that Dr. Grant's assistant Billy (Alessandro Nivola) has been trying to replicate a velociraptor larynx to reproduce the authentic sound of a velociraptor because he believes they are as communicative as primates. Why would he need to do that when they've already perfected the science to make walking, screeching velociraptors? Don't know, don't care. Maybe Billy wanted to build his own "Duck Dynasty" brand of velociraptor callers. Regardless, this newfound tech has clearly gotten under Dr. Grant's skin, and combined with his PTSD from the events of the first "Jurassic Park," manifested in his subconscious in the form of velociraptor nightmare fuel. 

Do velociraptors dream of Dr. Alan Grants?

The scene in question shows Dr. Alan Grant taking a nap on a plane, only to wake up in horror as he realizes he is on board with a velociraptor. The camera zooms in on his terrified face, when the velociraptor calls out his name, "Alan." The moment turns out to be a semi-lucid dream, where the real world voice of a human trying to wake him up has melded with his nightmare. Quite frankly, if you mock this scene, you might as well be mocking Dr. Alan Grant's emotional recovery following "Jurassic Park." Do you remember how close he was to dying? Do you remember how he had to be willing to cause harm to the very creatures he's dedicated his entire life to researching? Do you remember how he spent one moment listening to a Triceratops with the face of pure elated bliss only to later in the day have to keep two children from being eaten by dinosaurs? HE'S BEEN THROUGH SOME S***! LET THE MAN HAVE A WEIRD DREAM!

Dreams are nonsensical messes and movies have warped our brains into thinking they're all supposed to mean something. In reality, dreams are an involuntary amalgamation of images, sensations, ideas, and emotions, which is why there is seldom any logic behind it all. If we're being honest here, someone surviving a dinosaur attack only to have a nightmare where one could talk to him is probably the most realistic moment of the entire film. It'd be weirder if he wasn't having talking velociraptor nightmares.

Sam Neill likes the moment, so there!

Last year, dinosaur enthusiast and Collider writer and host Perri Nemiroff interviewed Sam Neill for his film "Rams," but pulled a real Alexander Hamilton by not throwing away her shot to ask him about "Jurassic Park III." As it turns out, Sam Neill is a big fan of the film, and a defender of the dinosaur dream sequence.

"I [thought], 'That's pretty cool!' [Laughs] I was just talking to someone earlier in the day who said, 'I really like "Jurassic Park III" and it gets an unfair [treatment].' He was from Rotten Tomatoes, I think it was him. And I said, 'Thank you very much!' I agree that the last 10 minutes are way too easy and way too hurried, but I think up to that point, it's pretty damn good."

In fact, Sam Neill actually believes "Jurassic Park III" is where he finally figured out the character of Dr. Alan Grant. "For me, by the time I got to number three, probably a bit late in the day, I'd sort of worked out how to play that character, which I hadn't really quite gotten around to in the first one," he said. "It's a special skill. You're not just playing a character, you need a whole skillset, you need a whole armory to play an action hero and I wish I had known what those skills were when we did the first one, but there we are! [Laughs]" 

Are you going to be the person to tell Dr. Alan Grant that he's wrong? The defense rests.