Billy is Awful at Dinosaurs: Jurassic Park III and the World’s Worst Paleontologist

By: Jacob Lewis

Jurassic Park III gets a lot of hate, 99% of which is entirety undeserved. Its a fun adventure movie, with great special effects and unapologetically wears its ridiculousness on its sleeve (feel free to rent it with Amazon Digital Rental). However, one scene has bugged me since the day I first saw it in theaters. The scene takes place after the case is attacked by the Spinosaurus for the first time. Dr. Alan Grant, the paleontologist, quizzes his younger associate/grad student, Billy, who is also supposed to be a paleontologist, and asks him to classify the dinosaur that just tried to eat them:

GRANT

How would you classify it?

BILLY

Obviously a superpredator.

Sucimimus. That snout.

GRANT

They never got that big.

BILLY

Baryonyx?

GRANT

Not with that sail.

[Billy gives up]

Spinosaurus Aegyticus.

This scene is ridiculous. Why? Because its clearly a fucking Spinosaurus, which means Billy is the worst god damn paleontologist ever.  A Spinosaurus is twice as big as the other two predators and has a giant honking sail on its back. I could have classified it as a Spinosaurus in first grade. There is absolutely no excuse for Billy not knowing this, being allowed to continue in grad school, and receiving the opportunity to work with the only paleontologist in all of human history that has ever seen a live dinosaur and lived to tell about it. If a construction worker can’t identify what a hammer is, he gets fired. He doesn’t get to collaborate with the genetic clone of Frank Lloyd Wright.  If Billy was supposed to be an idiot they should have just shot for the moon and made the exchange between the two characters like this:

 GRANT

How would you classify it?

 BILLY

Was it a chair?

GRANT

That’s a type of furniture Billy, Think more Dinosaur type.

BILLY

Was it a turquoise?

GRANT

No…that’s a color Billy. You know this. Think more living thing.

BILLY

Was it the Berlin Wall?

GRANT

What? Billy…god dammit…it was a fucking Spinosaurus. Literally one of the largest and most identifiable predators that ever roamed the Earth.

BILLY

I hear what you’re saying. It was you all along!

GRANT

[Grant gives up]

Billy, you are just…just terrible at everything.

 

Even without these changes, I would have been more forgiving of this scene if they had carried the Billy is an idiot theme throughout the movie. For example, late in the movie, Billy uses the base jumping parachute that he has been carrying around the island for no reason, to rescue a young boy from a swarm Pterodactyls. An exchange like the one below would have been consistent with his character:

BILLY

Dr. Grant! How can these dogs be flying!?

GRANT

They aren’t dogs Billy. They’re Pterodactyls.

 BILLY

Impossible, Africans can’t fly!

GRANT

No Billy, you’re thinking of Tanzanians again.

BILLY

Isn’t the “P” silent?

GRANT

Yes, but how…[closes eyes and counts to three]….these are Dinosaurs Billy. Dinosaurs that clearly have wings.

 BILLY

Wait, how did they even learn about gravity? Nobody on this island even speaks Dutch.

GRANT

I don’t understa…I don’t…what?

BILLY

Dr. Grant, we don’t have time for this academic discussion! BASE JUMMMPPPP!!!!!

GRANT

Sigh.

 

Unfortunately, this scene doesn’t happen. Instead, Billy  shows the audience that he is awful at science and we are all supposed to just forget about it. It’s little things like this that can pull you out of a movie about humans fighting for survival on an island filled with genetically modified dinosaurs.

 

Billy is just the worst.

 

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