This is the final installment of a multi-part entry into the process and pains of the creation of JPL’s map of Isla Sorna. Eventually these entries will be merged into one article and made part of the Encyclopedia.
Jurassic Park III is, to put it simply, a cluster of plot holes and contradictions. The most significant of these is the fact that Ben and Eric para sail into the island. Then Ben’s body is found (still attached to the para sailing harness and hanging from the tree he landed in) in the center of the island. If anyone can explain how Ben was able to reach the center of the island from an initial gliding height of only a few hundred feet, well we would love to hear it. Then there’s the fact that (based on not only the actual location used for filming but also a quick shot in the film itself) the landing strip is actually less than a mile from the coast. You know; the coast that Alan Grant was so intent on everyone getting to quickly? Yeah. They walked in the opposite direction of that coast.
And of course in The Lost World: Jurassic Park we are told time and time again that the coast is relatively safe and devoid of carnivores, yet in Jurassic Park III Eric insists that “the closer you get to water the bigger things get.” Granted Brachiosaurus is both an herbivore and one of the largest things on the island, but by Eric’s tone he seems to be referring to dangerous carnivores.
If I seem bitter, well it’s because I am.
But nevertheless, some sort of map had to be drawn for the film, so we did our best to make a map that made sense. Unfortunately, this meant either taking out specific “in film evidence” (which we did not want to do) or breaking any sense of reality that the film tries to hold on to (which was an even worse proposition). Thus, on our map Ben and Eric para sail for approximately five miles before finally landing (perhaps they caught an updraft?) and the landing strip is not situated next to the coast (though we did attempt to put it near a water source, partly because a mile-long runway wouldn’t fit anywhere else). For its credit there are certain parts of the film, such as the location where the plane holding Alan and the Kirbys enters, which flow together well on the map. However these are few and far between.
Some discrepancy exists in reference to the large rocks seen in the opening shot. Once believed to be either of the two large outcroppings seen on the map it was eventually realized that the rocks in the film are much smaller, on the order of a few pixels wide on the scale we were working with. Because of this it was decided that the props crew likely wouldn’t have bothered to place these rocks on the map, since they are not large enough to represent a topographical feature.
The film opens with the Dino-Soar boat on the western-side of the island, traveling around the coast clockwise. Eventually they release Ben and Eric on their para sail and travel into a fog. During this time the boat is attacked by an unseen animal, killing both captains and leaving Ben and Eric to crash into a small reef or outcropping. Hoping not to crash (which would send their para sail straight into the water) Ben unhooks Eric and himself from the boat and steers the para sail toward the nearest dry land; Isla Sorna. They slip between some mountains and begin heading inland, catching an updraft or two before finally crashing in a group of trees just a few hundred feet from a raptor nesting area (Velociraptor “antirrhopus sornaensis”). Eric is able to land relatively safely and turn off the camera just before the raptors attack, driving Eric away and killing Ben. Eric eventually makes home base a few miles away in an abandoned water truck.
Eight weeks later Paul and Amanda Kirby have come together to search for their son, lying to and kidnapping Dr. Alan Grant and his assistant Billy Brennan. The plane they have chartered approaches Isla Sorna from the north. The path the plane takes would actually have taken them straight past the western coast; however the plane makes a sharp turn left (toward the east) and enters the island from the same location as the first shot of the film. The plane travels further inland until eventually turning left around a mountain and heading north above an open plain. Nash spots a landing strip ahead and to the left of the plane. After Grant is knocked out by Cooper the plane circles the island before coming to land at Site B’s landing strip.
After the Spinosaurus attack the plane is left crashed a couple hundred feet or more from the landing strip. Grant decides that the group must head for the coast to find rescue, leading the survivors southeast, away from the large Spinosaurus. After walking for a few miles they encounter the downed para sail and simultaneously discover Ben’s corpse and the nearby raptor nest. They leave the area quickly, continuing east, while Billy takes the time to steal eggs from the nest.
Eventually they discover the Embryonics Administration building nestled in a valley below them and head into the building, entering through the main entrance from the northwest. After being attacked by the lone sornaensis male they exit the building from the same location turning south/southeastward, quickly stumbling upon a herd of Parasaurolophus and Corythosaurus.
In the confusion Alan is separated from the rest of the group and is found by Eric, who leads him back to the water truck where the two spend the night. Billy, Paul, and Amanda spend the night high in the trees. Come morning both groups set out. Alan and Eric eventually find the ravine, at the bottom of which is a river and a salvageable boat. The other group continues in the same general direction. Eventually both groups converge on either side of a perimeter fence, likely having passed on either side when the groups split up. After escaping the Spinosaurus again they head into the Aviary.
They escape the Aviary to the south, coming out next to the barge seen earlier by Alan and Eric, and travel south along the slow-moving river. Sometime during the next night they are attacked by the Spinosaurus a second time about a mile from the mouth of the river and spend the next few hours waiting for morning. They travel south toward the coast when they are ambushed by the raptors just out of sight of the beach (perhaps having been following the survivors on the water). Scared off by the approaching helicopters the raptors flee, leaving the survivors to quickly reach the beach and safety. They then traveled south in helicopters to rendezvous with a group of ships.
How Billy was found (and is somehow not dead) is a matter of extreme plot armor; likely the armed forces in question spotted him floating in the water half-dead or washed up on shore near the mouth of the river. Billy probably floated “safely” on the river after passing under the Aviary walls, actually behind the barge that Alan and the others were traveling on. After the spino attack he would have drifted straight past the other survivors as they waited for morning, thus reaching the coast before them.
So now the fandom has a map to follow. Again, most of these locations are approximations and may not be 100% accurate, but then neither are the films in what they are trying to tell us. Though we feel this is, in essence, “as close as we’re going to get,” I would personally like to take this opportunity to remind people that science is constantly evolving and being altered. If you think you have something to provide to the map (such as new information or a theory about some matter) do not hesitate to contact me (T-Rex_Master) on the forums through private message about it. I’ll be happy to look into it.
Hopefully Jurassic Park 4, whenever it happens, blends seamlessly into the rest of the map. We can only hope.