When word spread about there being another Jurassic Park sequel there was a single, unanimous eye roll around the earth. The Lost World is way too long and suffers from too much idiocy while Jurassic Park III is the redheaded stepchild of the series. Who could blame us for sighing out of pure annoyance that Hollywood was putting out another one? Jurassic Park is a classic and none of its sequels remotely achieved the standard of quality the first did. Then as if God himself smiled upon the series, things started to emerge about the production that gave hope to those of us who have waited so long for a proper sequel to the first film.
1. Chris Pratt is the new male lead.
The first great bit of news came from the casting: Chris Pratt nailed the lead male role, Owen Grady – a hybrid character between Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ian Malcolm – which wasn’t too surprising since his star is burning hot at the moment. Pratt has a distinct way of being able to carry off a dramatic scene before turning around and spouting off one liners that can stand proudly next to any that RDJ comes up with. He is the IT guy in Tinseltown and that draw is something that a tired series like Jurassic Park needs in order to succeed. However, his co-star, Bryce Dallas Howard, has fans on the fence as she can easily bring the goods or turn into Kristen Stewart depending on what movie she’s in.
The first clip the film released has fans nervous that she is leaning more towards the latter. Of course, that was a 60 second clip out of a 2+ hour movie so there’s no reason to fret just yet. The dialogue too was rather atrocious and so painful that it belonged in a Lifetime movie. Again, just 60 seconds but man…maybe they should have shown something (anything) else?
Then more casting news! There would be no returning stars from any of the previous films. At first, there was rage throughout the fandom but as the screenwriter gave his reasoning, the fire seemed to dissipate because the dude’s logic made sense. It would be more than asking viewers to accept a storyline that brings these character back to face the same threat again. This isn’t Terminator after all. So what did that mean in terms of this being a sequel? The explanation is that Jurassic World is more than that: it’s a reboot for a new generation. So leaving the original characters out was a risky move, especially since the actors didn’t seem resistant to the idea of returning but it looks like it paid off with Chris Pratt taking over. And we’re not left totally devoid of originals since Dr. Wu is returning. You know, because someone so smart yet so incredibly stupid has to be there.
2. The theme park looks AWESOME.
When the trailer arrived, it was so jammed packed with cool stuff that it was hard to pick which thing looked best: the massive crocodile feeding like a twisted version of Shamu and geospheres that let visitors roll around with the veggie dinosaurs were just the start. Everything about the theme park looks so fun we half-wish it was real! But the most interesting part of the park isn’t even the park itself but the big red RESTRICTED signal that was shown on screen behind Claire’s head. There have been whole websites dedicated to finding out what that restricted part was and what the story is behind it. It looks to be part of the former Jurassic Park where everything went haywire. In other words, there are wild raptors, a presumably aging T-Rex, and several other species running around that red area. There has to be an interesting story in the movie somewhere about how the new company took over InGen and was able to start over the process of creating this park with the former residents right there to give them a clear idea of what could happen should things go wrong. The island is only so big, people! But more importantly, how restricted is that Restricted area? It’s not like the company sat down with the animals and signed a contract that the area was theirs as long as they stayed inside the border. Is there a massive, weather-proof fence that keeps them separated or is it a new technological system? Either way, the designers outdid themselves.
3. The premise is actually plausible.
It’s a trait of our species to repeat the worst parts of our history despite having ample time to curve the habit. This film will obviously build on Ian Malcolm’s warning that not only will life find its way through obstacles, but that the scientific goings on in the laboratory is a gross injustice to the animals and to the world of science. Malcolm may have been annoying/funny but he had a point: how far is too far in science? And why, out of the thousands of extinct species, did they decide on dinosaurs? It may just be because no one would want to see a flock of Dodo birds or a wooly mammoth over a T-Rex. Dinosaurs, especially the lethal ones, are alluring because they’re dangerous. Think of all the safaris people go on to witness wild animals in their natural habitat; people go to watch the lions, not the zebras. Once you have the power to create whatever you want, you grow arrogant in your ability to control your creation – a theme that was blatantly pointed out in the first film to Hammond after his grandkids got caught in the crosshairs. The Masrani and InGen corporations have seen Owen Grady’s “tamed” velociraptors and if you have a pack of raptors at your command, where else do you go from there? You keep trying to outdo your accomplishments and lose sight of when to stop. It isn’t enough that Grady has managed to find a way to command the raptors, nor that the evidence of the last adventure at Isla Nublar is scattered inside that Restricted zone as a grim reminder: the company wants more. And company pawns, such as Claire Dearing and Dr. Wu, don’t hesitate to make it happen.
This keeps the underlying theme of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” that has been running through the franchise. While the theme park has thrived, the thrill and glamour of achieving success at the expense of those who died in the first film and the two after has faded from the adventure of seeing something new. If that sounds a little odd, that’s because it is. People are still flocking to Disney parks for the same rides that have been there for decades. But a company is a machine and there is no room for feelings or people in a machine. Jurassic World theme park will in no doubt be in great financial shape in the movie – just not bringing in as much as before which might as well be bankruptcy to a company giant. In order to make themselves richer, they do that stupid thing people do when they get greedy: they made a new dinosaur to liven things up. Because things worked out so well the last time that happened.
4. The Indominus Rex
I don’t care what anyone says, that is a kickass name for a dinosaur. The terrifying new addition may be CGI and therefore less realistic than its predecessors but from the description of its abilities, it sounds like it could eat a Predator for breakfast. A T-Rex is scary yes, but at least it has two weaknesses: ridiculously short forearms and difficulty finding something that was being still. So the brilliant Dr. Wu (I’m guessing it was him since he’s the lead scientist) decides to screw safety and give the new dino not only long arms that can grab a person hiding in a corner, but also a mashup between the offensive weapons of the carnivores and the defensive armor of the herbivores – and, according to some sites, a chameleon like effect that makes it blend into it surroundings, which doesn’t make sense since people are paying to, you know, see it. It’s a pretty smart move on the screenwriter’s part to include a hybrid because Jurassic Park III alluded to InGen playing around with Dino DNA to create them, which was a logical conclusion to arrive at since one was chasing them at the time. It’s a clue to the process and respect to the previous trilogy that the screenwriters paid attention to those things and decided to build on that idea.
5. Owen Grady’s Velociraptor squad
Despite the groaning that occurred when it was shown that Chris Pratt’s character had a pack of raptors around him, this is undoubtedly one of the most interesting developments to happen in the series. While that initial reaction is understandable the book actually addresses this issue that if they played around with the DNA of the dinos, a highly aggressive species could be relatively tamed. Wanna take a guess as to who that suggestion came from? If you guessed Dr. Wu, you would be right. The man had his hand in a lot of DNA cookie jars. No wonder he’s back for more. But how did Grady get those raptors to not tear him apart? It’s been hammered over the audience’s heads that raptors were extremely smart animals and able to set traps yet Grady’s looks to be almost a pet. The clip the studio released in where Claire Dearing (Bryce Howard) says he’s able to control the raptors, Grady is quick to point out that he doesn’t control them at all and that they can’t be controlled, showing he has Grant’s perspective about animal behavior. He insists that it’s a relationship based on respect which isn’t all that uncommon considering there are people out there who have bonds with wild animals mainly because the human realizes that at that moment, they are the lowest link on the food chain – something Grady would definitely be conscious of. Like Hammond, Grady was probably present at this pack’s birth and been around them for as long as they have been alive. But with raptors, one never knows what to expect. After all, they are very clever girls.
Jurassic World opens June 12th.