The resounding success of Jurassic World quickly led to the greenlight of two more sequels. Unlike the original three films which feel much more self-contained in comparison, this new trilogy fits modern blockbuster conventions by
The resounding success of Jurassic World quickly led to the greenlight of two more sequels. Unlike the original three films which feel much more self-contained in comparison, this new trilogy fits modern blockbuster conventions by having a more continuous ongoing narrative. However, the middle film of this trilogy, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, would actually be Pause many conventions of its own franchise, distinguishing itself from the Jurassic sequel pack as both the strangest and perhaps the most vital film since the first installment.
The fresh blood that director JA Bayona and company injected into this film resulted in a… let’s go and call it mixed reception, but it was also the first time in ages that the franchise really questioned what it was. Looking back at how Fallen Kingdom deviates from its predecessors, it becomes clear that this was the movie the franchise desperately needed to break out of the cage it had built for itself.
Join us for the fifth installment of our Jurassic Park and Jurassic World film retrospective!
Panic! at the volcano
As we discussed right back in our The Lost World revisit, part of the problem with the Jurassic Park franchise is that it’s struggled for a long time to change its formula. For too long movies have been content to stick with what worked before in terms of content and setting. It’s part of what ruined Lost World, it’s Absolutely which caused Jurassic Park 3 to fail, and Jurassic World only got away with it because seeing a fully functioning park was new. Considering the show was now on its fifth episode, having people chased by dinosaurs around the same two (!) tropical islands was no longer a viable option. This time around, Jurassic Park’s story was in desperate need of an overhaul.
Fallen Kingdom’s solution? Literally blow up the island.
It seems so simple, but it ends up being a much more elegant solution than it was given. With the volcanic eruption of Mount Sibo, not only do you get an apocalyptic action setting like never before in the series, but it also forces the movie (and any other sequel) to never again rely on Isla Nublar as a crutch. The park is faded away. The dinosaurs are out. The tease of the T-Rex running around San Diego in the second movie had always hinted at the natural way to continue the series: Dinosaurs escaping into the human world. They even teased it a second time with Jurassic Park 3, with the Pteranodons leaving the island. Yet it wasn’t until Fallen Kingdom that that long-awaited trigger was finally pulled.
None of Jurassic Park’s sequels are entirely without merit. They all have their moments, and they’re all entertaining to one degree or another. But what was such an interesting concept for a location in the first film had kept this series creatively stuck in the mud ever since. The dinosaur zoos and islands of Costa Rica had been recycled so many times it borders on absurd. While the dinosaurs are free to run wild in new and varied locations, that’s bad news for our characters, and great news for viewers. However, Fallen Kingdom doesn’t immediately transition to the dino-supported planet. First of all, it takes a detour in some really strange territory.
The best deaths in the Jurassic Park movies
crazy and scary
We previously discussed on IGN how JA Bayona took advantage of this to turn Fallen Kingdom into a gothic fable instead of a pure sci-fi movie, but it bears repeating: it’s fascinating how far out of the franchise comfort zone this thing is before the credits roll. Where previous sequels all felt like they mostly mirrored directorial flourishes and thematic musings of Steven Spielberg’s original film, Fallen Kingdom is the first in the entire lineup that seems to make a genuine effort to import new influences. outside the series. . The old staples of majestic herbivores, raptor chases, and giant jungle carnivores just weren’t going to cut it anymore.
This game-changing entry was, if not necessarily guaranteed, at the very least conventionally made sense. What doesn’t settles on a semi-surreal dinosaur haunted house as a means to do so. Lockwood Manor may fit the proverbial bill when it comes to what audiences expect from a Gothic mansion, but in the context of this series, the genre shift associated with this location is a long-awaited breath of fresh air. The mansion is introduced early in the film as a lavish monument to Hammond and Lockwood’s legacy, but in the second half it becomes a place straight out of dark fairy tales and 19th-century Gothic novels. As the monstrous claws of the Indoraptor reach out for little Maisie Lockwood beneath the iron bars of Doctor Wu’s mad science lab, we’ve finally entered whole new territory.
To be fair, there was some horror influence involved in the earlier films with the way the carnivores were incorporated, but the way these sequences were constructed never made the finished product feel like it changed from gender. Especially given how little blood was featured in the first movie, we always felt like we were in “adventure movie” mode. Bayona breaks away from its predecessors by drawing inspiration from old-school black-and-white horror in its lighting and framing, with one particularly inspired moment coming when the Indoraptor crawls up the roof and into Maisie’s bedroom: the claw slamming on the roof tiles, the roar against the moonlit backdrop, the photo of the Indoraptor slowly reaching for the bed as Maisie recoils in terror. The haunted house finale is still referred to as “Jurassic,” but it expands on what can be tonally and aesthetically done with the show’s mold in a way that none of the previous movies had really taken on. bother to try.
You can’t put it back in the box
It’s not exactly a new observation to say that many sequels to successful franchises have become increasingly “safer” over the past decade. Nostalgia and fan service have reigned supreme with the deluge of legacy sequels and online controversy over individual episodes, which seems to have encouraged studios to “stick to what works” when they approach their most valuable IP addresses. We don’t know how intentional or unintentional this may have been on the part of the studio, but Fallen Kingdom is not a victim of this trend and is in fact the first film since the original to really change what this is. series. on in a meaningful way. Unlike its predecessors, Bayona’s film challenges some of the core fundamental ideas that this series was built on.
Meat-eating dinosaurs such as the T-Rex or velociraptors, so terrifying and awe-inspiring in the original, now tend to position themselves as the heroes of the series, perhaps even more so than the main human characters. Whereas before humanity’s great moral mistake in pride was to resurrect the dinosaurs in the first place, now it tries to manipulate or destroy them. When Ian Malcolm says in this movie “how many times do you have to take stock?” he’s absolutely right, but it’s not just that people don’t listen to him about the dangers of unchecked genetic power. This train has already left the station. It is no longer a question of preventing a new status quo, which was still theoretically possible when the dinosaurs were confined to a few islands off the coast of Costa Rica. It is now a question of assuming the consequences.
The destruction of Isla Nublar and the release of the dinosaurs into the wild were both necessary for the survival of this franchise. No matter where Jurassic World: Dominion or any future installment will have to account for those decisions, which ultimately forced the franchise out of the stasis it had been in for two and a half decades. Rather, the promise of disruption to the natural order caused by dinosaur de-extinction (which had been the looming threat built into Jurassic Park’s premise from the start) had been betrayed by a series of sequels that refused to commit. with that. idea in honest terms. Love it or hate it, Fallen Kingdom isn’t limited by franchise agreement, and that gave this series the boost it needed for a while. We’ll see where it takes us from now on, but from now on, the Jurassic franchise will always be dealing with a world of dinosaurs, and never just a park again.
Carlos Morales writes novels, articles and essays on Mass Effect. You can follow his bindings on Twitter.