DINOSAURS RULE THE EARTH ONCE MORE!
Why Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does NOT deserve the hate
Franchises always find a way, and they have especially found a way to dominate the cinema universe. Usually, at the sight of a new Marvel film, I tend to enter a rant mode about technicality and business benefits behind a franchise film; of course, regenerating the Jurassic Park series equally applies to this argument. But Fallen Kingdom gets a pass.
Why? Grab a coffee and let me tell you:
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018, Directed by J.A. Bayona)
Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that's about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet.
Despite the fact that Jurassic Park (1993, Dir. Spielberg) came out before I was even born, it was a film which dominated my childhood. The raptors chasing Lex Murphy and Tim Murphy in the kitchen is the epitome fear. Still, to this day, that scene causes so much stress for me. and alongside this scene, the first appearance of the T-REX was traumatising. It's a film which stays with you long after childhood and follows you forever.
The ending of Jurassic Park is another iconic moment in the narrative. It establishes the dominance that these animals had and a reminder of evolution. Furthermore, the concept that these animals were brought back to life via human actions stands as a reminder of—not only human nihilism—but how our actions can cause our own extinction. This idea can be linked to other self destructive behaviour such as the rapid, ever-growing presence of robot dominance and global warming. It is this exact ideology which the first film conveyed in the final shots which, is taken into account in Fallen Kingdom. Dinosaurs no longer “ruled”, but are ruling Earth once more.
Human control is lost in Fallen Kingdom. The humans in the Jurassic universe are no longer top of the food chain. It is the antagonists need for control which leads to their loss of control. Additionally, their selfishness leads to the possible extinction of mankind. Fallen Kingdom really brings to light the moral implications of these films and utilises them as a narrative drive. For example, Chris Pratt’s character states to Mills that he has the opportunity to find a cure for cancer but instead, invests his time in manipulating animal history for financial gain.
VIC HOSKINS: “EXTINCT ANIMALS HAVE NO RIGHTS.”
OWEN GRADY: “THEY’RE NOT EXTINCT ANYMORE.”
(Jurassic World, 2015)
After the original film, we had The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997, Spielberg), Jurassic Park III (2001, Johnston) and—14 years later—Jurassic World (2015, Trevorrow). Each of these films share a repetitive narrative. People attend the island (ACT 1), the dinosaurs escape and cause chaos (ACT 2), however, order is restored (ACT 3) and the dinosaurs are placed back in their cages. Unquestionably, all films follow this same narrative structure. Todorov's Equilibrium Theory best described this format:
Fast forward to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The usual “order” of the dinosaurs is completely innovative in relation to the franchise. The new order is not that the humans once again control the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are given animal rights and now and must live amongst humans. It is the perfect commentary about human curiosity and its repercussions. The characters were given the gift to create dinosaurs and did not learn from their mistakes. Now, it is too late to turn back time.
Not only is this a new approach to a repetitive franchise, the narrative possibilities are endless! More specifically, the horror elements of these films have the chance to become more terrifying as the dinosaurs have entered our world. The Lost World: Jurassic Park briefly touched upon this concept but—in typical Hollywood narrative fashion—order was restored. The unfamiliar has now entered the familiar. The direction in which Fallen Kingdom entered is similar to a supernatural horror. The ghost (unfamiliar) haunts the house (familiar) of the protagonists.
Even more predominant is the films self-reflective moment. The T-Rex (alongside the other dinosaurs) escape the Lockwood estate. While escaping into the wilderness, a Carnotaurus attacks Mills and the T-Rex decides to join in on the free food. As this meal ends, there is a close up shot of the Indominus Rex DNA being completely destroyed by the T-Rex. This symbolic moment is a clear indication of this rejection of narrative repetition. Yes, the antagonist’s motivation is exactly the same as the antagonists in Jurassic World. However, it this is moment which gives the audience a nod of reassurance that this narrative is dead.
I completely disagree with the general opinion stating this new installment is boring, a disappointment, and just plain stupid. It is thought-provoking, terrifying, and the perfect commentary for human behaviour. Without a doubt, I am excited to see where the next film takes us. Clearly, from the post credit treat, the focus will be on how dinosaurs and humans will adapt to living together. What is more exciting is that Jurassic Park is no longer a park. It is a world. We just happen to be in it.