Updated: Jun 15, 2019
What's going on, you guys! I want to use this space to provide my full thoughts on the Jurassic World franchise, well, for several reasons. One reason is that I have touched on it in the past on the podcast, but never got a chance to do a full episode. The other reason is that there is a third movie in the pipeline, a revamped ride at Universal Studios, an animated children's show coming to Netflix, and a whole lot of merchandising and promotion coming out using these movies and characters. So, now is maybe as good a time as any to let my feelings about these new movies fly freely into the world via the internet. Disclaimer: I bounce wildly between trying to be grammatically correct at all times and just throwing wordstogether and calling it a sentence, so please forgive me if that bothers you!
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I love these movies! Every single Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movie is something that I can sit down and enjoy on any day. Some more than others, but the franchise as a whole is something I enjoy quite a lot.
Before I get into why, we should go over some history about the previous films.
Jurassic Park is one of the defining movies of its era. One of the most respected directors in the history of film made yet another CLASSIC. It is regarded for its groundbreaking visual effects AND storytelling. It has withstood, and I think always will withstand, the test of time. It was based off of a single book by Michael Crichton. That should have been the end of the Jurassic Franchise as it was. But no. It made assloads of money, so the studio and Spielberg kept pushing on. We were given two mostly disappointing films (although I quite enjoy them both) in 1997 and 2001. Spielberg returned for the second one, The Lost World, but passed of directorial duties to his friend, Joe Johnston for Jurassic Park III. After that, there wasn't much going on in the Jurassic Franchise. There are some enjoyable video games and other small such items, but they didn’t know exactly how to continue. I believe that there was work on what would become Jurassic World since 2001, but it never came together well. There were lots of ideas with dino-human hybrids, talking dinos, military dinosaurs that carried guns, horror elements, and even ideas closely resembling what 2015’s Jurassic World ended up being.
Those ideas hung around long enough to become something. Spielberg was most definitely interested in making more Jurassic movies. I don’t believe he intended on directing them. But he wanted them to see the light of day. He had a heavy hand in Jurassic World, but he passed most of the duties onto his new protege, Colin Trevorrow. Trevorrow was given his first chance to make a big-budget, franchise kind of film with this movie. He took that opportunity and RAN with it. Trevorrow gave the audience some great dinosaur battles, nostalgic moments, an unwavering action hero, evolved concepts from the first movie, and more. It was a big hit with audiences, scoring over $2 billion dollars worldwide at the box-office. Critics also reacted mostly positively at the time of release.
Next came 2017’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. By most accounts, an awful movie. Trevorrow helped write and was a very hands on producer, but he passed directing duties to J.A. Bayona. Bayona also got his first chance with a big-budget, franchise type film with this movie. He cut his teeth doing smaller horror films and shows such as Penny Dreadful. He was successful in that arena, so he got a chance from his friend to make it big. The movie had some horror concepts in it. Trevorrow said he is trying to mix each movie in a different genre. First was action, then horror, and supposedly number 3 is a science-thriller (akin to the genre that the original Jurassic Park falls into). I, for some damn reason LOVE watching Fallen Kingdom. I just like the vibe it puts out and I enjoy seeing the Indo-Raptor hunt people in a house. They tried to make a haunted house movie in the third act and it was sort of cool.
My problem with that movie and the first movie and by extension the whole idea for the trilogy, is how FALSE it is. It isn't fake or shallow. It is FALSE. Let go over some of the glaring issues with Jurassic World: Cardboard cutouts of characters. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt have no business being so boring and cliche in any movie, let alone one with Dinosaurs, volcanoes, and other crazy shit. The villain is a mustache-twirling cardboard cutout of the cliches of any other shitty movie villain. The two sidekicks play the cliche scared nerd and butch woman. Don’t forget Mr. Mean, former military, gruff, sociopathic, money-driven militia guy.
The plot is so contrived it is RIDONKULOUS. A sudden active volcano on the island, a long-lost business partner of the man who created the original park. That guys assistant decides to steal animals from a dying island to SELL them for leisure and war. He brought them to his GODDAMNED HOUSE. YOU DON’T DO THAT. Chris Pratt’s character (Owen) even said it in the movie. Something like, “You’re rich and smart and good at planning. You could have tried to end world hunger or cure cancer and instead you’re stealing and selling dinosaurs to fight wars?” This movie does two things. It destroys the island from the first four movies and it sets up Jurassic World 3 to have Dinosaurs loose on the mainland. Fallen Kingdom is literally a two-something hour EXCUSE to make a Jurassic World movie that features Dinosaurs in America. Most people lambast Jurassic Park: The Lost World for having the weird, tacked on ending of the T-Rex in San Diego (I love it), but at least Spielberg and Crichton found a way to bring Dinosaurs to California in less than two hours and a bit more believably. It’s actually remarkable how Fallen Kingdom and Lost World follow such similar paths. One is much much worse than the other though.
The movie is bursting at the seams with cliches, contrivances, and BULLSHIT. THESE ARE GAZEBOS. THEY’RE BULLSHIT. It continuously calls itself out though. The first movie was (rightfully so) praised for that. It is regarded as a statement about how movies are today. What was once an expansive, wondrous, amazing world has been turned into a theme park. The score comes close to epic, but Michael Giacchino pulls it back. There aren’t too many epic sweeping shots. The ones that are featured are of a theme park. I can look at a Disneyland promotional video for that feeling. The most epic parts are of action and carnage. The birds scene, the Indominus Rex scenes, the dinosaur fight scenes, those are all standouts. What do they matter though? Yeah it looks cool. Yeah it's pretty. That's the point though. Chris Pratt and his straight face, Bryce Dallas Howard and her heels, Vincent D'oNofrio and B.D. Wong twirling their mustaches, Irfan Khan and his billionaire...ness… The only character that I truly like is Jake Johnson’s character. The movie is an examination and indictment of blockbuster and franchise movies of today. It's cool in that way though. What balls Spielberg, the studio, and Trevorrow had for taking a beloved franchise and using it for that purpose. It works. That and the well done action are the two things that make this movie work for me. Fallen Kingdom was….er… Worse. It is still on that level, but I feel like they did take some of the cliche and boring things they were doing more seriously this time. Random, but the score? Was one of my favorite things of 2018. LOVED it. Anyway, this movie makes me realize that this revival of the Jurassic Park franchise, is pretty much sarcastic. Like, I know they are making a statement, but I want these movies to be more than that. Nothing feels genuine.
I have high hopes for Jurassic World 3. Trevorrow has a spotty track record so far, but he has struck gold before. Spielberg undoubtedly will have a little bit of input and heart for this one. We have heard from either Chris Pratt or Bryce Dallas Howard (or both) that the movie will be like nothing we have ever seen before. This is the the endgame too. I don’t imagine a fourth movie or new trilogy being put into production for a long long time if at all. I am one of many who LOVE the first movie. Hell, I love the whole franchise, so hopefully they can bring this one home.
WELL that about wraps it up for today, you guys. Thank you so much for reading! I hope you are entertained by my opinion on dinosaur movies! Hit the forums, YouTube comment section (any episode), or social media and let me know what you think of what I have to say, how you feel about these movies, OR whatever you want to bring to the discussion!