[Image by Mark Englert]
Keeping Track: 10 Requests for Jurassic World, Part Two
by Chad Jewett
Slowly but surely, more details have trickled out about Colin Trevorrow’s hotly anticipated Jurassic Park sequel, Jurassic World since part one of our list. This new info has included a gorgeous poster by Mark Englert, depicting a velociraptor watching over a clutch of eggs in the wheel well of what would appear to be the T-Rex-destroyed park vehicle from the original film, as construction on a new park is completed in the background. In light of this and other new developments, we offer part two of our list of ten requests for the Jurassic Park sequel:
For a series that went from being a pop-philosophical treatise smuggled in an action-adventure popcorn flick to a pair of unrepentant monster movies, it’s a bit surprising that the Jurassic Park sequels never returned to the franchise’s scariest dinosaur: Dilophosaurus. With its Technicolor markings and head-crest, it also might be the coolest looking member of Jurassic Park’s menagerie. Given only a couple minutes of screen-time in the first film – which was apparently long enough to eat Jerry Seinfeld’s neighbor – Dilophosaurus came this close to stealing the Velociraptors’ eerie thunder. Where the raptors and T-Rex were manifestly menacing, Dilophosaurus first enters the scene as a small, goofy, curious dinosaur, only eventually turning into some kind of rattlesnake from hell with insane neck frills and acidic spit. It’s an awesome and surprisingly frightening dinosaur, and we’ll be baffled if it doesn’t make a return in Jurassic World.
Luckily, Jurassic World is rumored to take place on the island of the original film, Isla Nublar. Hopefully this means that the new film will have the world-building sense of place of the 1993 movie, where not only was Isla Nublar given a level of realism thanks to establishing scenes in nearby Costa Rica and Chile, but the audience was constantly given reminders of the island’s layout through maps, computer screens, and the like. Conversely, the next two films, which took place on Isla Sorna – a sort of backstage island – were almost totally nebulous, with groups of characters more or less running around at random. By the end of Jurassic Park you had a very real sense of what the island looked like, of its spacing and layout, which only helped the verisimilitude of a movie that had an uphill battle in convincing us of the reality of an theme park full of dinosaur clones. Hopefully Jurassic World makes use of it’s more structured setting to give us that same sense of being there.
As we noted earlier in our (likely to go ungranted) wish for more Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World, one of the facets the new film could use the most is some of the thoughtfulness of the original. Indeed, actual dino action takes up less than a half hour of the film’s run-time, but that portion feels so profound due to the way the film establishes stakes surrounding these dinosaurs. Each character has a different, unique perspective and philosophy on the creatures of Jurassic Park, from Ellie Sattler’s ecological concerns to Ian Malcolm’s chaos theories to Robert Muldoon’s colonialist Darwinism. Those ideas then informed each character’s interactions with the dinosaurs, making for a much richer film than say the simple good/bad logic of Malcolm and family verses a bunch of dinosaur poachers in The Lost World, or the “literally all dinosaurs are bad lets find this kid” logic of Jurassic Park 3. Jurassic World would certainly benefit from letting us know a bit more about how these people feel about their environment, and by asking some of the questions that made Jurassic Park feel like something more than a Type A blockbuster.
9.) Dr. Henry Wu
Rumor has it that this wish is coming true, as it is reported that Dr. Henry Wu, played by the excellent BD Wong, will be returning for Jurassic World. Last seen in an entertaining tête-à-tête with Ian Malcolm and Alan Grant regarding the population control and breeding systems of Jurassic Park, Wu was a fascinating secondary character both brilliant and symbolic of the blithe, reckless ingenuity of InGen. He made for a terrific foil for the nihilist Malcolm, a charming believer in science set against Malcolm’s Nietchzian cynicism. Wong’s acting style is cerebral and naturalist, and was a good match for the Shakespearean portent of Sam Neill and the method fireworks of Jeff Goldblum. It will be interesting to see how the actor and character are used in Trevorrow’s sequel, but we’ve got high hopes.
Obviously. Considering that the famous kitchen scene from Jurassic Park came within inches of matching Steven Spielberg’s tour de force suspense scenes in Jaws, there’s certainly plenty of cinematic possibility left for Jurassic Park’s most fascinating dinosaur. The Lost World used the raptors for a nifty scene in a field of long grass (which you should stay out of, btw) but Jurassic Park 3 truly jumped the shark by giving the Velociraptors super powers and evolutionary traits that made little sense considering these would have been the same raptors from four years earlier. Colin Trevorrow will have his hands full figuring out innovative ways of scaring and amazing us with these dinosaurs – chalk it up to how well Spielberg was able to use them – but here’s hoping he can come up with something new, that respects both the creation and the audience.