Hello guys, I am back! I have been busy writing this, among other things. I have been kind of disconnected from JP/W news, so I need to catch up, and I can also see there has been a MAJOR growth in activity here(for better or worse). As well, there are many new faces I would like to welcome. So yes, this is it: the essay I have written to defend the JW franchise. Note that I am not the best at this—I am much better at fiction writing—but I hope this helps convince people of what a great series we have today. With that, let’s begin!
I’ve heard a lot of backlash against the Jurassic World Series, and to be honest, some arguments are beyond valid. To explain, there is the small controversy over the designs of the animals being accurate to the old models, and being accurate in general. I stand in the middle of the argument, getting covered in the blood and guts of the fighters. There are also some logical problems, like why did the Baryonyx get lava on her head, and survive? And yes, I won’t defend that, but I will make it clear that things like that shouldn’t effect the overall quality of a film as much as people think it does.
Don’t get me wrong, they do, but they are not the giant cracks in the windshield of these films, just chips from pebbles.
And so, here I am, your Knight in rusted armor, to help convince you guys, why the soon to be Jurassic World Trilogy is the best since the first film itself. It’s going to be a journey, and, as well, let me state that I am not the now stereotyped JW fan who will defend it to the death, not knowing what a flaw is. Indeed, I know what a flaw is, and I base my criticism on all factors, but also don’t go completely against, and completely for the topic in discussion. I think what we need here is a reforming of our community. Slowly, but surely, opinions rip apart groups, but most often, those views are not actually correct criticism, but are mere groundless trolling that it dispersed as fact(The Dinosaur Teaming, and T.rex Continuity Dilemma).
Also, MAJOR spoilers...
Part 1: Plot And Characters
Jurassic World Made The Dinosaurs Tame
This by far is the easiest to break down in my opinion. To start off, I want to explain something: what is the definition of tame? Well, we think of a cat as tame, as well as a dog. But here’s the thing. We have also been able to tame beasts like Crocodiles, and the latter animal I will use to help my defense.
So, in Jurassic World, we have Owen Grady, former Navy Seal, and animal expert, hired by John Hammond’s friend Simon Masrani, owner of InGen, and owner of Jurassic World, to be a part of a project called I.B.R.I.S. This project is designed to help understand the mental capabilities of the Velociraptors. However, because of money, InGen also wants to see how they can use the animals as more than attractions. It started in 2004, and over the course of time, several animals were cloned, such as Subjects V-2, and A-1, who were extremely aggressive, and nearly identical to Hammond’s original creations in the 90s. All aggressive subjects were put down, but eventually four raptors were born with altered genetics. These variants, were more docile, with aggression only occurring if a threat was apparent, or if there was a meal near. One in particular, named Blue was the most intellectual of the four, taking dominance. However, these animals had been trained since birth, to respect a Human being: Owen Grady. They were trained to do simple commands, but occasionally attacked people, and once nearly killed Owen himself, helping the fact.
Now, the argument here is that because they were trained, they became tame, and the franchise is now presenting friendly Velociraptors. That is far from the truth. In the film, we see all four animals attack, and kill several ACU members, and again attack Owen. The animals in the film are not completely tame, but respective to Owen, since he had been with them since birth, and had been a good food source. So, a example I want to use, is the Crocodile. In India, there is a family that lives with a Crocodile. The animal is so tame, it will play with the children, and can be fed like a Dog. Notice how the Crocodile is an Archosaur, the closest creature we have to dinosaurs besides Birds. While a Crocodile may be a lethal hunter, it can be tamed enough. And so, we know we can tame Birds to a point, which again are close to Theropodia. What we see in Jurassic World, are not completely tame animals, but creatures respective to Humans, but that respect is paper thin, at least only with three of the raptors, since Blue is the most bonded with Owen, however, and here respect is the thickness of two sheets of paper. Ya, I’m not funny.
The Dinosaurs Are Turned Into Heroes And Team Up.
Once again, we have another accusation against the animal’s behaviors. This is not a very hard one to sort out, so I’ll make it quick, regarding the two scenes where it is made out to be what it is not.
Scene 1: Raptor Teams With T.rex and Mosasaurus
While a certain hybrid is being attacked by a Velociraptor for killing it’s pack-mates, it is also attacked by a Tyrannosaurus, which proceeds to try to kill the beast. The Velociraptor, paying no mind to the third party, continues trying to hurt the hybrid. Soon, the Tyrannosaur beats down the creature, throwing it down near a lagoon. Before the Rex can finish it off, the Mosasaurus leaps from the lagoon, and throw part of it’s mass onto land, and precedes to drag the maimed beast into the water, drowning it.
Scene 2: T.rex Teams With Mosasaurus
A certain man is being chased by the Tyrannosaur, and is trying to make it to the safety of his fleeing helicopter. He makes it, and climbs onto the ladder, but the dinosaur grabs the bottom, and begins pulling the ladder back to it, however, it’s jaws bite through, and the copter is free. The craft flies away, toward the middle of the massive lagoon, but the Mosasaur leaps from the water, and kills the man.
Now, in those scenes, we see no teaming, which is a accusation, stating the animals are being made out to be heroes, who team up to take down a threat, while in fact, they simply are trying to get the same food, or goal. In the wild, there are cases of Water Buffalo, being attacked by a Lion, as well as pack of Wild Dogs! Now, the predators aren’t heroes, or villains, they simply want the same thing: Food.
Fallen Kingdom Is Simply The Lost World All Over Again
My response is this: Yes, and a profound no. While there may be inspiration from The Lost World, JW:FK does not follow the same story line. And in a sense, it’s conclusion is what Spielberg wanted for The Lost World, and, the film depicts what the main characters in the 1997 film succeeded in(keeping the animals on the island), being overturned. I will go over points, to show the differences.
The Lost World is about a secret team of researchers being sent by John Hammond to a second island, to study the living creatures on their own, and to get data, photographic evidence, and video recordings of the animals, to make a case to the world that the dinosaurs should be left alone to live in peace. They are interrupted by Hammond's nephew wanting to capture the creatures so they can take them to Jurassic Park San Diego, so InGen can get out of bankruptcy. However, both missions go haywire, and both teams are slowly killed off the the predators, and eventually a Rex is sent to California. However, the animal is captured and sent back to Sorna.
Fallen Kingdom is about the first island's volcano becoming active, endangering the local dinosaurs. The government decides to let nature take its course, but Hammond’s old partner creates a plan to illegally transport the animals to a separate island, and hires members of the DPG to aid them. However, upon arrival, it is revealed the head of the operation Eli Mills plans to usurp the plan, and capture the animals for genetic hybridization, and profit. The island is destroyed, and a majority of creatures are sent to the mainland, where, over a series or events, they are let loose on accident, and some are sold at an auction.
So, from what we can see here, there is inspiration: return to study/save the animals, a plan to usurp the other, and animals on the mainland. However, I don’t believe there is any anger at these films for taking inspiration from the novels. Where is the, “It’s the novel all over again!”
The Characters Are 2D Cut-outs
This one is easy. Let’s take a look at the three main characters:
Owen Grady: Navy Seal, Animal Expert, and classic tough hero, who throughout the film, shows himself to be one of he only people with common sense.
Claire Dearing: Classic attractive corporate character who is cold at fist, but has her eyes opened later on.
Maisie Lockwood: usually undying(?) child character, with main role as a person who needs protection.
So, I admit, they are simple, but let’s go back in time...
Alan Grant: Paleontologist, who’s love is dinosaurs, but in time learns to despise them in a sense. He also has a arc of caring for children, that kind of disappeared in JP3.
Ellie Sattler: Attractive Paleobotanist, who plays a role in breaking through to Hammond on his insistence that it could be done right the next time.
Lex/Tim Murphy: Children who are brought on the island, and play only the role as persons who need protection.
I might be sounding forced here, but, as we can see, the Jurassic World has simple characters, but so did Jurassic Park! This isn’t necessarily a flaw, but a hard-to-dodge trope. In the novels, the characters are much more complex, but it is harder to build up a character in film, than you can in novel. Yet, the films after JP, actually built up characters better(The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park 3)
Part 2: Continuity, And Logic
So, next is inconsistency, and I will make a simple paragraph on this:
There can be really no defending logical problems, like the Mosasaurus Lagoon, and the lava hitting the Bary, but I will defend others. One problem is Claire and Franklin being under water. I’ve heard it stated that they couldn’t have swam from the Gyrosphere up to the surface, stating they would drown. Now, this is silly, there are cases of Humans descending MUCH deeper, and being able to hold their breath and get to the surface. In this case, the Human body will, of course, with air in the lungs, naturally float to the surface. Add the factor of them swimming, and the overload of adrenaline, all three should have, and did make it. Now, with Grady's action of shooting the bullet-proof glass, that is a inconsistent error, or perhaps what was not true what we heard in JW, because we saw the Indominus chomp right though, but that is another discussion in itself. Still, let’s acknowledge the errors in Jurassic Park, some regarding logic:
Egg Turner disappearance, the Human hand touching the raptor’s tail...
let’s no forget that Alan and Tim decided to go directly under the car to escape, as it began falling down on them, when they simply could have moved around the tree. Lex knows how to turn off a flashlight, but not how to turn it off, and can hack into Jurassic Park’s mainframe? When the Raptor is pushing in the door, Ellie puts herself where the force she is giving is not even helping Alan hold the door back, while Tim sits and panics. And, couldn’t Tim have gave Ellie the shotgun, and then had her kill the raptor? Now, it may seem like I am going off on JP, but I am not. I personally believe that every film should be judged by JP, and all films by the novels. Always judge by the source material; has it deteriorated, or grown?
I think JP is the best film ever, but mistakes are what comes from Hollywood, but I hear few complaining that much of these well-known mistakes like the new franchise. And that’s simply because the film itself is very well done, and mistakes are overlooked, but sequels are always the target, because they are an attempt to continue the franchise, and with that will come flaws.
Part 3: Why They Are The Best Since JP
This is the more review-like part, where I will stop defending with counter-arguments, and will go through the soon to be trilogy, and explain why I think they are so well done. I will try to stay chronological, but I might veer off for a moment...
One main aspect of the film, is the nostalgia that we are hit with. I may not have been around to see the Jurassic Park first hit theaters, but there was still nostalgia for me when I first saw JW, after seeing the three previous releases, and strangely enough, JP3 was my favorite, seeing JW in a way changed that. The aspect of returning to the old island, seeing it functioning as a working park conjured ideas of what the old park might have been like, had not the incident gone wrong. As well as witnessing the old dinosaurs from the franchise’s past is great. But the atmosphere becomes dark, like the previous, but it’s also worse. When you start watching it, you feel exited to see it working, but you know, looming behind the joy, lurks imminent disaster, prophesied by Malcolm before. The atmosphere that the film gives, with a mixture of disappointment that they did it again, and the prospect of the old dream being realized, plays off the conflicted audience well. One particular character we meet, Masrani, is a nice guy, who wants Hammond’s dream complete, is seen as a hero, but later on, we see that he is indirectly responsible for the problem that starts the terror. And seeing him want to keep the Indominus alive just makes you angry at him, but he later redeems himself, only to die in the helicopter crash.
The next thing that is pulled off perfectly, is the training of the raptors, having the conflict with the wiser Owen, and bombastic idiocy of Hoskins. We see the terrible monsters from the previous series, partially docile, giving awe to the viewer. Realistically, I believe this could work, so the realism still remains here in this concept. The characters of the raptors are subtly made to act in ways that their genetics decide; Since Delta has more Avian DNA, her mannerisms are more like a bird. Then we have Blue, the embodiment of animal intelligence, witnessed in the previous series, but now fully realized. But though she is smart, that is what is frightening: she is deadly, but is crafty, and the only thing stopping her from killing you, is a dependence-bond.
Later on when we see the Indominus Rex, something is apparent: Genetic power has come too far. It adds a dilemma to a dilemma. Should the animals be cloned in the first place? Well, if so, what about hybrids? We can see the answer should be no for both, which is explained in the novels. The Indominus is a monster, and her only purpose is to make profit. She is an amalgamation of various beasts, and to make it worse, she is abused in her small inclosure, showing how little InGen cares.
The hybrid is truly what shows InGen to be a crooked organization, and even further shows how Wu, when ordered by Masrani, could have made something more docile, but still scary. But instead, he is uncaring of what it would be, just wanting something, looking only for money, unlike Masrani. Later on, however, we see how he does care about his creations, but doesn’t see them as anything more than assets he’ll need to care for. Much like Claire, who learns that this outlook is wrong. As well, the ignorance of the beast’s intelligence, caused them to be duped into its trap, payback for her neglect, though she may not see it herself, being confused, and only knowing how to kill for sport. The Indominus is an allegory for science being greedy, for being uncaring, and for not understanding really what it is doing. In the midst of chaos, we have the voice of reason, Owen Grady, who sees what they have done, and knows that only way to fix the problem is kill the animal. But, as usual, greed takes over, having the higher ups demand that they contain the creature, which leads to the blood of dozens on the hands of Wu, Masrani, Hoskins, and the ones who were on their side.
Next is the relationship between Zach and Gray, which may not be a major plot point, but it is well thought out. We see how, like in the first film, these two siblings are being sent away, while their parents are being divorced. Gray is broken because he already knows why he was sent here, just to be taking out of the clear problem within his family, and Zach is indifferent. We see the brothers bond however through the chaos, showing Gray being pieced together, being help up bye Zach, and having Zach wake up in a sense, that he should be there for his sibling, unlike he had before. This sub-plot is actually really well done, and is opposite to the conflict between Lex and Tim.
To cap off the first film, the ending where it is shown that the attempts of completely taming the raptors are futile, and that InGen has finally been destroyed, though that comes later, all from their greed. When we see Hoskins delivers his smug speech about an Indominus the fraction of the size, we see that Hoskins dream of militarized dinosaurs will sooner or later get closer to completion, whether he is alive or not, and of course, he is killed anyways, his plot going on without him.
The final fight scene is allegorical in itself, with animals, not caring about species boundaries, all wanting the same goal: to killed the abomination. It represents nature in conflict with twisted genetics, and eventually, the monster is crushed. The first JW is an allegorical masterpiece in my opinion, and a emphasis on what JP was telling.
Now, several years later, we are brought back to Nublar. Now, in later 2015, the park is exactly what the first was reduced to: rubble, waste, and somewhat legend. Though it may have been just 6 months, the nostalgia of the nostalgia is a feeling I rarely get. In the opening scene, we are greeted with a team of mercenaries, who, after being hired by the former Dr. Wu, have been sent to recover a bone sample from the Indominus Rex. The scene is cinematography at its best: the dark feeling and uncertainty of the ruined park, as a lone mercenary does his duties, as his sub-operating comrades are unknowingly being hunted by the Mosasaur, who had been feeding off the Indominus’ body since the last film. Eventually he is attacked by the local Tyrannosaur, who nearly kills him, among the thundering and rain, but he manages to get to the copter. However, he is soon slain by the sea reptile, as it leaps from the lagoon. The mercenaries escape successful, but at the cost of three lives. They make their way towards the mainland, while unknowingly leaving the lagoon gate open, freeing the Mosasaur to the open ocean...
This short span of a few minutes is in my opinion, the best start to a film, since JP. The atmosphere is the same, the sense of terror is there, and the aftershocks from this event will effect the rest of this film, and the one after.
After this, we are granted to a news report explaining to us that since the last disaster, Nublar’s volcano has become active, and is now threatening the dinosaurs who dwell there. We see that there is a major political issue here, regarding the saving of these animals from the close-to-erupting volcano. We learn that Claire Dearing has now founded the DPG, an organization dedicated to saving these creatures. We also see Ian Malcolm, who has been absent since 1997’s release, which is a great cameo. When we see him, he is in Congress, debating with others on the fate of the dinosaurs, should be rescue them, or leave them to die? The latter is the winner, and it leaves the DPG’s goal non-existent. This political, and animal-rights bate is an excellent place to start off after the establishing scene, giving us insight on how the world is being affected by these animals, who themselves are the even on the mainland yet. We then have the introduction of Benjamin Lockwood(Norman Atherton in the novels, which is a fine reference), former colleague of John Hammond. We learn that he and Hammond cloned the first dinosaur in his Manor, before the park even started. We are introduced to him by Claire, when she is beckoned by the dying old man, to his residence. We then meet Eli Mills, the aid, and student of Lockwood. He is the main villain, and is very bad at hiding his intentions. I will go over Eli and Lockwood in detail later.
We are brought to the Lockwood Manor, where it is revealed that Lockwood has arranged an illegal operation to rescue the animals off the dying island. He does it not out of personal gain, but out of respect to his now deceased partner, and so that the world can appreciate them in the future. He plans to move them to a Sanctuary Island, and he asks Claire if she will aid them, since she worked for Jurassic World. She agrees, and it is then made evident that Blue, the last known living Velociraptor must be captured to keep her breed alive. Claire makes it clear to Eli that there is no way they can obtain her. We are then reintroduced to Owen Grady, who is living a single life, and currently occupied with building a house. Claire asks for his assistance in this operation, because he is the only one who can help capture Blue, but he is not wanting to go along with it. It is also revealed that the relationship that Owen and Claire had in the previous film has once again fractured, over different ways of life.
Now, to make this more brief, I will synopsize the rest of the film.
The sequence of events on the island are excellent, with the dramatic eruption of the mountain, and the nostalgia of the park being rinsed away by fiery doom is always fun for me to watch, and the betrayal of Owen by Wheatley is pulled off with no suspicion by the audience, and the adrenaline-pumping scenes of the heroes making their last-ditch-effort to escape, ending with the dying Brachiosaurus, which is revealed to be the original animal seen in the first film, is one of(if not the) saddest scenes in the series. Over all, the act of the film is the best part of the film, which leads us to the Lockwood’s Estate.
The atmosphere of Gothic horror that resonates from the building is unique to the series, and teases at the darker sides of the franchise(scenes from the novels). The revelation of the Indoraptor, reminds us of Hoskin’s last words, and the unveiling of Eli Mill’s usurpation Of Lockwood’s plan, is shown to be the selling-off the remaining the animals to the highest bidder, at this single location. The scene of the auction of dinosaurs is made more dramatic with the heavy score in the background playing in tune with the actions of the villains, ultimately calumniating in the showcasing of the I.raptor, and the discovery of what broke the relationship of Hammond and Lockwood apart, his granddaughter Maisie being a clone of his daughter, a stunning, but startling discovery. I shall leave it here, considering most have already seen the whole film. Instead, I will go over the main thing about Fallen Kingdom that makes it my second-favorite film in the franchise...
Part 4: JW:FK’s Religious Sub-plot
I decided to make a separate section in regards to my favorite aspect of the fifth film. But before I go over that, I will make a point here. As a religious person, seeing the respect of Theology in the very first book, and the films is a great pleasure to me. The topic of Theology in Dr. Crichton’s novel is very much present, even going into detail with a scene where the pilot of the park’s Helicopter must descend through the foggy chaos, only being guided by a “Glowing Cross.” As well as the focus on sin-nature present in many of the characters, and the base-idea of the island being a modern Garden Of Eden, where Man took the forbidden fruit of genetic-knowledge, creating the sins we see as the dinosaurs, which, according to Wu in the section, Version 4.4, are not even true dinosaurs, but genetic creations. The rest can be seen in Malcolm, as he is slowly dying from infection, seems to have some revelation, where is understating of the Cosmos is heightened, to where Dr. Harden, and Hammond are utterly dumb-founded. As we can see, the idea of sin has been a prominent theme, but it hasn’t been as prominent since the first film and book, that is, until the most recent film:
J. A. Bayona saw the opportunity to bring back the sub-text that Crichton had made back into the series and did it well. First, we have the island itself, being symbolic of the Antediluvian world, in which Noah lived. As we see, it is corrupted by the things done there three years before, and now, a judgment is coming to wipe it clean. However, it is not the Great Flood in Genesis, it is the great fire from the mountain coming to cleanse the island. Yet, there is hope for the natives, coming from the boat Arcadia(which means refuge). This is parallel to the Ark, but in this case, they are being saved from one danger, and sent to another. This theme of reversal in narrative is consistent in the film. Another point, is where the Indoraptor is a genetic-copy of the Indominus. But, notice how he is made from the rib of a female, similar to how Eve was made from the rib of Adam, but reversed.
The next is the positions of Eli Mills, and Benjamin Lockwood. In the film, Lockwood represents God the Creator, trying to save the animals from a apocalypse. However, he is betrayed by Eli, who is discovered to have been selling the animals to the rest of world. When Benjamin learns, he is dumbfounded and furious, telling Eli to call the police himself, and turn himself in. Mills instead mercilessly kills him, and continues to go with the plan. When we see the world has been irreversibly changed by the collective actions of Mills, Owen, and Claire, it becomes apparent what he means, in the Fallen Kingdom, when he welcomes them to a new world. We have here the fall of Adam, Adam being Owen, Claire being Eve, and Mills being the Serpent(Satan). Mills seduces Claire to take the forbidden fruit(aid in his plan), and in turn seduces Owen(she gives the fruit to him), having them bring the sin(the problems caused by the dinosaurs) into the world. The duo are cut off from Lockwood, when he is killed, like in Genesis, and the two are scarred, but complete judgment comes on Mills, when he is killed by the Tyrannosaur(the Serpent has his legs torn from him)...
This, in my, and other’s opinions, is a brilliant sub-text to the film, and shows the thought put into the film. This in itself is a homage to the novel, but the films themselves recreate scenes from the novels themselves, and that alone, is a reason to appreciate the franchise.
I do know that am not the best at this, for there are many different ideas in my head, and I can only think of a few when the time is right. I understand this will most likely not change anyone’s opinion on the series, but I wanted to show that the hate is not appropriate, and bashing these films is not criticism, unless you have a good reason. Like I stated at the start, certain things in the films I will not defend, because I agree with the opposition in those cases. But other things like the heavy debating over creature design, I find to be really pointless. So with that, this concludes my case for the Jurassic World Franchise.
Also, if possible, share this post’s text elsewhere on Twitter, Facebook, or even YouTube if possible. I would like to have the division stop, and causing people to have less extreme views would aid in the tear in the Fandom. If you do post this elsewhere, be sure to supply a link below it to here, and give credit. Anyhow, see you guys, and I hope to have your opinions below. But note, I do not wish to start another debate here, but just want to speak my mind. With that,
*Two Finger Salute*