Jurassic World Redux

Sarah Posted by Sarah at February 5, 2018 20:55:40 February 5, 2018 20:55:40

I was not super impressed by the first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a trend which continues following their Super Bowl spot. I like the opening shot of the dinosaur shadow juxtaposed against the little girl’s toy horse—it’s dream and nightmare in one, and it screams Juan Antonio Bayona to me. This is the director of Fallen Kingdom, and if there’s any hope for this movie, it lies with him. Bayona is an emotional terrorist who knows who to elicit response from an audience (see also: The Impossible and A Monster Calls), and while I’m not at Taika-Waititi-directing-a-Thor-movie levels of hype, I am at least curious to see what Bayona accomplishes. I like that shadow-shot because it gives us a taste of what Bayona and Bayona alone can bring to this franchise. I wish the spot ended with that dino drooling over the girl’s bed. It would be perfect.

But it does not end there. Like all bad things, it just keeps happening, and there is no Jeff Goldblum. The Super Bowl spot gives us some new information, which is that there is another hybrid monster called an “Indoraptor”—a slightly less stupid name than “Indominous Rex”—and apparently no one has learned a lesson yet about breeding monsters for sport in this world. This brings us to the problem with Fallen Kingdom which is also a problem for the Jurassic franchise at large—it’s the same thing every time.

Jurassic Park is perfect. It’s a classic, a generation-defining film, a monumental achievement of spectacle. It’s also a one-trick concept. People create dinosaurs, dinosaurs escape, dinosaurs eat people. This is every Jurassic movie in a nutshell. Jurassic World upped the ante by introducing designer dinos, a meta commentary on the Frankensteinian nature of franchises, and if that movie was less cynical, that could have made for a really clever update. But it is cynical so it just ends up being a mean-spirited commentary on the perceived superficiality of audiences and not the one-note nature of the franchise itself. Because it is the franchise at fault here, not audiences. There is literally nothing to be done with a Jurassic movie except create a dinosaur, escape the dinosaur, eat-people the dinosaur. So far, Fallen Kingdom looks exactly like Jurassic World, which was just like the previous two Jurassic sequels, none of which manage to recreate the thrill and wonder of Jurassic Park. If JA Bayona pulls something out of this particular hat, it would be a miracle. This is a very shallow hat.


 


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