Well the reviews and box office totals are in and Jurassic World is a MASSIVE hit! Though do you realize just how brilliant a film it is? Some have wondered about the human plot or why the dinosaurs don’t look scientifically accurate. Well the truth is the film addresses all of these brilliantly. Even more so is how the film ties into the original Jurassic Park and sets some small pick ups for a sequel. So to discuss all these, here is an in depth explanation of everything you wanted to know about Jurassic World.
The 3 Interweaving Stories/Views – Dinosaurs As Wonders, Products or Animals:
As I started to explain in my Spoiler Free Review, the opening of the film doesn’t just set up the three main story veins, but also the 3 major recurring themes/views of the film. Sure the theme in any Jurassic Park film will always be the arrogance of man and Chaos Theory, but there are three outlooks that take center stage through the film. The kids journey to the park, Claire and her dealings in corporate and Owen’s raptor training all represent the deeper viewpoints of Dinosaurs as Wonders, Dinosaurs as Products and Dinosaurs as Animals.
As the film progresses these characters of course come together, but the 3 views remain constant – and taken over by different forces. For example, we learn early on that Claire is the kids Aunt and has a history with Owen. Though it is not until she kneels beside the dying Sauropod that she truly begins to understand that these aren’t just ‘items on a spreadsheet’ but living breathing animals. Similarly, the children soon start to see that these creatures are animals as their beautiful illusions are shattered when they come face to face with Indominus Rex.
Meanwhile, as the kids and Claire are aligning more with Owens ideas of treating them as animals/equals, the darker plans of InGen and Hoskins start to come to light. They still believe that Indominus and the Dinosaurs are creatures that can be controlled as weapons. They are still in awe of these creatures potential (Dinosaurs as Wonders) but it’s a much darker vision. InGen see them as creatures who’s ‘de-extinction’ gives them no rights and thus should be at the full disposal of InGen. This of course ends poorly for all involved – except for Dr Wu who leaves the island to continue his research with InGen.
Back with Owen, Claire and the kids, the final battle begins and – as I’ll explain in a bit – everything that follows is the Dinosaurs as Animals, fighting to live and protect their families. Though along with this we also see the return of the purer version of ‘Dinosaurs as Wonders’ as a T-Rex, Velociraptor and Mosasaurus band together in one incredible battle.
Explaining The Science (Part 1) – Why The Dinosaurs Don’t Look Correct:
Our understanding of Dinosaurs has changed immensely since the early 90s. Now we know that they not only were even more vibrantly colored, but also had feathers and even quills occasionally. So it seemed strange that this film would show the Dinosaurs the same way as they were in ’93 – especially when they have Paleontologist Jack Horner to consult. Well of course they would use the same Dinosaur-look of the ’93 film since this was the sequel; bus this film brilliantly handled why they don’t look so realistic.
During the film we are reminded how Indominus Rex isn’t the only ‘unnatural dinosaur’. As you’ll remember from the first film, all of the Dinosaurs have some “filler” DNA placed in them in order to compensate for the gaps. These ‘fillers’ don’t just allow the dinosaurs to reproduce – as the frog DNA did in the first film – but also cause them to become impure species. DNA decays over time so there is no way for them to have pure 100% sequenced genomes. It is because of these inserts that the Dinosaurs look different from what we know today. Dr Wu – I believe – directly says that if they had pure genes these Dinosaurs would look much different. THAT is how you reconcile these scientifically inaccurate Dinosaurs.
Explaining The Science (Part 2) – Why Indominus Rex Is ‘Evil’:
Though Dino-realism wasn’t the only thing that needed some explaining. More importantly was HOW do you explain the unholy creation that is Indominus Rex. Why did it act the way it did? Why did it kill and not eat? Why did it have so many strange abilities? Well for starters, let’s look at WHY Indominus was really bred.
InGen is the massive evil corporation that has its hands in everything. Masrani might have intentions as pure as Hammonds, but InGen always wants more. This is where Hoskins comes in, who wanted a Dino bred for war. His initial interest might have been in the raptors, but that was just a Phase 1. Indominus Rex might have initially been conceived as an attraction, but during its creation the idea to make it a weapon secretly overtook the process.
This is the true reason for the cuttlefish DNA. Sure its accelerated growth rate would help it reach maximum strength faster, but it also allowed for Indominus to completely camouflage itself. To make matters worse, it also received frog DNA which allowed for it to mask its own thermal output. Between these two inbred traits, Indominus would be virtually invisible to any type of military scouting. It however would not suffer from the same lack as it was also bred with the ability to see prey over thermals itself – from shockingly long distances considering it sees the warmth of everyone in the main Jurassic World hub.
As for its mental capacities, it was given enhanced aggression and a Raptor mind. This brings us back to Hoskins interest in Owen’s raptor training program. While Indominus was being bred, Owen would have already begun his raptor-training program since he started it from their birth. If Indominus had a raptor brain, then the training program could be successful on future Indominus births as well. Though the biggest problem in this method came in it’s ‘nurture’ period.
With all of its enhanced mental capabilities, it began to contemplate what it was. This isn’t a species brought back from extinction slightly altered; but rather a completely new monstrosity. Its aggression factors are so high that it even ate its own sibling, which sometimes happens in the animal kingdom. The problem is that it had no later interactions with anything bigger. It saw no other animals or larger versions of itself. It thought that it was the only thing around, and the biggest. So when it got out, it kept the mentality of it being the strongest and decided to test its worth. It never looked for food because since birth it associated food with ‘the crane’. It didn’t hunt to feed; it hunted to remain the apex – albeit this time in a much larger den. Plain and simple, Indominus Rex wasn’t evil, but rather a sociopath.
Alphas & Imprinting – The Bonds Between Man And Dinosaur:
When details about this film were first leaked it seemed like we’d be a seeing good dinosaurs vs bad dinosaurs. We of course knew that this wouldn’t be true, but now having seen the film we can certainly agree that some dinosaurs were more helpful – and detrimental than others. I just explored why Indominus Rex was a particularly maladjusted park resident, but what about the others? What made the T-Rex help and then walk away? Similarly, what made the raptors attack some yet still regard and listen to Owen so closely? Well the answer for that is all natural behavior.
For starters, Owen’s interactions with the raptors began at birth when he was the first thing they saw when born. He didn’t just come in halfway, but rather was there from the very beginning. He wasn’t just the Alpha – leader – of the group, but in many ways also represented a sort of parental figure. This is why even when Indominus Rex asserted himself as the bigger Alpha, the raptors still stopped before attacking Owen. The first – who was blown up – stopped before attacking Owen, giving us an early glimpse at their bond. Later when the three of them met up with Owen and his group again, they realized that Indominus might be the new Alpha, but Owen is still their parent. This standstill is shattered when Indominus takes out on of the raptors and the title of ‘Alpha’ is shattered for the Raptors it becomes all about family. This is further reinforced as Owen fights/shoots at Indominus alongside the raptors.
Now when the T-Rex enters the fray, it starts as two Top-Tier predators doing battle for dominance. There’s no ideas of ‘saving’ involved, but merely a battle for superiority. This changes when Indominus is about to strike the finishing blow to the T-Rex and Blue returns to distract the monster. Whether purposefully or not, Blue saved the T-Rex’s life and the two instinctually realize that they are two against the larger enemy. When the battle is over the T-Rex looks at Blue with gratitude, remembering how it just saved its life as well as a brother in arms. This causes the T-Rex to leave on its own path. As Blue turns back to Owen and the others in fuller view, there is a moment when Owen purposefully shakes his head ‘No’. The battle being over, Blues instincts could return to normal, but with his parental figure Owen saying no he realizes they are all family – not food – and runs off as well. In the end there was no “Good” or “Bad” Dinosaurs, but rather a set of long-standing and well-timed motivations that ended up saving the day.
One Helpful Mosasaurus – Convenience Or More Nature?:
As good as Blue and the T-Rex were, they still weren’t enough to defeat Indominus Rex – or were they? Owen said that the Raptor strategy was to corral its prey into a kill zone for no escape. Could that have been Blue’s plan all along – to get Indominus up against the Mosasaurus pit? Probably not. Either way, that’s not the question to be answered here. The real question is whether or not the Mosasaurus One-Hit-KO was natural or WAY too convenient. Like everything else in this film, the answer is surprisingly ‘realistic’.
As we learned during the SeaWorld-esque Mosasaurus intro scene, Mosasaurus used to hunt its prey not only in the sea but also by snatching up dinosaurs that roamed too close to the water. Anyone who ever saw the old Walking With Dinosaurs special already knew this was possible for Liopleurodon, a sea monster not too different from the Mosasaurs – despite being of the Order Plesiosauria. So well-timed? Yes, but it is explainable in the larger sense of behavior and hunting strategy.
Jurassic Park References & Continuity:
- Considering its early Thursday release, Jurassic World released exactly 22 years after Jurassic Park’s June 11th release in 1993.
- As we learn during the park entrance scene, the massive gates for Jurassic World are actually built from the original gates for Jurassic Park.
- InGen must have really loved Mr DNA because he appears once again in the Samsung Innovation Center explaining the genetics process all over again like he did in the original Jurassic Park.
- The Samsung Innovation Center also featured many 3D renderings of living dinosaurs, but during the end of the film we see it load up Dilophosaurus in it’s iconic – albeit incorrect – stance from the first film with its frills extended.
- Lowery (Jake Johnson’s character) gives us a ton of Jurassic Park references by not only wearing one of the original park memorabilia shirts, but also by having a copy of God Created Dinosaurs by Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character from the original film) on his desk.
- Dr Henry Wu LIVES!!!!!!!! In case you forgot, Dr Wu was the geneticist for InGen in the first film. Although its understandable if you did forget since his role was much larger in the book and much of his explanations were given by Mr DNA.
- John Hammond (the man behind Jurassic Park) is name dropped a couple times in the film and we even see a statue of him in the Samsung Innovation Center
- Simon Masrani is shown to be the true inheritor of Hammond’s dream by embodying not only his over the top ideas but also the purity with which he intends for the park’s purpose.
- In the original film, Malcolm described Chaos Theory by placing drops of water on Ellie’s arm and showing how each will roll a different way. Chaos Theory gets an upgrade this time around as we see a similar thing happen when the task force discovers Indominus Rex clawed out it’s tracker. Though this time it’s two drops of blood that roll in different directions, not water.
- A significant portion of this film takes place in the original Visitor Center of the park. Sure it’s been a little overgrown since last seen at the end of Jurassic Park, but the fractured skeleton, and banner remain largely undisturbed.
- We already know that the Jeep used was one of the orignal Park-makes, but it’s actually exactly the same Jeep used by Hammond in the first film. Jurassic Park Jeep #29.
- Much like in the original Jurassic Park, it is Frog DNA that once again causes the primary push into Chaos Theory. In the first it allowed seemingly sterile Dinosaurs to breed. Here it allows Indominus Rex to mask it’s body temperature and feign escape.
- When Claire uses a red flare to lure the T-Rex’s in to save the others, this is a reversal of the original where Malcolm saves the kids by luring a T-Rex away with a red flare.
- In Jurassic Park 3, the main Dino was Spinosaurus who quickly killed the iconic T-Rex by snapping his neck. Well in a huge middle finger to that film, during the final battle we saw the T-Rex smash the park’s Main Street Spinosaurus Skeleton.
- Whereas the first film ended with a T-Rex and raptors fought each other, Jurassic World ends with the T-Rex and raptor fighting Indominus.
- Take this with a grain of salt, but apparently the T-Rex in this film is meant to be that original T-Rex from 22 years ago. He/she looks good for his/her age.
The Indominus Metaphors – Films, Parks & The Ethics Of De-Extinction:
Some films are just fun, but others can represent something(s) bigger. Jurassic World is one such film as it relates to the ideas of films, parks, and De-Extinction in general. Think of it: Indominus Rex was (generally) the result of what the public wanted – something bigger, louder, scarier. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the summer blockbuster? This of course doesn’t describe all films and just because a film has these traits doesn’t make it bad. Being bigger is great as long as the quality remains as well. This film kept that balance so of course we enjoyed it; but what about some more ‘ethical ideas’?
When we first saw the Mosasaurus in the trailer, it basically looked like something from SeaWorld – BlackFin: The Mosasaur Story. Sure this can be a little bit of a joke, but how could a beast that massive stay in such a tank. In fact, how could any of these animals deal with captivity? The film certainly doesn’t say parks/zoos are bad, but it does remind us that when you have one you must remember that the attractions are living breathing creatures. It’s amazing to see these exotic animals, but you must take the time to make sure they are taken care of. Sadly, this idea gets murkier when it begins to take extinction into account.
Cloning and genetic manipulation has been around for a while and whereas we haven’t seen much widespread use of it, the time is drawing near. It might be a long time until we can see Dinosaurs again, but Mammoths and other animals that died out more recently could be the first subjects of such science. What does this mean? Is it right to bring back animals into an era they were never meant for? Would these be the pure original creatures or slight mutations like the other Jurassic Park/World Dinosaurs? Either way, it’s important to remember that Chaos Theory is a real thing. Jurassic World doesn’t condemn any of these ideas it alludes to, but it does bring them up so that we may begin talking about them – before we have a mistreated mutant dinosaur running around because we wanted something bigger and louder.
Jurassic World 2 – Set-Ups For Sequel:
Interestingly enough, every Jurassic Park film has involved someone trying to steal something dino-related off the island and it ending terribly. Now sure this film erases the second two films, but it still stands that this is the FIRST time it has actually worked out. Hoskins final clean up crew might not have made it out, but Dr Henry Wu made it out – again – with all his work and some embryos; and that is where we find seeds for the next Jurassic World.
How this can be done remains to be seen and could determine whether or not Jurassic World – like the original Jurassic Park – will end up being followed by two lackluster sequels. Trevorrow and his team did a great job with Jurassic World so I hope they all return, but they’ll need some good storytellers. We have a park that is pretty torn up and is looking even worse in the PR department. We could see more Dino-Bromance between Blue and Owen. Though the only thing we can be certain of right now is that Wu and some –possibly Indominus – embryos are out there. What will InGen make him concoct next? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
In the end, Colin Trevorrow and his team did an excellent job with Jurassic World and it deserves every analysis it gets. It might have been 22 years, but judging by how well done this film’s writing was, it seems like that’s how long they worked on it for. So again, Bravo to all those involved; and keep up the awesome work with the next one!