As Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom explodes into cinemas this week, it may be worthwhile nothing to younger movie goers that this is not just the sequel movie to 2015 Jurassic World, but also the fifth movie of the Jurassic Park franchise beginning in 1993. Yes, that's 2.5 decades ago marking this year as the 25th Anniversary of this massive dinosaur movie franchise. Since it may be a tad difficult to recollect so-called classic movies from the 1990's, Outpost is here to briefly recap on Jurassic Park's history with leanings towards elements relevant to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Of course, this means SPOILERS for anyone who have yet to watch these preceding four movies... you've been WARNED!
The inaugural Jurassic Park movie was directed by none other than Academy Award Winner Steven Spielberg, based on a 1990 sci-fi novel by Michael Crichton of the same name. In this opening chapter of the franchise, movie goers witness the first ultra-realistic dinosaurs created by computer-generated imagery (CGI). Indeed such special effects are almost taken for granted by today's standards but back in 1993 it was a landmark achievement and deservingly to win the Academy Award for Visual Effects that year, together with Sound Editing and Sound Mixing for pioneering use of Digital Audio as DTS Sound.
In the movie, wealthy industrialist John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) created a themed park populated by living dinosaurs created from fossilized DNA. A team of experts are brought in to inspect Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar, an island of Costa Rica in Central America (slightly north of the Equator), to certify it being safe to open to public. The experts comprise paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and, for some reason, mathematician & chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), plus Hammond's two grandchildren. Ooo's and Ahhh's are aplenty when they first glimpse living breathing dinosaurs.
Whilst touring the island, a combination of inclement weather, human greed and mishaps leads to a Tyrannosaurus Rex escaping and attacking the tour group. Humans start becoming dino-meals as Jurassic carnivores breakout, including the Velociraptors. At this point dinosaurs turned really scary to young ones, leading to more than a few children crying and/or run screaming from the cinemas traumatised. Well, no kids were eaten in the movie and the “good guys” manage to escape with most limbs intact. Isla Nublar is presumably left overrun by dinosaurs and Jurassic Park as a failed venture never to open.
No hit movie remains free from studio executives, so a sequel was hot in the work the moment Michael Crichton published his sequel novel titled The Lost World in 1995. Spielberg returns as Director but only Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Ian Malcolm in the main cast, plus a short appearance by Richard Attenborough as Hammond in the early scenes of The Lost World: Jurassic Park released in 1997.
This time the adventure takes place on Isla Soma, a second island of dinosaurs where they were apparently first created before being moved to Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Hammonds wants to gather public support for non-human interference of the dinosaurs on Isla Soma to prevent exploitation of the animals by InGen, now controlled by his nephew, Peter Ludlow. Malcolm is sent on this task with a team, primarily to retrieve his girlfriend paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) already on the island.
Ian locates Sarah and also discovered his daughter Kelly had stowed away on the expedition, providing the required “child in peril”scenes of a Jurassic Park movie. They encounter the other InGen team tasked to capture dinosaurs for a new theme park in San Diego. Well some members of Ian's team won't have it so they set about releasing captured dinosaurs and in that process retrieve a baby T-Rex. So not one but TWO adult T-Rexes appear to get back their “kid” and have a few human snacks along the way. Ian's team barely survives the encounter and ultimately has to join InGen's hunter team to get off the island. After more misadventures and deaths by dino, including Velociraptors, Ian, Sarah & Kelly are rescued by helicopter.
However, they return to human civilisation to discover a T-Rex had been captured earlier and now accidentally unleashed to the streets of San Diego. Because InGen execs are “brilliant”, they had also captured the baby T-Rex! Ian and Sarah retrieve baby-T to lure daddy-T back to the transport ship to be returned to Isla Sorna. They succeed though Hammond's opportunistic nephew Ludlow gets served as dinner for baby-T along the way.
The third chapter of the Jurassic Park saga, concluding the first movie trilogy, was simply titled Jurassic Park III and released another 4 years later in 2001. It is not based on any book by Michael Crichton and helmed instead by Director Joe Johnston. Sam Neill from the original cast returns as Dr. Alan Grant who is tricked by Paul & Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy & Tea Leoni) to follow them to Isla Sorna.
Their plans quickly go awry when their plane is destroyed by a nasty Spinosaurus and thereafter marooned on the island. Grant discovers the Kirby's are actually on a rescue mission to find their son Eric lost eight weeks ago on the island. Well, nothing goes to plan on a dino-island so the other hired help from the team gets devoured. Then add human stupidity of stealing Velociraptor eggs to drastically lower their odds of survival when they get hunted by a pack of intelligent carnivores.
Yet during these misadventures, the team finds Eric alive and manage to call for help via satellite phone after retrieving it from Spinosaurus excrement. After tangling once again with the bad-@$$ dino and raptors plus flying Pteranodons, Alan and the Kirbys are rescued by US marines with the navy. No kids were devoured in this production, just tossed around.
Fast forward 14 years to 2015 and welcome to Jurassic World! The dinosaur theme park has now been opened to public on Isla Nublar for a decade and looks to up the ante by genetically creating a new hybrid dino-species, the Indominus Rex, to attract more visitors.
The all new cast is lead by Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, the park's operations manager, and Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, a Velociraptor trainer. Plus throw in Claire's nephews Zach & Gray for the necessary “children in peril” scenes.
The park plunges into chaos soon after escape of the Indominus Rex. Attempts to recapture it fail and result in more human meals (do we actually taste good to dinos?). This includes a “terrible” idea of using Owen's trained raptors to track down Indominus, which leads to more deaths after the giant hybrid dino-carnivore takes over as the new alpha for the raptor pack.
During evacuation of the park, Owen manages to reestablish his bond with the raptors and commands them to attack Idominus. Three out of four raptors are killed before Claire lures the park's T-Rex into battle with Idominus. Yes, that is the same original T-Rex from 1993's Jurassic park, just older with more battle scars. This epic dinosaur battle concludes with Idominus being eaten by the massive Mosasaurus of the park lagoon. DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!
Get "honest' on how insane is this movie, but thoroughly enjoyable.
Jurassic World broke various box office records and reached the third highest grossing movie of all time with a take of USD1.67 billion (RM6.66 billion) until being dethroned by Star Wars The Force Awakens and (more recently) Avengers Infinity War. It is planned as the first sequel / reboot movie of a new Jurassic World trilogy, written and directed by Colin Trevorrow.
Head to cinemas now to find out what happens when Claire and Owen return to Isla Nublar where there is certainly more happening than meets the eye. Or watch this very SPOILER filled trailer:
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) and written by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow who is also an Executive Producer together with Steven Spielberg. Joining Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong and Jeff Goldblum are James Cromwell as Sir Benjamin Lockwood, Justice Smith as IT nerd Franklin Webb, Daniella Pineda as DPG's paleoveterinarian Dr. Zia, Rafe Spall as Eli Mills and Isabella Sermon as Maisie, Sir Benjamin's granddaughter, soon to face “child peril”.
Despite the age of CGI film-making becoming the norm, must of the dinosaurs featured in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are indeed using practical special effects, i.e. puppet dinosaur heads and limbs controlled by human puppeteers. This really helps actors who can react appropriately to a real-world "dinosaur" about to devour them compared to acting against "thin air" of a fully CGI environment. Watch this short featurette on the practical effects used in this movie:
Whilst the Jurassic Park movies may not have consistently glowing reviews by film critics, they have consistently smashed box office records worldwide which kinda reflects that movie audiences are not too discerning on the detailed plot, acting nuances or embedded moral / psychological messages. They just wanna see "living & breathing dinosaurs"! Nevertheless, for your readers who seek out movie reviews before deciding on buying tickets, check out this review by Star2.com, listen to the geeks Uma, Iain & Bahir at BFM At The Movies, or watch this video by IGN:
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Disclaimer: Jurassic Park, Jurassic World and other trademarks are copyright to Universal Pictures, and their respective owners, referenced here for fan service announcements only without intent to infringe.