Several readers have asked what I think about Jurassic World, the third sequel to Jurassic Park, which opens June 12th. I think it will be fun. Director Colin Trevorrow has made a lot of smart choices.
Online fans have expressed disappointment about the creation of a new dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, which is fully revealed in the newest trailer. The film's hero, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), even questions this, claiming that real dinosaurs are already "wow enough."
However, I think the filmmakers are cleverly addressing a challenge inherent to the Jurassic Park franchise. The issues is this: the dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park world have been glorified. The music swells when they appear onscreen. They tend to eat the bad guys. They aren't monsters, they are magnificent. The Jurassic Park movies are monster flicks with monsters that nobody wants to see defeated. Jurassic Park III tried to address this with the Spinosaurus. She was established as the villain when she killed a T-Rex in the first act, but this backfired for a lot of fans, who wanted the T-Rex to be the hero.
Trevorrow and his co-writers (Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Derek Connolly) have created the perfect villain for this new film by introducing an artificial dinosaur that moviegoers already dislike.
The trailers show that Owen has trained a pack of velociraptors and appears to use them against the Indominus Rex. Fans have grumbled about this as well. I have to agree that, on paper, it sounds a bit silly. But in the trailers, it appears to be handled reasonably well. It certainly doesn't look like the velociraptors have been fully domesticated, judging from the attack near the end of the new trailer.
However, I have a hunch that the velociraptors won't succeed. They failed to take down the T-Rex at the end of the first film, and I don't think they will succeed here either. If I'm right, this also plays along with audience attitudes. Those who dislike the idea of trained velociraptors will be happy to see them mangled by the Indominus Rex, and fans of the velociraptors will just hate it all the more.
I suspect that that true hero will be the same species that came to the rescue at the end of Jurassic Park. We've only gotten a short glimpse of her in the latest trailer and it's mostly obscured by a crowd of visitors in the foreground. The Jurassic World logo features a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, not Indominus, and I'm betting she will once again save the day.
Will Jurassic World be a worthy entry to the franchise? We won't know until June, but I'm optimistic. One thing's for sure, it looks like it will bring lots of dinosaur carnage, and that's always a good thing!
Geoff Jones is the author of the sci-fi thriller