Jurassic World 3 Is Finally Making The Franchise Exciting Again
There is renewed excitement around Jurassic World: Dominion after Battle At Big Rick and with franchise writer/ director Colin Trevorrow at the helm.
After the first two installments of the Jurassic Park sequel series got mixed reviews, Jurassic World 3 is reviving excitement in the franchise. 2015's Jurassic World takes place 22 years after the events of the very first Jurassic Park (1993). After production stalled on a fourth Jurassic Park movie, director Steven Spielberg suggested that writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver explore the possibility of a functioning theme park, which is what Jurassic World gave audiences.
In the capable hands of Operations Manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park is everything fans could have dreamed of and more. But as is usually the case in the world of dinosaur theme parks, chaos ensues when the park's latest genetic hybrid, the Indominus Rexs, breaks lose and terrorizes park attendees, including Claire's own nephews, forcing Claire to ask Navy veteran and Velociraptor trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) for his help.
The sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, follows Claire and Owen as they travel to Isla Nublar, the Central American island where the park was built, in an attempt to rescue the abandoned dinosaurs before the island's impending volcanic eruption. What follows is a wild ride into the dark underbelly of black market trading, featuring dinosaurs. Jurassic World 2 introduces the Indoraptor, the latest terrifying creation of Jurassic Park veteran and geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), and the Indominus Rex's successor. Both films performed very well at the box office ($1.670 billion and $1.309 billion, respectively) and both were in the Top 3 highest grossing films of their release years, with Jurassic World coming in first place, but they ultimately left something to be desired - and for Jurassic World 3 to improve upon.
Jurassic World Has Been A Letdown So Far
Despite the financial success of both installments, the films were not all they could have been. Jurassic World was lauded for its visual feats and entertainment value, but it failed to match the original film's uniqueness and inventiveness. In fact, the film's greatest flaw is arguably its reliance on nostalgia to get movie-goers into theater seats. There are countless callbacks to the very first Jurassic Park, not least not of which is the theme park itself. Jurassic World (the park) was built on the bones of the abandoned facilities from the first film and there's even a building named the Hammond Research Center, after John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the man who started it all.
It is said in the film that Dr. Hammond entrusted his dying wish of a functioning dinosaur theme park to Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), CEO of Masrani Global Corporation, who is heard quoting Hammond's famous line, "Spared no expense!" Claire and Owen even come across the park's original visitor's center where evidence of Jurassic Park's final, epic fight between the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor pack took place over two decades prior. And those are just some of the difficult to miss references; Jurassic World is packed with Easter eggs and visual callbacks that are very likely to fill up that nostalgia gauge.
Fallen Kingdom, while not shy about including its own set of Easter eggs, was an altogether different film and a messy one at that. The first third of the film, which involves humans attempting to rescue dinosaurs from impending extinction, feels very much like the Jurassic Park movies that came before. However, the rest of the movie follows a riskier plot takes involves a corporate conspiracy, human cloning, and bio-engineered weapons.
All of this was designed to set up the sequel hook, what Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) in his cameo calls a new age in which humans and dinosaurs must co-exist, a plot thread that will no doubt be explored in Jurassic World: Dominion. Where Fallen Kingdom falls short is in the inconsistent tone caused by a quick progression through story beats that are only connected through dialogue and not much else. This could have been better handled, perhaps, had Vincent D'Onofrio's character not been killed off so soon in Jurassic World. Seeing as he was one of the minds behind InGen's bioweapons plan, his presence could have provided a more concrete connection between films and fleshed out the conflict in ways the finished product did not.
Jurassic World 3 Is Getting A Good Balance Of Old & New
In 2019, Jurassic World co-writer and director Colin Trevorrow told Variety that this new film is "a celebration of everything that has existed in the franchise up until now." Trevorrow is back to co-writing Jurassic World 3, alongside Emily Carmichael (Pacific Rim Uprising), as well as directing. In March of 2020, Trevorrow revealed the official title of this latest installment as well as a teaser poster that suggests a return to Jurassic Park's original logo. The simple red, black, and yellow logo with the T-Rex skeleton silhouette is one that everyone recognizes but has gone through a number of changes since it's first use in 1993's Jurassic Park. Further details around the film have revealed that series leads Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt are reprising their roles, and Isabella Sermon is coming back as Maisie Lockwood, a character that was introduced in Fallen Kingdom and is likely to play a pivotal role this time around. Jurassic Park 3 will mark the return of key characters, including paleontologist Allan Grant (Sam Neill) and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), while further appearances by both Dr. Malcolm and Dr. Wu have been confirmed as well.
Of course, no film should rely solely on what has come before, and evidence of new elements being introduced in this final chapter abound. The casting of Dichen Lachman (Altered Carbon), Scott Haze (Venom), DeWanda Wise (She's Gotta Have It), and Mamoudou Athie (The Front Runner) in mystery roles have also been confirmed. Most interesting of all was the recent set photo that teased a possible sequence taking place in the snow in Jurassic World 3, a first for the franchise. Very little else is known about Jurassic World 3 at this point, but given its return to its roots as well as new elements being introduced, this final chapter is being set up to close the gaps between the two previous installments and its entire cinematic run as a whole. This is no easy task, but with the right balance of the franchise's past and present, it's certainly possible.
Colin Trevorrow Is A More Exciting Filmmaker Again (Thanks To Star Wars)
What has fans really excited over Colin Trevorrow's involvement in the franchise's development this time around is Trevorrow's work on Star Wars 9, which he was also initially set to direct. However, Lucasfilm executives were not satisfied with Trevorrow's plans for the film, which was tentatively titled Duel of the Fates. Trevorrow left the project, citing creative differences, and he was ultimately replaced by J. J. Abrams. His original script was scrapped, and the movie instead became The Rise of Skywalker. Since then, details of Trevorrow's plans for Star Wars 9 have been revealed and it has restored faith in Trevorrow as a filmmaker after the problematic plot of Fallen Kingdom.
His plans for Star Wars 9 kept elements from The Last Jedi that would have made Duel of the Fates a much more cohesive sequel. For example, one key difference was the subject of Rey's parentage. In The Last Jedi, it was revealed that Rey's parents were no one of consequence, a refreshing take in a universe filled with legacy characters living in the shadows of those who came before. Although this was altered in Rise of Skywalker, Trevorrow's original plot would have followed through the groundwork laid out by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi. With many disappointed in The Rise of Skywalker, and Trevorrow's sequel seen as more appealing, it's meant his stock has surprisingly risen back up through him not making a movie. As Jurassic World 3 will round out a new trilogy, just as his Star Wars 9 would have done, there's renewed hope and faith that he knows how to craft a satisfying sequel.
Battle At Big Rock Setup A Better Jurassic World 3
Set one year after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Battle At Big Rock is a short film directed by Colin Trevorrow. It takes place at the titular Big Rock National Park in northern California, about 20 miles north of where the dinosaurs of Fallen Kingdom were let loose, and it chronicles the first major confrontation between humans and dinosaurs in this new, uncertain era. Battle At Big Rock stars Andre Holland and Natalie Martinez as the main characters. They and their three kids are camping peacefully at Big Rock when a fight breaks out between a family of Nastuoceratops and a hungry Allosaurus. In its quick 8-minute run, the short delivers a compelling story that is simultaneously bone-chilling, thrilling, and heart-warming.
Battle At Big Rock gets to the core of Jurassic Park in a way that the two sequel series films tried to hit, but fell just short of. Jurassic Park isn't just a scary monster movie or an action-adventure genre flick; it's a story about human survival and what it takes. Holland's character tells his family in Battle At Big Rock that they need to look out for each other because that's what family does. It was the same philosophy that drove the cast of Jurassic Park, a story that threw together many unrelated characters who were suddenly forced to rely on each other if they wanted to survive their encounter with these dangerous, prehistoric animals.
By the end of the Jurassic Park, respect between characters had been earned, prior meaningless attachments had been shed, and a newfound appreciation for what life is about was at the forefront of everyone's mind. Looking back, the only characters who died in Jurassic Park were the ones who went off on their own without any help from or regard for their fellow human family; characters like the greedy programmer, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight); the brilliant but sometimes cruel chief engineer, Ray Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson); the shallow and self-centered lawyer, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero); and the serious but over-confident game warden, Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck). Alone, they didn't stand a chance.
The existence of dinosaurs alongside humans should drive people to consider their limited time on Earth and their place in history, but in Jurassic World, dinosaurs were relegated to tourist attractions, and in Fallen Kingdom, they became horrible creatures that kill and should be feared. In between all that is a cast of human characters whose motivations are tenuous and whose connections to each other are not very believably portrayed. Between Trevorrow's growth as a filmmaker since Jurassic World and his work on Battle at Big Rock, the promise that Jurassic World 3 will deliver a story that is equal parts nostalgia, action, and heart is just on the horizon.