Dinosaurs are cool. And dinosaurs in movies are effortlessly cool, from the epic Kong versus three T-Rexes in Peter Jackson’s King Kong to the Jurassic Park franchise. Done right, they can be as terrifying and exciting to watch now a they were decades ago. That’s why the T-rex chase sequence and the raptor kitchen scene in the first Jurassic Park are still nail biting stuff and why the T-Rex assault on the trailer over the cliff-edge in The Lost World: Jurassic Park remains the most intense action sequence the franchise has ever done.
Yes Jurassic Park III didn’t quite measure up but the dinosaurs were still cool if nothing else and that why – on a wave of nostalgia and a love for the prehistoric reptiles – 2015’s Jurassic World was such a huge success. Sure you can pick holes in it (Claire luring a T-Rex from its hold in heels?) but it brought back the charm, action and horror of the original trilogy in spades. The attack on the park guests by the various flying dinosaurs was terrific (and gave Katie McGrath’s Zara possibly the nastiest death in the franchise’s history).
It had a great cast, with Hollywood leading man Chris Pratt leafing the show as the film returned to the franchise’s roots. Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World sought inspiration from the original movie in the saga and expanded the scale with a fully functioning park under attack. And now it’s recaptured the franchise’s magic, it can start to take things in a new direction.
Like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the most exciting thing about the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are the intriguing possibilities of where the franchise will go next. We know the fifth film in the franchise will not feature another theme park under threat and that BD Wong will be back as Doctor Henry Wu, suggesting that the experimentation with alien DNA that led to the creation of the Indominus Rex will continue in some form. And with the world now more aware than ever thanks to the disaster at Jurassic World, it will be a very different environment come then next film.
What’s also interesting about the sequel is that it will be a more direct follow-up to Jurassic World than The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III ever were. Both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will be back as heroes / possible love interest Owen and Claire, their story presumably being the central focus once again. Even more excitingly, Jeff Goldblum will be back a third time as Doctor Ian Malcolm, and after Goldblum’s hilarious exploits in Thor: Ragnarok, we can hope that he will bring that loveable charm that made The Lost World: Jurassic Park a better film than perhaps it deserved to be (no news on Julianne Moore’s Sarah Harding though). Either way, that connective tissue from the original trilogy though the presence of a much love character is certainly enough to raise the excitement levels for the sequel.
There’s also a strong cast assembled for the sequel too, from veteran cult actor James Cromwell to Toby Jones and Rafe Spall. But director J.A. Bayona is the most exciting choice; he knows how to bring powerful emotional moments, dramatic set pieces and utterly absorbing storytelling through his work on last year’s powerful A Monster Calls and the earlier The Impossible, not to mention the scares of The Orphanage.
But most of all, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is going to give us plenty of exciting dinosaur action, mixed with the moral drama and sense of wonder that was at the heart of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. And that is an entertaining prospect in itself. 2018 will also be the 25th anniversary of the franchise, so except a few celebratory nods when the film makes into debut next year…
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom arrives in 2018. Let us know if you’re looking forward to it!