“Do you remember the first time you saw a dinosaur?”
It’s been 25 years since our first glimpse into the world of doomed island theme parks, genetic manipulation and rampaging dinosaurs. Jurassic Park represented an amazing leap forward in film technology, using a combination of practical effects and – at the time – state-of-the-art CGI, the foundations of which hundreds of films have been created from. Unsurprisingly, it was an instant hit and became the highest-grossing film released worldwide – a title it clung on to until the release of Titanic in 1997.
A quarter of a century on and we’ve had four – now five – films derived from Michael Crichton’s novels. Although, in comparison to other legacy film series, five films does still seem a bit thin. The Fast and Furious series for instance is now on its eighth instalment, Star Wars is now on its ninth (not including the anthology films) and even Alien has six films under its belt. So its about time Jurassic Park caught up.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Jurassic World breathed new life into the series. Jurassic Park 3 was the weakest offering of the original trilogy, rendering the series extinct for 14 years and setting the bar very low for any potential follow-up films. In other words, if you could do something better than that, then fans will flock in.
There’s likewise no question the Jurassic World series is something of a separate entity to its predecessors; paying tribute to the original films while being distinctive enough to carve out its own story and challenges. It would have been difficult to imagine, back in 1993, that the series would one day focus so heavily on hybrid dinosaurs – let alone that such a premise would actually work as well as it does.
Now, genetically engineered dinosaurs aren’t going to shock audiences any more. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom presents a different terrifying prospect; that of what a large corporation with access to genetic technology and nothing to hold them back could do.
The biggest critique of Fallen Kingdom is that it’s taken the franchise away from its roots, but I’d argue that genetic manipulation is at the very heart of the Jurassic Park series. If anything, the new films provide a more realistic use of the technology than simply creating “theme park attractions.”
The film deals with heavier topics than the previous instalments; everything from the rights that should be given to genetically engineered animals to the morality of using this technology to create humans. The big question the film tries to answer is the obligation that humanity has -or indeed doesn’t have – to save the animals it has brought back to life.
J.A Bayona’s Fallen Kingdom is certifiably the most terrifying and funniest addition to the series yet. The Indoraptor adds a certain fear factor that the series has struggled to recreate since the original film. The new dinosaur dominates every scene it’s in, and being honest at certain scenes it had me wanting to hide behind my seat.
Verdict: The park may be gone, but the fear is back. This Jurassic sequel brings back the heart of the series and tests everything we thought we knew about Jurassic Park.