GUEST ALERT! This piece was written and contributed by my boy Taylor Ford, who had this to say:
“Thank you for reading! If you are interested in hearing more on how to improve your favorite movies, please search for my podcast “Dr. Script” we talk about the problems but also give solutions to the problems!”
Information for the “Dr. Script” podcast can be found on instagram @doctorscript and on Facebook here. They do some great work on that podcast and if you start listening now, a familiar name might be appearing in their next episode!
“You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it.” This quote from the original Jurassic Park sums up the current state of the franchise. Let’s describe a scene from this current film, “a cloned daughter hides from a hybrid genetic creature in a private mansion in the woods.” Does that sound like a Jurassic Park movie or something you would find on the Sci-Fi channel? With less care and ideas not fully fleshed out, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom fails to connect to the original themes of Jurassic Park. By script-doctoring certain scenes and concepts, I will attempt to improve Fallen Kingdom by connecting the story back to the original’s main argument.
What is the overall theme to Jurassic Park? The past four films set up the theme of God vs. nature and how humans cannot play God without creating chaos. Dr. Ian Malcolm states, “God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs, God creates man, man destroys God, man creates dinosaurs.” Keep in mind, in the past installments of this franchise, Ian Malcolm is always correct. Malcolm is the voice of reason and is never blinded by the ah and wonder of these extinct creatures; “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.” This is the structure of all four previous movies. Everyone starts off in ah or the theme park, and then slowly realize the responsibility that comes with recreating these animals.
The problem with Fallen Kingdom is that the film goes against this theme by siding against Malcolm. In the Senate hearing, we hear Malcolm’s claim that nature needs to decide whether or not these creatures survive. He states that God created these animals and God has decided to kill them again, and that humans cannot play God without chaos. This is the theme every other movie in the franchise was built around but our protagonist of this film, Claire Dearing, has the opposite point of view. She believes that the dinosaurs must be saved and does everything in her power to save them. Now how could we fix this part? By having this debate brought up to us in the Senate hearing. Let’s have Claire and Malcolm arguing their points back and forth. This would once again set up the theme of humans playing God, and the audience could see the opposing viewpoints more clearly.
The next point in the film I want to discuss is the group returning to the island. This is where the bulk of the movie should have taken place, and it should have focused on them in the park, with the new element of an erupting volcano, and saving these dinosaurs. This event then would mimic the biblical passage of Noah’s Ark. When looking at this story, Noah does play God by deciding what animals to save and which to not. Of course, Noah saves every species in the world, but he had the option not to. There are some interesting parallels between Noah and Claire that could have been better explored. They both believe they must save these animals, but at what cost? Owen Grady could also have a few snarky remarks on how Noah chose not to save dinosaurs.
The character of Maisie also tries to connect to the original Jurassic Park with commentary on technology. Malcolm states in the first film, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” This not only applies to dinosaurs but also includes Maisie and whole cloning plot line. Her grandfather, Benjamin Lockwood, wanted his daughter back from the dead and didn’t think about the consequences of playing God. But what are the consequences? It is strange, but compared to creating dinosaurs (who eat people), cloning a little girl does not seem as bad. Maisie ends up opening the door for the dinosaurs to escape (which will be discussed below) but her motivation is lackluster, as her reason for doing so is only because they too were created in a lab.
Maisie needs to have a larger problem as her motivation for freeing the dinosaurs. Give her something that would be detrimental to the rest of society. This way (if Lockwood had lived) he would realize his selfish act of playing God by recreating his daughter. Now Lockwood would either have to go through his daughter’s death again or doom all of humanity. This version would then connect to the original Jurassic Park by reaffirming that just because you can, does not mean you should.
But instead, the film went a different direction. The dinosaurs are getting gassed and Claire struggles with the decision to open the gate outside to have them survive. This is where Claire’s argument for saving these animals gets tested. Throughout the whole film she has believed that the dinosaurs need to be saved, but after seeing more destruction and thinking back to Malcolm’s argument, “Genetic power has now been unleashed, you can’t put it back in the box.” Claire decides not to push the button and with that her character arc is more clearly seen. From wanting to save these animals to understanding they must die. A better ending would have been while Claire decides to not save the dinosaurs, the Stygimoloch (Dinosaur with a hard head), slams the power box outside and opens up the gates, freeing the dinosaurs. In this version, we now see that nature has decided that dinosaurs should survive and keeps the old saying of the series relevant, “Life finds a way.”