The dino-sized franchise continues to evolve in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. To paraphrase Dr. Alan Grant, you won’t have the slightest idea what to expect…
Following the calamitous events of Jurassic World, what does the future hold for raptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt), operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and the menagerie of dinosaurs now roaming free across the island of Isla Nublar?
Jurassic World writers Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly pondered this very question during a road trip from LA to Vermont and decided to “just get weird with what the future could be.”
‘Weird’ certainly sums up the direction taken in sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but more on that later. The pair wanted to delve deeper into the paradox of the dinosaurs existing in a time millions of years after their reign – a point briefly raised by Laura Dern’s character in the original Jurassic Park (1993).
“I thought there was a way we could tell a story that would identify the human angle,” says Trevorrow. “How would you feel if you were brought back into a world that you didn’t belong to, just for the satisfaction of others? That was a realm we hadn’t gone to before, and it was something we knew these movies would benefit from.”
With Jurassic World no longer viable and a natural disaster threatening to destroy the island and the dinosaurs, Trevorrow saw an opportunity to explore the consequences of that destruction.
“Fortunately, there were a lot of clues we planted in the first movie: in the film itself, on maps and on the website – in places people wouldn’t think to look for hints about the next two movies – there’s information embedded in all of them,” he offers.
“At the start of Fallen Kingdom you will feel very comfortable; you are in known territory, and it’s like a warm, cosy, Jurassic blanket,” adds VFX supervisor David Vickery. “But it quickly changes. We take the dinosaurs into new environments and spaces they’ve never been, and explore how they would react to their unfamiliar surroundings.”
Having directed Jurassic World, Trevorrow passed the reins to Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio ‘J.A.’ Bayona, who had been offered the opportunity to helm the sequel by Steven Spielberg. Bayona had already directed the acclaimed ghost story The Orphanage (2007), true-life drama The Impossible (2012) and fantasy fable A Monster Calls (2016), and relished the chance to make a big adventure movie.
“I love playing with suspense to engage the audience,” he says. “I like the intensity and making people feel the total experience.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is certainly intense, and as mentioned previously, agreeably weird in a way that can’t be discussed without spoilers. Suffice to say, Bayona boldly incorporates elements of his previous films into the Jurassic formula, all the while mindful of retaining the soul of the franchise.
“J.A. is a huge movie buff,” offers Chris Pratt. “He particularly loves movies with an edge, and he’s bringing that to this film. He is playing, not so much with what is there, but what might be around the corner.”
Bryce Dallas Howard adds that Bayona is a genius when it comes to frightening people. “He just understands suspense, particularly with creatures and monsters,” she says.
Spielberg notes that each Jurassic film is the product of filmmakers who love their craft, and was thrilled with Bayona’s unique vision for Fallen Kingdom.
“Juan Antonio did an amazing job through his art in being able to make [it] a little bit like the first movie I directed, a little bit like the last movie that Colin directed, but still make it 100 per cent his,” he says. “Because he’s a real filmmaker who has a real voice, he found a way not to hijack and change the tone or mood or style of Jurassic Park, but a way to make his own Jurassic Worldfilm. We were blessed that he brought his voice to our series. He’s just knocked it out of the ballpark.”
In moving the Jurassic franchise in an exciting new direction, Bayona and the screenwriters address the moral repercussions of the advancement of science and the dangers in wielding genetic power with impunity – a recurring theme in both the films and Michael Crichton’s novels, and even more pertinent now.
“It’s not science fiction anymore; the reality of these advancements gives the audience immediate empathy,” the director notes.
“Twenty-five years ago, the debate about the moral limits of science was just the beginning; today it is daily news. Colin and Derek knew we needed to be talking about this, and it makes our movie extremely relevant.”