Jurassic Park in Review: Jurassic World Part I

In 2013, perhaps emboldened by the recent Disney sale of Star Wars and the promise of new films, Universal Studios began to work on briging back one of their big franchises: Jurassic Park. Although the last two films had been set on people getting stuck on the “factory floor” island Isla Sorna. However, the new film “Jurassic World” would return to the concept that started it all, and on the original island.

Despite the inciddents in the original trilogy, at some point Ingen-after the passing of John Hammond-came under the control of Masareti, who like Hammond, is well-meaning but a bit naive about things. Using what’s left of the original park’s Dinosaurs, he succesfully rebuilds the park (although on the other end of the island, apparentally, leaving the old Visitor’s center abandoned and decaying)….and manages to run it sucessfully…for a time.

The concept of a Jurassic Park that actually was completed and functions was also the idea behind the simulation Operation Genesis, which came out in the early 00’s, during the height of the Sims/tycoon genre of games.

 

 

Paying a visit over the holiday season are the the sons of the Mitchell family, who are being sent to the island with the mother’s sister, Claire Dearing (Operations manager of the Park), to watch over them. Similar to the first film with Tim and Lex, this is actually in part to help them cope with their parent’s divorce.

The film begins with a creature quickly hatching from an egg, alongside another egg, looking somewhat like the Raptor hatchling from the first film….but this thing isn’t a Raptor….well, sort of.

We then cut to a scary-looking foot, but one that turns out to be simply that of a bird; once again selling the Dinosaur/bird connection first established in the original film.

Image result for Bird foot Jurassic world

 

….and then an unusual setting for a Jurassic Park film-a snowy house. It’s around Christmas, and we meet the two kids of the film, Zach and Gray.  They’re sort of similar to Tim and Lex thematically-their parents are getting a divorce, so they’re being sent to the island over Christmas vacation, with the mom (Played by Judy Greer, who played a  divorcee in Ant-Man later that same summer) jokingly telling the kids to ‘run’ if something chases them. Now that’s some advice that’s going to come in handy…and of course they’ll be in the care of her sister/their aunt, Claire, who it turns out pretty much runs the day-to-day operations of the island-also reflecting in part, Hammond’s relationship with Tim and Lex in the first film.

Since this is a fully-fledged Jurassic Park, it has it’s own ferry from the mainland, instead of the helicopter from the first film. Gray states that there were “eight species” when the Park first opened, which might be a slight reference to the number of different Dinosaurs seen in the original Jurassic Park film (although off by one). The film never really explains what happened to the Dinosaurs of the original park, with the exception of the Tyrannosaur who the directors and writers confirm is the same as the original, and even given a name (off-screen) “Rexy.” I’m guessing these are mostly new Dinosaurs, as it’s stated that they’re all female, which means that Wu might’ve gone back to the drawing board and gotten rid of the frog DNA (or used something else) that caused the mutation. Except for Rexy, but presumabely she’s the only one of her kind on the island.

Isla Sorna is also not brought up at all, despite being the setting of the last two films (although there a few nods, here and there, to the other sequels).

 

Here we also meet Zara, Aunt Claire’s sort of secretary, who clearly doesn’t want to deal with these kids. She’s also at the core of one of the film’s more controversial moments, later on.

And of course we get the ‘gate’, supposed to be the same one, but rebuilt, relocated, and placed on a monorail track.

And we get our first real look at the Park’s main center, which seems to have gotten some design tips from Disney and Universal’s own parks-a bunch of fancy restaurants-including a Margaritaville!(more on that later) and booths.

 

Soon, we’re introduced to Claire, our heroine, although she initially comes off as a bit cold and unlikable, at first. She’s giving some stockholders a bit of a private tour of the Hammond creation lab, JW’s genetics chamber (It’s presumed that, unlike the original park, that most of the Dinos here are bred on the island-it seems like a much larger operation than JP’s small hatchery anyway).

 

Speaking of said hatchery, we meet Jurassic World’s only familiar (non-Dinosaur) face-Dr.Henry Wu.

Wu of course was the chief geneticist in the original movie, who cast doubts on Ian Malcolm’s reasoning about the Dinosaurs being able to breed.  Despite his being wrong-and being involved with the troubled first park-he’s been re-hired, and is breeding a new ‘designed’ Dinosaur, Indominous Rex, since people are apparently getting bored of the same ol’ Dinos (JW’s apparently been open for around a decade according to some of the supplemental stuff for the movie, but I gotta echo what Owen says later on: “They’re Dinosaurs. Wow enough”). Of course Wu does have his own motives for creating this ‘new’ Dinosaur.

Next we get the innovation center, a new Visitor’s center but far more high-tech, with holographic dinosaurs and touchscreens instead of bones.  It also sees the return of Mr. DNA, the cartoon mascot from JP’s short film on creating the dinosaurs (and also mascot of pretty much every tutorial in a Jurassic Park video game).

Claire visits her nephews in the center, but it’s obvious she’s completely out of touch.

We next meet the Park’s control room, with Lowery and Vivian, who function largely as the film’s comic relief (and they’re certainly more likable than the original control room crew from JP, especially Nedry), while also functioning as a bit of meta-commentary on the film itself. Lowery in particular, is frustrated that the park is a bit too commercial-an accusation levied at the first film’s product tie-ins, especially the cafe scene (A criticism-well, at least of that scene as there’s no denying JP is a major universal cash cow-that I debunked a bit in my JP review a few months back). He’s also a fan of the original park, which Claire finds in bad taste because of the deaths involved-and wears a JP T-shirt. He figures since the I. Rex is sponsored by Verizon Wireless, next thing is that they’re going to let the corporations name some new Dinosaurs, like “Pepsisaurus”. He also refers to the Dinos and mess on his desk (Well, that’s one thing he shares with Nedry) as a ‘living system to keep the system from collapsing into anarchy’-which seems like something Malcolm would say.

Which is fitting, since he’s reading Malcolm’s book (It’s unclear whether this is the one Eric was referring too in the last film).

We also learn that despite being a tighter operation than the original (which was still being developed anyway and never opened) Jurassic World’s got it’s ocassional glitches. Instead of the electrical fences of the original park (as well as bits of Isla Sorna), The Dinosaurs are implanted with ‘invisible fence’ implants, which unfortunately get shorted out when certain Dinosaurs butt heads-literally, as we learn with the Pachycephalosaurus. (It seems that with the Raptors, Mosasaurus, Rex and I. Rex, they’re not taking too many changes, and we clearly see both fences, concrete or unbreakable glass surrounding them.).

Next we see Simon Masarani, Ingen’s current head, and like Hammond, doesn’t really care as much about the bottom line as much as people having fun. He also comes off as slightly less naive about the dangers of a Dino park. This scene-set to pretty much the same music as the old copter scene from the original (What I like to call the Park’s “Adventure” theme) also confirms that Hammond died, and apparently didn’t completely go from Capitalist to Naturalist entirely as Malcolm stated in The Lost World, as he asked Masarani to pretty much rebuild his “dream”. Kind of reminds me of his old qoute….

 

You’re right, you’re absolutely right. Hiring Nedry was a mistake, that’s obvious. We’re over-dependent on automation, I can see that now. Now, the next time everything’s correctable. Creation is an act of sheer will. Next time it’ll be flawless!”

I guess he didn’t take Malcolm or Ellie’s advice to heart-especially this from Malcolm:

If you want to leave your name on something, fine. But stop putting it on other people’s headstones.

Masarani flies over to the I.Rex’s Paddock, and takes a look at the new Dinosaur. To quote JP once again…ou stare at him…and he just stares right back. (Although I’m pretty sure I.Rex here is a she).

Although he hasn’t seen too much of what she can do, Masarani is somewhat alarmed by a few signs of problems with the Dinosaur-it’s thermal vision, the near-loss of a worker, it’s cannibalism of it’s sibling, and cracked glass. Like the Raptors in the first film, this thing knocks it’s locked up and it’s testing for weaknesses. It wants out. Masarani figures it’s time to bring in more of an expert to make sure the paddock is super safe. Enter: Owen Grady, the film’s hero.

 

 

 

Jurassic Park in Review-JP III Part V

Grant and Eric lament the loss of Billy. There’s a neat sort of speech Grant gives…

Dr. Grant: I have a theory that there are two kinds of boys. There are those that want to be astronomers, and those that want to be astronauts. The astronomer, or the paleontologist, gets to study these amazing things from a place of complete safety.
Erik: But then you never get to go into space.
Dr. Grant: Exactly. That’s the difference between imagining and seeing: to be able to touch them. And that’s… that’s all that Billy wanted….

We then get an ‘awe’ shot of a field of grazing Dinosaurs. While it’s a nice moment and all, the CG here kind of looks fairly plastic, at least to me. While the Brachiosaurs are more colorful than their JP counterparts, they just don’t seem quite as matched to the foreground as those were.

Eventually, the group find their cellphone again-in dino-dung that’s presumably all that’s left of Nash. There’s sort of an amusing moment here with a Ceratosaur, a horned Dinosaur that’s been in a few Dino movies before, such as One Milllion BC, who’s about to approach our heroes but leaves because of the foul odor.

 

Apparentally it was originally intended to be a Carnotaurus-Dinosaurs which featured in the Lost World novel (and had chameleon abilities) but Disney’s Dinosaur film kind of got ahead of that. So they settled for this one-horned guy instead.

 

Grant attempts to contact Ellie, but her kid would rather watch Barney instead-the first time the Purple dinosaur appears in the series, although Spielberg thought of a joke cameo as far as the first film. It’s hard to imagine now, but at the time there was a slight controversy that kids who were used to Barney would get all upset by Jurassic Park, or something like that.

 

 

Of course, the Spinosaurus uses this moment to attack, leaving Grant to only cry “The River…site B!” to Ellie as he nearly drowns.

 

It’s actually an ok-if short-action scene, and the fact that it’s shot in the dark actually helps the Spinosaurus animatronics/CG, much like it did for the Tyrannosaur in the last two films. Like the aviary scene before it, this scene is actually something that was included in the original novel, and intended for a possible inclusion in the first film, as seen in concept art-although with a far less durable raft.

Grant manages to scare the Spinosaurus off with a flare gun. Sam Neill sure is handy with the flares!

 

 

The T-rex notices the flare

After a brief ‘family’ moment where it’s assumed Paul is dead for a minute, we move on to another scene of the characters walking toward the coast before they meet yet another obstacle-The Raptor pack wants their eggs back. The group obliges, although they’ll probably still eat them because well, they’re Raptors and they weren’t trained by Chris Pratt 🙂

 

Grant however, pulls out a dues ex machina-the 3D printed Raptor flute that Billy gave to them, and he somehow improvises a Raptor call. While this isn’t too out of character for Grant-he was mimicking Brachiosaur calls in the original (although they of course were benign) it still seems somewhat goofy. Also, you’d figure if the Raptors are “smarter than primates” they would figure out that they’re being played.

 

raptorflute.png

Nevertheless, Grant’s music pays off, as the Raptors rush off to the rescue of their fake Raptor-in-need.

Grant and the group then arrive at the beach, where the military is waiting to rescue them. They could’ve come in handy a few minutes ago; and actually military vs. the Raptors could’ve made for an interesting scene….but we’ll have to wait until the next film for that. Speaking of which, while all the other films have had pretty epic finales, that certainly wasn’t one of them. A thrilling Raptor chase, but saved by the T-rex? Epic. T-rex loose in San Diego? A bit silly, yes, but epic. The Raptors/T-rex/Indominus Rex/Mosasaur battle at the end of Jurassic World? Incredibly epic. The characters handing Raptors the eggs while Grant uses a goofy flute? umm…..

Maybe they should’ve ended with the Spinosaurus boat thing, maybe? Anyway, in any case, this feels really abrupt. Oh, and it turns out Billy’s alive too (with Grant’s hat), somehow managing to limp his way across an island full of deadly predators (and possibly getting to the coast before they did?). It also sounds like the Kirbys might get back together thanks to their traumatic experience….and Grant notes that now Pteranodons have escaped the island, although he kind of brushes it off. It’s intended to be a bit of a homage to JP’s “Grant looking at the birds” ending, but it kind of misses the point of it a bit. Maybe Ingen scooped up these guys and put them in the new aviary when they decided to give Jurassic Park another shot with Jurassic World.

So that’s Jurassic Park III, the least of the films, and the most obviously rushed. Still, it’s got some good moments here and there.

 

Jp In Review: Jurassic Park III part IV

Grant, rescued from the Raptors by Eric, then tells the kid that his parents are looking for him, and Eric is a little starstruck about one of his favorite paleontologists, although he notes that Grant’s enthusiasm for the creatures has died down a bit since they’ve tried to eat him in the past. There’s also a scene that in a way, evokes the poop scene from JP-although in this case it’s T-rex pee that Eric has collected to scare off the predators (“You don’t want to know” he says) except for of course, the Spinosaurus.

Speaking of Predators, the compys from TLW have a bit of a fun cameo here.

 

Grant is also curious about how Eric felt about Malcolm’s book, and Eric responds that Malcolm’s kind of “high on himself” and talked too much about chaos (Maybe a slight jab at TLW there, although Ian seemed pretty down on himself in that film, and doesn’t speak a lot about chaos) which Grant agrees on. Makes me wonder if the book is the one people are reading in Jurassic World; “God creates Dinosaurs”.

 

We do get a good look at another new Dinosaur, the Ankylosaurus, plus a bit of ‘family bonding’ stuff with Amanda and Tim that’s kind of boring, mainly just showing that they’re kind of ‘getting back together’.

 

The two groups then head out from their respective sanctuary, and are reunited by the ringing of Paul’s cellphone. There’s kind of a new ‘theme’ that plays here, that isn’t really memorable as the other themes from the series, or Jurassic World’s. It sounds more like a sort of “family film” kind of theme, which is sort of apt, but it doesn’t really capture any of the awe or primal adventure of the other themes, at least in my opinion.

Said ringing is actually coming from the Spinosaurus-who ate the cellphone along with two of the “mercs” when the plane crashed. We get a very brief chase scene in which the Spinosaurus crashes through a fence, but not able to get through a nearby building, presumably an observatory for the Aviary. The exterior of the building doesn’t quite look real; probably a matte painting or CGI, another failing I think of this film’s special effects.

Grant discovers the reason the Raptors are after them-Billy took some eggs, but now they’re stuck with them in case the Raptors want them back. He’s kind of furious at Billy (Who wanted to use the eggs to perhaps help fund the dig, because obviously the Kirby’s arent going to do it!), saying “Some of the worst things ever done have been done with the best intentions”

Next we come to the Aviary, and it’s a very good, atmospheric scene that gives us something we haven’t seen before in the films. The Pteranodon emerging from the mist is a particularly cool shot, and there’s actually a real sense of danger and some brutality in this scene, where Billy is briefly captured and nearly fed to the hatchlings, and the others have to avoid the sweeping, pecking predators.

Gotta wonder who this belongs to though, as the Pteranodons were pretty much sealed in this aviary it seems. A mercenary from TLW perhaps? One of the Dino-saur guys somehow? Old Ingen worker who was unlucky?

 

Billy uses the battered “Dino-saur” paraglider to good use here, although he ends up getting ensnared by the Pteranodon. One of my favorite shots of the film, is the look a Pterosaur gives Grant and Paul. “Just walk away”….

Next, the finale of the film, with one “awe” scene, some more Ellie, a showdown with the Spinosaur and an abrupt ending….

 

Jurassic Park In Review: JP III part 3

The group head back to the plane wreckage to salvage what they can. Grant and Billy try to figure out what attacked them, with Grant concluding it was a Spinosaurus-and both note it wasn’t on Ingen’s “list” and wonder what Ingen was “really up to”. While this isn’t really explained too much, the fact that there are factions in Ingen that might be doing something sinister behind the backs of the more well-intentioned members of the company-like Hammond and Masareti-is explored in Jurassic World.

 

Related image

They also make another discovery-Kirby, although still telling the truth about finding their son-is no billionaire, but in fact a middle-class paint, tile, and bathroom fixture salesman. At least in the first film,  Grant knew that Hammond was a rich guy and could help fund his dig,but he just took this guy at his word!

Moving on, they discover the ruins of the para-glider, a camcorder that proves Ben and Eric at least landed safely….and then they find out what’s left of Ben (although it’s kind of unclear how he died, as apart from being decayed-one of the more grisly sites in a JP film-he’s still just tangled up in the para-glider. Did he not cut himself loose and starve to death?). Amanda also didn’t really seem torn up by Ben’s death-she’s more freaked out by the skeleton than grieving over her boyfriend, but she’s worried about her son of course. She and Paul of course also discover some Raptor eggs, with Billy’s obvious hesitation in catching up with the group clearly implying he’s taken some.

 

Next we come to the Ingen compound. Although it looks vaguely similar to the TLW set, I think it’s pretty clear it’s a different building, going by a lot of the geography, the fact that there are less buildings around it and the general different shape of the structure itself.

After a brief look at some embroyos, we then get to the next big Dinosaur chase scene, as the Raptors emerge and start chasing Grant and co. Grant also seems to realize that they’re making some new form of vocalization: “Calling for help” as he puts it.

Although sometimes the Raptor CG is a bit rough in this film (as is most of the CG) I think Stan Winston’s team did a pretty good job with the Raptor animatronics. There’s one aspect of the movie that was slightly controversial-the Raptors having quills on their heads, a sort of compromise between the more reptilian look of the ‘classic’ look of dinosaurs, and the more bird-based modern reconstructions (of at least theropods/meat-eating Dinosaurs).

They’re also given slightly more variety here too. While the other Raptors are shown with purple and quills, we have their ‘leader’ here-the Alpha female-having a somewhat spooky white and black color scheme-and no quills.

 

The Raptors make a much better showing her than in TLW, actually working as a team as opposed to nipping each other and fighting among themselves in TLW. This is also the only JP movie where none of the Raptors are killed, making them more of a threat, although also sort of giving the film a kind of “that’s it?” ending (which I’ll cover later).

 

 

We get a brief scene of the group walking into a group of Hadrosaurs (The Parasaurlophus from the previous films as well as their cousins Corythosaurus)-and Grant and the rest of the group get separated.

 

We next see a pretty interesting scene of the Raptors killing Udesky-pretty graphically using their third claw to impale him (I think that’s pretty much one of the few times we’ve seen it used in the series-we didn’t see Ray’s death, they seemed to gnaw more on Muldoon, and the Ingen mercs were mainly jumped on) but leave his body twitching long enough for Amanda to make a stupid risk to try to save him.

While it’s not exactly as cool as TLW’s glass scene, it’s still kind of a decent thrill.

Grant meanwhile finds himself in a bit of a pickle. The shot of him surrounded by the Raptor pack was one of the main publicity photos from the film, and it’s still a pretty cool shot.

 

But thankfully Eric-clad in ferns and armed with tear gas cartridges-saves the day, in what’s pretty much this film’s kid saves the day moment. This actually feels a bit more natural and less tacked-on than the computer and gymnastics scenes in the other films. Unfortunately, Eric in the rest of the film doesn’t quite live up to this moment.

 

Next: Family reunion, but also a reunion with the Spinosaurus, Grant gets mad at Billy, and the aviary scene-where we finally get Pteranodons!

Jurassic Park in review: JP III part 2

We then get a scene that’s a clear call-back to the dig site scene of the original. Except with considerably less people and tools chipping away at thing, and the Raptor seems to have more prominent teeth here.

Grant arrives at the site where he meets his partner Billy Brennan, and we get a slight nod to Grant’s still-lingering distaste for computers (“You like computers, right?” “I like the Abacus”). He uses says computer-and a 3D printer-to produce an Velociraptor resonating chamber by scanning the skull cavity. While the resonating chamber is a goofy plot device, the technology used to make it is an early example of more mainstream 3D printing.

and just like that film, Grant is given a somewhat vague reason to go to the Island, this time by Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni), who pass themselves off as rich thrill-seekers who just want to look at the island from the air and have Grant as their guide….and like back then, he’s kind of conned into it by the promise of money to fund his dig site. You’d think Grant would do a background check here.

 

On the side, although he mostly does more serious, lower-budget work or comedies, is pretty good as Eric Kirby here nonetheless. His somewhat fish-out-of-water acting here actually works for the character. Leoni not so much, she kind of grates a bit.

So of course it’s off to Isla Sorna, and we get Don Davis’s version of the Jurassic Park theme, which is pretty much the same as the original’s (There’s no trace of The Lost World’s more primal music here)…Sorna, it should be noted, looks a lot more like Nublar this time around, probably because it was filmed in Hawaii where JP1 was, and not in California like the first sequel.

We get a brief but stupid dream sequence of Grant hearing a raptor with Billy’s voice saying his name:

and then it’s on to the island. I think it’s kind of clear here right from the get-go that Joe Johnson doesn’t quite have Spielberg’s skill when it comes to handling CG animals, as the Dinosaur ‘reveal’ is really just a few vague herds seen from overhead. Not exactly the majestic Brachiosaurus or Stegosaurus from the last two film. Grant starts to try to guide them (although earlier he described them as “theme park monsters” he sure seems to treat them like real Dinosaurs now), but soon realizes nobody’s listening to him.

 

Of course they land after knocking a reluctant Grant out, and Amanda uses a megaphone to call for her boyfriend and son, which of course alerts the film’s main villain, the Spinosaurus, who makes quick work of two of the mercenaries and the plane, once again stranding the main characters on the Island. The Spinosaurus, while visually distinct from the Raptors and T-rex, seems like a much weaker animatronic to me, moving in many frames like one of those robotic Dinosaurs you see at theme parks rather than a living animal. Perhaps most of the budget went into the robot Raptors who actually move far sleekly than in the earlier films. Spinosaurus is one Dino that actually comes off a lot better in CG.

Although Grant and co. evade the Spinosaurus, they run straight into a male T-rex (you can tell by it’s color scheme) who also doesn’t look quite right (It’s unclear btw if this is the same T-rex from the last film that eventually attacked San Diego, or even the offspring). Grant of course asks that they don’t move, but they do anyway…

 

…..and the Rex runs into the pursuing Spinosaurus, and we get a short fight scene between the two carnivores. While kind of cool, it’s also extremely short, and ends with what amounts to heresy for JP fans as the Spinosaur *kills* the T-rex.

Grant of course is not too pleased at the mess the Kirbys have gotten him into, and the Kirbys tell the truth about their son getting lost on the Island, and they needed Grant to help them find him. Only problem, Grant’s never been to Isla Sorna, just Nublar/Jurassic Park. Maybe they should’ve asked Malcolm, although I’m sure he’d have been less than thrilled as well.

 

Grant does get a great, chilling line here:  “Either way… you probably won’t get off this island alive.”

 

Jurassic Park in Review: JP III Part I

Although panned by a great deal of critics, Spielberg’s “The Lost World” was still highly successful. However, he then stepped down from the series, although he still had a producer credit. Screenwriter David Koepp also pretty much left the project, although he served as a consultant. Also, the film would not be based on any Crichton novel (Crichton himself died in 2008) although like TLW’s film adaptation, it would incorporate some scenes left out from the earlier adaptations. In addition, the franchise dropped the T-rex logo, replacing it with a Spinosaurus, in order to showcase the film’s new “big” Dinosaur.

 

JP III had a somewhat troubled production, which often hurt the film’s publicity, especially when William H. Macy reportedly called the production a “100 million ship without a rudder” (He later said he was talking about something else, but I think it’s pretty obvious he was talking about this film, and then told by Universal to shut up). The film in particular had numerous massive rewrites, right before production and even *during* production.

The film I think mainly functions as sort of an alternate take on “Lost World”, much smaller in scale, and of course with Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) returning after skipping TLW instead of Ian Malcolm( Jeff Goldblum) and Hammond ( Richard Attenborough). It also seems to focus a lot more on the Raptors, as TLW kind of made them a bit stupider.

 

The film starts with tourist Eric Kirby, and Ben, presumabely his Mother’s boyfriend (He says “Babe” on the camera footage Amanda views later) going on an illegal Parasailing tour of the Island coasts. On a side note, the shots of Eric and Ben (Not pictured) flying look pretty much badly green-screened it.

 

The guys on the boat end up dead, eaten by something (It’s not quite clear what) after passing through a mist, and Eric and Ben have to detach and sail to the Island before the boat crashes. We then cut to a scene of Alan Grant talking to a kid playing with toy Dinosaurs, with Grant trying to explain to him about how herbivores don’t attack each other, but Carnivores can. It’s obvious he’s warmed to kids after Lex and Tim, as he’s certainly not giving him the Raptor talk from JP’s beginning.

….Although Ellie tells him to back off being overly scientific. Turns out it’s her kid, and she has a baby daughter too. But….

…They’re definitely not Alan’s kids, as she married some other guy. Actually is more similar to Grant and Ellie’s relationship in the original novel, but this guy’s kind of a walking plot convenience, as he works for the state department, and therefore can come in handy if you find yourself stranded on a Dinosaur island.

People with quick eyes might recognize Ellie’s secretary-she’s Linda Park, best known for the Star Trek: Enterprise series as communications officer Hoshi Sato

 

As Grant and Ellie talk over dinner, Grant sort of geeks out about some new Raptor discoveries, although Ellie of course is a bit uncomfortable about it at first,

Ellie: So what are you working on now?
Alan: Raptors mostly.
Ellie: My…favorite.
Alan: Do you remember the sounds they made?
Ellie: I try not to.

Dr. Grant: All our theories about raptor intelligence, what they were capable of, we weren’t even close.
Ellie: Tell me.
Dr. Grant: Well, we did cranium scans of a fossil skull. We found what looks like a very sophisticated resonating chamber.
Ellie: Wait a second? So we were right. They had the ability to vocalize.
Dr. Grant: I’m convinced that’s the key to their social intelligence.
Ellie: Which explains why they could work together as a team.
Dr. Grant: And coordinate their attacks to the prey wouldn’t know what was going on.
Ellie: They could talk to each other.
Dr. Grant: To a degree we never imagined. Elle, they were smart. They were smarter than dolphins or whales. They were smarter than primates.

 

 

Seriously? This is really kind of overselling the intelligence here-and since technically, We’re primates it sounds even sillier.

After saying goodbye to Ellie, Grant is giving a lecture at some college, but of course everybody wants to ask him about the Park, which is of course public knowledge now after the San Diego incident. There’s actually a bit of a jab there when Grant says he wasn’t a witness there. He also says he has no intention of ever returning to that island, and makes a clear distinction between the JP Clone Dinos (Calling them “Theme park monsters”) and the originals that are now fossils.

Next we’re introduced to pretty much the film’s only Dino victims all in one scene, Mr. Udesky and his two mercenary guys. They don’t seem to be the smartest guys, and honestly given the sheer amount of the other team of mercs in TLW (Who pretty much all died except Roland Tembo) Jeter-a character actor who unfortunately passed away shortly after this film was released, is still lots of fun in the role although his screen time is rather brief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jurassic Park in Review: The Lost World JP finale

The Raptors of course kill of many of the mercenaries, including Ajay. Although he’s not quite given a ‘death scene’, apparently one was actually filmed but later deleted.

Malcolm and the others are close behind, but are able to evade the Raptors by “running…as fast as you can”, and stumble nearby the Ingen worker’s village complex, with Nick going ahead. There’s a bit of fun here as Nick spots an old Jurassic Park sign, with a “Are you kidding me?” look (and a reprise of the old theme).

When Ian, Sarah and Kelly follow, unfortunately the Raptors do as well.  Sarah is however saved by the “lucky pack” once again, which momentarily distracts the Raptors. Ian tries to distract one Raptor, while the others pursue Sarah and Kelly.

 

I’m kind of let down a lot by this sequence. While in JP and every other sequel, the Raptors are portrayed as highly intelligent, here they’re pretty much stupid. Sure, they’re fast, but that’s about it….they’re easily fooled and distracted, and end up fighting amongst themselves as well, allowing Sarah to escape easily….and then there’s of course *this* moment, the worst “kid saves the day” scene of the entire series, when Kelly demonstrates her gymnastic skills by kicking a Raptor onto a spike, impaling it. Yep.

 

While Ian and Kelly reunite with Nick and head for the chopper that he called, Sarah has some ceiling shenanigans with the Raptors, and then literally falls to safety.

I think part of the reason this Raptor scene is so short and sloppy, and the Raptors in the film downplayed as a whole were due to some hasty ending rewrites. Originally, The Lost World’s ending was going to be scarier and less ‘fun’, with the escape helicopters under attack by Pterosaurs, and more screen-time for the Raptors, and the film would end with Hammond’s funeral. But instead, it was decided that there would be a remarkably different, and somewhat more ‘happy’ ending.

It’s revealed that Ludow and Tembo have captured the male Rex, and Ludow is bringing it back to the mainland as JP San Diego’s opening act. Tembo, despite offered a job, is burnt out and sad about the loss of his friend, and this is a nice exit for one of JP’s more sympathetic human villains.

However, we also have one of our less sympathetic about to give a speech back in San Diego, with Ian and Sarah trying to see what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, the vessel carrying the T-rex-The Venture (a nod to King Kong’s boat here) crashes into the dock.

It’s here we’re given one of the film’s visual plot holes, as we see a severed hand in a cabin.  Although it’s implied the Rex of course did get out on the deck before being re-sealed, why is the cabin still intact? Did some guy’s arm just fall out as he got inside the cabin?

Ludow of course makes the dumb mistake of ordering the cargo hold open, and now Rex is loose in San Diego.

This is a pretty cool shot though.

 

A great deal of the sequence is played mainly for laughs, compared to the grimmer elements of the rest of the movie. There’s a lot of visual Easter Eggs posted here, such as the “No animals beyond this point” sign the Rex demolishes…

As well as the Rex in the backyard scene (which eats a family Dog, a joke about all the blockbuster films such as Independence Day and Volcano out around the same time, where despite the massive human toll of those films, the dogs somehow managed to survive-here it seems to be the reverse-a deleted scene reveals the family is OK, although the Rex does destroy their house).

Plus we’ve got a great visual gag here with fake movie standees in Blockbuster video-such as Arnold’s “King Lear” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” (Jack was a mid 90’s Robin Williams film about a man with accelerated aging) as well as Tom Hanks in Tsunami surprise,  a sort of nod to the goofy comedies Tom Hanks used to do before his more serious work. Plus we get some Japanese guys running from the Rex, a joke referring to then upcoming Godzilla movie (which was a huge flop). The Japanese tourists (translated) say ” I left Tokyo to get away from this!”

The Rex’s victim apart from the Dog is David Koepp, the film’s screenwriter. Koepp also wrote the original film, and several other Spielberg films. While he’s written many good Spielberg films, he’s had a few stinkers here and there…with some critics saying he got his just reward here for Lost World.

 

His other victim becomes Ludow, as Malcolm and Sarah manage to retrieve the Infant Rex-airlifted earlier on to the Park-and lure the Rex back to the boat. Ludow however gets on the boat’s hold beforehand, and the male Rex uses the opportunity to teach it’s offspring how to properly kill. (Remarkably, like with the Muldoon thing, a Jurassic Park comic series had Ludow survives somehow, although horribly scarred).

Next, we get a ‘happy’ ending with the Rex, Infant, and Ludow’s corprse all heading back to Isla Sorna, surrounded by a fleet of ships (a bit of overkill there?), with Kelly watching C-span with Ian and Sarah asleep (Can you blame them?) We get a nice scene of the Island’s various dinosaurs in the wild, including something we haven’t seen before…

 

 

A Pteranodon (Technically not a Dinosaur, but I’ll leave it be). The Pteranodons would of course return in the next two sequels, although with some design modifications and a lot more screen time, more akin to what they were supposed to get here.