‘Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire’ Review – the Universe Expands with This Exciting Prequel Novel!

Releasing in stores and online today, the Jurassic World Universe officially expands with ‘The Evolution of Claire’ – a prequel novel following Claire Dearing during her first months on Isla Nublar.

The Evolution of Claire is a Young Adult novel set within the Jurassic universe by author Tess Sharpe (Barbed Wire Heart, Far From You), and is her first foray into licensed fiction. The story is a personal journey for Claire, written in the first person perspective, overflowing with adventure, spunk, and mystery – the content is wholly Jurassic, while the tone and style embraces its young adult audience.

The story opens with Claire Dearing in 2004 at age 19 returning back home after her first year at college. We’re rapidly introduced to a very different Claire from the films, though she is equally motivated with a clear sense of confidence and decisiveness. She’s not eager to spend much time at home, and is driven to strike out her own life, however she is clearly close with her parents, her sister Karen, and nephew Zach.

Her personal motivations contrast to that of her business focused mind in World: her interests are political, with the goal of championing animal rights. She’s not just interested in their rights from afar, but is an animal lover with a pet lizard and dog, and has a history of becoming involved with the welfare of animals around her. She’s an optimist, believing there is always a morally better option, and it should be the one taken.

It’s soon revealed Claire’s animal interests go deeper than just typical extant animals, and she like many others is deeply enamored by dinosaurs. This is only furthered by the infamous San Diego incident, which revealed to her and the world that the prehistoric creatures existed once again. So when she’s offered an internship by the renowned Masrani Global corporation to spend her summer working at the not yet open Jurassic World – a place shrouded in so much mystery furthered by Simon Masrani’s eccentric marketing that Willy Wonka would be jealous – she of course jumps at the chance.

Claire is galvanized. An internship with one of the most influential individuals and corporations in the world is perhaps the window of opportunity to fortify a position of power in a cutthroat world. She knows how important money is in politics, and is eager to make her dreams a reality for the betterment of animals.

As Claire journeys to Isla Nublar alongside numerous interns of similar ages, she is thrust into a personal journey of growth, camaraderie, and independence. Her challenges involve impressing her hosts at the park, making new friends with her peers, dealing with romantic inclinations, and dealing with the occasional condescending bigot who tries to devalue her and her female peers simply due to their sex. Not to mentions dealing with dinosaurs – from distressed young Triceratops, overly playful Brachiosaurs, and of course, it wouldn’t be Jurassic Park without a Velociraptor.

Tess Sharpe introduces Claire and readers to the nuanced inner workings of Jurassic World, made more complex by the fact the park remains under construction. Claire’s intern duties range from shoveling dino-dung, enthusiastically going hands on with the wild dinos, to working in the Hammond Creation Lab itself alongside the one and only Dr. Henry Wu. Dr. Wu is one of the highlights of the novel, a supporting character who is as intriguing as he can be stern. Dr. Wu is not a villain by a long-shot, but rather a complex and intelligent character who helps shape and inspire Claire during her stay on the island. This surprisingly fleshed out development of Wu makes his seemingly one dimensional villain like portrayal in the World films all the more curious – could his motivations in the films be less sinister than we’re led to believe? This book fully cements that there is more to his story, as while his large hubris remains in tact, he also seems to have a strong moral compass.

Further, Simon Masrani himself features in the novel, and takes a personal interest in Claire’s education and career path. While he is his entirely eccentric and optimistic self, we’re also given a closer look at his capitalistic side, and are given glimpses into how far he is willing to go to bring his dinosaur park and John Hammond’s dream to life. With Claire’s noble steerings, she internally finds herself at odds with many of the choices the park management makes on a day to day basis – the very types of choices we see her making in the 2015 film.

Her internship at Jurassic World goes beyond its intended strains, as she becomes fully engrossed in a rumor of conspiracy and cover up which unravels around her the further she digs. In true Jurassic fashion, hardship is bred from greed, moral boundaries are crossed for a multitude of reasons, eventually leading to the inevitable end: chaos.

As the novel often says: Jurassic World is a place of contradictions, and it is perhaps that very concept which makes the more endearing Dr. Wu, colder Simon Masrani, and adventurous Claire Dearing all the more fascinating. These characters are as complex and unpredictable as the quickly evolving world around them. Control vs chaos, nature vs technology, human idealism vs realism all play out in a sandbox of science and occasional teen drama.

While the young adult leanings of the novel may be more prevalent than some older fans would like, the book naturally finds its place in the Jurassic world. Claire is a strong female character and role model for fans of all ages, and this novel is a much needed reminder: dinosaurs aren’t just for boys. It’s rare to find a large licensed property such as Jurassic so ready and willing to embrace a prevalent female perspective, and Tess Sharpe fully utilize this opportunity to create something unique, relevant, and needed.

The book is engrossing, valid and believable – my largest (small) critique being the interns were allowed to video call their families unmonitored – considering no real footage had leaked from the park, and secrecy was an important and required ingredient prior to the parks opening, this stood out to me. Coupled with the fact that the interns were so young, it’s amazing that no footage hit the world during the events of the novel.

The story itself is a complete arc, neatly revolving around a mystery that furthers Claire’s growth. By the end of the novel, which takes place over a few short months, Claire is changed – however she is not yet the Claire from Jurassic World. There are 10 years of stories and growth that lead her there, and this novel fully leaves room for future installments – and leaves some threads open, pointing to another book on the horizon.

For the canon connoisseurs, this novel is an absolute delight. (Mild spoilers ahead:) It digs into the science of Jurassic World, explaining its enhanced flora growth, prehistoric plants, and dinosaurs nutritional science. We learn that much of the technology of the park is proprietary and groundbreaking, and Masrani Global is working closely without outside sources to enable their use in medical and military applications (such as the Gyrospheres unique and nearly indestructible composition, or organically synthesized fusion bandages).

Though Claire never ventures to Site B, Isla Sorna is alive and kicking in the novel, as dinosaurs are occasionally transported from the island to the park on Isla Nublar. During the events of this novel, all dinosaurs in the park are survivors from Hammond’s time, born or created on Nublar or Sorna during the Jurassic Park era. The entirety of Sorna’s fate is left open, and Claire even comments that Masrani Global is more secretive about that island than Nublar (perhaps a hint there is more to Sorna’s story even now). While the lab is hard at work to create new animals, it seems they’re taking their time, in no hurry to introduce animals unfit for the soon to open resort.

This is perhaps influenced by a medical mystery that has begun to effect some of the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar, forcing the lab to take precautions to prevent the mystery ailment from spreading. This approach involves injecting medication directly into developing eggs, including strong doses of steroids, and I can’t help but muse if that’s why Jurassic World’s dinosaurs seem stumpier and angrier than their Park and real world counterparts.

There is one inconsistency with the lore: all the dinosaurs in the book are referred to as female, however as we know, life found a way. The Park era dinosaurs were both sexes despite the attempted population control, and were breeding on both islands. Perhaps the female terminology was a liberty taken by World staff, referring to them all as female, or an misnomer cultivated by a simple misunderstanding by the some employees that they were in fact female, despite being both sexes. Colin Trevorrow recently took to Twitter recently to further clarify that the dinosaurs of Jurassic World are both male and female, and other forms of population control were enforced.

Considering the novel never unequivocally states all the dinosaurs are female with evidence, this contradiction can be easily explained away in a multitude of ways, and it never undermines the story at play. The only real hiccup that is objectively wrong is the Velociraptor on the cover, a red eyed male of the second subspecies found on Sorna. The novel definitively states the raptor is a female, and has yellow eyes: this would be the female subspecies introduced in Jurassic Park 3, as the classic female variant has green eyes, its male counterpart yellow. This is not a fault of the novel, but rather a small canonical stumble on the part of the otherwise phenomenal jacket art adorning the book.

At nearly 1500 words I’ve barely scratched the surface of what ‘The Evolution of Claire’ has to offer in its 32 chapters spread over 390 pages. Tess Sharpe has smartly crafted an adventure within the Jurassic universe, brought a new life to Claire Dearing, and reawakened the possibilities held within a page, something we haven’t had since Michael Crichton wrote the original novels from which the first two Park films were created. Stories told in novel form is ingrained into the DNA of Jurassic, and this new chapter brings the story to life in excellent form.

No matter your age or interest, I can happily recommend the book, which is a fun and unique romp within a whole new Jurassic World. I hope to read more from Tess in the future, and fully believe this proves the potential for other stories within the growing expanded universe.

The Evolution of Claire is available in stores now at retailers such as Amazon and Target – be sure to pick up your copy today, and sound off in the comments below with your thoughts! As always, stay tuned for everything Jurassic – including our upcoming deep dive interview with the author herself!

Let’s Talk About That New Hilariously Awkward ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Poster

Sometimes it’s not just the thought that counts, but the Photoshop ability. Sadly, it seems the latter is missing when it comes to Jurassic World.

Hitting a day before the new trailer, the Jurassic World social media accounts shared a explosive new Fallen Kingdom poster with the grim new tagline “The Park is Gone” (though with how small the ‘Fallen Kingdom’ on the logo is, it almost looks like that is the title of the film).

That aside, let’s talk about the composition of the new poster:

The concept of this poster is very solid, and everything including the colors and backdrop are really well done. The Tyrannosaurus looks approriately fearsome, the logo placed strategically with the volcanic explosion. The colors are warm and inviting, but certainly allude to danger (strangely the poster removes the teal color grade from the film many complained about) – that is all aesthetically pleasing.

But then you look to the bottom left, and it all falls apart. The characters are so poorly composited into the shot, you’d be forgiven to think it was a internet meme, placing them in locations they don’t belong. They do not blend with the environment, and the photoshop is clear as day – further, why can you not see what’s behind the glass of the Gyrosphere? Speaking of the Gyrosphere, it’s missing its bottom part, which was to be filled in by CG in the movie, and the glass just blends into the ground.

Also, the eyelines of the characters – where are they even looking? This might seem like nitpicking, but all of these are graphic design staples, and they standout tenfold due to the obvious cut and paste comp.

Of course, it’s not a first for Jurassic – don’t forget the new Blu-ray covers revealed a few months back:

As with the poster, these could have been great, but needed more thought put into the assets used plus better composition.

For a palette cleanse, we’ll leave you with a few fan posters which get the job done:


It’s worth remembering we’re all fans here, and cannot wait for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but sometimes things need a good candid roasting, and it’s usually in good fun!

What are your thoughts on the new poster, and are you a professional graphic designer? If so, you may want to pass your contact information to Universal Pictures, and whip something up with the quality this series deserves.

Source: Jurassic World Offical Twitter


OPINION: The Jurassic Myth

To make an unpopular observation is to dispel a beloved myth.

Initially, I felt reluctant to write this piece. Not so much because I’m concerned about its reception. Had I been a few years younger I possibly would have worried and questioned my very own loyalty to the Jurassic Park franchise and its creators.

No, I doubted my desire to pen all of this down because I’ve written several articles on Jurassic Park and Jurassic World through the years. Could this one add any new insights? Would it not be a useless exercise, partly revisiting already existing material?

Jurassic Park has been part of over half my life. I grew up with it, watched it countless times – I would not dare venture a guess as to the number of combined viewings through the years. I’ve played with the toys endlessly, read the books over and over again. My love for these films, flaws included, is deeply rooted; not a day goes by I do not, in some capacity, think of it, or look at material from these films or their merchandise. I can only assume I am preaching to the choir, my experience being hardly unique.

However, love and loyalty for this franchise (or any product, artist or franchise, for that matter) do not constitute unwavering devotion, no matter how dreadful the material is or has become. Rather, I believe being a fan is daring to be critical; to scrutinize, reconsider and demand (or perhaps more accurate, to hope for) respectful treatment of a property we so dearly love, not blindly accepting everything presented to us.

Having mulled it over in my mind continuously for weeks on end, I was close to considering it a pointless endeavour. Yet, I could not entirely let go, feeling the desire to explore the origins of the park, the foundations lain out in the two novels and original three films once more – and possibly for the last time.

But where to begin when you want to write about film canon and storytelling?

Canon remains a hotly debated issue. Not just within Jurassic Park’s fan communities. Every film franchise and TV-series sooner or later has to deal with the implications of its own storytelling and, possibly unfitting, additions finding their way in through sequels. In some cases, Terminator for example, it includes the consideration of excising events from previously made films to make way for new interpretations. The ALIEN franchise has a loyal fan base that considers the third and fourth films non-existent. Furthermore, ALIEN’s prequels have brought significant changes to the origins of the infamous titular creature(s), not necessarily for the better.

Perhaps the Jurassic Park saga is not so badly off in comparison. Yet, I can’t help be intrigued by the phenomenon of canon and how easily it can be messed up. It’s the one issue I keep returning to most in my mind. After all, the entire franchise stands or falls with its respective storytelling.

My continuing fascination for the subject stems from a dissatisfaction with the lack of attention for the finer details of the franchise as it progresses; the sequels were, and are, created based on previous success, contemporary popularity and demand, not necessarily the established story. This in itself isn’t entirely odd. The original wasn’t made with a sequel strongly in mind, and the original’s sequel was not created in that spirit either. Jurassic Park is a “make it up as you go along”-franchise. It’s not alone in that department; most film sequels are conceived that way.

For Jurassic Park, a film that deals with specific, limited locations, it can cause trouble when future authors are not absolutely informed about every nail and rivet, each miniscule, seemingly insignificant detail. After all, contrary to popular belief, the Jurassic Park universe isn’t one of endless possibilities; because of the chosen locations (remote islands) and the subject at its very core (recreated dinosaurs), stories run the risk of becoming either repetitive or, trying to introduce new and exciting elements, bordering on the ridiculous.

Anyone taking on the task of writing a sequel in this series must have more than just a basic understanding of the park’s history and its very conception to make new entries into the franchise work.

“Only slightly dead.” From paper to celluloid: adaptation

Looking at the Jurassic Park films, what should we consider canon? And, for that matter, what is canon, exactly?

Meriam Webster offers the following definition: “a body of principles, rules, standards or norms.”

That’s quite clear. The story mandates an adherence to previously established details. Deviate, and the illusion crumbles, exposing inconsistencies and errors.

To keep it simple: canon to the films is everything that happens within the films. Anything outside of it (novels, cut scenes, novelizations of the films’ stories, board- and videogames, merchandise, apps and viral websites) is not to be included.

Yet, deviate is exactly what Michael Crichton himself did when he wrote The Lost World; mathematician Ian Malcolm had died by the end of the novel Jurassic Park, but lived in the film version. Working on the book’s sequel, Crichton resurrected Malcolm, given how popular the character had become. About this magic return from death, Crichton said:

“Malcolm came back because I needed him. I could do without the others, but not him because he is the ‘ironic commentator’ on the action. He keeps telling us why it will go bad. And I had to have him back again.”

You can see the irony in my quest of untangling Jurassic Park’s initial canon. Crichton himself, the founding father of the Jurassic Park universe, unashamedly had a previously deceased character return alive and well to propel the story forward. Malcolm’s return was a surprise to readers of the original book but presented in the novel without much pomp and circumstance, it was largely accepted.

With Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) surviving the events that took place in the first film, The Lost World’s film adaptation had no such hurdle to overcome. It did utilize the new location Michael Crichton invented for the sequel, the abandoned research facility located on Isla Sorna.

Let us briefly examine three key scenes from The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. While there is no real need for a lengthy deconstruction of either scene, it proves worthwhile to take a look at those moments from the original trilogy that became the groundwork of Isla Nublar’s fate.

What both films clearly radiate is the notion that Isla Nublar is no longer of interest to anyone. The public, through the course of these two films, has become aware of the island and its unfortunate history, the dinosaurs having either been killed or died off; in The Lost World: Jurassic Park this becomes clear throughout the dialogue between John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and Ian Malcolm. Hammond simply confesses to Malcolm there is another island where dinosaurs roam freely (“thank God for Site B,”) and Malcolm finds himself unpleasantly surprised by this notion. Neither man worries about Isla Nublar, it’s hardly brought up.

At the end of The Lost World: Jurassic Park Hammond snatches his “likeable showman”-opportunity and argues in favour of the protection of Isla Sorna and the surviving dinosaurs that inhabit the island.

Jurassic Park III reintroduces us to Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who is beleaguered with questions about his experience on Isla Nublar as he attempts to lecture about paleontology. Two persisting students question if he truly has no interest in traveling to Isla Sorna the moment different governing bodies have decided how to properly approach the island, enabling scientists to conduct research on location. Grant denies interest, professing to the desire of staying as far away from the island as possible.

These three scenes hold the keys to that fine detail; Isla Nublar is not considered a mythical location, spoken of in revered, hushed tones. No, it’s a monumental financial headache for InGen, and unceremoniously cast aside by John Hammond.

Isla Nublar is completely written out of the films for the next fifteen years.

“Something unexpected has evolved”: complications

After The Lost World: Jurassic Park, different screenwriters wrote each new entry in the franchise, causing a parade of annoying irregularities. Some are relatively minor, for example Isla Sorna looking different in Jurassic Park III: while mainly covered with temperate forests in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III sees dinosaurs and humans placed in tropical jungles.

Other errors are slightly more troubling. These vary from design variations in the same species of animals throughout the films; the once free roaming Pteranodons being magically locked up in a gigantic aviary in the third film; to Kauai’s Na’Pali coastal mountain range first seen in The Lost World: Jurassic Park as part of Isla Sorna accidentally being reused in Jurassic World as Isla Nublar’s coastline.

There are, of course, counterarguments for these discrepancies. First of all, not all errors, such as the location mix-up, can be blamed on the writers. The change in appearance in both animals and surroundings isn’t unheard of through the course of the films. The animals looking different, sometimes radically, can be chalked up to creative decisions in design and renewed insights; the island looking different could simply mean the two films each took place on different parts of it.

The same coastline used for both Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar might have been an oversight, considering the time that passed between the two respective films. Admittedly, it’s a location-scouting mistake most viewers probably won’t even notice.

These errors can be overcome, turning a blind eye. However, two elements both introduced in Jurassic World are inexcusable, and cause the film to run into deep trouble. The first is the surprise reintroduction of the original Tyrannosaurus from Jurassic Park in Jurassic World. The previous sequels taught us dinosaurs no longer inhabited Isla Nublar. Without even a modicum of explaining, the original Tyrannosaurus returns, as the deus ex machina she was in the original film’s finale.

Given what we know about Isla Nublar’s history, the Tyrannosaurus should not be there – yet she is still alive, albeit looking very different. This is not just due to old age; the shape of her head, especially the lower jaw, has entirely changed. Rumor has it the film originally would present us with a random Tyrannosaurus rex. Was this redesign a last-minute decision, a rush of nostalgia to please fans? We may never know.

Most unforgivable, though, and certainly to be blamed on the writing; the revelation John Hammond apparently supported Jurassic World’s construction before his death, completely undoing the emotional and spiritual journey the character made over the course of the original two films. This sudden change of heart is not entirely impossible, but without properly addressing it, the film falls flat and does Hammond’s character the greatest of disservices; making it appear he had a nefarious motive, the creation of a park on Isla Nublar at any and all cost, selfishly seeing his dream come true in the end.

All these moments display what could either be remarkable carelessness, a lack of knowledge or performance under pressure. We know the latter certainly applied to Jurassic Park III’s production process. But the others? Colin Trevorrow has professed to being a fan of the original work multiple times, and clearly voiced his devotion to create the best work possible. Yet, these errors and inconsistencies did not require a microscope to be found. And these inconsistencies are not just discussed by fans who spend much time going over the material, dissecting every frame; the discrepancies are out there, front and center, questioned by film audiences in general. If they can pick up on those, why not the director of the film himself? Were these elements truly errors? Did the filmmakers simply not pay enough attention, or did they possibly not care enough to gain a better understanding of this fictional world they were adding to? It makes Jurassic World operate in the same cinematic universe as Jurassic Park, but without properly addressing some of these issues it does so on its fringes.

This is the myth; we have been told the new trilogy (the Jurassic Park films are the first trilogy, the Jurassic World films the second) has been planned out beforehand. This does not seem entirely true.

I do believe a beginning (Jurassic World), middle (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and an end (Jurassic World III) were planned in broad strokes, but the writers of the script didn’t bother with the finer details established by the original films, instead introducing what was deemed necessary or even just cool.

With every new entry into the franchise the stories run the risk of becoming more complicated and asking for a greater suspension of disbelief. I believe it’s not impossible to write stories that fit the overarching canon and still be surprising and uncontrived, but this ordains a deep understanding of the source material; perhaps it presents authors with a creative challenge, but what else are professional writers for?

If we have to suspend disbelief and accept the dinosaurs as a reality, the details of the entire world they occupy have to be absolutely correct.

Both Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World, at one point or another, failed in this regard.

That’s not to say I am not appreciative of the work by both Joe Johnston and Colin Trevorrow on the Jurassic Park franchise. Though their films are not perfect, they offer entertainment and even bring new elements into the saga that will inspire, and be discussed by fans, for years to come. Both men and their crews did outstanding work in their own ways, and they both come across as men with sympathetic personalities and a genuine love for the original film.

Colin Trevorrow especially engages actively with fans, mainly through Twitter. This is commendable. He made himself available to the Jurassic Park community and teased or even outright shared material from Jurassic World’s set when he could during the production process.

Whenever Colin Trevorrow tweets something related to Jurassic World, fans are excited. After all, after a draught of nearly fifteen years, the franchise was brought back full-force, with Trevorrow at its helm this time.

Yet, his pleasant online persona and accessibility certainly do not make him exempt from fair criticism; a tweet proclaiming he considers several Jurassic World games being created “soft canon” was received with much enthusiasm by fans. But what is soft canon? What does it mean in regards to the franchise’s narrative?

The truth is, it has no definitive meaning, if any at all. It was Trevorrow’s personal opinion, having been asked a question about the games. Which of course is fine, as we all have an opinion. But his words weigh heavier in the fan community than someone else’s (mine, for example) because he once occupied the director’s chair and still serves as a writer for, and producer on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Colin Trevorrow, despite these impressive credentials, maybe should not be seen by us as the Messiah and his words not taken as absolute gospel.

I feel his choice of words on this specific matter diffuses the understanding of the material. Canon should be that; it either is or is not. Anything else should be relegated to an alternative universe where it’s free for all and anything goes.

Am I advocating against sequels, or directors expressing their own thoughts on the material? I’m certainly not opposed to films that follow up on an original work, expanding stories and fictional universes: I would never want to discourage anyone from expressing their opinions, insights and experiences. Above all else I would not dare argue in favor of discouraging Colin Trevorrow to share his personal opinion. His input and thoughts are highly valuable, and I truly appreciate his work on JurassicWorld and his activity and engagement with fans on Twitter and in the real world.

Though not a steward of the franchise, I do maintain the position not enough care and attention went, and possibly goes, into the understanding of these important details, the focus instead shifted towards pleasing audiences with films that entertain from start to finish, offering a fast-paced ride – but giving the public less to think about in the end.

 Jurassic Park did something remarkable. It presented its complicated science with a wonderful simplicity, making us believe this world we were introduced to was utterly real.

It’s a trick that from the outset could essentially only be performed once, considering the film hinged on the revelation of futuristic technology being successfully able in aiding resurrecting extinct animals.

Once this technology was introduced and the original film ended, that novelty, the excitement, the wonder and magic faded away more with every sequel, little by little falling apart and replaced with more spectacle and grander effects. But with a little less heart put into each new entry, slowly trading in genuine, inquisitive scientists for dull, anonymous military bravado.

Packed to the rafters with shots eerily reminiscent of the original film, Jurassic World became a lesser version of a grander work, at times feeling more as if truly a reboot rather than a sequel, a film that seems to have sidelined its two predecessors; and, more importantly, their content and lessons. As with the Tyrannosaurus, Jurassic World never directly addresses the issue of the state of the island(s). The individual islands are simply “shoved aside” from film to film, as if one or the other doesn’t matter anymore, then dragged back in to fulfill a filmmaker’s needs. Rather than Jurassic, it becomes Convenient Park, with the authors introducing elements they need to create a string of “cool looking” scenes and shots, instead of creatively building and expanding on the original material that came before.

In the end, it’s the film studio that approves the finished film scripts. If those in charge feel a script is good enough and sign off on it, the authors and directors might not even be aware of the irregularities. Who, then, should we consider responsible?

Conclusion: the myth undone

Originally, I started writing out of a deep desire to approach the subject of Isla Nublar’s origins and ultimate fate without much speculation, without the inclusion or consideration of “secondary” material, even going so far as to exclude Crichton’s own work, except for the respectful acknowledgement that his two novels are the very foundations of this franchise.

As my collection of notes on the matter expanded, my focus shifted. I found my original subject interesting, but as I explored further it lead to something more substantial; the complex art of telling a story that follows up on existing material.

With the mountain of hardly legible notes growing over several weeks, I could not help feel weariness, a fatigue – a regular disinterest in my own never-ending thoughts and musings, if you will. To be a fan, I suppose, is to question your own sanity every now and then; I’ve often asked myself why I feel such passion for these films and their fictional world, why I keep returning to them despite knowing them by heart. And sometimes, wanting to just cast it all aside and be done with it.

Yet, I always drift back into that world, returning to what I love and know, undeniably finding a familiar comfort in this fiction that shaped the way we perceive (accurate or not) dinosaurs on film, and the history of the people and companies that occupy its exotic landscapes.

This may sound awfully vague. Or perhaps not. It’s fascinating to examine my own attitude towards these stories and to realize this fictional world has its roots firmly planted in scientific reality. While it’s not possible yet (if ever) to resurrect dinosaurs, de-extinction itself is bringing the return of animals such as mammoths, far younger than the reptilian rulers, within reach. Is this why I love these films so much? Because they operate on the brink of reality, offering us a glimpse of technology to come? The far-off prospect of possibly coming eye to eye with animals brought back from extinction?

I certainly do not entertain the (rather vain) thought my word on the matter is final. But writing did lead me to reach and understand the most important personal question above all others: if the filmmakers and studios don’t care all that much about consistency throughout these films, why should I? Is it not better to let go, to be done with it and simply enjoy the films, no matter what craziness or irregularities they bring to the franchise?

Admittedly, as a fan with a passion bordering on religious, I’m undeniably susceptible to over-thinking these matters. This is possibly the most important lesson I learned as I progressed. I have undone my own myth: the once unshakable belief that these stories can and should be told without nearly unavoidable discrepancies finding a way in, either by accident or on purpose.

Maybe it truly is time to let go of the well-intended but foolish notion of wanting to protect a legacy that can’t possibly be saved by me alone – and, in the end, most likely does not need saving at all.

What are your thoughts on the franchise’s history, its storytelling, canon and being a devoted fan?

Do-You-Think-He-Sue-Us? A Legal Analysis of the Jurassic Park Disaster

The Jurassic universe does not have a fondness for members of the legal community. This comes as somewhat of a shock since most of the InGen antics undoubtedly have far-reaching legal ramifications, and there are likely dozens of attorneys with the sole purpose of keeping the company out of too much trouble. After diving into the intricacies surrounding the legalities surrounding Jurassic Park, it is honestly difficult to decide who had the harder job, the geneticists or the lawyers. As an attorney myself, my goal here is to expound briefly on what liabilities Jurassic Park likely faced upon its implosion and of course, avoid being eaten on a toilet.

For this article, we are going to have to make a few big assumptions. First assumption: the laws of the United States apply. Most smart companies with assets in foreign countries will establish a subsidiary in the country where those assets reside. The benefit of the subsidiary means that any lawsuits brought against the company can utilize the foreign country’s laws and court system. Some companies elect to do this if they see that the foreign country’s laws are more favorable in a particular area where they are at risk of a lawsuit. Even though InGen was headquartered in California, Jurassic Park was built on Costa Rican soil. I cannot find any reference to an InGen subsidiary in Costa Rica in any of the canon, and since classifying InGen as a “smart” company gives me pause, it is entirely possible that lawsuits filed by American paleontologists, chaoticians, and tourists back in the United States could follow U.S. laws.

But assuming the United States law governs, what kind of disastrous bill is InGen in store for? Well, we know they were on the verge of Chapter 11 bankruptcy following the events of Jurassic Park, but what put them there? In California, where Jurassic Park was originally supposed to be built, the laws surrounding actual zoos are no laughing matter. Regulations control nearly every aspect of the park, from the specifications of building enclosures, right down to posting correct signage. In the eyes of the law, housing and maintaining a wild animal is virtually the same as working with uranium or using explosives. It is known as an “ultrahazardous activity.” Conducting these types of activities in California comes with a harsh legal consequence – the party conducting the activity is strictly liable for any injuries these animals cause to park patrons. In other words, even the most careful of zoos are likely to be held accountable for visitors wounded by the animals. Basically, even the countless miles of Jurassic Park electrified fences would not be able to hold back the costly verdict from an injured park-goer.

While the concept of a Jurassic Park may be fiction, the situation of an escaped wild animal in a zoo is certainly not. In 2011, a 300-pound gorilla named “Little Joe” escaped from his enclosure at the New England Zoo. After the gorilla attacked a two-year-old child, a jury found that the zoo failed to use reasonable care to keep the gorilla confined and awarded the child’s family a verdict of $175,000. Eerily enough, the most similar incident to Jurassic Park took place in the same state where the original park was supposed to be built. In 2007, a Siberian tiger jumped out of its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and ran amok inside the park. Before being subdued, the tiger killed one boy and injured two brothers. The surviving brothers sued the zoo and settled for a costly $900,000 sum before trial.

With the deaths seen in Jurassic Park, it would not be unthinkable for a jury to award family members of the victims an even greater amount. Many factors are taken into consideration for a wrongful death suit. These can include the victim’s pre-death pain and suffering, funeral and burial cost, loss of income, loss of love and companionship, and value of services the victim could have provided, among many others. These concepts are purposefully abstract and let a jury determine an appropriate amount based on their own thoughts and experiences. A jury presented with a wrongful death case involving a mauling from an escaped velociraptor could run wild with these figures. While it is hard to speculate on an exact number, think upwards of a potential $1.5 million per victim if there’s no cap on the amount of damages a victim can receive.

Just as a side note, as expensive as the Jurassic Park incident would have been, it would not hold a candle to the expense of battling the lawsuits from the injured park-goers of Jurassic World. There is no doubt that the numerous attendees would have brought a class action lawsuit, and California law nearly assures that such an action has to be brought in California. If the Jurassic Park incident nearly put InGen into bankruptcy, the Jurassic World incident should have obliterated the Masrani Company. In the words of Claire Dearing, “We’d never reopen.”

This brings up assumption number two: InGen did not make the visiting dinosaur experts sign any waivers of liability. While such a waiver would not likely bar the injured guests from recovering money for their damages, it could put a cap on how much they could recover. In addition, it might force the victim to give up their right to a jury trial and mandate they attend arbitration instead. Arbitration is an alternate form of dispute resolution that divorces the issue from the government court systems. Rules can be more relaxed, and this can work in favor of the company in some cases. Most theme parks today include language on the back of their ticket stubs that stipulate arbitration as a mandatory requirement of enjoying the park. Next time you head to a big theme park, or even a sports event, check your ticket for what you are actually signing up for.

What are your thoughts on InGen being held accountable for their actions? Are costly settlements enough or should InGen execs just all be subjected to the same fate as Gennaro? Sound off with your opinions in the comments below.

Source: Gomez Law Firm, ABC News San Francisco, Boston Herald

OPINION: Robert Muldoon’s Undeserved Death

The socks. The hat. The accent. What did Robert Muldoon have in Jurassic Park that you don’t recall immediately? The game warden from Kenya was a man of high intellect. He had seen raptors at their most curious stages (for example, testing the electric fences for weaknesses), and I’m sure at their most admirable stages as well. He was taken out of the franchise too soon, and although I’m honestly not sure where else he would have fit in down the road, I think the possibility to see him again could have been there.

What Steven Spielberg did with Bob Peck’s outstanding character is genius. Sadly, on April 4th this year, it will have been 19 years since Bob Peck passed away from cancer. To honor his memory, let’s briefly discuss the stellar job he did with this character and why Robert Muldoon is a JP legend.

A common theme throughout most of the JP franchise is that good guys live and bad ones meet their ultimate demise. In fact, sometimes you don’t have to be a “bad guy” to seal your fate in this series — all you need is a lack of respect for the power of dinosaurs. If you see them as assets or look at them with dollar signs (I’m thinking of you, toilet boy), then you’re most likely as good as dead. Nedry, Genaro, Ludlow, Hoskins, Dieter Stark (with a particularly brutal and prolonged death); all met ends that seemed to make sense. They all had agendas that looked past the fact that these were big, powerful and living animals that deserved to be treated with more respect. One of them in particular, Dieter Stark, had a well-deserved death — death by what seemed to be a thousand compys eating him alive for zapping one of their own with a taser for no reason.

Other deaths came as a slight surprise. The character wasn’t money hungry, he or she didn’t not respect the animals. They were simply expendable, I guess. Think of Eddie Carr, Udesky and Zara. Eddie went out a hero, trying to save his new friends. I find his death to be one of the more depressing endings of a character in the JP universe. Udesky was just trying to help find a child. The worst thing Zara did was not pay better attention to her boss’ nephews. There are more of these types of deaths out there, but those are the ones that come to my mind first.

One of the reasons that Jurassic Park got this franchise started on such a powerful note is because some things happened that you never saw coming, including the death of Muldoon. You may have guessed that Genaro would die — but by being plucked off the toilet? Not many could have guessed that, I’m sure. When Nedry met his end (which I still find to be a particularly disturbing scene, bravo Mr. Spielberg), I knew it had to be done. He had caused so much destruction and loss of life due to his greed. But when he got back in his Jeep, I thought he had bought himself just a little more time. I was wrong. And who could have predicted Ray Arnold’s arm giving Ellie the surprise of her life?

And then there’s Muldoon. Muldoon had so much respect for these animals. It gives me shivers when he is crouching past the raptor enclosure with Ellie and he sees that they’ve escaped. The terror in his eyes and voice is unforgettable. Never once did we ever get the slightest hint that he cared about money. He didn’t want to see harm inflicted on a single person. He was genuinely angry that locking mechanisms had not yet been put on the vehicle doors, as an example of that. In the end, he gave his life to save Ellie’s and ultimately, the rest of the survivors. I still even find myself wondering if he was serious or sarcastic when he told the main group, “they should all be destroyed,” referring to the raptors. He watched Jophery die. He knew what these creatures were capable of and didn’t deserve what he was given.

With Muldoon, Spielberg had to make his audience understand that in this universe no one was truly safe. Respectful or not, these animals were vicious, cutthroat and your attitude towards them meant nothing in the end. The way he died was perfectly executed; he went out in a legendary way. The comfort that JP fans can take in his death is that he looked his predator in the eyes. He even got to acknowledge her intelligence and her hunting ability. In essence, when he gave us his last line, “clever girl,” he was basically saying, “Well done girl, you got me. Respect.” After that point, it’s best to not listen, because the JP legend goes down in a horrifying and undeserved way.

Jurassic Park is a fierce franchise with even more to come. Henry Wu is going to have a grisly end, you can bet on that. The theme of the first movie carries over through every installment of the series. That theme is that just because you made them, doesn’t mean these living creatures are mindless assets. Mills, Wheaton and others in Fallen Kingdom, like Hoskins, don’t get that. It’s probably a safe bet that they won’t make it out either. As Owen once said, “They’re alive. They’re thinkin’.. I gotta eat. I gotta hunt,” and, well, you know the rest.

What do you think? Do you think of Muldoon as a legendary JP character? Let us know your thoughts below!

If you’d like to discuss any and all thing JP with me, follow me on Twitter!

Mattel Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Thrash N Throw T Rex Video Review!

Mattel have spared no expense.

That is the resounding impression I have been left with after going hands on with their Jurassic World line at New York Toy Fair, and now with my very own here at home. I knew the toys were good when I saw them on display – but could they really stand on their own, were the paint applications really that good – you never know until you have the final item.

As it turns out, there was no smoke and mirrors. The toys have continued to impress with their outstanding quality, and innovative and fun play features. The new Thrash N Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex perhaps is the most innovative of the bunch, taking the typical large biting Rex toy and throwing in a new range of motion for exciting, and lifelike movement.

Check out the video review below, and read on for more specific impressions.

About the toy:

Relive the Big Screen Action-Adventure! Get ready for thrilling action and adventure with Jurassic World! Relive captivating movie moments and exciting scenes with this line of film-inspired products featuring authentic detail, amazing design and incredible value fans will love!

Authentic Sculpting & Decoration
In the style of the fan-favorite character from the original Jurassic Park, Thrash ‘N Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex™ is back and better than ever with exciting action features, authentic sculpting and decoration.

Chomping & Stomping Sound Effects
In addition to authentic sculpt and decoration, Thrash ‘N Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex™ has sound effect features like chomping and stomping, an impressive roar and a HUGE bite.

Thrash & Throw Tail Activation
Thrash ‘N Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex™ can use her tail activation to open her mouth and pick up other human and dinosaur action figures, and then thrash and throw them across the room just like epic dinosaur action scenes from the movie!

Ages 3+
SRP $39.99
Releases April 16th, 2018

The Thrash N Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex measures about 21 inches long, stands on its own, and can roar, bite, stomp, and thrash its head with a total of 7 sounds. You can control the motions by moving its tail up and down, as well as left and right, which translates to the inverse motion on the head. The more you play, the more you can find ways to fine tune her movements, which can be surprisingly lifelike.

With the biting feature, you can have the T. rex lunge downward, biting and picking up other dinosaurs or humans that sit below her – from there you can thrash her body and head back and forth, until throwing the dino-food, much like the scenes in the Jurassic Park films.

The toy is large and detailed, with the most film accurate sculpt the series has seen! Not only does she have the bumps and scales she’s famous for, she has her scars from the end battles of Jurassic Park and World, easily making the toy a must for kids and collectors.

A fun new feature of this toy line is the Jurassic Facts App – each dino has a DNA strand QR code on their foot, which unlocks them within the app. As of the time of filming this review, the app was not yet available, however it has since launched on IOS. Check out our article here!

Also check out our reviews for the Action Attack Carnotaurus and Stegosaurus, plus a wide range of the Mattel Jurassic World toys from our Toy Fair 2018 gallery on Facebook here!


Video Review: Mattel Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Action Attack Stegosaurus!

Hot off the heels of our Action Attack Carnotaurus review, we have the striking Stegosaurus from Mattel!

It’s no secret the 2015 Jurassic World toys from Hasbro weren’t what fans were looking for, with a genuine lapse of quality that effected play factor for kids. Thankfully Mattel heard the comments of fans and parents alike, and answered with a toy line that has eclipsed our admittedly tough expectations.

Innovative features, competitive pricing, and fantastic quality have brought the dinosaurs to life with an incredibly diverse array of play patterns with an attention to details fans are sure to love.

Check out the video review of the Action Attack Stegosaurus review below!

About this toy:

Relive the Big Screen Action-Adventure! Get ready for thrilling action and adventure with Jurassic World! Relive captivating movie moments and exciting scenes with this line of film-inspired products featuring authentic detail, amazing design and incredible value fans will love!

Authentic Sculpting & Decoration
Jurassic World Action Attack™ dinosaur figures feature realistic sculpting and authentic decoration that make these dinosaurs come to life ready for attack action!

Action Attack Features!
Get ready for the ultimate movie action with Action Attack™ Carnotaurus (press a button to make the head strike forward and jaws chomp) and Action Attack™ Stegosaurus (press a spine plate to trigger the tail swipe). It’s dinosaur attack moves and Jurassic World movie action in one!

Ages 4+
SRP $19.99
Available April 16th, 2018

The Mattel Jurassic World toys are made to properly size with one another, using the 3.75″ human action figures as the base scale – the Tyrannosaurs are appropriately large, towering over the smaller species like Dilophosaurus. The Stegosaurus is a large toy, measuring about 15 inches long, and features numerous points of articulation and a button activated tail swinging mechanism. As part of the Action Attack SKU, it is available alongside the Carnotaurus with a Suchomimus coming later this year.

While the toy is painted differently than the Stegosaurus of the film, the color and paint application used is quite aesthetically pleasing, and the sculpt is certainly accurate. The sculpt has lots of detail, and is quite sizey, making it easy and fun to play with, or great looking to display on a desk or shelf. The Action Attack feature is fun, and simply requires a firm press down on the rear plate for a fluid swinging motion.

As Mattel continues to roll out new toys, this Stegosaurus will remain much sought after, as for the time being, it’s the largest herbivore they’re offering. However, there are plenty of medium-large herbivores coming, in the form of the Roarivores Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, and Pachyrhinosaurus.

Check out a wide range of the Mattel Jurassic World toys, including the Action Attack Suchomimus, from our Toy Fair 2018 gallery on Facebook here!

A fun new feature of this toy line is the Jurassic Facts App – each dino has a DNA strand QR code on their foot, which unlocks them within the app. As of the time of this review, the app was not yet available, but we will cover it once it goes online! Stay tuned- we have more reviews of the Mattel toys coming soon, including the incredibly fun Thrash N’ Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex!


Claire Dearing is Unrepentant in New Dinosaur Protection Group Updates

When Jurassic World released, the online discussion was mired with debate and controversy – sometimes forced, othertimes earned.

One of the talking points that stuck (other than high heels and Zara’s death) was Clarie Dearing’s (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) ownership of blame for the Jurassic World incident, which led to many civilian, staff, dinosaur, and private military deaths. As the parks Operations Manager, audiences questioned why the movie didn’t end with her being jailed – an argument that at the time I felt was weak, with no real gravitas.

The movie goes out of its way to show that InGen and Simon Masrani were running the show when it came to genetic research plus security controls, and that many less than savory characters were able to back channel their own projects due to Masrani’s eccentric aloofness. Claire’s responsibilities essentially fell into making their workings flow as an entertaining resort for guests and a profitable endeavor for their shareholders. Yes, she was part of the discussions that led to the Indominus Rex, and therefore owns some of the blame of the events that followed – however, she was second fiddle to many higher on the chain of command, and was not a Hammond like entrepreneur and owner.

So when people often called for to be jailed, I found myself going to bat for her character. It seemed most people arguing for her to be behind bars simply didn’t like her as a character, and were using this as an excuse to write her off. I don’t love Owen or Claire, as I felt both played out like comic book heroes, rather than real world people – but I don’t hate them, and feel that there is a story to be told from both players, with Claire offering more humanity than people gave credit.

So why is it that with every Dinosaur Protection Group update, I’m becoming less and less a fan of Claire’s?

In a new happy go lucky video from the DPG, Claire Dearing calls for your support in saving the dinosaurs. Much like the website of the advocacy group, it focuses on a friendly vibe, and pulls on the heartstrings of viewers of their nostalgic dinosaur encounters. While this is reflective of many forms of grassroots activism, it seems to sidestep many pertinent controversies and conflicts, burying them beneath a few layers of friendly gloss.

In the video above, Claire doesn’t remind viewers of the role she played in exploiting these animals herself – something I am readily able to forgive, should she take more ownership. In fact, the entire website paints the DPG as a naive organization, not ready to fully discuss the impact and implications resurrected prehistoric life has on the greater ecosystem. I suppose what really irks me, is that Claire and the DPG seem more interested in preserving the experience of the world being able to enjoy dinosaurs, rather than their value as a lifeform damned by mankinds actions.

The imminent eruption of Mount Sibo appears to be a convenient rallying call, but not the the core ethical dilemma driving the seemingly well meaning, but out of touch organization.

The inability to truly accept responsibility, nor deal with the greater implications and impact her past has had on animal rights was double downed upon with today’s update. In a faux newspaper article titled ‘OPINION: DINOSAUR RIGHTS – BIRTH OF AN ACTIVIST’, the foundation is set upon where the film will pick up. The debate on whether the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar have rights or if their corporate property rages on, and many are pointing fingers.

Perhaps most surprings is that Claire isn’t owning up to her role in the events that came before as way to earn authority over the talking points being presented, but rather shifts blame to Dr. Henry Wu only, painting him as a seedy villain for the press to focus upon. Perhaps Dr. Wu is a villain, or perhaps his role in the events of the past and future are more nuanced – while he certainly has a lot to answer for, Claire pushing that argument so strongly only acts to delegitmize any claim she attempts to showcase that she accepts any responsibility, and has grown as a person because of it.

As a viewer, I want to support the DPG. I want to feel that the organization is able to tackle the larger elements at play, and offer an actual intellectual argument for their cause. Animal rights are important, even within fiction, and the theme behind this film offers a nuanced ethical dilemma playing as the backdrop of the dino carnage that no doubt will play out. However, at this point, it seems the DPG are not prepared for the endeavor they’ve put themselves at forefront of – and perhaps that is an element within the film.

Will the DPG’s well meaning, but ill approached antics be exploited and lead to the death of more people, and the mistreatment of even more prehistoric fauna? It seems likely. I just hope Claire accepts more blame than the website currently implies, as her likability of a character, and believability of growth depends on it.

“Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.” – Dr. Alan Grant

There is a line in the sand between clear actions of good and evil, but most real world events and individuals never come close to a definitive side, operating unknowingly in a blurred grey area. What makes Jurassic Park so special is its focus and embrace of that concept. As of now, it seems the DPG is attempting to paint Claire as purely good, and Dr. Wu as a malicious counterweight – something that doesn’t sit right with me as a fan of films, nor do I feel the onscreen evidence entirely supports this.

Perhaps I’m asking for more nuance – or perhaps we’re given a peek into the DPG’s bias and Claire’s personality, who still has room to learn and grow. All will be answered this June with the release of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

Agree – disagree – debate and share your thoughts in the comments below, and as always stay tuned for the latest news!

Source: Dinosaur Protection Group

Video Review: Mattel Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Action Attack Carnotaurus!

Jurassic Park has a new definitive Carnotaurus toy.

Ahead of their release, we were lucky to get a hold of some of the upcoming new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom toys from Mattel! Fans have eagerly anticipated this toy line, as it’s Mattel’s first foray into Jurassic Park, after winning the license from Hasbro (who had it since 1993 via Kenner).

After the disappointing 2015 toys by Hasbro, there was nowhere to go but up. Thankfully, Mattel didn’t settle for average and have exceeded expectations, delivering a fantastic toy line for kids and collectors, with innovative play features, competitive pricing, and fantastic quality. These toys have brought the dinosaurs to life with an incredibly fun array of play patterns with an attention to details fans are sure to love.

Check out this video review of the Action Attack Carnotaurus, where we start with an unboxing and go over it in detail, comparing it to some classic Jurassic toys for size and quality reference.

About this toy:

Relive the Big Screen Action-Adventure! Get ready for thrilling action and adventure with Jurassic World! Relive captivating movie moments and exciting scenes with this line of film-inspired products featuring authentic detail, amazing design and incredible value fans will love!

Authentic Sculpting & Decoration
Jurassic World Action Attack™ dinosaur figures feature realistic sculpting and authentic decoration that make these dinosaurs come to life ready for attack action!

Action Attack Features!
Get ready for the ultimate movie action with Action Attack™ Carnotaurus (press a button to make the head strike forward and jaws chomp) and Action Attack™ Stegosaurus (press a spine plate to trigger the tail swipe). It’s dinosaur attack moves and Jurassic World movie action in one!

Ages 4+
SRP $19.99
Available April 16th, 2018

The Mattel Jurassic World toys are made to properly size with one another, using the 3.75″ human action figures as the base scale – the Tyrannosaurs are appropriately large, towering over the smaller species like Dilophosaurus. The Carnotaurus is a large toy, measuring about 15 inches long, and features numerous points of articulation and a button activated biting mechanism. As part of the Action Attack SKU, it is available alongside the Stegosaurus with a Suchomimus coming later this year.

Check out a wide range of the Mattel Jurassic World toys, including the Action Attack Suchomimus, from our Toy Fair 2018 gallery on Facebook here!

A fun new feature of this toy line is the Jurassic Facts App – each dino has a DNA strand QR code on their foot, which unlocks them within the app. As of the time of this review, the app was not yet available, but we will cover it once it goes online! Stay tuned- we have more reviews of the Mattel toys coming soon, including the Action Attack Stegosaurus and incredibly fun Thrash N’ Throw Tyrannosaurus Rex!

What Mattel Jurassic World toy are you most looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below!


Opinion: Jurassic Park 3’s Importance to the Franchise

I was eight years old when Jurassic Park III was released.

I can vividly remember jumping in the car with my mom and dad and heading to the theater. It was hard to believe they had made a 3rd movie. Dinosaurs and the Jurassic franchise were my thing. My sister had Disney princesses, my brother had NASCAR —I had dinosaurs. I loved JP 3. I still do. For a long time after the movie’s release, it was by far my favorite of the three in the franchise. I can remember opening a huge (but very light) box on Christmas morning in 2001 to find that silver VHS. I couldn’t have been happier.

Over the years I began to love each of the three films equally, because I love the individual personalities that they bring to the screen. Jurassic Park brings wonder and awe of these amazing animals. The Lost World brings a feeling of wilderness and safari while exploring the dinosaur universe. Then Jurassic Park III came along and delivered a type of big-action, jungle vibe that was altogether different from the first two. I’m not saying that any of these three films are perfect. There are flaws in them as there are in every movie. However, they are darn good and entertaining. The question still stands — was Jurassic Park III a good stand-alone movie and solid addition to this franchise at the time? Maybe not. What is awesome, however, is that with the addition of a new trilogy and backstory, fans may want to take another look at it and its newfound place in the Jurassic universe.

Once I became more in touch with the internet as I got older, I realized something that both surprised and bothered me. There was some serious hate (and still is) being thrown JP 3’s way. I couldn’t believe it and had no idea why. Once I dug further, I realized it came from two main sources — Spinosaurs killing a T-rex (not even our beloved Rexy,) and the Kirbys.

The fight between the Spinosaurus and T-rex is something that will live in Jurassic infamy for fans. At that point in paleontology, Spino was considered the biggest and most ferocious animal to walk the Earth. I don’t think everyone properly understood at the time, but the T-rex in JP 3 is young. This information comes from the Wiki information of the Jurassic franchise, as well as the dinosaur size charts for the films. This rex was more than likely an inexperienced fighter as well. This fight could have absolutely been handled better by the screenwriters. But to hate the movie over a fight? That doesn’t make sense to me.

Dr. Grant said that Spinosaurus “wasn’t on InGen’s list,” and it made him wonder what else they were up to. Flash forward 14 years to Jurassic World — we can now venture a guess as to what InGen may have been dabbling in at that time. When Grant said that in JP 3, no one had any idea that the franchise was going to carry on, and the movie ended with hardly any other mention of InGen. We now know the origin of Spinosaurus, thanks to the Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG). Spino was one of several secret experiments by InGen, which began after Masrani acquired them in the late 90’s. DPG gave extra meaning to JP 3 by explaining where its main antagonist came from. No longer do we need to be confused as to why this beast seemingly fell from the sky.

Dr. Grant also gives a chilling warning in JP3 that now seems to foreshadow Jurassic World. He tells Billy “some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.” In Jurassic World, Vic Hoskins makes me believe that he has good intentions, even though his end game is more than likely making big money from his Indoraptor idea. In the end he loses his life, but before that, a large part of his concern is saving the lives of soldiers via militarized raptors. Grant’s words can really resonate with you when you see clips of the Indominus and Indoraptor wreaking havoc. In fact, I would get chills if they inserted his quote into the Fallen Kingdom trailer.

If the new Jurassic World trilogy did not exist now, would you care whatsoever about what InGen was up to back in the early 2000’s? Or care to wonder where Spinosaurus came from? Most likely not. If you look back at the movie now and listen to the confusion in Grant’s voice, it’s interesting to think (and now know) what Masrani’s acquired InGen team was working on somewhere in the world.

Jurassic fans should be happy with how much raptor intelligence was explored in the third film. We learned about their communication, their ability to set traps and their fierce loyalty to keeping their young in their possession. Jurassic Park let us know the preliminary information on these animals, but JP 3 really dove in. For this reason, it allowed me to be able to buy into the fact that they can be trained. Raptors are supposed to be brilliantly smart creatures. If dolphins, gorillas and whales can be trained, why couldn’t raptors? This is especially true when they come in contact with their alpha from birth, just like Owen. I totally bought into the idea that raptors could be trained, and a large part of that reason was because of how smart they were portrayed to be in JP 3.

In the movie, the Kirbys may have been slightly annoying, but at the end of the day they’re supposed to be parents scared to death that their son is dead. Amanda also did something that had a roundabout effect on what is going on in the Jurassic universe today. When escaping from the Pteranodon enclosure, she doesn’t take the time to fully shut the door. This allows the Pteranodons to escape their cage and flee from the island. It is now a known fact that those Pteranodons ended up in Canada. Who was tasked with the job of corralling them up? Vic Hoskins. And because of the excellent job and manner in which he presented his team in Canada, he was hired by Simon Masrani. A few years later, with his job at InGen, Hoskins would be plotting with Henry Wu to make an ultimate weapon of war — the Indoraptor.

It’s my theory that Hoskins and Wu worked to come up with something like the Indominus. They made it. They wanted it to escape. And when it did, Hoskins knew that he could exploit Owen’s raptors’ intelligence and tracking ability to hunt it. Then after their success, he could really push the idea of a shrunken Indominus without the T-rex DNA to use for war.

So now go back to Amanda running from the Pteranodon enclosure. If she stops to shut that door properly, does any of this ever take place? I think that’s a fair question. Would there be hybrid dinosaurs? Probably. In the late 1990’s, Wu was successfully creating hybrid plants. I think it would have only been a matter of time before he went to hybrid dinosaurs. However, would he have been corrupted in the way he was after Hoskins got to him? Hard to say for certain.

Is Jurassic Park III perfect? No. But, I find it highly entertaining, with great-looking dinos and fantastic graphics. Standing as a third and potentially final installment of the franchise, I would say this movie is lackluster. However, being the middle piece of the puzzle that fills in some gaps gives it meaning and value. When you watch this movie today, you can relate it to the future of the Jurassic franchise much better than you could have for the last 17 years. Today, its dialogue and premise makes sense and should be appreciated more for what it is.

What are your thoughts on what Jurassic Park 3 adds to the franchise? Sound off in the comments below!