The DNA of Jurassic Park

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Velociraptor (Film Universe)
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There are three distinct variations of Velociraptor which were cloned by InGen, not counting sexual dimorphism seen within each individual version. However, despite the surface level variations, each sub-species remains relatively similiar in terms of physical attributes. Each species is roughly 6 feet tall…

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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?

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88 thoughts on “OPINION: The Jurassic Myth

  1. I enjoyed reading this; thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts down. I’m in the minority of people who intensely love the first film, and wish they had just left it alone and not made any more afterwards. Both the movie and the book were fantastic on their own and never needed to be drawn out or expanded upon. Sometimes leaving the audience wondering “What if?” is infinitely better than having someone come up with the answers for you.

    1. Thank you, I’m glad to read you enjoyed it!

      I’ve certainly entertained that thought as well; “what if there had been no sequels?” Jurassic Park would work well as a stand-alone film, it’s a well rounded story with a slightly open ending that would leave room for audiences to speculate and make up their own minds on the future of Isla Nublar and the dinosaurs.

      On the other hand; would the community have been as active as it is now without the sequels? I am an enthusiastic Jurassic Park merchandise collector and we have a small group of like-minded people in the Netherlands trying to meet up at least once a year. Without the new films, and their merchandise, I would probably have never met or even known them.

      The same largely goes for the online community. And sequels keep people new to the franchise interested in the original film. (Though it is a classic, a little extra attention for it never hurts.)

      I can say that out of the four films (so far) I’ve seen the original film the most, and it’s the one I return to most often, either on screen or in my mind. It’s been influential in a way no other film has.

  2. Well written argument but I sadly disagree. While I do agree that is “a make it up as you go” canon. I personally feel that many fans demand so much out the filmmakers that it becomes nearly impossible. Also do feel that fans overanalyze to a point that fandom is all about nitpicking and worrying about discrepancies rather that enjoying oneself.

    1. “I personally feel that many fans demand so much out the filmmakers that it becomes nearly impossible. Also do feel that fans overanalyze to a point that fandom is all about nitpicking and worrying about discrepancies rather that enjoying oneself.”

      I couldn’t agree more.

    2. “I personally feel that many fans demand so much out the filmmakers that it becomes nearly impossible. Also do feel that fans overanalyze to a point that fandom is all about nitpicking and worrying about discrepancies rather that enjoying oneself.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Point out mistakes when they need to be pointed out, but don’t let it cloud your enjoyment completely.

    3. Thank you. Don’t be sad for disagreeing. It’s fine if and when people have different opinions; it keeps the debate alive.

      Being a fan is, I suppose, wanting the best for the franchise you love and support. That’s certainly my position. I’m aware it’s difficult for studios to please all audiences, especially those who grew up with the original film(s). As I conveyed, I do feel the attention for details established in the previous films could and should have been far better.

      That’s not to say I did not enjoy myself watching Jurassic World in a cinema for the first time (I’ve seen it twice more on the big screen), and reception of the film has been largely positive. I certainly see the good parts of it – not in the least the reinvigorated interest in the franchise as a whole.

  3. This is very well written. I am of the mind that irregularities in canon are a part of the Jurassic franchise as much as the dinosaurs are. As you said, maybe it is time to let go and accept these films the way they are, regardless of how much they differ from the source material. Hell, even Crichton went back and retroactively changed his story. Why shouldn’t the films operate in the same manner? Great article, very good read.

    1. I do hope the irregularities do not become as diverse as the number of dinosaurs species presented in the films! 😉

      I have no problem with the films differing from the novels; it’s a little more difficult to accept they so largely deviate from the original films in certain aspects. Yes, “letting go” certainly is the ongoing theme. And I understand not all fans can, and will be, pleased with this new direction. Simply sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the ride certainly helps accepting these new entries.

      I must confess, writing it all down certainly helped me putting my mind at ease a little more over these matters. In the end, they are films, and most films are created to entertain us – me losing sleep over the stories and their canon is perhaps not what they were made for.
      (But, as a devoted fan, that’s hard to avoid entirely.)

  4. Nothing will ever surpass the original with its magic, it’s see inspiring cgi, and it’s unforgettable characters. Absolutely nothing.
    We may say we’re not expecting it, but we’re hoping for it because that feeling of the rex plodding onto the road between the explorers and the raptors in the brush is something we want back. But we’ll never get it.
    But the age we were…it was just prefect to experience for the first time.
    Studios now are about creating $$$ and as we’ve seen it’s not about telling a great story or meshing with previous movies. It’s about bums in seats.
    Now JP didn’t escape this, no sir.
    It was just new, exciting and so well done that it stands above all others as the pinnacle of dinosaur movies.
    Nothing will surpass it, but they will carry its name. But they’re separate, they’re not new…they just come after.
    My love for JP will never die!!
    But that’s JP, not LW, JPIII, JW and JWFK.

    1. That’s a relatable emotion. I was ten years old in 1993, and Jurassic Park was my first encounter with a big blockbuster movie. There’s a quality and a magic to the film the sequels do not possess. That’s not the fault of any of the sequels, of course, it simply is the fact that the original film left such an impression. (And, to be fair, the Velociraptors terrified me.)

      Film studios have always been about making money; they are, after all, businesses. Jurassic Park is no exception, but I do appreciate it feels differently because it’s a film that utilized different technologies and crafts, and combined them successfully for the first time – and it was the first time CGI was used to this extend. The filmmakers succeeded on their first try, so to say. It’s one of those films always brought up when technological advances in film are discussed, elevating it above films that came after, making its financial success taking a back seat to the art.

      I’m not sure who said it recently, I do remember he or she is a fan of Jurassic Park too: it came down to film studios taking the biggest financial risk there is. They will invest millions of dollars in a film without knowing if they will make a profit or at least break even. Titanic (1997) is a fine example. It nearly bankrupted the studios involved, was postponed from a Summer to a Winter release and had very little people professionally having faith in it by the end of its production; it became one of the biggest successes in cinema history.

      I do agree that financial successes are hinging too much on opening weekends in these present times. Too often, we read a film “wasn’t a success” when it did not make a profit in the first few days (out in the US). Usually, people criticizing the film’s monetary gains (or lack thereof) forget there are other territories where a film might score much better. Or, given time, may gain popularity.

    2. You haven’t even seen JWFK yet! I love each movie in a different way. I do agree though that the first is the best. I think there is a reason that no one cared about The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s 20th anniversary last year, but Jurassic Park’s 25th is all over already.

  5. Spot on. The movies just got quite a bit sloppier over time, at least after TLW. The off-handed comment Masrani makes about Hammond bestowing JP upon him in the hopes that he rebuilds the park is absolutely unbelievable. Like, astonishingly, genuinely lazy writing. You could’ve had the exact same movie but simply retained the thread of InGen taking control from Hammond and going forward with JW without taking the unnecessary additional step of claiming it was done with Hammond’s blessing and encouragement. It really really really reeks of misguided fan service. That entire movie does. The sequence with the old visitors center, the old jeep. All that shit is just pigeon-holed into the movie.

    I think you’ve articulated quite well so many of the frustrations I’ve had with the JP movies since JP3. It sucks too because Universal essentially has a monopoly on all vaguely plausible man vs dinosaur movies since there’s really no idea or premise that could possibly be better than the one Crichton came up with. Jurassic Park is like the Helvetica of dino movies.. (what a ridiculous statement, I realize).

    I mentioned this in a previous thread, but I think the best move at this point is for a proper remake of the first, even the second movies. Imagine a 2-film structure built around the books.. That would be genuinely cool. The ideas are all there. The story is there.

    1. I’m trying to recall any big budget, big name dinosaur films having been unleashed in cinemas after Jurassic Park and its sequels; the only ones coming up are Disney’s “Dinosaur” (2000), Disney’s “The Good Dinosaur” (2015) and Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” (2005).

      That’s not an awful lot. (I might be forgetting some films in which dinosaurs took on supporting roles.)
      On the small screen there was the “Terra Nova” (2011) tv-show, but that got cancelled after season one. Ironically, it was less about dinosaurs than the internal schemings of this company sending people to the past (or an alternative universe/ dimension), and the first time we encounter a dinosaur attacking people it’s a fictional one.

      So, yes, Universal has an unofficial monopoly, as any film with dinosaurs at its core would be compared to the Jurassic Park series.

      I think Masrani’s comment would have been more acceptable had we been given more information or an explanation within the film. As it stands, we see Hammond for the last time in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” making a case for the protection of Isla Sorna, creating an off-limits preserve. The next time we hear anything substantial about Hammond is in “Jurassic World”, about 18 years later; we somehow are supposed to believe he gave his blessing to this new park, in whatever capacity.

      I feel the filmmakers bit off more than they could chew, complicating the film unnecessarily. I’m still not sure what was going on with InGen having been turned into a semi-military organization? Rather than this unresolved subplot (I have a suspicion “Fallen Kingdom” won’t address this either), I’d have loved to see a bit more development when it came to the characters.

      A remake is a possibility, a few years after the third Jurassic World film has had its release. With two books as inspiration and guides, it could be wonderfully done.

  6. I find it personal, but also franchised seen, not convenient to ignore the fans. That is one of the biggest mistakes a franchise can make. For example: Star Wars.

    But let’s go back to JP/JW and the Jurassic Myth undone or not….

    So they tryed to het the old fans some satisfaction, with a build up story arround the films, and the gaps between them.

    In short, they* came up with this story, to fill the gap between Jurassic Park /// and Jurassic World, and if some Dinosaurs would still be alive yes or no:

    (* Dinosaur Protection Group. A fictitious organization, designed to fill in the gaps, and to give an better personage to one of the characters in Jurassic World The Fallen Kingdom> a.k.a. Claire Daring)

    DPG: The introduction of illegally cloned animals on the island Isla Sorna in 1999 caused a profound impact on the ecosystem….

    Me: So, bring some Dinosaurs to Isla Nublar should have the same effect as it theoretically on Isla Sorna: Surviving the fittest, Transmission of diseases etcetera etcetera

    DPG: There some Dinosaurs moved from Isla Sorna to Isla Nublar. And the Red signed Dinosaurs on the poster are dead.

    Meaning: The Spinosaurs, The Velociraptor group “the Pack” of JP/// were also dead!

    Me: But how and why?! Searching and searching, no where a damn clue!

    Another thing: How did Rexy (Roberta if you perfer) survived a gulf diseases as an old Dino?! And what effect did it have on the rest of the Dinosaurs, if we go on the theory above?!

    Still no answere to find!

    Okay, no answeres to find or so…. Then move on to Jurassic World immediately!

    The Indominus Rex should have also impact on the rest of the Dinosaurs. It was killing for sport. But after chewing on a Dinosaur or eating a half Dinosaur, there are new mixed in bacteria, and perhaps it (Indominus Rex) should have to take a dump also…. That should have for sure an impact on the ecosystem!?

    In short: It’s a strange and a lame story they let come out via the DPG, leaving to much questions and still to less information, to go in to a new movie called Jurassic World The Fallen Kingdom….

    The new (or next generation if if you perfer) fans will accept it all perhaps, but the old fans like you and me…. No way!

    There were many promising words from Trevorro, but in fact, the franchise was killed by him. Many promises have not been fulfilled, so for many old fans Jurassic World was nothing more than a good popcorn movie, supplemented with a few new Dinosaurs and a Hybrid Dinosaur that was introduced too early to the franchise.

    1. To me, the (viral) Jurassic World websites do not count as canon. They are nice additions to an expanded, or rather alternative, universe, but have no bearing on the events in the films.

      One example; Hammond argues for the protection of Isla Sorna, this is on tape. He discusses just the single island. The DPG website, however, claims:

      “John Hammond spoke during a television interview about working with the Costa Rican Department of Biological Preserves to establish a set of laws for the “preservation and isolation” of the animals on Islas Sorna and Nublar.”

      http://www.dinosaurprotectiongroup.com/reports.html

      It goes right against what we know from the film. I deeply appreciate the world-building attempted, but can’t consider it canonical to the films’ events.

      I would not go as far as to say Trevorrow “killed the franchise”. We do know that he wrote the script (with his writing partner), but in the end it were the studio executives, and possibly Steven Spielberg himself, who signed off on the screenplay. They approved it, bearing some responsibility.

      And, truthfully, the film is made not just for us, the fans of the very first hour, but for all audiences. It’s hard to please everyone and still come up with an entertaining film, as we all expect something different from it.

      1. Also, DPG is a *propaganda* website, twisting facts to suit their own purposes as Well Meaning Do Gooders regardless of cause are wont to do.

        “Everybody lies.”–Dr. Gregory House

  7. I love this article! For me, I hope that each new film, attraction, book or game does two things: advances the story. Although very few film franchises get it right I think there are rules that make it canon. It’s not just dinosaurs in a park wreaking havoc. It’s dancing at the edge of science and exploring if we should make these leaps. Jurassic Park seemed so real… or possible. Jurassic World’s gyrospheres didn’t even make me suspend my disbelief. I could go on and on but I don’t think it’s too much to ask the film makers to invest or at least consult deeply into their own next story. I hold out hope for JWFK but I’m not holding my breathe and I don’t trust Trevorrow. He says all the right things but doesn’t deliver. And yes, I’m a jaded bitter OG Jurassic Park fan. Thanks again for a great opinion piece.

    1. Thank you, Josh! I’m happy to read you love the article. I do agree, those Gyrospheres seemed very impractical. Not just for keeping so squeaky-clean, but also for apparently being free-range. Technically, guests can stay out for as long as they like? No wonder there was this seemingly endless queue!

      I like that idea, “dancing at the edge of science”. It certainly is what they did in “Jurassic World”, and will no doubt continue in “Fallen Kingdom”. I have always been critical of introducing hybrids while there are so many wonderful species of dinosaurs that deserve a spot in the limelight, but I must admit I’m most curious about this new Indoraptor.

  8. I like Turtles…

    There are explanations for the greater number of ‘discrepancies’. And as for the trivial…

    Methinks thou dost protest too much.

    1. If you’d like to elaborate on these explanations, I’m most interested.

      Well, can’t help myself, I guess. But as you no doubt have read, I do question my own questioning, if you will; telling myself I should be a little less critical and enjoy the films a bit more for what they are.

      1. Well you mention the fact the Pteranodons were free in TLW but caged in JP3… This is easy, they were different sub-species. The one from TLW being smaller and safer, also non-migratory deemed it safe to be released during the Hurricane. The JP3 version was larger, more territorial and migratory, so they were left caged. You saw what happened the moment they got out right? They booked it for Canada. No other Pteranodon species has left the islands.

        The Raptors, as is common knowledge now, are also different sub-species. The ones from JP3 are Wu’s failed attempts at getting feathers on them. This is alluded to on the website where the Spinosaurus is also hinted at being a prototype hybrid.

        It is also common knowledge that Isla Sorna has several different environments separated by a large canyon and two large facilities. Looking at the map we see the Western side is more dry and elevated, featuring tall red woods. And the Eastern side is more tropical and marshy.

        In JP, Rexy was able to sneak up on the survivors and Raptors at the end because everyone was so focused on each other and all the noise from the falling skeleton display that they didn’t hear her approaching. She also came through the open wall the staff were finishing in the beginning of the movie. You can see the large opening behind her in the end sequence. Not only that, but she’d have had to crouch a little to slip in, so no heavy footfalls.

        As for your islands complaint. All those types of Islands look the same anyway. And they aren’t too far from each other either. Google images of islands… They all look the damn same.

        Rexy survived on Nublar the same way the Dinos on Sorna did. And only 1 year after the JP incident, INGEN went back to clean up and count the animals. Some say they didn’t use Rexy for JP San Diego due to the current law suits they were fighting because of her being a man-eater. It makes sense that INGEN would not use animals from Nublar due to the legal trouble they were embroiled in over them. Sorna however was free game. Sorna was also a secret.

        The hatchling Raptors from JP whose eggs Grant and the kids find were also mentioned on the website. INGEN found dead Raptor chicks on Nublar.

        What else did you have issues with?

        As for canon, obviously videogames and books aren’t included in the film canon. Including the game by Telltale which doesn’t follow facts and events laid out in the films anyway and is retconned by JW. If one argues for that being canon then they open a door and let in Trespasser as well as anything that the main characters appear in like JW: Evolution or the Raptor comics by Topps where Muldoon survived his attack etc. Videogames and comics therefore cannot be canon. The films come first, then movie-related info dumps on official websites. Then head canon from dedicated and intelligent fans is used to fill the gaps.

        1. Apologies, regarding Isla Sorna it is the EASTERN side that is dry and elevated with Red Wood trees. The WESTERN side is more tropical and marshy.

        2. There is also an answer for why Raptors were being bred on Nublar. We only saw Raptors being bred there, no other species. Hammond states that he wishes to be the first thing all hatchling animals at JP see so that they can imprint on him. Considering the Raptors were also very problematic, INGEN was perhaps trying to breed less violent Raptors for the park on Nublar, as well as provide the public with an attraction, that is, the ability to see how they actually make the Dinosaurs. Perhaps Hammond wanted to begin breeding everything that was to be displayed on Nublar.

          1. Correction. He only insists on being there when the Nublar Raptors are born. Not every species. He wanted them to imprint on him. He stated that it helps them to trust him. Fast forward to JW and this is exactly what we see happening with the new Raptors.

        3. Yes, but this is all coming from the Masrani and DPG websites, which I do not consider canon to the films.

          As for the Velociraptors in “Jurassic Park III”: one of the film’s taglines was “Something Unexpected Has Evolved”, eluding to the Velociraptors having changed appearance. It doesn’t really make sense, and I certainly do not disagree with the idea they are simply a different pack or tribe.

          The same goes for the Pteranodons: how is the audience to understand these are different species? This is never alluded to in the films. It would not, in my opinion, make sense for InGen to leave them free-roaming anyway. Even if they were not migratory, the risk of these animals flying or drifting away from the island would have been too great.
          (It does make for a great closing shot.)

          The island having such different environments is certainly not impossible, there’s even a few real-world islands that offer this variety. It just looks a little odd and out of place.
          Islands, in general, can look very different from one another, depending of what part of the world they are located in, how they came to be, the terrain and flora and fauna affecting them.

          The Tyrannosaurus being able to sneak up on the Velociraptor never bothered me. It’s a bit deus ex machine, but that’s fine. Them not hearing the dinosaur coming is no surprise, elephants can be, and in general are, quiet walkers too.

          1. Well evolution in a sense can occur in the laboratory…

            The Pteranodon explanation I gave makes perfect sense. Sure the average movie-goer isn’t going to realize much apart from them looking entirely different, but hey, these things only really matter to us fans after all right?

        4. Actually, out of all of the games: JW Evolution is considered Canon to the movies, especially Fallen Kingdom. Thought I should mention that.

  9. “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?”
    This is very well worded, and I’d bet that is indeed the biggest ingredient to why these movies(especially the first one) are so addicting. The realm of possibility helps us suspend our disbelief easier than other dinosaur/creature films have ever been(and most likely will ever be) capable of. IMO Jurassic Park is the essential modern lost world tale brought to life by the brilliantly creative mind of Michael Crichton and adapted to a viewer friendly format by Steven Spielberg.

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment. I suppose with today’s technology the prospect of finding a “lost world” populated with dinosaurs, unknown and untouched by mankind, is a little unbelievable. the Jurassic Park films are a natural progression from those earlier films in which explorers ended up on cut-off plateaus or remote islands, finding themselves pitted against the descendants of prehistoric beasts.

      Dinosaurs brought back through our own technology might give us a false sense of security; we created them, so naturally they should behave as we want them to. When we learn they are truly animals, not just our creation, it’s too late. We relied on the technology too much and lied to ourselves about it, believing it was safe.

      Perhaps we should hold off on bringing back those mammoths… 😉

  10. Your entire line of reasoning goes out the window if you’ll recall we were told to think of Jurassic World as a sequel to *only the original* movie, as it acts like the other two basically don’t exist. And as I liked JW much more than the second and third JP movies, that was fine with me.

    1. This is not true. Both “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III” are still considered canon. They may have no direct bearing on the events in “Jurassic World”, but they are certainly part of the overarching story.

      1. Exactly. In fact, the escaped Pteranodons from JPIII are a crucial part of Hoskins’ backstory. It’s what put him on Masrani’s radar, and what eventually landed him the job at Jurassic World.

  11. Great article.

    “…the focus instead shifted towards pleasing audiences with films that entertain from start to finish, offering a fast-paced ride”. The Jurassic Park franchise is a HUGE money-making machine. The priority of the film studios and distributors involved is (and will always be) to maximise profits. If the cost is some continuity errors, then so be it. The films MUST have a broad, family-appeal. That’s why there are always child protagonists in every film, for example. For Jurassic World, they will have thought a lot about the final set-piece. “How can we make this bigger? Better? T-Rex plus raptors vs. the Indominus. Great! But even better. OH – let’s make it the ORIGINAL T-Rex from JP1. Fantastic!” They’re not going to care about the finer points of the history of the islands or continuity issues or plot holes. The other major example it the Spinosaurus in JPIII. They needed a bigger, badder dinosaur (remind you of anyone in JW?), and in this case they simply introduced it and didn’t bother to explain how or why it is there.

    My point is – film marketing, profits, and mass appeal will ALWAYS trump care and attention to detail of the source material or previous canon lore.

    1. I can’t really argue with that; it’s true film studios are about profit first. After all, they invest in the films they create to make money.
      That’s where we come in, the overly-dedicated fans who want to set the record straight. 😉

      As for “going bigger and badder” – here’s a shameless plug. A few years ago I wrote about the evolution of the sequels and their influence on the films to follow:

      http://jurassiraptor.tumblr.com/post/141984629712/from-jurassic-park-to-jurassic-world-the

      For the record, I thought the introduction of Spinosaurus was a bold, daring move, especially for having it kill a fan-favorite without any rematch later on. I’ve always been a supporter of the underdog.

  12. This article made me realize the kids in Jurassic World may be an allegory of the fan base. The older kid jaded and not impressed because, like you said the trick can only be performed once. The younger kid, filled with wonder, may represent our first experience with Jurassic Park or possibly the new generation. And as the older kid goes around the park he comes around to being intrigued and awe-filled: Just like the audience with this new film- Up to the point where the story shifts to dinosaurs escaping.

    1. That’s an interesting observation, I never looked at it that way. Zach certainly has other interests than his younger brother. “Jurassic World” certainly offers some new material that holds my interest.

  13. Even it the Jurassic Mith is an addicted passion, it’s still a movie, made to gross and entertain.
    So we should accept that fans have not creative power in the making. They can going on giving suggestions but definitely are there to enter a teather, pay the tickets and be entertained. Every mind heist about plot holes are funny if it’s a game, a good talking between friends. But let’s keep remembering that JP is a movie.

    1. Oh, certainly. I do not believe I have any say in the matter of what will and will not happen in future films.

      Sharing thoughts and opinions does help gain new insights, though. Whether that be when I write myself, or read the work of others, or through discussing the films.

  14. I’d love nothing more than for this to be a more cohesive franchise, but it simply never has been. This goes way back to TLW and the very existence/supposed purpose of Isla Sorna. “We bred the animals there, nurtured them for a few months, and then moved them into the park” completely flies in the face of things we see & things Hammond says in JP. So right there, beginning of the first sequel, you already have a massive (and completely unnecessary) retcon. This isn’t even taking into account some of the abject silliness in that movie (and the horrid JP3).

    At least the new stuff is making some effort to tie things together. Yes, there are inconsistencies, but again — it has never been consistent.

    Blame David Koepp, blame Spielberg, blame whoever. I nitpick these things in my head, but I don’t find them worth obsessing over. As Hammond would say, “Relax. Try and enjoy yourself…it’s kind of a ride.”

    1. It’s certainly a ride! What you say is true, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” undoes some of what we see in “Jurassic Park”, especially the need for a laboratory shown to the visiting scientists. Michael Crichton had an elegant solution for that, having Malcolm explain the failures InGen faced before they succeeded in hatching and growing a healthy dinosaur. In the film, this isn’t touched upon.

      I certainly appreciate the effort of tying it all up in some way. I am looking forward to what “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” might bring to the table. A bit of silliness for sure, judging by the trailers! 😉

  15. A good read, and well written but I can not say I agree with this. I can’t help but feel like you just woke up and felt the need to go on a rant about something so you picked this to try and pick apart. Most of this is opinion with no facts to back it up, there’s no source material.

    1. I did feel the need to express my feelings on this matter. However, I did not just wake up and started on it on a whim (in fact, it took me about two months in total to finish it); some two years ago, I wrote about the issue with the island already. You can find that article here:

      http://jurassiraptor.tumblr.com/post/118621758567/what-happened-during-isla-nublars-intervening

      In this article, I explored not just what the films offered, but the Masrani Global website as well. This time round, I wanted to revisit the subject of canon one final time before the new film would be released, without including anything outside of the films.

      The source material are the films, and the dialogue and events within those films. We can see and hear it for ourselves. Because I wanted to play by the rules, I left out discussing the infamous cut boardroom scene again. This holds the very answer of what happened to Isla Nublar. You can read my opinion on that in the article linked above.

  16. I grew up loving Jurassic Park… I mean LOVING it. Giving my son the opportunity to enjoy Jurassic World was a great bonding experience and he walked away with the same wonder and awe that I did as a child. We saw JP on VHS after he saw JW again on Blu-ray. There’s something magical about it.

    However, like many, I am not a big fan of the Lost World or Jurassic Park 3. JP should not have been a trilogy. I can simply transition from Jurassic Park to Jurassic World in my suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, since they are considered canon, I am perfectly fine with the T-Rex dying in Jurassic Park 3 and seeing the original reemerge in Jurassic World. Who’s to say her DNA didn’t defy the odds? Remember, on the original Island, the DNA was unstable and was transitioning gender. Perhaps she and a few others survived. As for Hammond, he was mentioned by a few money hungry business minded people as a supporter for JW. Who’s not to say they’re lying? Or that he was senile before he died? I felt they transitioned him just fine.

    Like you, I am a true fan who takes the good with the bad. Ideally, no, it is not perfect; but what we have is a strong enough idea to build on. I truly hope that JW does a better trilogy than JP.

    1. That must have been a lovely experience! I have very fond memories of seeing the original film in a cinema; going out late on a weeknight with my (step)father was something special.

      These new films indeed give a new generation a chance to experience the wonder and magic we enjoyed in 1993 (or 1997, or even 2001). Personally, I feel “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” was a worthy successor. Not without its flaws, obviously.

      The original Tyrannosaurus surviving would not be such a problem for me, had we been given an explanation for her presence. (Or rather, had I been given one, as evident from the article.) On the upside, a friend said to me, “no one in the film says it’s the original Tyrannosaurus, how are people supposed to know?”; I had never looked at it from that angle. Of course, I know she is, but to more casual audiences, she might be just a random T. rex. It might be addressed in the next film. If not, I’m fine with that too.

      Believe it or not, there are people in the community who prefer “Jurassic Park III” over the other films; for me, the third film isn’t perfect either, but given the challenges the production faced, I do believe it could have been worse. I enjoy it for what it is. Now I must learn to apply this attitude to “Jurassic World” as well. 😉

  17. People either like things or they don’t. Some are hard to please. Some are easy to please. For whatever problems some fans feel JW had we can’t argue that it had an audience – one that returned to the cinema in droves to see it. Maybe it was just nostalgia overdrive, and I think how JW:FK fairs will answer this, but I personally believe a lot of people just love seeing dinosaurs and don’t give two shits about canon, continuity errors, or other things hardcore fans or film critics would notice.

    I saw that a lot of people loved to voice their cynical opinions on the first Fallen Kingdom trailer yet almost all of them stated they would see the film regardless because ‘it’s a Jurassic Park film’ even if they don’t like what they see. Make of that what you will!

    1. To be honest, I was one of the people who felt slightly disappointed with the trailers. It felt as if, especially the first one, gave far too much away by exposing the Carnotaurus fully, the Tyrannosaurus taking down the much-anticipated predator, and the prolonged shots of the dinosaur stampede.

      The good news is; we are getting a Carnotaurus! (Or two, or maybe even three, if we are to go by the shot of the dinosaurs all hurrying towards the cliffs.)

      Of course I will see the film, on opening night if possible, because it is, as you say, a Jurassic Park film. My expectations aren’t too high, as to avoid great disappointment. The inclusion of Malcolm (if only for a brief scene, as rumored) and Lockwood, rumored to be Hammond’s former business partner, are certainly positives. The film might shed some light on the history of InGen and Hammond’s background.

  18. Plot discrepancies will not deter my love and devotion of these films. I like to fill in the gaps of in consistencies with my own thoughts and theories, but they are not enough. Meaning, they are not canon. Which is why I like that the DPG website is releasing canonical articles of history to help us fans gain a better understanding of Nublar and Sornas fates. Many more questions still have yet to be answered. Such as, whose bodies were discovered on the U.S.S. Venture? (Particularly, the hand on the steering wheel). If the DPG website answers the theory that it truly is Nick Van Owen’s hand, would that satisfy you? It might upset you, but at least you will have an answer. Another question, what killed the boatmen of the Dino-Soar parasailing business? That’s a question I would love answered by the DPG. To conclude, while I love the canon articles and reports provided by the DPG, I am with you that I would prefer the films to provide the depth and answers through consistent storytelling. Here endeth, the rant.

    1. I’ve always felt exploring the details of these films strengthened my love for them.

      I can only assume the bodies on the U.S.S. Venture were those of the sailors on board, and the hand on the steering wheel either the captain’s or the helmsman’s; they were killed after the Tyrannosaurus woke up, escaped its cage and went on a rampage on deck before ending up in the cargo hold.

      I’ve read the “Nick van Owen was on board the Venture” fan theory before. I do not subscribe to it. If it’s something that ends up on the DPG website, I will not consider it canon (as I do not consider the Masrani and DPG websites as a whole canon.)

      The men on the Dino-Soar boat were most likely killed by the Spinosaurus; near the end of the film, there’s a shot of its fin rising as it swims through the river, chasing the boat carrying Grant and the Kirbys. It’s an, “oh, right, now it makes sense!”-moment, connecting this boat attack to the one from the opening scene in the film.

      As Eric Kirby says to Grant, “the closer you get to water, the bigger these things get.”

    2. ‘If the DPG website answers the theory that it truly is Nick Van Owen’s hand, would that satisfy you?’

      I’ve literally never heard that theory. Is it legit?

      1. It’s a theory several fans came up with. I don’t think it holds water, and Nick getting on the ship would make no sense as he was airlifted off Isla Sorna with Malcolm, Sarah and Kelly.

        The hoops they would have to go through to explain how he made it onto the ship… even if the helicopter would have landed on the ship momentarily, they would have never let him stay behind. He was, after all, the main saboteur of the original InGen operation.

  19. Nice article! and about the “convienent park” I think Site B will still have dino’s and it’s fate is purposefully vague because the story needs the get the dinosaurs to the mainland rather than ship them to site B. I fully suspect after the release of the movie its status will be updated to show it’s not desolated. The just want us to believe that right now to raise the stakes.

    Also I rather have some inconsistencies than stupid explanations to tie things up. like the spino being illegaly bred on site b itself after the events of lost world. I mean how? That makes less sense than not bringin up nublar in the lost world to me. Just have it created during the time of jurassic park itself. clearly showing ingen was always shady as grants suggests.

    1. Thanks, glad to read you enjoyed it!
      Yes, I am most curious to learn more about the original rescue plan. Were they originally to be transported to Site B? I hope the new film will tell us more about Isla Sorna. I think “Jurassic World” is the only sequel in which the other island is not mentioned. (Both “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III” have characters refer to Isla Nublar multiple times.)

      Hm, that’s an interesting thought. Leaving some matters unexplained but not entirely fitting throughout the films’ tale in favor of a good story and not a forced mess to tie it all together? I think I can live with that.

      The Spinosaurus, to me, never appeared as mysterious as the third film tries to make it out to be; in the original novel, the visitors are told the InGen scientists did not always know what kind of animal they were breeding. They simply let it hatch to figure out what they had created. I’ve always applied that same logic to the Spinosaur’s appearance. Of course, because nothing has been officially said about its sudden appearance in the franchise, they could take it in any direction – including weird experimentation.

      1. Considering what we know from JWFK trailer, DPG activities were used as silly and naive pawns. It’s likely they were told dinosaurs would be moved to Isla Sorna or similar isolated place, but animals were going to be put on auction instead.

  20. This might be slightly off-topic, but the second movie has always been my favorite. The first movie was the OG, the pioneer into this new world, and much respect goes to that movie and it’s army of supporters. The second one is my personal favourite because of it’s intent. It’s almost like a nature documentary film crew, peacefully showcasing the wonders of Isla Sorna. The only problem I have with the second movie, is not sticking closer to the novel. The novel by Crichton was phenomenal, and it remains my favourite book. The storyline was great, the characters were well-crafted, and we actually got to see Dodgson do something substantial. I, personally, would like to see a movie on an island other than Sorna or Nublar, such as Matanceros, Muerta, Pena, or Tacano. Those are simply my thoughts.

    1. Thank you for your contribution! Going off-topic is absolutely fine, there’s so much left out there to explore when it comes to these novels and films.

      I really enjoy the second book too. It’s faster paced than the first, and may not go as in-depth, but it does introduce this Lost World and uncovers some secrets hidden on Isla Sorna.

      The second film is great too! Not perfect, but entertaining and it has strong performances by the leads all around. As an adaptation it doesn’t stack up as well against the source material, I agree with you on that.

      I’m not certain I would enjoy the introduction of yet another island into the franchise. It could work out well, but having the whole chain of islands infested with dinosaurs seems a bit much. Who knows what the filmmakers may come up with!

  21. Great breakdown. I’ve often wondered about the series’ hard canon over the years.

    I haven’t seen TLW in a while, does Hammond explicitly state that all of the dinos on Nublar died/were killed? I personally hope not, because I’m still holding out for some form of viral marketing/video game/some other item showing the state of the island in 2001, when Masrani/InGen began their operations on the island. The Visitors Center scene in JW was great but I’m not ashamed to admit I want to see more.

    Now that it’s brought to my attention, the Masrani/Hammond thing does bother me a little. I find it hard to believe that a guy who wanted these animals left alone would sanction the creation of another park. His ‘so have I’ line at the end of JP and his attitude towards InGen’s attempts at kickstarting another park should’ve been enough to indicate that he would’ve been against JW.

    I never really considered JP3 canon, until an earlier article here that broke down the shadowy dealings of InGen performing off-the-records experiments that Grant alluded to in the film. Considering it happened in 2001, which was around the time that the Nublar reclamation happened, it’s not so far-fetched to believe that maybe there were operations on the island that took place after the events of TLW, which might explain why those facilities looked so different.

    As far as the games go, I absolutely love the 2011 Telltale game, despite some of it’s glaring flaws. I hope they find a way to incorporate some of it’s elements into Fallen Kingdom(maybe they stumble across Sorkin’s lab, or encounter the JW Mosasaur in the game’s aquatic habitat).

    1. Cheers, I appreciate your response! 🙂

      He doesn’t say so explicitly. However, his “Thank God for Site B,” comment and the entire focus on Isla Sorna, with Nublar largely ignored, strongly indicate (at least for me) Nublar lies abandoned and the animals were euthanized, or at best, possibly transported to Isla Sorna.

      Another clue is the scene in “Jurassic Park III” in which the students question Alan Grant, and wonder if he has no desire to go to Isla Sorna. One of them says:

      “As soon as Costa Rica and the UN and everyone else know how to handle that second island, scientists will just go in and look for themselves.”

      As Grant denies interest, a second student joins in:

      ”Are you saying you wouldn’t want to get on Isla Sorna and study them if you had the chance?”

      It seems the entire world is aware of the existence of dinosaurs and the disaster at Jurassic Park, most likely because both Malcolm and Grant wrote books and the San Diego incident, yet no one asks about dinosaurs on Isla Nublar.

      I broke it all down, including the quotes relating to Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar, in this article I wrote a few years back:

      http://jurassiraptor.tumblr.com/post/118621758567/what-happened-during-isla-nublars-intervening

      The Spinosaurus, to me, never appeared as mysterious as the third film tries to make it out to be; in the original novel, the visitors are told the InGen scientists did not always know what kind of animal they were breeding. They simply let it hatch to figure out what they had created. I’ve always applied that same logic to the Spinosaur’s appearance. Of course, because nothing has been officially said about its sudden appearance in the franchise, they could take it in any direction – including weird experimentation.

      Unlike quite a few fans, I hope we’ll see the Spinosaurus make an appearance again, I really appreciated its inclusion. I am happy Baryonyx is now getting a chance to shine, it’s one of my favorite dinosaurs.

      The game’s story was alright, the graphics were good! I’m not sure if it will end up in the film, but the volcano is named Mount Sibo, according to the DPG website, this was taken directly from the game.

  22. A really great, and entirely relatable, read. It’s a strange thing being a fan. Such empowerment in our depth of knowledge and consistent, childlike enjoyment of a story, and yet complete powerlessness to its telling. Perhaps that empowerment “is all an illusion”, and I too find myself some days thinking, “that power’s out now” (side note: one of the most moving, powerful and quiet scenes in JP that will probably never be matched).

    On the Hammond thing: I never made that connection, and cannot believe I missed it. It’s kinda disappointing knowing it now, haha.

    However, we can hold out hope that with JWFK allegedly bringing Hammond’s brother into the fold (played by James Cromwell – is that rumour still current?), maybe this discrepancy will be explained. Hammond was an absolute capitalist with nefarious intentions in the novel, and he paid the ultimate price. Spielberg’s Hammond was more of a loveable, Disney type. And yet even Disney was a nefarious capitalist whose passion for wonderment was ultimately matched only by his passion for dollars. Maybe, and it would break my heart, Hammond never changed. Or, perhaps, his brother/family (who were never that great in TLW) betrayed him.

    Whatever happens, this is the second best bit to rewatching JP: chatting it out with wonderful fans 🙂

    1. Thank you! Your first paragraph is a very good description of how it feels to be a fan.

      I am in full agreement, the scene with Hammond and Sattler in the restaurant is one of my favorites in the franchise. It’s a strong scene, as the film is picking up steam on the action front, but Spielberg takes his time to let these two characters reminisce on the past, and discuss the current, dire situation. It’s one of the most powerful moments in the franchise, it gives the film its weight and gravity.

      Oops, I hope I haven’t ruined your enjoyment of the film. To be honest, there’s a lot I’ve missed myself, and I’m still learning. I think it was only a few years ago I realized Gennaro was not talking about the investors when he said, “if they’re not convinced, I’m not convinced!”, but the scientists! He does make this hardly detectable motion with his pen towards the vehicle driving ahead of his and Hammond’s.

      I think James Cromwell plays a former business partner of Hammond. I’m not certain, I haven’t really read up on the different characters.

      Absolutely, I really enjoy discussing this with everyone! One of the best things about the Jurassic Park community is how polite and easy-going most people are. We may not agree on everything, but people actually talk and debate, instead of wanting to be right all the time.

      A good example is this: for a long time, I thought it was unbelievable the old Visitor Center would still be standing on Nublar, virtually untouched. I always kept the cut scene in mind, in which Ludlow tells InGen’s board the island was dismantled and all material disposed off (including buildings and infrastructure). It was through discussing my writing of this article with a friend, I realized he made a good point and how, while the dinosaurs would probably all still be gone, the Visitor Center could have remained, as Hammond says nothing about this in the film.

      It felt like a bit of a revelation. As I said, twenty-five years on and I’m still learning about these films, which is something that’s wonderful and also a slightly weird experience, as I know them by heart.

      1. It’s also interesting, and annoying, to note the Visitor Center’s repositioning–canon maps from the original movie show it as about center on the island’s North-South axis and just a bit west of center on East-West with the front facade facing East (it’s west of the main road), while JW relocates it to near center of the NW quadrant and rotates it with the frontage facing south. You do not just move a building that size like picking up a model… even if it’s to be disposed of, they would’ve flattened it rather than dismantling and reassembling it somewhere else.

        And as for leaving things standing… well, demolition costs money, and with Nublar being abandoned the smart money would have been “strip everything salvageable and leave the rest in-place.” Those jeeps probably stayed because they weren’t worth their salvage values to haul back to sell; at the end of WWII we literally dumped entire aircraft-carrier loads of planes into the ocean because the cost of bringing them back was more than would have been recovered from demilitarizing them and either selling off or parting out as spares

  23. Any time I see or think of of these inconsistencies, I ask myself one thing; “Is there a simple solution to this that could’ve happened off-screen?”.

    While it perhaps wouldn’t satisfy everybody, these movies do not encompass much time and, therefore, there are things that happen inbetween that we never hear about during the movie.

    I like to think that the most simple solution to these issues are probably the correct ones. If you see what you consider an inconsistency, ask yourself if there is something that could plausible have happened off-screen to answer this issue. If so, uh… well, there it is.

    1. Sure, we can come up with explanations which tie everything together (like the DPG website tries to do), but the problem is the films never address some key issues.

  24. Very nice article Neelis and I have to ask… Might you have been a “Neelis” who used to hang around the Jurassic Park 4/Jurassic World IMDb forums? I seem to remember someone going by that name.

    As for your views, I’ll have to disagree. Had Jurassic Park been a stand-alone film, it wouldn’t have been remembered as much as it is in the public conscience now. It’d be remembered as “Another Spielberg classic” and not the “Movie that got dinosaurs into the spotlight they so very much deserve”.

    It’d would have lost its identity, fusing together into a Spielberg mulch along with ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Or so I think.

    While I most definitely enjoy Jurassic Park the most with Jurassic World being a close second, I’m glad that both The Lost World and JP3 happened as well to give us somewhat of a side-story. In my mind, Jurassic World is a direct sequel to Jurassic Park, while The Lost World and JP3 are like spin-offs that happened but didn’t have any effect on the original Island and dinosaur population.

    As for the inconsistencies… We never hear of Nublar in both TLW and JP3 because they thought the dinosaurs had died off due to the Lysine Contingency. However, when Masrani took over InGen, they started an expedition onto the then restricted Nublar, discovering that the same thing happened there as what happened on Sorna. I mean, I read you only consider the movies canon and all other materials non-canon, but in this day and age, you can’t do that anymore.

    Movies have become so much more than just pretty pictures on a screen. They’ve become multi-media endeavours where things such as viral marketing, external websites, etc… enrich and enhance the movies themselves. As a filmstudent, I know how hard it is to cram everything you want to say or show into the movie and not make it 20 hours long, but by expanding movies with viral sites, you can say all these things and more while focussing on what you really need to tell in the movie itself, filling in the blanks through viral marketing (kind of how InGen made the dinosaurs, taking the base genome (the movie) and filling in the blanks with other DNA (viral marketing)).

    As for Hammond’s dying wish… I personally think Masrani kind of misinterpreted his wish. Hammond most likely asked Masrani to protect the dinosaurs, sparing no expense. When Masrani discovered that the dinosaurs were in danger of dying out because of recent additions to the Island (without Masrani’s knowledge) he decided that the best way to save the animals was to capture them and put them in Jurassic World, where they could get care 24/7 and people could enjoy those magnificent creatures as well.

    In the end, he thought he was carrying out Hammond’s wish of saving the dinosaurs, he just didn’t do it like Hammond wanted it to go (and again… Hammond had no knowledge of the Spinosaurus, the Gen II Raptors, the Corythosaurs, etc… since they hadn’t been made yet).

    1. Yes, that would be me, the one and only! What was your name on the IMDb forums? It’s such a shame they removed those, I really miss going on them and discussing films. Nice to find you here, and thanks for reading the article!

      The reason I did not include the viral material is because I’ve always been near-crucified for using cut scenes in my arguments (or, more specifically, one cut scene). I’ve more or less applied that logic to the websites now.

      This article sheds a bit more light on the scenes I’m referring to:

      http://jurassiraptor.tumblr.com/post/118621758567/what-happened-during-isla-nublars-intervening

      To me it seems pretty clear both “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III” make a point of Isla Nublar no longer being a habitat for dinosaurs/ with dinosaurs. I’ve covered all that (the contingency plan as well) in the above linked article.

      I was discussing the sequels with a friend recently, and we both agreed that without those, the Jurassic Park-community would not have been as big, and the original film possibly not remembered as much as it is now.

      I feel there are ways to naturally answer some of the most urgent questions in the sequel films without spoon-feeding it to the audiences. It does take a good writer to make this happen, though, someone with in-depth knowledge of the franchise, characters, dinosaurs and locations.

      The viral marketing itself I have no problem with, it’s meant to put the new film in the spotlight. I just find it a little weak all the dinosaurs we see for the first time are suddenly “considered” animals created by Masrani. Why? Hammond never mentions specific dinosaurs. I’ve always applied the thought brought forward in the original novel: sometimes the InGen scientists did not know what kind of animal they were growing, so they simply let it hatch to see what it would be. I always thought this might have been the case with the Spinosaurus.

      As there is no official explanation, it’s of course entirely free for anyone to fill in the gaps as they please or see fit best.

      I consider “Jurassic World” the spin-off, not the other two films. 😉

      1. Speaking of spin-offs: I wonder if Universal considers the Jurassic World films spin-offs themselves, as they announced the new films as “Jurassic World 2” and “Jurassic World 3” (before the second was named “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), instead of part five and six.

  25. I feel like the franchise might be branching out with Fallen Kingdom, adding more less-mainstream carnivores. (ex: Allosaurus, Carnotaurus, Baryonyx.) The ecosystem might be more revealed, and the introduction of more herbivores might happen in the future. Does anyone feel like Fallen Kingdom mirrors the Lost World? Let me quote: ” John there’s another Island with dinosaurs and no fences this time and you want to send people in, very few people, on the ground? ” People are back on the ground, catching dinosaurs. The main focus of the old toy line: Dino Catching. In Fallen Kingdom, they have specialized vehicles, a small-ish team, and possibly enemies on the island, If you look at the LEGO sets. Near same idea as the second movie, but with a new cast. Fallen Kingdom appeals to me more and more. Merely my thoughts

    -aREX

    1. It pretty much comes across as “The Lost World 2.0”; I am curious about the direction they’re headed in with these films.

      Two of my favorite dinosaurs (Carnotaurus and Baryonyx) are making an appearance in this new film, I do hope they are not simply filler material, but are given substantial roles.

  26. I’m disappointed. No mention of feathered Sorna raptors.

    This totally killed any connective tissue /// had with its predecessors. Also, let’s bring in a new big bad apex predator and make it the new king. Let’s make it completely disobey predator / prey relationships and have it hunt a small group of humans relentlessly while sacrificing a massive kill..

    HATED JP 3.

    Jurassic World did little for me. There was no real statement. It was the same people making the same mistakes. Not terribly excited for the sequel to be honest.

    Now the game? I’ll be all over it.

    1. I’m sorry, I had to scrap the “feathered” Velociraptors out of my article, it was already overly long. I do mention the differences in appearance though! And I agree, it’s really odd Grant never made a fuss about the Velociraptors looking so different from how he has last seen them.

      I was disappointed with “Jurassic Park III”, but I don’t hate it. It has great actors, wonderful set pieces and the Velociraptors are possibly some of the best animatronics out of the entire franchise.

      1. Yeah, it was strange Alan didn’t comment on differences, but it wasn’t noticable for me due to the fact how well JP3 velociraptors were presented in the movie. I really like the approach that they are more intelligent than dolphins and their actions in the movie proved that. Calling for help, setting up the ambush or them being hold, because movie characters had their eggs. I always wondered what would have happened if the rescue team hadn’t arrived at the moment eggs were given back to raptors. Would they attack humans or they would spare them? It’s interesting to think about to be honest.

        All in all it’s a shame JP3 raptor design wasn’t used in JW, even though there was such concept. They are the most beautiful raptors in this franchise.

  27. “You’re coming up on a… [flips through his dinosaur guide] a Pachy… a pachy… oh, hell. Uh, the fathead with the bald spot. Friar Tuck!” -R. Tembo
    I’m sure most, if not all of you know that the Pachycephalosaurus was code named: “Friar Tuck”. I’m not sure if this is merely an oversight, but look at this picture: http://www.figurerealm.com/actionfigure?action=actionfigure&id=8733

    The dinosaur is codenamed: “Ram Head” Seems odd, since it already had a codename. Well, I’m not one to poke fun at Kenner toys. They were legit.

    -aREX

  28. Calm down man, and just think about the Mosasaur coming through the window as Micktrex envisioned in the comments about the next trailer.

  29. I respect the spirit of this piece. You say nothing I think is really inaccurate, even though my perspective is wildly different.

    I’ve written out a few very lengthy responses and discarded them. Your points largely rest on a few questions of absolutes – is or isn’t it canon and should or should I not care – and in both cases, my perspective rests somewhere in the middle.

    I have been in places where cohesive canon was complex and cumbersome, resulting in a limit of creativity, as well as places where basic facts were altered practically at will. I largely found is that a truly comprehensive ‘canon’ is usually something more to strive to achieve than something that exists, and for me, that’s okay. It is inevitable that the narratives will contain little errors, but if we strive, we can still minimize those errors a great deal, and that’s worth the effort, for me.

    I do somewhat feel that the concept of ‘canon’ is being overplayed these days by people who simply want to use it as a way to detect what does and does not matter in a franchise, but it overlooks that even a non-canon addition to a franchise can have a tremendous influence without contributing to the central narrative. This is where “secondary canon” comes into play – I see it as a way to identify things that have an influence, receive consideration, but might not have played out exactly the same. This is a great place for the Telltale Game, where details get tricky, like Hrding’s likeness and the mosasaur, but where it also fills in gaps the films won’t and cannot.

    Consider that Baryonyx was present in the prop brochure, as well as multiple toy lines, for years before it was announced to feature in the upcoming “Fallen Kingdom” – nobody would argue toy lines are canon, and the prop brochure is iffy, but those appearances were influential nonetheless. It feels more cohesive to pretend the brochure tells us it’s been here since the first movie, but nobody mentions it, so it’s easy to say none of that mattered until it appeared in the movies. Would it have been as strongly considered for “Fallen Kingdom” if not for its role in expanded material however?

    Franchise fiction is stunted, often, by concerns about making an original work that stands on its own or a work that expands on an existing story and/or leaves room for further expansion. While the best of teams can do something that achieves both, that can be difficult balance – focusing too much on a single story can lock out the ability to expand further, while focusing too much on creating a franchise can lead to too much holding back. Both of these are capable of killing a franchise, after all.

    If it’s something you’re losing sleep over (and I suspect that’s not the case) then yes, let it go, if that’s what you need, but if you’re enjoying yourself, then there’s nothing wrong with striving creatively a little, because in this situation, it’s more about the effort and the journey.

    (This got lengthy again, oops)

    1. I’m all for differing perspectives and lengthy replies! 🙂

      It’s my belief these stories can be told without explaining everything to the audiences, and still be cohesive and respectful of the established details.

      As was brought up before, even “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” undid some of “Jurassic Park”, by explaining there was a secret factory on another island (Isla Sorna) where dinosaurs were bred and raised quietly. I never found that a truly problematic detail, as it was something Crichton invented and it made sense in the film; the laboratory seen in “Jurassic Park” was far too small to have successfully created these animals without a glitch.

      I always considered the “showcase for the tourists” line adequate in explaining the existence of Isla Sorna, and to me it made sense having the scientists working on Isla Nublar as well; having refined the method, the public can see the actual work done without InGen running much risk of losing (expensive) embryos/ animals.

      I do understand why others find it a bit more troublesome, having this second island pop up out of nowhere. I found it more difficult to believe the Jurassic Park: San Diego stadium/ zoo complex had been sitting there pretty much abandoned, but in apparent full view. Why did people not ask questions on what it was exactly?

      Canon itself is a funny thing. I’m not a big fan of the Star Wars films, but I have seen all of them. I understand a lot of people aren’t happy with the latest addition (“The Last Jedi”), but to me it seemed fine. As a casual viewer, the finer details those fans worry about are lost on me. I suspect the Jurassic Park-franchise deals with a similar attitude of most audiences; they are simply not as invested in those details as I am.

      So, yes, different people will find different issues either deeply important or not of great consequence.

      The inclusion of the Baryonyx is a good example; I’ve been a fan of that dinosaur before these films were made, but it’s indeed funny to see how it was included in the original park (though only on a map) and some of the toy lines. To finally see it coming to life on screen is a dream come true; same goes for the Carnotaurus.
      To those not as knowledgeable when it comes to the novels and the films, they might either be fun or odd additions.

      No worries, I’m not literally losing sleep over these issues! I have spent a lot of time thinking about them, ever since the third film came out (and then the fourth, of course, which renewed my interest in the subject of canon). I am curious to see what “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” will bring to the table.

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