**Warning: potential spoilers ahead. Read at your own discretion**
By: Nick Schofield
Today, my children, we are blessed. The first Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer (after much teasing) has finally dropped.
Four years after the events of Jurassic World, the dinosaurs are now threatened by Isla Nublar’s once dormant volcano. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) recruits Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to assist her and the “Dinosaur Protection Group” in rescuing the remaining dinosaurs. As their expedition arrives and the island becomes unstable, they must race to return to safety before it’s too late. In the midst of this, a conspiracy is uncovered that could “return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.”
The trailer does a good job of setting almost all of this plot up. We don’t get to see much insight as to what the “conspiracy” is, but this likely involves the Indoraptor–a new hybrid dinosaur. Even though we don’t see him, we know from previous clips that Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) is somehow involved.
We also see everyone’s pride and joy–the indelible Jeff Goldblum–reprising his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm. Testifying in front of a court or tribunal in the trailer, he invokes his infamous “Life Finds a Way” speech. You’ll shiver in both unease and delight. Malcolm’s full role in Fallen Kingdom awaits further reveal, but these first glances give us some fascinating insights.
Now, I bet you don’t give a good gosh darn about plot or sexy, brooding chaoticians. You want to know what awesome dinosaurs you can expect to see. I shall humbly oblige you.
We get first peeks at a couple of new theropod dinosaurs, which is exciting. Baryonyx, a cousin of Spinosaurus (who we don’t talk about), makes its debut, along with a long-awaited dinosaur darling–Carnotaurus. Jurassic fans have waited a long time for a Carnotaur to appear in these films since their appearance in Michael Crichton’s novel The Lost World.
We also get a look at a theropod that nobody knows how to identify. Before the official trailer dropped, I attempted a bad graphic analysis on Twitter to suggest it was Suchomimus. However, it looks nothing like a Suchomimus. It may be an Allosaurus–based on the head crest– but it’s still unclear. I’ve called upon PaleoTwitter to try and help with a potential identification, but I don’t think I’m going to get a response…
(Am I going off-topic? Am I losing you? Sorry. I’ll stop. This is what happens when I go full-nerd…)
Of course, we get the franchise staples returning. Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, etc. are back. But there are also some iconic Jurassic dinosaurs making triumphant returns! Both Brachiosaurus and Compsognathus (those little green dinos that jumped on that dude and bit him to death in The Lost World: Jurassic Park) are back, and let me tell you–I missed them a lot. A lot of fans are very happy to see these dinos back in the lineup this time around.
Our “hero” dinosaurs–Blue and “Rexy” (or Roberta…we debate this all the time…)–are back as well. In this new trailer, we see the reuniting of Blue and Owen, along with an extended snippet of “Baby Blue” we can fawn over forever.
Rexy’s* appearance comes in the form of a convenient deus ex machina, saving our plucky human heroes from the jaws of a hungry Carnotaur (despite a massive pyroclastic flow happening behind them). From other clips that have been released, we can assume she survives this disaster–but how? I can’t wait to find out.
Looking at this trailer, I have a lot of hope. For the most part, the CGI seems well done. Whether this is a result of incorporating more animatronics and/or practical effects into the filmmaking process or more care taken in the animation stages, the dinosaurs seem a bit more real.
As well, the plot–despite its reliance on legacy plot structures–does seem compelling. Colin Trevorrow (writer/executive producer) has revealed that what we see in the trailer is only the first hour of the film, so we can expect much more plot-wise. The Indoraptor, Dr. Wu, and surviving the island are all mysteries begging to be uncovered.
However, I do have some gripes that, admittedly, are controversial within the Jurassic community. From a personal perspective, I find myself mildly displeased with some inaccuracies in the dinosaur designs. Since the film is little more than six months away, there’s still time to fix some these. However, we’re unlikely to see feathered dinosaurs, which is something I wish they’d included.
(Feel free to disagree with me, but I will not get into another feather debate with you, Dennis. I really will not.)
There’s also the inclusion of lots of “stating the obvious” lines that explain the plot. Whether this stems from lazy writing or a development purely for the trailer, it still rubs me the wrong way. I don’t think audiences are as dumb as Hollywood would like to believe.
Despite my grievances, I’m optimistic. I’ve hoped for years that whomever took up the Jurassic franchise helm would give us a great spiritual successor. Maybe, just maybe, Fallen Kingdom will hit that mark.
Keep your eyes peeled, folks–it’s going to be a wild ride.
* The name “Rexy” was used for simplification purposes only. Do not send raptors to eat the author, please.