Jurassic World at the Toy Fair

My doubts about Mattel’s ability to make good Jurassic Park toys have been completely and utterly decimated. Their offerings at the New York Toy Fair are nothing short of fantastic– and there are a lot of offerings, because all the companies with the JW license really went in for the kill. Let’s start with some glamour shots.

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These are the basic dinosaurs that’ll probably cost about $10, so not all of them are winners, especially the metriacanthosaur and the triceratops. But there are some real beauties in this lineup, like the carnotaur and pachyrhinosaur. I just can’t find it in me to complain about them, though, because the lowest amount of quality out of any of the toys here is basically the upper limit for quality that we got out of any of the Hasbro toys besides the super-expensive ones. In fact, the real stunners from this $10 range far surpass the kind of toy that Hasbro sold for $20 and more, so even the bare minimum is an improvement on the last toy line.

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The human figures (hell, even the fact that we’re getting human figures at all) are also a major step up. They’re not Kenner, but they’re pretty good for the size and price range, even better if I’m seeing the 7 points of articulation that I think I’m seeing. Packaging them with baby dinosaurs and accessories just like the old Kenner figures is also pretty sweet. In fact, there’s a whole lineup of baby dinosaurs, which I assume will be sold in blindbags:

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Naturally I’m thrilled with this, but the blindbag babies aren’t what really made me foam at the mouth. That would be the hatchlings:

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The Lost World hatchlings that came in eggs are probably my favorite Jurassic Park toy ever, so I’m beyond excited for these guys. They’re more cartoonish than their predecessors and they don’t have quite the level of detail, but they’re already in my heart regardless. I’m critical of how many times this new movie will make callbacks to The Lost World, but the toy line can do that as many times as it wants.

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The larger toys aren’t jaw-droppingly outstanding, but the way I see it, they’ve taken the basic design of the Hasbro toys and fixed everything that Hasbro did wrong. Mosasaur looks a lot less cartoony, and Rexy has some nice skin coloration and texture along with some neat articulation. I’m sad to see a lack of Real-Feel skin, but that’s the only major complaint I can bring up. These are just the solid, respectable Jurassic World toys that we deserve. Also, note that in all the toys so far, there is a noticeable lack of gaping Dino Damage wounds! Let us give thanks.

For those of you who want to raise your kids to be Jurassic Park fans who only like good-quality dinosaur toy brands, as I’m currently working on with my boyfriend’s nephew, there are Duplo sets featuring Friendly Mr. Grady and his Gang of Raptor Pals:

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“Hi kids! Did you know that velociraptors would often seek out juvenile herbivores that had been isolated from their herds as prey? That’s why you gotta stick close to Mommy when you’re at the store!”
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“Hi kids! Did you know that Deinonychus didn’t kill with its sickle claw, but used it to pin down its prey while it tore it apart alive with its 60 razor-sharp teeth? Wow!”
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“Hi kids! Did you know that genetically engineering animals to use as weapons is morally bankrupt and cruel, but humans think we’re the center of the universe and our petty need to get ahead is more important than any semblance of ethics?”

There’s also two of what appear to be robotic dinosaur kits, or plans for Zoomer toys similar to the Indominus one:

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And an Uno game for some reason:

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And, uh… this:

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I dare you to try to imagine a more ironic toy to tie in with a movie about animal rights.

Those, as generously shared by Entertainment Weekly, are the only glamour shots we’ve gotten so far. On to photos from the actual fair!

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I was really looking forward to these Barbie dolls, and I have to say I’m disappointed by how cheap they look. There’s no detail in the fabric of their clothes, and while Claire’s face doesn’t look like her but is still Barbie-like, Owen just looks ridiculous. I’ll probably still buy Claire, but these are definitely the biggest letdown for me. And speaking of looking ridiculous, Funko Pops!

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We already got confirmation of Mosasaur being in the movie a few months ago, but the fact that there are multiple toys of her gives me hope that her role will be at least as big as it was in the last movie. The Indoraptor toy looks like a lot like the allosaur toy we saw earlier, or maybe even Hasbro’s Alpha Raptor, with a repaint and a slight jaw modification. Considering that Indoraptor itself is just a repaint of a different dinosaur, I find that sadly appropriate.

Finally, Bryce Dallas Howard herself gave us a glimpse at the new Playskool toys, including a truly enormous T. rex, Indoraptor, and another Mosasaur (my shrine is about to get pretty crowded):

Luckily we didn’t just get to see toys, because these companies really went in for the kill. We got fashion!

We got high fashion!

We got dog fashion!

We got snacks!

We got pillows!

We got masks and claws!

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And we got our first look at the Claire prequel novel, as shown by Claire herself!

This is an exciting Toy Fair for sure, so ready your wallets!

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Dinosaur Protection Group Site

The viral marketing website for Fallen Kingdom, AKA the Dinosaur Protection Group’s site, has finally been updated with content! And, as we’ll look at first, so has the old Jurassic World website:

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The site has been taken over by the DPG, obviously the doing of Claire; as we’ll see later, she seriously regrets the role she played in the Jurassic World incident. Instead of the old footage that used to play in the background on the main screen, now we mostly see static intercut with shots of the abandoned Isla Nublar and its dinosaurs– all of which, on their respective bio pages, have been marked “endangered”. The park cameras are all nothing but static. The “What’s Happening” widget is plastered over with messages like “We can save them!”, “We must protect them!” and “We can’t let them go extinct!” (Again.) A lot of the main site is still intact, but with a few of the DPG’s messages added. Here are some of my favorites:

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Did they somehow convince Malcolm to talk on their behalf, or is this just a common phrase that was made popular by his book?

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Every station on the park map is also updated to indicate that the attractions have been destroyed:

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If the Cretaceous Cruise river is still flowing, the environment is presumably still habitable, which supports my idea that the Baryonyx we saw in both trailers is the one that lived in this attraction (if there was more than one).

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Several people on Twitter have pointed this out. There are a multitude of ways that the mighty mosasaur could’ve escaped her habitat– Jurassic World employees could’ve come by and airlifted her into the ocean, or the DPG could’ve done the same. However, I refuse to believe anything except that she determinedly hopped across the island like a mud skipper until she made it to the ocean to spread her reign of terror throughout the whole Atlantic.

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“Extreme caution advised” shows that the DPG knows they aren’t the only ones going to Isla Nublar. I have absolutely no doubt that poachers, urban explorers, and people who just want to raid the abandoned stores for stuff to sell on Ebay, are regularly visiting the island (the DPG website mentions “dozens of cases of illegal activity around Nublar”) regardless of the restrictions around it. The DPG site also mentions that severe restrictions have been placed around the island, but that didn’t stop anybody from getting into Isla Sorna, either.

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All of the non-dinosaur attraction descriptions go out of their way to mention that the attractions are no longer operational. There must have been a lot of idiots thinking they could get the Jurassic World experience without paying admission.

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This is something interesting in terms of the animal behavior-related questions that I’ve posed in earlier blog entries. It seems the pteranodons and dimorphodons haven’t taken over the skies of the entire island like I’d thought they would, and presumably they also haven’t flown away to nearby shores. The Bamboo Forest entry says that the herbivores tend to congregate in the southwest part of the island, so we know that two of the biggest groups of animals on the island have established decently-sized territories and are making a living for themselves in those parts. Since the Cretaceous Cruise river is still habitable, it can be assumed that the animals that originally lived there are probably still in that general area. So, unsuprisingly considering that these dinosaurs have never known anything besides living in small, enclosed spaces, the different groups of animals have found their own niches and are sticking to them, rather than living in a free-for-all throughout the whole island. Of course some of them wander away from those areas, like the apatosaur that we see walking around on Main Street, but the majority of herbivores have formed their own enclave to stay away from the carnivores. The predator-prey ratio is seriously out of whack anyway, so living in a separate area is probably the only reason there are still herbivores on the island at all. Yet again, I’m very interested to see more of Nublar’s changing ecosystem and how similar it is to Isla Sorna in the Lost World novel.

That’s all for the old Isla Nublar website, so let’s look at what the DPG has to offer!

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The main focus on the site, besides getting you to sign up for their email newsletter, is about the movement spearheaded by Claire to protect Nublar’s dinosaurs from their impending extinction. If anyone had doubts before that Claire is the main protagonist of the new trilogy instead of Owen, this will definitely end them; the site is full of her pictures, quotes, and writings about humanity’s obligations to the dinosaurs of Jurassic World. The home page features these graphics, meant to be shared on Twitter:

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No more happy baby dinosaur images for little ol’ me, I guess.

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I think this one is more evidence that Ian Malcolm is speaking at that hearing on behalf of the DPG; there’s no direct mention of him on the site yet, so he’s probably just an associate of theirs, not actually a part of the group. Forgiving Claire for what she did in Jurassic World for so many years, and campaigning for dinosaurs’ rights despite everything he’s gone through because of them, is the kind of thing that shows what a good person Ian really is. If his scene in the movie doesn’t show much character development on his part, the material surrounding the movie certainly will.

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I’m pretty sure she’s just pissed, but thanks for the concern.

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This last one is the most interesting, showing several species of dinosaur that have never been mentioned in canon before, such as Lesothosaurus and Segisaurus. They’re extinct, so we won’t be seeing them in the actual film, but this is the first hint we’ve gotten that they were even on Nublar. There were undoubtedly all kinds of new species being resurrected in the Creation Lab, and the “Reports” page mentions that “the animals were unceremoniously shipped among islands”, so some of these were probably species that lived and died on Sorna. If so, someone is monitoring the dinosaurs’ condition on Sorna as well, although there’s no pressing threat like a volcano to spur action as serious as that around Nublar.

Speaking of the volcano, the website has a live feed monitoring the threat level of Mount Sibo, the volcano on Nublar–

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— as well as an article by Justice Smith’s character, Franklin Webb, about how large quantities of magma are under the surface of the volcano, and if it were to erupt (gee, I wonder if it will?) it would result in the extinction of all life on the island. Franklin tells us that the Masrani Corp. has decided not to do anything about this because it wouldn’t affect the Costa Rican mainland. The Masrani website remains untouched, but maybe later we’ll receive more information about why the company would just abandon all of its dinosaur assets.

Zia Rodriguez’ Report page is mostly a rehash of the history of InGen’s use of cloning technology, and doesn’t afford much new information, besides confirmation that there are a lot of people illegally trying to get onto Nublar, and that there are “rogue groups claiming to have access to the cloning technology”; this is presumably in reference to the movie’s villain and Henry Wu, who created the Indoraptor. The Blog page is a touching entry by Claire, who realized soon after the Jurassic World incident that she had played a huge part in animal rights violations against the dinosaurs and has vowed to right all the wrongs she’s committed. Probably my favorite part of the site so far is the quotes from her, both from the Blog page:

The Dinosaur Protection Group is the result of finally owning up to the fact that, for decades, these rarest of animals have been grossly exploited; our mission is to stop the abuse by doing anything and everything possible to protect the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar – or wherever they may roam. I’m proud to be spearheading this cause to help steer our species in the right direction, working towards creating a safe future alongside the dinosaurs. A future fueled by a love of knowledge, not profit. A love of life, not gain […] No matter what comes, I’m not going anywhere. Never again.

And from Our Cause:

“The fallout after a disaster like the one at the park always brings about public outrage, political agendas, and way too many conspiracies to count. Laws are broken, morals are tested, people are lied to and mistakes have to be lived with. But what can we do? Speaking as someone who has decided to devote her life to this cause, I believe we humans must realize that, no matter our shortcomings, we should not further abuse the animals we gave life to. We owe them at least that.”

The updates to both of these websites have provided us with a lot of new information about the DPG (which consists, apparently, of 30 volunteers) and about what’s become of the ruins of Jurassic World. Make sure to sign up for the DPG’s mailing list and show your support for the dinosaurs all over social media!

Fallen Kingdom Trailer #2

Here it is!

As most of us had hoped after the general public’s reaction to the first trailer (which led to a widespread belief that the whole movie would take place on Isla Nublar, and Rexy killing the carnotaur would be the end of the movie) this shows us much more of the second half, which will take place on the mainland, and seemingly mostly indoors. It prominently features the Indoraptor, which appears to be a slightly smaller and darker-skinned version of the Indominus Rex; I personally believe that this was a bad decision and that there were plenty of other routes that the story could’ve taken besides just redoing the gimmick of Jurassic World on a smaller scale, but I’m here to analyze the trailer, not lecture Colin Trevorrow. Most of the footage that takes place in the first half of the movie, besides this shot–

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Note how similar this helicopter looks to the ones used by Roland’s team in The Lost World. Does the Dinosaur Protection Group use old InGen equipment? It would certainly save them money.

–we’ve already seen, so I’m going to focus mostly on the rest, which takes place on the mainland. And oh boy, there’s a lot to focus on. As an aside, the Dinosaur Protection Group website has had a lot added to it, and I plan to write about that tomorrow, so definitely check it out in the meantime. The site confirms that Daniella Pineda’s character Zia Rodriguez isn’t part of the military, like I’d previously thought; she’s actually a dinosaur veterinarian, which certainly comes in handy when Blue gets wounded and needs to be treated in a tent on the island, as we saw in the behind-the-scenes reel and see again here.

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I don’t think Blue dies in this scene, but as sad as this makes me, I think she will end up dying in this movie. Her bond with Owen is a strong ongoing theme in Fallen Kingdom; first we see the roots of their relationship, with Owen meeting her for the first time as a baby. Then he goes back to the island and tries to reason with her to come back with him, but she snaps at him, showing that their time apart has seriously decreased her respect for him and weakened their bond. She gets hurt somehow, and we see Owen comforting her as he helps heal her injuries, which strengthens their relationship again and restores her trust. Finally, when the Indoraptor has Owen cornered, she takes a dive at it for him:

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Looking at the story arc this way, I think the only logical conclusion is that Blue will die trying to save her alpha, or at least she’ll get seriously injured in the process. Even without the story behind it, Indoraptor could pretty easily whoop her ass (it’s smaller than Indominus, so Blue can’t just clutch onto its back out of its reach, like she did in the last fight). Also, Trevorrow hasn’t been afraid to spoil deaths in trailers before, evidenced by how he showed Masrani going down in flames in the Jurassic World trailers. So, unfortunately, my opinion is that Blue is toast.

The rest of the trailer, although it shows no less of an action movie than the first Nublar-centric one did, is an effort to show J.A. Bayona’s directing chops and how the second half of the movie will be more of a suspense thriller. This new director is obviously working very hard to toe the line between doing new things with the series (a lot of the action takes place inside one or more buildings, which is something that we’ve seen only briefly in previous movies) and paying homage to the original trilogy, especially The Lost World. And that brings us to this round of Spot The Reference!

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Their toes even tap in the same pattern, which I assume is Morse code for “hello, lunch meat”.

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I couldn’t find a picture of Sarah Harding at the end of TLW, but you remember. They’re really going in on having Claire mirror the female protagonists of the corresponding movies in the original trilogy.

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That last scene with Rexy seems to be separate from the Indoraptor scenes, since she’s shown to be very unhappy about being in that truck once she’s taken off the island:

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There’s life in the old lady yet!

If my guess is correct, this scene takes place once the DPG has returned from their expedition and comes before the events involving Indoraptor. Rexy breaks out and expresses her dissatisfaction with the helicopter there (there’s a distinct possibility that this is a scene that takes place in the very beginning, and she’s roaring at Henry Wu’s helicopter), and a bunch of the other ungrateful rescued dinos do too:

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Whether that scene with the second dinosaur stampede (another source of my reservations about some of the plot choices being made in this; wasn’t the first one cool enough?) takes place in Lockwood’s mansion or the warehouse where they bring the rescued dinos, it definitely takes place close to this:

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Definitely the most brutal tackle of the Super Bowl.

And since Maisie is with Claire and Owen in that scene, it probably takes place in or near the Lockwood mansion. Therefore, the DPG most likely brings their pissed dinosaurs to a storage facility around Lockwood’s place (Lockwood is probably sponsoring them in an effort to make up for his role in Jurassic Park’s creation, which would explain how they got so much money) and there’s a completely separate scene involving Rexy that takes place before the main Indoraptor action. It’ll probably be easier to construct a timeline of the movie’s events once the hype from this wears off.

This trailer sheds some light on Indoraptor’s origins; Maisie explains that “they made it” to sell to the highest bidder, undoubtedly for some shady purpose. My guess is that it’s for sale to different countries’ militaries, since owning it would guarantee that the winning country would possess the most cutting-edge type of weapon on the planet, along with the means to clone it and create an army of shark-jumper dinosaurs. (I say would because we all know that this thing isn’t staying in a cage for long.)

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“Look upon me! I am the designated soulless corporate money-grubbing villain!”

The Indoraptor is the basis for some issues that I have about Fallen Kingdom. I think J.A. Bayona is too worried about the new dark-thriller direction that he’s taking the movies in, and he’s trying to make up for it by being too referential to the previous films. After the big leap that Jurassic World took with having a new genetically-engineered dino that’s bigger and badder and scarier than any of the others, I think that doing the same thing again with basically the same dinosaur isn’t nearly as exciting anymore. It’s also incredibly referential to The Lost World, not only in the cinematography but in having: a reluctant main protagonist go to the dinosaur island at the behest of an earnest woman, an ending where the T. rex rampages on the mainland, a stuck-up corporate villain who only cares about the dinosaurs for the money he can make from them (who is presumably related to the previous owner of InGen, and who will surely get a poetic death at the claws of those same dinosaurs), etc.

The reuse of the hybrid-dinosaur plot point might even be seen as an echo of Jurassic World‘s message– what does it say about us if we’re not even impressed by a big, scary monster dinosaur anymore? The villain’s quote, “Jurassic World, the island… all of that is in the past” also reminds me of the previous movie’s theme that past mistakes shouldn’t be forgotten (which in Jurassic World‘s case consisted of references to the original park). Of course, it’s impossible to know all about the movie from two trailers and I’m sure the team has thought of these same objections long ago, but from what I’ve seen, I’m concerned that Fallen Kingdom will reuse too many things from previous movies, and that will keep it from being the standout that it could.

Finally, I also had qualms with this:

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People have had close encounters with dinosaurs in these movies before– see the T. rex tent scene from TLW, which I think this references– but this struck me the wrong way. Something about the way it’s grasping at her and the slight glow created around it by the moonlight made me think at first that this was a dream sequence. The way that Indoraptor is grabbing at her with its front arms just looks un-dinosaurlike in a way I can’t fully articulate. Sick Triceratops on Twitter says that this is meant to be a Nosferatu reference, which certainly makes sense in the context of it being a horror movie, but it wasn’t a high point for me.

So overall I like the way that Fallen Kingdom looks, but I’m afraid that it’s reusing too many plot points and ideas from previous movies, especially JW and TLW. This trailer gave me doubts in ways that the first one didn’t. I had doubts about Jurassic World after the trailers too, though, and I ended up being satisfied with the final product; hopefully this will happen here as well. What did you think about the newest look at the next Jurassic Park movie? Let me know on Twitter and in the comments!

Update: They promised us a surprise and they delivered!

I refuse to take this as anything but canon. I refuse to believe that Ian Malcolm doesn’t go do weird things like sit in Jeeps in dealerships and pretend to chase T. rexes sometimes, as the employees watch with no idea what to do and know that they don’t want to be the ones to stop him. Old Ian doing the weird stuff he’s always wanted to do, knowing that nobody can say a word to him about it because of who he is, is what I absolutely live for. This is the kind of thing he does with his fame. I love him so much.

Mattel’s First JP Toys

Enormous thanks to @jurassic_world2018 on Instagram for showing us these three pictures of Mattel’s first Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom toys:

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First and foremost, I should point out that these are most likely leaked images, as Mattel’s Instagram and Twitter don’t show them. Therefore, these may not be the complete models we’ll see on shelves. Also, judging by Jurassic Outpost’s scoop on the toys from so many months ago, I would guess that these are the $10 basic dinosaurs and not the most detailed toys that the line will have to offer, and there are plenty of other parts of the line that we haven’t seen yet, so nobody can judge everything Mattel is doing with the line. But I sure can judge what I’m seeing here.

I have to say I’m disappointed with these. They’re a step up from Hasbro (no visible screw holes) but not a very big step. Metriacanthosaurus– though I’m thrilled to be seeing new dinosaurs that we’ve never gotten toys of before, don’t get me wrong– is my least favorite. The color scheme and pattern look lazy and unappealing to the eye, and though I like that its body has a thicker build than the other two, there’s really no excuse to have its tail dragging like that, especially when the other two have their tails properly up in the air. If it weren’t for the head sculpt, I’d call it a dollar-store toy. Metri deserves better than this. There’s never been a Jurassic Park toy of this dino before, but there has been an official design, which makes the design of this toy even more of a crying shame:

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Allosaurus is a very, very small step up, and it looks to me like a confirmation that the mystery dino in the stampede scene is probably an allosaur, like I previously thought; it should be noted with this confirmation that canonically there wasn’t an allosaur in Jurassic World, but it’s easily explained as another hidden attraction never shown to the public, like the raptors. I wish the smatterings of white on its body were more intricate, but at least the color scheme isn’t painful to look at. I didn’t expect the shrink-wrapping of the dinos’ skin to be any better than dinosaur toys have been for decades, but the fact that you can see this poor thing’s ribs is a bit too much. Also, I’d rather they’d just kept the entire thing blue and white, rather than sticking two bits of color onto the head and then giving up. Kenner did make an allosaur toy at one point, but it’s unfair to compare Kenner JP toys to basically anything modern, so I’ll just show the allosaurs that Hasbro made.

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This one was from the same price range, and although it had an arguably better sculpt, it’s in painful McDonald’s colors.

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This one is also unfair to compare Mattel’s to, but it makes the new allosaur look so much more disappointing.

Finally, as for the Baryonyx, the impression I got is that someone just took a Blue toy and stretched it out. Seriously, look at the blue bit over its eye, streaking down its neck like someone stretched it out in Photoshop. The movie itself doesn’t seem to show Bary having a comb on her head or feathers on her arms like she does in the Jurassic World website art, so it makes sense that the toy wouldn’t either, but it still makes me sad. I like where they were going with the white speckles on her legs, but again, the painter seems to have just called it a day after doing just one extremity. For comparison, here’s Baryonyx’s official Jurassic World website design, from which the toy seems to have borrowed the blue over the eye:

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And here’s Hasbro’s Baryonyx toy, which was done in a more cartoony style:

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Overall, I’m seriously disappointed by these toys, and I hope they’re not the final products, or at least that Mattel has more high-quality toys in mind for the other parts of their Fallen Kingdom line. The quality of these 3 is starting to worry me about the quality of figures that I’m really anticipating, like the classic Ian Malcolm, but it’s too early to judge entirely. Let me know what you think on Twitter or in the comments!

Fanfic: In My Next Iteration, You Might Say

Summary: Three reasons Ian Malcolm might’ve come to speak on behalf of the dinosaurs of Jurassic World.

I.

The sun sets gently over Ian’s home in Santa Fe. The sky is a deep orange and the grass is long, and the little feet of his children leave trampled footprints in the grass as they run and tumble, grasping at each other’s shirts and belt loops in something that resembles a game of tag, snatching at mosquitoes and falling on their backs with breathless laugher. Ian sits on his porch and ignores the mathematics journal in his lap, watching his daughter and two sons enjoy the summer evening. These children didn’t choose to be placed on this earth; they were deliberately brought here through an act of creation, and though this world may not be the best place for them, they deserve to have a place in it. They could clone more dinosaurs just like he could always have more kids, but he’d never be able to have an exact copy of Anna or Xavier or Thomas. Ian watches the two boys chasing each other in circles and Anna lying in wait to pounce one of them to the ground, and he thinks of baby velociraptor siblings playfully nipping at each other as the same sun above him sets above an island off of Costa Rica. He imagines the mother rex watching her hatchling learn to hunt. Families making their way in the world they’ve been given, just like his.

A few days later, Ian remembers that evening as he testifies to the ethics committee. He doesn’t talk about the cooing of baby Pteranodons in their nest, or how his daughter leaned her head on his shoulder as he carried her to bed. Instead he mentions how life like that on Isla Nublar, resilient and persistent as it is, can be as delicate as the shell of an egg.

II.

Ian is alone again. The cycle of ex-Mrs.-Malcolms continues, but the gaps between women grow longer and longer. He’s still respected, of course—he’s more than earned that. People come to his classes and dutifully sit and listen, and his colleagues at the University of Texas invite him to all of their cocktail parties and laugh at all of his jokes. He flies out to Utah at his leisure to visit Kelly at her dig sites, and whenever Elizabeth and her husband invite him to stay the weekend. Afterwards he always goes back to his apartment, and nobody’s there to say hello when he does. No more red ponytails swishing around the kitchen, no more little hands and feet practicing backflips off the coffee table, no more voices asking Dad to read them a bedtime story. Occasionally he’s greeted by a cat’s meow, during the particularly lonely times when he feels like adopting one.

At night he glances over at the shelves full of his books and publications, thinking about how little they’ll mean after he’s gone. Paper is so easily destroyed and thoughts are so easily rejected; a treatise about nonlinear systems won’t leave scars on the earth or make it any greener. He thinks about how evolution has no direction and how life is a crystal with fractals smaller than anyone was ever meant to comprehend. He thinks about the Malcolm effect, a dangerously curved red line within a looping strange attractor. Once things have been hurtled past the point of no return, they’re bound to happen once we decide we’ll let them or not. He couldn’t stop the dinosaurs from reclaiming their planet back then, and he can’t now, so he may as well let them be his legacy. They’ll change the world for the better or the worse, but whatever they do will make sure that his name and his words are repeated as long as dinosaurs walk the planet.

“These creatures were here before us,” he says later, to a room of people listening with silent respect. “If we’re not careful, they’re gonna be here after.”

III.

Things have quieted down. Reporters haven’t darkened Ian’s doorstep for eleven years, ever since he adopted the policy of answering questions about Jurassic World by raising a certain finger. Talk shows and book deals about the San Diego Incident made him enough money to get a nice two-bedroom house in Santa Monica near the boardwalk, and somehow he managed to convince Sarah to live in it with him. His students know by now that asking him about dinosaurs won’t get them anything more informative than a sigh, and a few years ago they stopped asking. He buys Alan Grant a couple of drinks every few months, and they banter about theories until the bartender very respectfully asks them to go yell about the Great Dying somewhere else. Kelly, about to finish grad school on his dime, is making a nice place for herself in the world as well. Ian has talked and thought through a lot of things over the years, and he doesn’t flinch anymore when he sees dinosaur documentaries while flipping through channels.

Someone from the Board of Ethics Regarding Genetically Engineered Organisms sends him a carefully-worded email one day, and for the hell of it, Ian takes them up on their request. He’s seen the videos of the tyrannosaur on Nublar, and when he saw its bared teeth and the aged white scars that line its face, he found that his fear was replaced with respect. The circumstances that brought dinosaurs back onto this earth were still wholly unethical, but the little bastards have been surviving on the island on their own for three years now, and they deserve some credit for that. Will they even manage to outlast human civilization, adapting to this new era and fighting their way forward like they did through the whole Mesozoic? Hell, if Ian has learned anything from the past 25 years of his life, it’s that anything is possible.

So he puts on a suit and he heads to their little board meeting, and he sits in front of his microphone and he tells these bunch of straight-faced guys in monkey suits about how much he’s seen during his time on both islands, about how these animals overcame the limits of what should’ve been possible and bred when their entire population was female. About how everything living on Sorna should’ve croaked when they stopped getting their lysine, but instead they formed a food chain that kept all of the different types of dinosaurs alive despite the inherent limits written into their DNA. About how, no matter how many regulations people have placed on dinosaurs, they’ve always managed to live exactly how they want to. People can write as many laws and send as many animal-rights groups to Nublar as they want, but in the end, dinosaurs will keep on living exactly as long as they intend to.

“Life,” he concludes, “finds a way.”

Finally, The Trailer

After more than two years of waiting and six months of radio silence from the production team, we’ve just seen the trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!

The trailer opens with Claire and Owen, pretty clearly not in a romantic relationship anymore (that might be subject to change, considering “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” is playing) in a bar, talking about dinosaurs. Since this is the same scene as a teaser released earlier today, I’m extrapolating from that:

Claire is convincing Owen to go back to the island and reminds him of his dino-daughter, and then we see the famous Baby Blue sequence, confirming that it was in fact a flashback and it’s actually a younger version of Blue that we’re seeing here, as opposed to her baby or a clone. I’m not quite sure why Owen is wearing the same clothes in this shot that he wears throughout the rest of Fallen Kingdom, but he seems to favor the blue shirt and brown vest combo, so it’s not too big a deal. Apparently I was right about this being the first time Blue has ever gotten so comfortable around Owen– in fact, this was the first time he’d ever seen a dinosaur. By the way things are going with the rest of the film, this will probably be the only truly Spielbergian moment of pure dino wonder that we get, besides one particular moment later on in this trailer. Although I’m always a sucker for majestic dinosaur moments, the previous JW covered that element pretty well, so one sequence in this one should do it. And far be it from me, of course, to complain about anything involving babies. My love for domesticated, dog-like dinosaurs (if Blue was like this as a hatchling, she and the others were definitely trained, or learned to, be as vicious and dangerous as they were in Jurassic World. I wonder if Hoskins had anything to do with that) is finally being expressed on the big screen. My heart bursts.

That and the shot of Owen in the plane afterwards are really reminiscent of JP3. I never thought I’d see the day that a JP movie made a callback to JP3, but I guess it is part of the beloved original trilogy. Owen also reeks of JP3 Grant in the beginning of this, having to be convinced to go back to the island; he doesn’t seem to care much about dinosaurs anymore, which makes sense considering that he saw so many people and the raptors that were basically his children being killed before his eyes. Also, he knows that Isla Nublar is about to get blown up, and he doesn’t care. In fact, I get the impression that he hadn’t even considered the idea of Blue still being alive, or he’d deliberately tried to forget her. “Hero of previous movies loses his enthusiasm for dinosaurs and is dragged back to the island” is basically a JP trope now, so I can’t exactly call it a distinct TLW or JP3 callback, but it’s certainly continuing the traditions of the old trilogy.

Next, after these beautiful shots–

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Does it count as product placement if you’re advertising for your own toys?

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— we see the circumstances under which Ian Malcolm is testifying: he’s talking to an ethics counsel about the rights of dinosaurs and whether they should be protected. Just to get it out of the way: I totally called that. I also totally called that he’s gained an amount of respect for dinosaurs, enough that he’s advocating for them to be treated fairly and for it to be respected that “these creatures were here before us”. Considerably less impassioned than his previous dinosaur-related rants, but still very clearly Ian Malcolm.

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I’ve been waiting some time to see him in a suit. This is a big moment for me.

I’ve also previously said that if Ian (and Grant and Ellie with their respective famous lines, if they’ve cashed in on their Jurassic Park fame as much as Ian has) ever brings out his “life finds a way” speech again, as he frequently does in fanfics and does later on in the trailer, it would be in front of a crowd. I would think that Ian’s appearance here is a minor celebrity event, and he’s bringing out his old lines to sway the crowd and hopefully the board of ethics as well. He’s probably getting paid pretty well to show up here, smile slyly and whip out a few of his best quotes. He’s got a nice living going, he hasn’t been involved with dinosaurs for a long while and isn’t visibly traumatized anymore, and he’s taken control of his public image and popularity and gone back to his old, suave self. That’s all I wanted out of his appearance in this movie, honestly.

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Assuming this big warehouse of captured dinosaurs belongs to the Dinosaur Protection Group, and not the military or whoever else is on Nublar shipping out dinos, the Protection Group must be an even bigger operation than I’d thought, and Claire, Owen and the rest of the ragtag group must just be the surveyors or something. In any case, dinosaur rescue is a surprisingly big issue here, considering the incident that they’d caused recently and how common and unexciting they are now, as stated by Claire at the beginning of Jurassic World. I would think that people would be totally okay with leaving the dinosaurs alone and not letting anyone else get hurt by them. When I say that, I’m assuming that Wu’s plan succeeded and dinosaurs are already being genetically engineered and used on the mainland, and the dinos on Nublar aren’t the only ones in the world anymore; it’s entirely possible that the dinosaurs brought from the island will be the first ones to donate their DNA to corporations, the military, et cetera, and that the animal rights issues that the movie deals with won’t really arise until the various teams’ mission has succeeded and the denizens of Nublar have been brought to the mainland.

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As we saw in yesterday’s behind-the-scenes video, Owen meets Blue again, in what must be the area near the old T. rex paddock judging by the upside-down Explorer in the background. Bayona is literally burning everything we know and love about the first Jurassic Park, but at least he’s squeezing in as many references as he can before we never see Isla Nublar again. “You know me,” Owen whispers to her, and she almost goes in to be petted, but then screeches “I HATE YOU, DAD” at him in raptor language.

Here’s one of the few times that I’m happy to be wrong. Yesterday, I said that it was very unlikely that we’d get a good, suspenseful, TLW novel-inspired scene with an angry mother carnotaurus. Well:

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“Wait, I thought Disney made up that dinosaur for the Dinosaur ride/ movie?” –every single non-fan you’ll watch this scene with

Not only is this a dinosaur we’ve waited since 1995 to see in a Jurassic Park movie, the CGI on her is fantastic. Bayona is using a ton of animatronics for this movie, and it really beautifully shows.

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I cried when I saw this. I know you cried when you saw this. You’re probably crying right now.

Every recurring character in these movies has a catch phrase or an action or a motif that defines them. Ian Malcolm has “life finds a way”. Owen has his raptor-taming pose. Claire has that “I can’t believe I’m sitting here putting up with this right now” look. And Rexy has snapping the neck of smaller dinosaurs and roaring over them like the world’s biggest badass. Just like the shot of Owen riding his motorcycle with the Raptor Squad in the first trailer so long ago, this is without a doubt the moment of pure concentrated awesome that everyone will be talking about until (and after) the movie comes out. There’s nothing else I can say about it. I’m breathing heavily as I type this. I seriously hope Rexy doesn’t die or suffer a fate worse than death on the mainland, but if that’s what has to happen, this is a hell of a last hurrah.

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As Claire and Justice Smith ride away in a gyrosphere, leaving Owen to run behind them and be swallowed up by a cloud of ash, we get a closer look at the mystery dinosaur from the first teaser. I’ll update this if any official word comes out as to its identity, but for now we’re left to guess for ourselves. Its snout looks way too short to be Baryonyx or Suchomimus (although, as many have pointed out on Twitter, the snout on the movie’s confirmed Baryonyx is way too short anyway) so if I had to make a definite claim, I’d say it’s an Allosaurus that we never saw on the website (or a serious variation on the Metriacanthosaurus that we did) but we’ll have to see.

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It’s not like we’ll be seeing it for too long anyway.

The last shot in the trailer is Claire and Justice Smith’s Gyrosphere careening over a cliff and into the ocean, and when I first saw it, I got unbelievably excited because I thought I saw Mosasaurus swimming around in the water, right before where the Gyrosphere falls in.

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However, looking at it again, it’s more than likely a triceratops or one of the many other dinosaurs that jump/fall off the cliff as well. That shot, with the chunks of volcanic rock falling into the water like volcanoes from the sky, as well as this one–

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–are satisfyingly reminiscent of the classic image of the dinosaurs’ extinction, with herds of dinosaurs frantically fleeing as clouds of ash envelop everything. As incredibly sad as it is to see all of those dinosaurs die, this is a pretty artsy and pleasingly choreographed way to do it, with the Cretaceous extinction practically being replicated. As for the ocean scene, it’ll obviously be a suspenseful sequence with the two heroes trying to escape and swim to the surface (and Owen diving in to rescue them; the end of that scene will likely take place on the East Dock, and that’s probably where we got these photos from) but there’s still a distinct possibility that Mosasaur will show up in the water with them. We just gotta believe.

After all that waiting, I can officially say that the trailer was completely worth it. The director really likes his drab color scheme, but the plot and special effects more than make up for it. Some of the CGI still needs to be worked on, but the practical effects like Blue and the carnotaur are unbelievably well-done. We’re reaching almost a critical point with the Fallen Kingdom hype with all the new footage and details coming out, but we’ve waited so long and everything looks so good that we’ll be revelling in this for quite a while. Let me know what you thought of the trailer in the comments, join the party on Twitter, and go watch the trailer again!

New Dinosaurs, New Characters and a Beard

On top of the dizzying amount of news we’ve just gotten for Fallen Kingdom before tomorrow’s trailer release, we just got a first look/ behind the scenes video that shows a lot.

I usually deeply analyze things like this, but I have a lot on my plate today (my final exam for my paleontology class is tomorrow morning) and there’ll be a lot to unpack in the full trailer tomorrow, so I’m here just going to write about the parts of the video that I have something insightful to say about. Jurassic Outpost has an article and a video breaking all of it down if you’re interested in deeper analysis.

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This is out of order of the rest of the video, but you probably knew I’d mention this first. I saw these screenshots, among the other ones in this post, a few hours ago. My wonderful boyfriend Dylan and I had just finished going on a fossil-hunting expedition, and we were eating at a Mexican restaurant; he went to the bathroom and I pulled out my phone to check Twitter, and was greeted immediately by the sly grin and unexpected beard of the returning Ian Malcolm. By the time Dylan got back, he immediately looked concerned and asked me if I was okay. There were tears in my eyes. My hands shook as I ate my fried ice cream. It sounds like I’m making that up for the purpose of this article, but I’m not. It was an emotional experience. Needless to say I’m very happy to see this.

“Here I am, talking about dinosaurs again,” Ian says here, with a look on his face and a tone in his voice that indicates that he probably hasn’t had to deal with dinosaurs in a while. I’ve said previously that I’m okay with Ian having a small role, as long as the movie shows him being happy and well-adjusted and doesn’t kill him off. I can’t speak for the third part, but this Ian looks monumentally happier and calmer than when we last saw him. I mean, 20 years will do that to a person, but he’s been through a lot during his life, and the Jurassic World disaster probably wasn’t too easy on him. People are saying that he’s probably in a courtroom to testify against Jurassic World, possibly in one of the many trials that I’m sure Claire, Henry Wu, and the other bigwigs would’ve had to attend after their carelessness got so many people killed. However, something tells me that that’s not the case. It’s something about his tone of voice, and the fact that the courtroom he’s in isn’t set up like a typical trial. It looks like he’s speaking before some kind of board, particularly a board of ethics. I feel in my gut that Ian is making a case for dinosaurs’ rights. That sentence would’ve made no sense two years ago, but with the setup of the room and the bittersweet tone in Ian’s voice, it really looks to me like some kind of government committee is making decisions about the rights of genetically-modified organisms like dinosaurs, since the military and other corporations are planning to use them for all kinds of purposes, and that Ian is telling them that dinosaurs should be protected. That would make sense from the perspective of his previous ideas– he probably thinks dinosaurs shouldn’t be on the mainland at all, but if they are, they should be “quarantined and contained” as much as possible and treated ethically. It would also be a nice piece of character development, taking him full circle from being awed by dinosaurs to hating them to respecting them again. I kind of doubt he’ll even see a dinosaur at all in this, assuming this isn’t part of the courtroom scene:

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Yeah, guy in the toupee, I feel like that right now too.

If you ask me, Ian’s presence will mostly be a cameo that’s short enough to show us that he’s okay and he’s come a long way in his dinosaur issues.

Oh yeah, and this is a Jurassic Park movie, so we got dinosaurs:

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My personal favorite, obviously, is the baby carnotaurus, whose color scheme is a lot like the Demon Carnotaur toy with its black and red parts reversed. Where there’s a baby there’s a very angry mommy, and it’s probably too much to hope for that this movie will include some version of the fantastic carnotaur scene from the Lost World novel, but they could probably fit it in somewhere if they tried. If that’s a Baryonyx animatronic’s head in the background in the third picture, I’m very disappointed that the team is rejecting the dinosaur’s design from the JW website, but it’s always possible that it’s a Suchomimus or something else. And, unless it’s the famed Indoraptor that’s a redundancy in itself, I think the Indominus is one that was cloned for military or other purposes, and it’s broken out, as Indomini are wont to do.

Honestly, though, I have another gut feeling, and it’s that all the Indominus stuff we’ve seen so far is a fake-out. It would be deliciously ironic if Trevorrow remembers us leaking the Indominus’ design and details about her back in 2014-2015, and is now using that exact concept against us to make us think Indy is playing a big part in the movie when she isn’t. I have nothing to back this up, I just think it would be clever.

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And of course, everyone’s favorite dinosaur (besides Rexy, who we’ve already seen in previous teasers) Blue is here for the party. She appears to be running around the island (and possibly Lockwood’s mansion? Don’t ask me what that’s about, unless she somehow takes part in the suspenseful sequence that’ll go down in the mansion at some point) and feeling just fine at first, but eventually ends up strapped down to a table and doesn’t seem too thrilled about it. Of course I hope Blue doesn’t die, but it’s starting to look like that’s an option that’s on the table here. Heh.

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I and some others noticed earlier that Claire’s ponytail here is reminiscent of Sarah Harding’s hair in The Lost World (she ties her shirt just like Ellie does in the first movie, and now she’s got Sarah hair. Claire, I beg you, don’t emulate Amanda Kirby next time) but this shot really, really gave me Sarah vibes, particularly with Claire’s green shirt and the presumably sick dinosaur strapped down in front of her. A lot of the cinematography in this movie, especially this shot–

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— seems like it’s going for a Lost World effect. The colors are more muted than the film before it, there’s a lot more guns and a lot less wonder, it’s much darker, and there’s a lot of shots with rain in them. Since the first Jurassic World was so much of a tribute to Jurassic Park, it makes sense that the second movie in this trilogy will pay tribute to the second movie in the old trilogy. I know a lot of people think TLW was nowhere near as good as the first JP, but I’m of the opinion that it’s just as good and I love its dark aesthetic, so I’m thrilled to see even more of that.

We also get looks at new characters:

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Unfortunately, I can tell exactly who in this group will die first. You know which trope I mean.

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Hammond’s former business partner Benjamin Lockwood is living the absolute dream here– his mansion looks like a full-on museum. He’s notably holding Hammond’s cane here, which means that he was close enough to Hammond when he died that he got one of Hammond’s most prized non-dinosaur possessions, so I guess they must not be as estranged as I’d previously thought. Judging by the dinosaur-chase sequence that takes place in the mansion, I would guess Lockwood isn’t long for this world, and that he’ll be ironically consumed by a dinosaur while surrounded by statues and skeletons of the dinosaurs he loves so much.

I’d expected Daniela Pineda’s character, Zia Rodriguez, to be more of a serious scientist character for some reason. That’s not to say she isn’t, but she looks like more of a Jurassic fangirl who stuck along for the ride in this picture. Someone on Twitter suggested that she’s part of the military, which doesn’t necessarily contradict her being a nerd; maybe she’s one of the only people in the military who doesn’t agree with the use of dinosaurs in combat. I’m interested to find out more about who she is. And speaking of women in the series, here’s Lucy (or Maisie, according to Jurassic Outpost):

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If she’s hanging out in Lockwood’s mansion and thus probably his granddaughter, Lucy/Maisie’s playset of Isla Nublar is probably another thing Lockwood keeps around to stare at wistfully during emotional parts of the movie. Or she’s expressing regret that she never got to visit the island, or just plain sad that all the dinosaurs are dead. We see her in a couple of the action sequences in this video, so she’s probably taking the stereotypical role of “the kid” in the movie instead of Justice Smith’s character. Speaking of kids, Grey has been confirmed to be returning for Fallen Kingdom, but I didn’t spot him anywhere in this video. Maybe he’ll turn up in the much-awaited trailer tomorrow.

I’ll get more in-depth with the trailer that’s set to debut early tomorrow, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this teaser, and needless to say, this is going to be one great movie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fallen Kingdom Trailer Teasers

The official Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer won’t be coming out until Thursday, but we just got two glimpses at it!

Both teasers feature Claire, Owen and Justice Smith’s character on Isla Nublar and show the volcanic eruptions that we’ve heard so much about. When I first saw the word “RUN” in the name of the first teaser, I was instantly reminded of Claire’s chilling scream of “Run!” during the final battle of Jurassic World, and thus I expected to get a similar feeling from this trailer. I… didn’t quite get that feeling.

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Maybe it’s the way Owen runs with his arms flailing, or maybe it’s his somewhat high-pitched cry of “RuuuUUUUUn“, or maybe it’s the fact that he looks like he’s being chased and that the first dinosaur we see running after him is the hilariously harmless Gallimimus, but I didn’t quite get the sense of foreboding that this was probably meant to convey. In fact, I really didn’t like the vibe of this teaser in general. I felt that the mood of it was kinda silly because of Owen’s unintentionally hilarious running, and because throwing in a scene where “ALL the dinosaurs are in it at once!” felt like a cop-out. It makes sense that all the dinosaurs would be fleeing at once from an eruption, but it just didn’t strike me the right way. I have no doubt it’ll look better in context during the movie.

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Notice the way Claire is clinging to Owen. I guess they did stick together for survival.

This is a nice callback to the Gallimimus Valley scene in the first movie– they’re even hiding behind a log– which is another thing that bothered me, because it almost feels like they’re redoing that scene with more dinosaurs in an attempt to make it more awesome. But then again, there were scenes set in valleys with a bunch of running dinosaurs in both TLW and JP3, so this isn’t so much of a reach.

In this scene we see Gallimumus, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Pteranodons. The fact that the full variety of herbivores that previously lived in the Gyrosphere Valley (minus the parasaurs, which I have no doubt are among the crowd) gives a hint towards some of my earlier questions about the environment of the island and where the dinosaurs settled themselves after there were no more fences. There appears to be the same amount of, or slightly fewer, dinosaurs here than there were in Jurassic World, so not many of the Gyrosphere Valley dinosaurs wandered off or got killed by the newly freed predators– or the predators that had very few constraints on them in the first place, like Baryonyx and Suchomimus from the Cretaceous Cruise.

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Reminder that Baryonyx and Suchomimus were totally free to walk around in the water with kayaking humans on this totally safe attraction.

Pteranodons probably live all over the island, but the herbivores don’t seem to have gone far from their original habitat, opting to stay in and around the woods. That makes sense, given that it’d be much easier to hide in the woods than to stay exposed in an open field. All of the different herbivores also seem to have stayed together in relatively the same area, showing that at least they can tolerate each other, and at most that they’ve learned to all stick together to protect one another from roving predators, or the different species have become dependent on one another, having learned that from living together in the valley for so long and carrying it over once they weren’t guaranteed safety in the valley anymore. We also see some Compsognathuses:

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In the original Jurassic Park novel, compies lived all over the park and served as the scavengers/decomposers for its ecosystem, so it makes total sense that that would be the case once nature started to take over Isla Nublar. The island hasn’t had too long to become a “natural” ecosystem, and its predator-prey ratio is too out of whack for that to even be a possibility for a long time, but it’s obviously making some steps. I’m interested in seeing more of what the island has become, and how much it parallels the problems of the ecosystem of Isla Sorna in the Lost World novel.

The second teaser shows us a lot more:

First we see Owen, presumably having just arrived on Nublar, and indeed wearing the same outfit and in about the same state of cleanliness that we see him in in the Baby Blue video.

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Next, we get a look at everyone’s favorite not-Spinosaurus, Baryonyx!

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She’s emerging from a tunnel of some kind, and we see Claire and Justice Smith looking afraid of her with some kind of industrial building in the background, so I’m thinking that this scene is set in a behind-the-scenes building (possibly underground) that the Cretaceous Cruise dinosaurs retired to when the park closed at the end of the day. I’m guessing that unless the rescue team lured her down there to capture her, she’s only still hanging out down there out of habit, which makes sense considering she’s lived her entire life within Jurassic World and, like the other animals, is still getting used to having freedom. In fact, since she eats mostly fish, she might not have ever had a reason to leave her restricted area at all, and she might’ve just been living a peaceful life fishing and swimming all day and going down into her tunnel to sleep at night this entire time. I’d been wondering how much the animals in the park would stray from the areas that they’d lived in for their entire lives; this and the location of the herbivores in the previous teaser is telling us that the dinosaurs’ old habits die hard.

I’m guessing that the team went into this building either to search for Blue, lure out the Baryonyx, or get away from the volcano eruption. This looks like a really cool sequence that’ll show us the inner workings of the park itself, so whatever the reason they’re in there, I’m glad they are.

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Finally, here’s the queen herself, although she’s not in quite the same majestic state as we saw her in at the end of Jurassic World. This was probably intended to be a much bigger surprise than it actually was, since a photo of the Rexy animatronic from this exact scene was leaked months ago. Owen and Claire, both clean and wearing the shirts (but not the vests) that they wear to Nublar, open the truck to reveal her, and Owen says, “This is gonna be awesome”. For those reasons, I’m thinking this scene takes place before the Nublar mission, so Rexy had to have been brought back by someone other than them. So maybe they see that Rexy is okay, which tells them that the dinosaurs on Nublar are still alive and well, which makes Owen want to go back and get Blue? Or someone else is going to the island and capturing dinosaurs, and Owen and Claire decide to go and get as many dinos as they can before the other people (Biosyn or the military) can?

Overall, the first teaser didn’t quite rub me the right way, but I really enjoyed the second one, and both of them provide some interesting insights into the way that the Isla Nublar ecosystem is developing now that it’s not under human control anymore. They also showed that Justice Smith’s character, who I still have a hunch is Ian Malcolm’s son, will be an integral part of at least the island-related part of the movie, and will possibly serve as “the kid” of the cast, at least until Lucy shows up. Finally, we now know that the color scheme of this part of the movie will be very dark and bleak. I’m not a huge fan of that either, although I can see why Bayona made that choice, this being a “very dark” movie and all, and to contrast with the bright colors of the preceding movie. I’m hoping that’s not the case in the final product, since flat gray and brown colors can get really boring to look at really fast. As we saw in Jurassic World, the CGI and overall look of the teasers and trailers can drastically vary from the final film, so there’s enough time to color things up a little.

What did you think of the teasers? What are you excited to see in the trailer on Thursday? Let me know in the comments!

Huge thanks to Jurassic Outpost for the screenshots from the first teaser, and to Chris Pugh for being the first to show the second teaser on Twitter. 

Update: Thank you to @tomasseligmann on Twitter for showing me an alternate teaser!

This one is almost exactly like the first, except it has one added shot, where some kind of theropod is running with the herbivores and gets knocked into by a gallimimus:

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I can’t seem to figure out which carnivore it is; if I had to guess, I would say it’s an allosaur or the Suchomimus from the JW website, but the footage is blurry and it’s hard to tell, and search me for why a Cretaceous Cruise dinosaur who primarily eats fish would be running around in herbivore territory, unless she’d drastically adjusted her diet in a couple of years.

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I’d welcome any guesses. Also, this trailer is considerably more colorful than the last one, which is kind of a relief.

Update: It just keeps coming! We have two new images and some details about Fallen Kingdom’s plot!

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This scene, where Claire and Justice Smith get stared down by a Baryonyx, appears to take place in some kind of maintenance room or geothermal station (which would explain the lava pouring down) instead of in an underground dinosaur habitat like I’d previously thought. They don’t appear to have any kind of capture gear in place, so they probably didn’t lure Baryonyx down there on purpose; I’m guessing they’re grabbing important documents from Jurassic World before the island goes kablooey, and I’d venture to guess that there’s something filed away in the park that could incriminate Henry Wu for collaborating with Vic Hoskins. There’s a chance that this is the maintenance shed from the first movie, too, although I’m not sure what they’d be doing down there.

Now that we have a better look at the overall Baryonyx design, I have to say I’m a little disappointed, at least for now. The lighting isn’t too great in this shot, so I can’t judge entirely, but what we’re seeing here doesn’t look like the official design from the JW website, which I liked a lot.

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I think I can see a little glimmer of blue near her eye, but I don’t see a crest on her head, feathers on her arms, or any of those intricate spots on her body. This Baryonyx isn’t necessarily the same one that we saw on the website, and this could even be a female Bary when the one from the site was a male (or vice versa), but I really hope this is changed in the final product. We’ve been waiting to see Baryonyx on the big screen for a long time, and they should really do it justice.

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The second shot is another picture of baby Blue! This looks a lot more like it’s set in a nursery, and I think the pieces are coming together a little better as to the identity of this adorable little thing. Judging by the chew toys in the background, the grate on the floor, and the concrete wall, this probably isn’t the old Visitor Center and the mural on the wall is just a tribute to the mural there. Unless Blue ended up having a baby in the most convenient place on the entire island, this is most likely a flashback scene– I’m hesitant to say anything for sure because of Owen’s clothes.

Alternatively, this could be something unrelated to the rescue mission. I have an idea brewing that has to do with my previous statement that someone probably brought Rexy back from the island before Owen and Claire. I think it’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone extracted Blue’s DNA or otherwise got it from a vault or something (hopefully while she’s still alive) and that what we’re seeing here is actually Blue’s clone. I think it’s also possible that Blue’s DNA is being used as the template for raptors that are cloned specifically for use in the military, and maybe the military were even the ones who grabbed Rexy and Blue’s DNA; Claire and Owen might have broken into some kind of military storehouse in this scene, as well as the scene with Rexy in the truck. If humans, either Claire and Owen’s team or the military or someone else, cloned this little raptor and raised her from birth, it would certainly explain why she’s so fast to cozy up to Owen. Speaking of the Rexy scene, by the way, here’s an extended teaser showing the beautiful animatronic used in that scene:

I’m not such a fan of the CGI on baby Blue’s tail (I know it’ll be fixed, just like the Jurassic World CGI was fixed between its trailer and the final film) but I love the effects used in this teaser. Measuring up to the effects used for Rexy in the first movie is a lofty goal but this is certainly on its way there. We’ve seen other dinosaurs in trucks from leaked set photos, including a triceratops (captured by the same people who got Rexy, I would assume) so there are at least two confirmed animatronics being used in the movie. Let’s hope that’s a trend that continues.

Finally, from Entertainment Weekly, we have a glimpse at Fallen Kingdom’s plot!

“Claire’s founded an organization, Dinosaur Protection Group, and they’re finding a way to get these dinosaurs off the island. She reaches out to Owen Grady to let him know this is happening. When you see them at the beginning of this story, you get caught up as to what’s going on, but it’s not what you would necessarily expect.”

I guess Claire and Owen didn’t stick together for survival after all, then, although they’re obviously still in some kind of contact. Maybe they found out that a relationship based primarily on adrenaline-fueled kisses and escaping death wasn’t liable to last long. Also, Claire is now the head of an animal rights guerrilla group, which is hilariously far from her character at the beginning of JW, and yet completely fitting for her as well. Claire’s a natural leader and organizer, and she’s determined in whatever she does, so if she wants to save some dinosaurs, she is gonna save some dinosaurs. I’d previously thought that the Nublar rescue mission was to primarily rescue Blue and maybe Rexy, but apparently it’s for all the dinosaurs they can find. Unless they’re saving dinos just for animal rights reasons, it would make sense that the group would transport them from Nublar to save them from the clutches of the military or whoever else is getting their filthy paws all over the park’s previous attractions. Also, since the Dinosaur Protection Group was founded before this mission, Claire is probably doing advocacy work against abuse of dinosaurs in whatever they’re being used for on the mainland. Maybe she’s even leading protests against the very thing she used to be in charge of. I’m glad to be able to say this again: you go, Claire!

Again, thanks a million to Jurassic Park Outpost for the photos.

First Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Footage

After this long of a wait for Fallen Kingdom news, I thought that Trevorrow and company really owed us. The trailer (still to come) or whatever else they dropped on us after months upon months of radio silence had better be worth the wait. “Cherish the silence, it’s about to get loud,” he said on Twitter. And it just did get loud. From the sound of me screaming.

In what may be a flashback scene, baby Blue (if it is baby Blue; we’ll discuss that in a moment) is cozying up to Owen, possibly for the first time. At first glance, my guess is that Owen has been imprinting on the Raptor Squad since they were born, but this is the first time Blue has ever seriously bonded with him on her own; considering her special bond with Owen in Jurassic World, she’s likely to be the first of the squad to do so. It’s hard to tell exactly how old she is, but she still looks like a fairly young hatchling. The background seems to indicate that they’re in a jungle, but it looks pretty flat to me, almost as if it’s the painted wall of a lab or nursery, which would make sense considering the raptor enclosure probably wasn’t completely constructed when the Squad was so little. Matheus Manacez made an interesting comparison about the background (look at the tree):

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Some people on Twitter, Matheus included, believe that the background here being so close to the one in the visitor’s center means that the baby we’re seeing here is actually Blue’s child, who’s living in the ruins of the old Center; the lighting, which seems to be sunlight, would also make sense if this were true. This is further supported by comparing Owen’s outfit here to his outfit in set photos:

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They look pretty similar, besides the glove on Owen’s arm. Plot-wise, Owen meeting Blue’s baby in the old Visitor’s Center would be a touching tribute to the original trilogy, especially if it comes shortly before the entire island goes kablooey. If Blue is dead– and I seriously hope she doesn’t die, but considering Bayona’s treatment of everything else from previous movies that we hold dear, it’s possible– it would also fit in with the theme of the destruction of the old and a creation of a new generation, as the team is doing with the series as a whole.

The part of this that surprised me the most was that Blue isn’t being timid at all, she’s chattering at Owen in raptor language and actively leaning in to be petted (and snorting happily when he scratches her chin. Guys, I’m trying really hard to be professional about this). If this is indeed a young Blue, she’s clearly already accepted Owen as her mother figure, so this might just be the first time she ever says “hey, you’re my mom and I want attention” to him, which probably feels like a huge breakthrough to him and just a developmental stage to her. If it’s Blue Junior we’re seeing, that behavior makes a bit less sense, considering that she’s never met a human before in her life. She’d probably only approach Owen if her mom encouraged her to, gently bumping her towards him with her snout (I’m really trying here). I guess a baby raised with raptors and not much else (I’m assuming that Blue would raise her in the safety of the Center, away from predators and large herbivores) wouldn’t exactly hate a human, but she probably wouldn’t make the first move towards one either, and I think that the baby’s willingness to get so close to Owen and seem so happy while doing so is probably the only thing that makes me doubt the Blue Jr. theory. Unless Owen is just using his Raptor Whisperer talents on her, in which case it would make a lot more sense.

So in other words, I think it’s most likely that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s first official footage is showing the hopefully-alive Blue’s baby meeting her… grandpa? Uncle? Godfather?… for the first time, and being surprisingly happy and trusting about it. Needless to say, not only is this an intriguing addition to what we know about the Fallen Kingdom story, it’s also the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time. We can only hope that this sequence in the movie isn’t a repeat of the petting zoo scene in Jurassic World– i.e. it shows more than 6 seconds of baby dinosaurs, and we see part of it in the movie that we didn’t already see in the trailer– and that this adorable baby, whether it’s the original Blue or a sequel, makes it to the end of the movie unscathed by lava. Also, I would like to point out that the leather bit on Owen’s arm looked to me at first glance like a falconer’s glove, suggesting that Owen encourages baby dinosaurs to sit on his forearm like falcons. This is an important concept and I stress that it should be expressed in fan art as soon as possible.

Claire at the Museum

On our way to a convention in Atlanta the other day, my dad and I took a quick stop at the Fernbank Museum, which I wouldn’t exactly endorse but which I probably shouldn’t trash-talk after I got some very nice pictures there. Luckily I had my Claire outfit on, and what resulted was probably my favorite cosplay photo shoot that I’ve ever done. Take a look:

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I’ve always wanted to do a JP cosplay shoot at a museum, and I’m really happy that I did and that I got to share it with you! I took some more pictures of me as Claire and Kylo Ren at the convention; you can see them on my tumblr.