Ouch, My Heart

First things first: a new Fallen Kingdom TV spot just came out, and it has A VERY SPOILERY SCENE IN IT WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT WATCH IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED BY EVEN ONE MAJOR MOMENT IN FALLEN KINGDOM. People have been saying for a while that JWFK’s three trailers have revealed basically every part of the movie, and if Universal heard those complaints, they interpreted them in the totally wrong direction. You have been warned:

Yeah, that’s Rexy in a zoo next to a lion, all right. That’s a gorgeous shot contrasting two different types of apex predators, showing the entirely new paradigm created by dinosaurs living on the mainland. It’s also the kind of thing we’ve been expecting to see from this new trilogy for a while– when it was first announced that Fallen Kingdom would involve dinosaurs living on the mainland, I thought the movie would begin with a group of schoolchildren seeing herbivorous dinosaurs at the zoo. Yep, it’s poetic and beautiful, and it sure would’ve been nice to see it for the first time in the movie theater.

This is shown after the previously-seen shots of Rexy being transported to the mainland by the Bad Guys (TM), so we’re probably meant to assume that this happens before the whole Indoraptor incident, and maybe as a precursor to this scene:

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However, with the bright lighting that contrasts the moody color choices of the second half of the movie, and with the majestic feeling it evokes, my guess is that this shot is at the very end of the movie. For whoever’s in charge of Rexy’s fate, putting her in a zoo where she’ll be taken care of is a profitable and somewhat safe, although incredibly undignified, retirement for her; maybe the DPG fights for the dinosaurs to be put in peaceful, controlled environments after they escape the fate of being sold off. Jurassic World ended with a shot of Rexy roaring off a cliff, so this would be a good cinematic parallel to end its sequel with. It would end the movie by setting the stage for the next film to be entirely about dinosaurs being integrated into modern society. With the broken fence behind Rexy and her classic roar, this could be a tribute to the classic sequence in the first JP movie, and therefore the final heartrending tribute to the original series before everything goes totally off the rails in JW3. Yes, I think this would be an excellent and touching (cinematically, I mean; I know I can speak for all of us when I say we do not want our queen put in the zoo) way to end Fallen Kingdom. Sure would’ve been nice to experience it for the first time when we actually see the movie. Yep, suuuuuuure would’ve been nice.

Speaking of TV spots, here, watch your favorite raptor get totally slammed by Shark-Jump-Osaurus:

Blue will make it out of this alive, right? Right? Right???!

While we’re getting depressed, I should mention that rumors abound that the Jurassic Park ride in Hollywood may be closed for refurbishment later this year. Even if you’re not like me and you don’t have a serious attachment to the way the ride is now, its closure will be sad for any JP fans visiting during that time, and the growing theme park industry trend of replacing animatronics with screens and projections doesn’t bode well for any ride that’s undergoing a major renovation. Of course, Universal parks are also known for top-notch quality in the rides they invest a lot of time and money into, so we’ll have to wait and see. They had just better not replace the giant T. rex animatronic at the end of the ride. She deserves to keep terrifying children for as long as her parts can hold together.

Finally, it’s been confirmed that Jurassic World 3 will have no hybrid dinosaurs in it. Continuing with some ideas that I’ve written about on this blog before, I wrote a thread about why I think that is:

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Fallen Kingdom’s Final Trailer

The third and last full trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has arrived, and it’s absolutely stunning! In case you weren’t aware, there are many spoilers ahead, so go forward at your own risk if you want to go into the movie theater mostly blind about the plot.

It begins with an extended cut of the Rexy scene, which definitely takes place after they’ve gotten her off of the island– Owen says “she’s tranqued”. She moves her head in slumber and almost takes Owen out in the process, but not quite.

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“It’s cool! I’ve seen people on the internet who’d love for this to happen to them!”

Then, as we’ve seen before, she gets pissed and tries to take a bite of him. Touché, Rexy, everyone expects that. You gotta take a swipe at people with your tail once in a while or something to mix things up.

Then, when Evil Corporate Villain #1 talks to Claire before she goes to the island, he specifically tells her to rescue Blue because “she’s the last of her kind”. Along with Claire’s cry of “It was all a lie!” later on, this gives us two important pieces of information about the DPG rescue operation: it’s funded or assisted at least in part by the Evil Company that ends up making the Indoraptor, and said company needs the team to rescue Blue because it needs her DNA to finalize the design of the Indoraptor. Or for something else involving the Indoraptor, at least.

As far as I can see, this throws a wrench into the timeline of the movie, because if the Indoraptor’s genetic sequence isn’t even complete at the time when the DPG goes to Nublar, then it’ll probably take a good while for Evil Company Incorporated to hatch and grow the animal. Even with the accelerated growth technology that InGen used in Jurassic World, it’ll probably take a good few months. And since Claire and Owen seem shocked to see the Indoraptor at its big reveal (more on that later), the DPG will have had much more time to raise public awareness that shadowy corporations are in fact planning to use dinosaur cloning technology for nefarious purposes. Thus there’ll be more public awareness generated, and when news gets out of the Indoraptor incident, there’ll be more public impact and more likelihood that legislation protecting dinosaurs will be put out as a result. It also gives Claire and Owen more time to work together and bond, which is good news for Clawen fans.

Speaking of Blue, the connection between him and JP3 Alan Grant is further established, with Mr. Suit #1 (should we even learn his name? We all know he’s not long for this world) suggesting that Claire should bring him along because of his dinosaur expertise, voiced over the first trailer’s shot of him sitting in an airplane above the island and looking pensive. As if he’s got anything to be grumpy about, getting a firsthand look at the kind of theme park ruins that I would kill to see:

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We get a longer look at his confrontation with Blue, where he tries to calm her down by using the clicker and does the familiar arms-out pose from the first JW’s classic shot. Hey, if they’re so determined on including memes from the first movie, at least they’re doing that instead of mentioning Claire’s heels. Then we see how Blue ends up getting injured: she starts shit with a mercenary and then proceeds to get hit.

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Teenage rebellion can be hard on everyone.

Claire only realizes that it was all a lie until all the dinos have been captured and loaded onto a ship called the Arcadia, and then there’s a shot of the Rexy scene, so that part doesn’t take place in a DPG-controlled warehouse as I had thought– it happens on or near a boat headed to the mainland, so Claire and Owen are probably making a last-ditch attempt to get Rexy and the other dinosaurs out of there. Well, that’ll certainly happen in one way or another. Actually, I think I have a pretty good idea of what it’ll look like if this T. rex gets out of containment on a boat headed for the mainland…

We get a look at what’s probably Henry Wu’s new lab:

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It’s not a huge surprise that Wu took the embryos from Jurassic World and immediately set himself up with the richest and most unethical corporation that he could find. Since according to the DPG website he was investigated for unethical practices after the JW incident, he must’ve gotten off pretty easily, or this corporation just doesn’t care who’s creating their animals as long as they can make a buck. Looks like he didn’t need Hammond to protect him after all. We also see him in front of this device, which I’m guessing is the chamber that he creates the Indoraptor in:

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And speaking of the Indoraptor: oh, wow. Oh, wow. This is where the cinematography starts getting really good. I’m still iffy on the plot of the movie, but there is no doubt in my mind that whatever happens, it’s going to be absolutely beautiful. Look at this:

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Her escape isn’t shown in this trailer, but judging from shots we’ve seen in previous trailers and in the behind-the-scenes featurette from alongside the first one–

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–there’s about as much running and screaming as you’d expect.

Owen gets Blue to trust him again (hopefully not for the last time) and the two of them end up in some kind of dinosaur containment room. I mention this specifically because it hilariously parallels the earlier scene with Rexy roaring over the fallen carnotaur:

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If it wasn’t clear before, we now definitely know that the ultimate dinosaur rampage/stampede sequence will take place in and near the Lockwood mansion. The guy getting picked up by the pterodactyl definitely happens near it, and probably so does this shot of Rexy roaring at someone who’s dressed in a way that’s specifically reminiscent of another embryo thief that we know and love:

Scattered in between those two parts of the trailer are, in my opinion, the two best parts. First, this gorgeous bit:

And my long-awaited underwater mosasaur scene. I still don’t know why the DPG would bother going down there to look for the Indominus’ remains, but oh am I glad they do.

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Looks like we were right about Indy’s teeth growing directly from her skull. Oof.

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With this and the shot of her in the wave, the queen of the ocean singlehandedly steals the show with the two best shots in the whole thing. I’m just… I’m just so proud of her, is all. I’m crying because I’m happy, I promise.

The rest of the trailer is filled with shots that we’ve already seen, interspersed with new footage of the Indoraptor chasing the gang around the Lockwood mansion. This shot in particular is very clever; the Indoraptor is putting humans into a cage instead of the other way around.

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This trailer, despite its heavy subject matter, is definitely trying to lighten the mood at least a little. Owen jokes around with Claire and there’s irony, like in the shot above, to make us grin. It can’t all be a dark, gritty horror movie, after all.

The trailer ends with an extended scene of Indoraptor breaking into Maisie’s room, which might be interpreted to supplement my idea of the Indoraptor ultimately being a curious creature that only ended up being vicious because of the environment it was raised in.

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The way it opens her window, peers into her room and quietly puts its head over her bed seems much more delicate and almost human-like. In my eyes, this doesn’t look like predator behavior– it looks like a genuinely confused animal that’s seeing for the first time a human that doesn’t want to hurt it or force it to fight. Even when Owen shoots at it in an earlier shot, it just raises back up and looks at him, instead of charging him like it definitely could if it wanted to. I said in my last post that I’d be happy if the movie ended with the revelation that Indoraptor was only so malicious because of its genetic tampering and the way it was raised, and unless I’m completely interpreting this wrong, I think this sequence of it being delicate with Maisie will be foreshadowing that the true evil here came from humans.

Aside from the trailer, we also have a couple of new posters!

Reaction to these posters has been mostly negative, but they surely won’t be the only ones we’ll get until June. Also, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, we’ve gotten some stills from the movie and shots of the cast having a grand old time with the Indoraptor:

What do you think about the trailer and the posters? Let me know in the comments and/or on Twitter!

Update: a Chinese trailer containing some extra dialogue and shots has been released, and it confirms that Blue’s DNA is used to create the Indoraptor, which is personally designed by Wu:

Also, an Entertainment Weekly article reveals that the DPG is trying to bring the dinosaurs to “a sanctuary that Lockwood has created in America”, only to find that ” the dinosaurs are actually being sold, not saved”, presumably all to corporations, like the Indoraptor.

Update: A new TV spot shows that Claire and Franklin escape the Baryonyx’s innaccurately-short jaws by climbing up and out of a manhole, showing that the scene does indeed take place underground and presumably in an underground station leading out of the Cretaceous Cruise river:

Trailer #3 Teaser

Today on Twitter, Jurassic World dropped a 15-second teaser for the third trailer!

We’ve gotten a full-body look at the Indoraptor as well as an extended idea of what the scene on the rooftop of the Lockwood mansion will look like– the one where Maisie ends up hanging off the edge of the roof.

As Claire trains her gun on it Sarah Harding-style, it turns to the camera and gives a gargly roar. This could just be an attempt to make its roar more distinctive, but it could possibly also be an indication that the animal is such a shambling genetic mutant that it struggles to even roar properly. I’ve honestly never thought about this perspective before, but it would be very interesting if it ends up that the Indoraptor is in pain just being alive because of all its genetic tampering, and the main characters find out that it’s only lashing out because it’s suffering and doesn’t know any better than to follow its basic killing instincts (sort of like the Indominus, which was raised in captivity with no human contact) thus inspiring them and more people to have compassion for the remaining dinosaurs and stop trying to use them for commercial purposes. Material from the JWFK game explicitly states that the Indoraptor is “always hungry and hunting for prey” which could supplement the idea that it has something wrong with it– no animal is ALWAYS hunting for prey unless it’s really pissed about something.

Obviously corporations won’t just stop their dino-cloning just like that, but the Indoraptor’s story could be used to turn the general public’s opinion toward the idea of not creating new and terrifying dinosaurs to be used for business and in the military. (It could also be a reason for Owen to become a dinosaur advocate and join the DPG at the end of the movie, since he’s seen the pain of dinosaurs firsthand and because of the whole Blue story arc.) JP movies have ended on a note of sympathy for the dinosaurs before (The Lost World emphasized that the rex only went on its rampage because it’d been drugged and separated from its baby) so it wouldn’t be too much of a reach for this new movie to go in that direction more explicitly, especially since it’s coming from a director who wants to introduce new concepts to the franchise.

Anyway, enough about the touchy-feely stuff. MOSASAUR! HELL YEAH!

I knew we would get to see her in the movie, but I had no idea it would be this glorious. It definitely makes sense that she’d be able to swim all the way out to the coast of Costa Rica, especially if she ended up breaking out of her enclosure after all. Speaking of which:

Search me as to why the DPG team would bother going down to find Indy’s remains while there are a ton of living dinosaurs to rescue, but they will, and they’ll meet the queen of the deep once again. And she looks as gorgeous as ever:

As the youths say, I am shook. The full trailer is set to release this Wednesday, so tune in then!

More Returning Cast in Fallen Kingdom

Everyone, rightfully, is super excited for Jeff Goldblum to reprise his role as Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Jeff himself has even dropped some hints that Ellie Sattler might get involved too. Laura Dern hasn’t been confirmed to be returning yet, but a lot of other actors from past JP movies have followed Goldblum’s lead and signed on to the Jurassic World sequel!

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Pete Postlethwaite, who we all remember as Roland Tembo from The Lost World, was the first to sign on to the sequel! In a recent interview, he said of his return, “I’m honored to be playing Roland again, and I feel the role is a lot more relevant now that they’re tracking down dinosaurs on an island again […] I suppose I decided I hadn’t actually spent enough time in the company of death.” Roland will certainly be a lot older than the last time we saw him, but his hunter’s senses will surely be as sharp as ever!

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Rounding out the cast to include actors from all three movies in the original trilogy, Tea Leoni recently announced that she’ll be returning for a brief cameo as Amanda Kirby! “I can’t spoil the surprise of how and when I’ll appear,” she said, “but when I was offered the opportunity to be in the next Jurassic Park, I knew I had an obligation to the fan community that supports me so much. I know that Amanda has been somewhat of a favorite among Jurassic fans, and I’m thrilled for the chance to bring them some joy again.” As a survivor of the harrowing Isla Sorna Incident, it definitely makes sense that Mrs. Kirby would want to be involved in any legal action involving dinosaurs. Maybe she’ll testify alongside Malcolm?

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In addition to main characters from the original trilogy, we’ll also be seeing the return of Matty Cardarople as the Gyrosphere operator. “You’re getting to see the real fallout of what happened after Jurassic World. I lost my job,” Matty remarked in an interview. “I’m working at a pizza place now. You get to see how this disaster hurt the little people.” That honestly wasn’t my biggest concern while I was watching the fight on Nublar go down in the last movie, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra touch of humanity to the movie.

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This news is considerably more vague, but Universal has dropped hints that all four of the Japanese men from the San Diego scene in The Lost World will return for a brief part of Fallen Kingdom.

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If I had to guess, I would say that these four are probably there to take a shot at buying the Indoraptor. Geez, these guys never learn their lesson, do they? I thought they left Japan to get away from this?

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We also have confirmation that another minor yet popular character from the original movies, Udesky, will be joining the JWFK cast! It remains a mystery how he survived having his neck snapped by a raptor, but actor Michael Jeter dropped a hint for us. “Well, if he’s dead, he’s not getting paid anymore,” Jeter laughed. “The money was a pretty good motivator to get out of there.” I’m honestly a lot more interested in how he made it off Isla Sorna than I am in what he’ll do on Nublar or the mainland. If he works for the DPG, they’re certainly lucky to have such a good hunter on their side.

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Another JP3 star, Taylor Nichols as Mark Degler, has also been confirmed to be a part of the cast! Since he’s Ellie’s husband, you’d think this would mean that Ellie will also be appearing in the film for sure, but Nichols says he can’t confirm or deny that. “I’d hate to ruin the surprise by telling everyone what I’m doing here and whether it’s with Ellie,” he confessed recently. “But I can most certainly tell you this: I’m here to do exactly what I’ve done as long as I’ve been in these movies. I’m here to just ruin everything.”

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This one is most certainly intriguing: a character will be returning who never had an actor to play him in the first place. John Hammond’s chef and the personal cook of the Jurassic Park resort, Alejandro, has been confirmed to appear in Fallen Kingdom:

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No details on the character’s role or the actor who will play him are forthcoming. When they are, I’ll be sure to report on this bold and interesting casting choice.

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In another interesting move, the puppet guy whose hand can be seen steadying a raptor in the first JP has confirmed his appearance in the next movie as well! “I just feel like, since the beginning of the franchise, my job has been with these dinosaurs, making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to to,” explained puppeteer John Rosengrant. “By stabilizing the raptors just like I did back then, we’re calling back to the roots of the story and we’re making sure the animatronics stay in place at the same time.” Hooray for more of Mr. Rosengrant!

Finally, one more important character from previous Jurassic movies will be making a reappearance. It’s everyone’s favorite creature from the first Jurassic World– the one and only shark:

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“With this whole new Indoraptor thing, the producers called me in,” said the shark, “so the new movie could jump me.”

If I got you even just at first, you’ve been April Fooled! Have a happy Easter!

Rexy Eats Costa Rica

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for JP fans, and I’ve been away/busy for both of them. The rundown, in no particular order of importance, is: Dr. Pepper, McDonald’s and Skittles are all having JW promotions; we’ve gotten a glimpse at the Classic JP toy line from Mattel; Saturday Night Live did a hilarious JP sketch; Lego showed off more JP sets, including one from the first movie; Jeff Goldblum will narrate the new Jurassic World Evolution game; and a Pokemon Go-style game called Jurassic World Alive has been released basically everywhere but the USA (I’ll write about my experience with it once they finally see fit to give it to me). I’ve been too swamped with midterms to write about those at length, so there you go. I took an exciting spring break trip and I’ve been looking forward to sharing these pictures with you. 

Life’s been rough on our favorite dinosaur Rexy lately. Just 3 years of being left alone on her home island, and now she’s being shoved into trucks, having Nublar covered in lava, and God knows what else. The old lady needed a break, and she needed to find a place to live on the mainland of Costa Rica since her old home wasn’t an option anymore. I figured the least I could do was to take her on a trip with me to two of the prettiest parts of the country closest to Nublar.

The first place we stayed at was Arenal National Park, right across from an active volcano, which was visibly steaming during all the days we were there.

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Rexy was understandably not pleased with this, but she did take a moment to do her signature “beat it, losers, my island now” roar.

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We scoped out the jungle for a while, and while she was satisfied with the Jurassic-looking landscape–

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— there was a shortage of “extra fat snacks”, as she likes to call herbivores. There was no small amount of wildlife there, but since that wildlife consisted mostly of cute fuzzy things that were willing to eat fruit out of my hand–

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–I couldn’t in good conscience let her prey on them.

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Her favorite part of the jungle was this mini-spa of a cool jungle river. It was located at the bottom of the absolute steepest trail on earth, so most of the time she would be supplied with exhausted tourists suitable for lunch.

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We went for a horseback ride, the experience of which was a bit tainted by her constant salivating and insistence on calling the horses “fast food” whenever they started running. Grumpy that I wouldn’t let her eat any of the animals we’d met so far, she let me take her somewhere different: Manuel Antonio, the site of the best beach I’ve ever been to.

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This was actually one of two beaches that we visited. This one was in the middle of Manuel Antonio National Park, and to Rexy’s delight, it featured a large population of local animals. Sloths:

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Bats:

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Lizards:

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And monkeys. Lots and lots and lots of white-faced monkeys.

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Rexy, surprisingly, showed little interest in eating the latter. Maybe it was because she bonded with them over eating things that they weren’t supposed to. When she wasn’t posing for photos, she was helping them steal sandwiches and peanut butter that visitors weren’t supposed to have brought in.

The second beach we went to, though much less calm, was just as picturesque. Shh– I told her I would post all these on Jurasstagram and not just my blog.

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After we finished swimming and she stopped laughing at me for having weak non-scaly skin that required sunscreen, we went for another horseback ride, this time to a waterfall.

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The last part of the trip, and Rexy’s favorite, was the ride we took on a catamaran called Ocean King. While I went snorkeling, she took the time to really treat herself, catching some rays:

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And working up an appetite by watching the sea life:

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The best view of the trip was watching the scenery of the ocean and the coast as the sun set. 20180307_182136

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She noticed that there was a huge amount of small to mid-sized islands right there off the beautiful coast.

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Rexy decided then that, given the choice, she’d like to stay here once Isla Nublar is gone. It’s sad to say that Fallen Kingdom is the last time we’ll ever see Nublar, but there’s no end to the possibilities for Rexy’s life and the Jurassic Park movies. As the queen got to see for herself, there’s more than one island off the coast of Costa Rica.

Breaking News: I Still Love Jurassic Park

Aside from following all the new Fallen Kingdom news that we’ve been graced with, I’ve been up to a lot of Jurassic Park-related stuff lately. First, I made a video for the Jurassic Park 25 contest, talking about all the ways JP has changed my life for the better. I seriously doubt I’ll win anything, but I tried my best. Here’s my entry:

Second, I got the best Valentine’s Day present ever from the best boyfriend ever: 6 animation cels that were used in the Mr. DNA sequence in the first movie! (They came from a display at Universal Studios, so at least it’s more than likely that they were.) My pictures don’t do them justice, and I need to find a good place to display them:

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I like to think that a part of Mr. DNA’s soul is now inside a picture frame with me for eternity.

Finally, I got to go to a fossil fair yesterday! It was at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Charlotte, North Carolina. There was a room full of fossil vendors, from which I bought a small piece of T. rex bone:

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There was also a traveling exhibit full of highly inaccurate dinosaurs. I was accompanied to this by my Demon Carnotaur, who I have recently discovered talks like a bad movie villain.

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“Ahhh yes, the long-necked one, and a small one too. Tender meat. Delicious.”
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“It looks… confused. This will make it all the sweeter. Show me more of your fear, child.”
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“It is the large one with the small brain. Delightful! But how I detest the plates catching between my teeth.”
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“The size of this one confuses me, but I will vanquish it nonetheless. Its horns will bow to me.”
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“Curses! This one has no meat on its bones! This sleight will be avenged tenfold!”

The exhibit also featured such horrors as a quadrupedal spinosaur that was nowhere near water:

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The most emaciated monolophosaur I’ve ever seen:

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And a raptor that for some reason, looks very familiar:

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The rest of the museum had some cool stuff too. As you can see, I dressed appropriately:

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All in all, it was a really fun day, and you should drop by the Schiele Museum if you’re ever in the Charlotte area!

Lost InGen Document and a Lost World Theory

In a report on the Dinosaur Protection Group site (which you should be following by email if you aren’t already), Zia Rodriguez released a document from 1994 dealing with the different dinosaur species on Isla Sorna. The document has some interesting animal behavior insights and reveals where the new species that we’ll see in Fallen Kingdom came from!

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It turns out there were way more animals on Nublar than we saw in the first movie, especially dilophosaurs (the juvenile that killed Nedry must’ve had some very proud parents). Meanwhile, Rexy had herself a blast without human supervision, killing 22 herbivores (give or take a few) within a year. This was probably so she could get her fill of lysine just like the carnivores on Sorna did. The document notes that she did a lot of scavenging as well, so points for scientific accuracy, I guess. The remaining herbivores seem to have stayed within their paddocks except for the parasaurs, who stuck with the apparently un-killable brachiosaurs.

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The first thing I thought when I saw the notes under Compsognathus was that the “sneaking between islands by hiding on boats” thing is the production team’s attempt to rationalize the ending of The Lost World, giving credibility to the theory that velociraptors snuck aboard the SS Venture and killed its crew; if the compies could do that undetected, so could the raptors. It seems to me like there are too many Lost World tie-ins with this movie, in the trailers’ cinematography and the movies’ content, for this to be a coincidence. I think this is a subtle way of foreshadowing the numerous Lost World references that Fallen Kingdom will make, and possibly that it’ll tie up some other loose ends from TLW. In any case, the fact that so many compies showed up on Nublar was probably essential to its continuance as a functioning ecosystem, and if they hadn’t shown up, the place would’ve been in a lot worse shape and more dinosaurs probably would’ve been dead. Every environment needs somebody to clean up in order to keep it functioning, and not everyone wants to eat dinosaur poop.

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The document ends with a neat little retcon, showing that InGen– shortly after it was purchased by Masrani Global, so we know Hammond at least stayed true to his word– was experimenting with creating Fallen Kingdom’s new species the whole time! As Zia’s report states, Spinosaurus was among these experimental species, which explains its previously mysterious origins. The article itself is some nice Jurassic lore, explaining a law that was passed shortly after the San Diego Incident called the Gene Guard Act, which was promptly loosened by Masrani representatives so they could mess around with dino DNA some more. Be sure to check out the full report here.

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!

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.