I went to see JWFK for the second time today, this time with my mom, who kept whispering “awesome… awesome… DOUBLE awesome” during the end scenes. Here are some observations I made during my second go-around. There are also lots of spoilers in this one, so don’t continue if you haven’t seen Fallen Kingdom. Seriously, go see it! Right now!
- A few movie critics have pointed this out already, but this film was really about the artistic retelling of both classic and new archetypes. Loading the dinosaurs onto the boat was the Noah’s Ark archetype, the Indoraptor’s story was the Frankenstein archetype, and you could even say that it was a retelling of the Jurassic World story, especially with all the cinematic parallels that I pointed out in my last post. My mom said that Indoraptor looked a lot like a dragon, and I do agree that it looks more like a fantastic creature than the dinosaurs we’ve always known. In other words, the movie is closely entwined with myths.
- Speaking of parallels, I noted at least two very distinct instances where Blue did things that paralleled Rexy– standing on top of the Indoraptor’s body and roaring (on top of dinosaur bones, just like the ending scene of the first movie) and roaring towards the town at the end. Especially with the crucial role Blue played in this movie’s plot, I’m worried that the next movie will kill off Rexy and have Blue take her place as the franchise’s centerpiece dinosaur.
- I noticed this last time but forgot to point it out: Claire, Owen and Franklin lying on top of the cliff, watching Wheatley and the crew loading the dinosaurs onto the Arcadia, was pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of the Lost World scene where Malcolm’s group watched Ludlow’s crew capturing dinosaurs in the valley. Also, at the end, Rexy and the carnotaur pulled Mills apart just like Eddie Carr, and then Rexy struck her signature pose from the end of the first movie. I feel like that was a bit much, but damn, was it awesome to watch in the theater.
- I watched for pairs of dinosaurs that were taken to the Lockwood estate, and I saw pairs of, at minimum: Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, Compsognathus, Stegosaurus, and pteranodons. There was one baby trike and at least one baby stegosaur, so clearly I was wrong about the dinosaurs being sterilized. That means that at least the herbivores will be able to breed once they’re out in the wild, and that could cause various degrees of environmental disruption depending on how quickly they’re caught. I still think the dinosaurs will be rounded up quickly enough from the wilderness, and that the next movie will go back to focusing on the problem of re-cloning dinosaurs and using them for business purposes.
- However, I think that compies will be much harder to catch than any of the other animals, and it’s a distinct possibility that they’ll breed like rabbits and integrate into local ecosystems. They’re decomposers and scavengers, so it’ll be a lot easier for them to fit into local food chains than, say, the triceratops. And if they start spreading as quickly as I think they will, since their whole modus operandi is living in large groups, it’ll be difficult if not impossible to kill all of them off.
- I’ve seen many idiots online dismissing FK as being “too political” or “hamfisted” because they think Gunnar Eversol was supposed to be a stand-in for Donald Trump. I’ve talked to a few fans, and our consensus was that the scene where Eversol’s hair flew up as the Indoraptor roared at him was very Trump-y, but his character overall wasn’t a Trump jab. It’s true that the “nasty woman” line was there for a reason, but I think the political references ended there, and (to paraphrase) Ian Malcolm even said that our world is being torn apart by political arguments. (I think this is another nod to his lines in the novels; there’s a line in The Lost World where he points out that humans argue over beliefs because beliefs guide behavior, which determines survival.) Also, there have always been business-minded assholes who only care about money in JP movies– Gennaro and Ludlow for instance. This is just the newest incarnation of that character.
- Maisie definitely has something special about her that makes her closely affiliated with dinosaurs. Or at least, the movie really wanted us to know that she’s tied in with dinosaurs in a way that no one else in this trilogy is. There was one scene where she was on one side of the glass and Indoraptor was on the other, and their faces sort of merged together; and, obviously, Indoraptor is a lot more delicate and curious with her, which is even more dramatic as opposed to its usual strategy of full-on hurling itself at whatever it wants to attack. She’s a strong candidate for being an animal behaviorist and having close ties with dinosaurs, just like Owen. I’ll be annoyed if she has super-special dinosaur whisperer powers and can talk a dinosaur down from killing someone, but her linkage with dinosaurs is intriguing and I’m excited for the next movie to explore it.
- The part about the second viewing that hit me hardest was the foreshadowing of the Maisie reveal, where Lockwood tells her that she could be her mother’s mirror image.
- If Baryonyx was so dangerous and man-eating, why on earth did they let it run around in the Cretaceous Cruise area while the park was still running? I mean, sure, it’s probable that all the fish died out and by the time the DPG got to the park, it was just really hungry. But that was definitely not a solely fish-eating dinosaur anymore.
- Going by paleontological accuracy, all the JW dinosaurs are pretty emaciated-looking, but Indoraptor in particular looked very skinny. When he was laying down in the cage as Wheatley looked him over, I could clearly see the outlines of his ribs. That makes me think that Mills and Wu probably starved him to keep him angry and hungry, and that’s particularly sad. When you think of Jurassic Park, you think of “scary dinosaurs coming to eat people”, but this one wasn’t just hungry because of its beastly nature. It was hungry because of abuse.
- Blue running away from Owen at the end was clearly a cinematic parallel to Jurassic World, but it also makes sense. Remember in the cage scene in JW, where Owen warned Hoskins’ men not to shoot the raptors because “if you [shoot] these animals, they’re never gonna trust me again”? Well, that’s exactly what happened. Blue was getting close to trusting Owen again, but then she got shot. And she didn’t have a lot of close bonding time with him since then, so regardless of what their bond was like before, he’s definitely lost a lot of her trust.
- The scene where the camera panned up to Indoraptor standing on the roof in front of the moon, with the choir singing, was stunning. If I had to choose my absolute favorite shot from the movie, that would probably be it.
- Henry Wu isn’t entirely evil, but he does have a pretty big ego. When he talked to Zia especially, it became clear that he’s starting to get drunk on his own power. He could do all sorts of things if he didn’t have bosses like Masrani and Mills to tell him what to create. I have no doubt that his role will be bigger in the next movie, helping to clone dinosaurs for businesses and the military.
- Wu also had a line about Blue’s DNA being pure, and for some reason, that struck me as important. Genuinely, from the bottom of my heart, I really hope that the blood transfusion doesn’t lead to anything shark-jumpy, like Rexy’s DNA integrating into her somehow, or someone extracting her blood and getting Rexy’s instead.
I still really enjoyed watching Fallen Kingdom, and I’m really going to miss it once it’s out of theaters, because a lot of it is definitely best viewed on the big screen. What did you think of it? How many times have you seen it? Let me know here or on Twitter!