I LOVE the “Jurassic Park” series and fondly remember when “Jurassic World” hit theaters a few years back. My 90s-grown adult mind couldn’t take it. It was awesome! I’ve waited all this time to see what the inevitable sequel would offer after the park closed its doors and now myself and everyone else have our first look at said sequel. Universal debuted the trailer for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” during Thursday Night Football and I can’t stop watching it. So lets dive in and break down this epic two-and-a-half minute teaser to see what it promises for the sequel. Let me know your thoughts of this first look at the film in the comments below.
The trailer opens with Owen Grady, again played by Chris Pratt, talking in a bar with Claire Dearing, again played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Grady makes jokes about who Dearing is dating which means their teased romance from the end of the first film apparently didn’t work out. It’s an immediate setup of the relationship these two characters have. They didn’t see eye to eye in the first film and while it looked like the two characters would fall into the cliché of “mismatched lovers find true love in each other” we see the two are still not too good for each other romantically. However, they’re not against working together for a mutual cause as both admit the meeting is not a social one. It’s a business one.
We know “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” takes place several years after the incident that forced the titular park to close. This gives time for the Grady and Dearing relationship to have fallen apart, but the two have now reunited because, as Grady says, they are there to discuss “a rescue op to save the dinosaurs from an island that’s about to explode.” Early details of the film explain that Dearing has been leading an organization to protect the dinosaurs, and seeing as Grady had experience with them it seems she has turned to one of the few men she can trust to accompany her on the trip to Isla Nublar. Seeing as Grady has an emotional connection to the dinosaurs from his experience in “Jurassic World” it’s no surprise we see he accepts this mission as he is shown on a plane heading to the island.
We see shots of several trucks and crew members and even dinosaur skeletons and the worn out remains of “Jurassic World”, reminiscent of the same deterioration we saw of the first park in the first movie of the reboot series. One note is we don’t see any children in this group of characters, which would buck the traditional “Jurassic Park” trope of putting children in danger as part of the cast. I loved seeing the shots of the park all torn up and weathered. This establishes that once again the outside world has decided to separate itself from the park and the dinosaurs have again been left to fend for themselves this entire time.
While the beginning of the trailer implies that it might be humanity that tries to destroy these dinosaurs, we quickly get an answer to the possible true villain…Mother Nature. We see a volcanic eruption occur from the top of a mountain bringing literal meaning to Grady’s “exploding island” statement. What this also does is show that for the first time it won’t be men versus monster necessarily. It seems the real villain could be a natural disaster and Claire’s longing to protect the dinosaurs from a second extinction has put her team on the front lines to battle and unstoppable force. If this is truly the direction the first will take I kind of like it. The idea of humans trying to protect their creations is an attractive concept and may play into a theme of the film, possibly environmentalism, which would be consistent with the previous films all having subtle underlying messages in their narratives.
One cool teaser in this trailer seems to hint at how Dearing will coax Grady into tagging along. This shot above accompanies Dearing telling Grady that “Blue is alive”, Blue being the last remaining raptor from the Raptor Bros squad Grady trained in the first movie who also played a part in the final confrontation against the Indominous Rex. There are some who think this is a flashback…but I don’t. There is obvious proof that this is actually a new experience for Grady in his return to the island. In the very next couple of shots he is wearing the same clothing as he is when interacting with the baby raptor, which resembles Blue with the trademark blue stripe. I think this is Blue’s child, which would create an emotional experience for Grady to endure on the island. Just the mention of Blue strikes a nerve for Grady clearly, and it’s likely part of why he decides to help. Destruction of the island means Blue dies and Grady always had a soft spot for his Raptor Bros in the first movie, not to mention Blue pretty much helped save his life in the final act. If Claire already knows about Blue having a child this could also add fuel to the fire that inspires Grady to tag along, but judging by this scene and others the revelation of Blue having a family might be more of a pleasant surprise and an expectation.
Next we get a beautiful shot of a Brachiosaurus in front of the team with the main tourist center from the first movie in the background. As with many scenes in the trailer, this shot sparks flashbacks of the first showing of the dinosaur in the original “Jurassic Park” film. A voice over asks whether dinosaurs deserve the same rights as others on this planet. This is shown to be a statement made in a chamber of some sort, probably in a government hearing, and it is shown that a familiar face has arrived to stand up for the dinosaurs.
Ian Malcolm, one of Jeff Goldblum’s many iconic roles, will return in this sequel, as teased by many sources, and he looks older and wiser and seems more well spoken than he has been in the past. It should be fun to see his part in the story, but I feel from the content of this trailer he may not play the biggest role. This could very well be an early scene, or a final scene, and Malcolm may simply be a cameo to offer fans of the series some excitement and help better tie the “Jurassic World” films to the original trilogy. Honestly this trailer doesn’t show promise of any major involvement from Malcolm, but the fact that he has returned is a good start for me.
What’s next in an interesting few shots as we see dinosaurs being stored in cages. It’s implied this is by Claire’s organization, which it would make sense if they’re trying to take the animals off the island to save them. One of these dinosaurs however is the t-rex, likely the same one from the first film, which was in turn confirmed to be the same t-rex from the original “Jurassic Park”. This particular situation doesn’t seem to sit very well with Owen and Claire who show signs of concern after apparently seeing the captive rex. This might tease at Claire’s operation being hijacked, which wouldn’t be farfetched either considering the first movie teased the military having bigger plans for these prehistoric creatures. Having an organization do the work for them to gather these living weapons would be pretty convenient wouldn’t it and would add to the plot and justify the removal of the animals from their habitat to ship them to the human mainland.
The shots that follow hint at complete chaos and some dangerous situations for our human favorites. We see Claire and one of her group mates come face to face with a predatory dinosaur with lava flowing around them, so this attack probably happens as the eruption is starting or happening. I can’t quite identify the dinosaur, but it looks like it could be a Baryonyx, a dinosaur previously mentioned in “Jurassic Park III” as resembling the Spinosaurus but without the sail. It also looks like this scene takes place within a manmade structure which makes me question why would the humans be in this building, especially if it was filling with lava? Were they trying to escape, or is it possible this location plays a key role in stopping the eruption? Am I over thinking this shot? I probably am, but that’s what I’m here for. Regardless the dinosaur looks awesome!
After a few shots of exploding mountains and fuel drums and humans running away we get one of my favorite moments in the trailer, Grady reuniting with Blue. As I said this relationship could very well be the reason why Grady returns to Isla Nublar and it looks like Blue may or may not remember her old master. The trailer leaves this up in the air really, but considering the previous shot of Blue’s possibly offspring appears to be in the present day it’s safe to say master and creature reconnect successfully. Now I also chose the shot above because it may hold an awesome Easter Egg. Look in the background. That upside down jeep with the “Jurassic Park” logo on it could be an AMAZING throwback to the first film. I bet that’s the Jeep Tim and Lex were in during the first t-rex attack way back in the very first film, the one that got pushed off of the cliff in one of the worst cases of film inconsistencies of all time (seriously look it up, it’s a blatantly bad oversight in an amazing movie). We don’t get a good shot to see if the tire it should be missing is missing, but if it is then this would mean that Blue and Grady interact within the original t-rex pen from the first park and that right there my friends is an awesome little nod to fans of the series in a trailer frankly full of throwback moments to the original “Jurassic” trilogy.
Halfway through the trailer things pick up quite a bit and it’s made very clear the eruption is going to happen. The mountain explodes as a plum of fire and rock is thrown into the air after which Grady is shown running for his life as a stampede of dinosaurs make their way to safety. It appears the film is going to center mostly on three characters who get separated from the main group. Owen and Claire are obvious, but the third person, in the background of the above shot, is a yet to be named character played by Justice Smith who also appeared in the aforementioned possible Baryonyx attack shots. So it appears we will see a lot of these three throughout the film and why they are alone is left a mystery in the trailer although is my theory about military infiltration of Claire’s operation is correct it’s possible they were separated by force not by choice. Also the context is left out of this scene, so we truly don’t know when this eruption occurs, which leaves the timeline of events ambiguous for now to prevent too many spoilers. This could be how Claire, who faces the Baryonyx, and Owen, who interacts with Blue, are separated to experience their own moments on the island.
This trailer finally recalls it’s own first film with a cameo of the exploration pods. As a stampede of dinosaurs tries to escape the approaching dust cloud the three above-mentioned humans take cover behind an intact remaining pod from the park’s operation. The three are then tormented by what appears to be a small Carnotaur, a dinosaur made famous in pop culture in the Disney animated film “Dinosaur”, who threatens to put and end to Grady as he can’t fit in the two-person exploration pod. Well Grady doesn’t have to wory much as it turns out, he has a pretty big friend on his side it seems.
Grady is rescued by the T-Rex, the same one from the previous film which shows the scars of its battle with the Indominous Rex on its neck. While it’s left unclear whether or not this was an intentional rescue of Grady or the rex just grabbing a meal, it’s yet ANOTHER throwback to when this same rex saved Dr. Alan Grant and others at the end of the first “Jurassic” movie by taking out a raptor in a similar sudden fashion. Keeping with the ambiguous nature of this trailer’s timeline this could also possibly be the first time the rex shows up in the film which would be great because I gotta say the shot of the rex roaring into the distance while the volcano erupts behind her is amazing and gets me super pumped to see this film. That was a great shot, and it’s not even the last one in the trailer.
We hear Ian Malcolm’s voice over state that “life cannot be contained, life breaks free” and concluding it with a repeat of his famous saying “life finds a way” while we get shots of dinosaurs trying to escape and Claire and Justice Smith’s character driving a somehow operational (or just rolling) exploration pod away from the havoc. Grady is shown running on foot before being engulfed in smoke as the other two go over the edge of a cliff in the pod, landing in the water with dinosaurs landing around them. There’s a lot I take away from these final moments of the trailer. First off it’s hard to tell if this is the conclusion of the film or if this is just where things get real intense. As I said before this could be the moment characters get separated for their own experiences seeing as Owen Grady seems to interact with Blue alone. Second, Malcolm’s warning, or rather promise, is a haunting one as the dinosaurs run away from a force too big for even themselves to deal with. Everyone, human and creature alike, is trying to escape, going so far as to jump over a cliff to find safety. These few moments show the danger and insanity that will ensue when the kingdom falls next year, but Malcolm provides a bit of hope. A promise that as they did before these creatures will find a way to survive even still.
While it leaves a lot to the imagination the first trailer for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” did not disappoint. It hints at several possible conflicts, gives us great shots of some well-defined dinosaurs that look absolutely amazing, and even promises some new creatures and the return of old favorites for us to drool over. I can’t wait to see the relationship grow between Grady and Blue, that shot of the t-rex against the volcanic backdrop is cinema magic already, and it appears once again we will get many throwbacks to the original films that should keep classic fans like myself happy regardless of the quality of this sequel. As a fan I’m excited to see where this story goes and how both humans and dinosaurs tackle the forces of nature and each other as they come face to face once again.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” hits theaters on June 22. You can watch the trailer in full below.