Jurassic Park has one of the strangest tones in Hollywood history. It's at once full of whimsical adventure, crossed with a dread-fuelled fight for survival. One minute, characters will be standing aghast at the wonder of creation, and the next, they're fighting to keep all their limbs. The film doesn't let this turn it into a cautionary tale either. By the end, it still takes the attitude that nature in any form is a thing of beauty, even when it's torn Samuel L Jackson's arms off!
Just think about the finale of Jurassic Park. In a few seconds, you go from fearing those raptors trying to eat Sam Neil, to cheering the T-Rex for eating those raptors and just kinda forgetting to eat our protagonists. The tone of Jurassic Park hasn't been mastered since, with the sequels fumbling the distinct emotions of wonderment and fear. Jurassic World may be set to join those attempts, with this extended promo that uses the narration of the late, great Richard Attenborough from the first film.
John Hammond's Narration
It's a neat idea to juxtapose John Hammond's original dream against it's actualisation in the form of Jurassic World. It almost makes you sad for the character to know that his vision failed so dramatically 20 years ago, only for fate to declare "nah it's good!" after his death. There's a ghostly dramatic irony to his words when you know that they aren't actually applied to Jurassic World. Or at least there would be if his dialogue wasn't changed through editing.
Notice how John Hammond doesn't actually say "welcome to Jurassic Park" but "welcome to Jurassic World". This sounds audacious, but it was likely done simply by isolating a moment in the first film where Attenborough said the word "world". That's all it took. It's almost sad that we can so easily mould a prior performance to market new movies. I'm inclined to believe we'll one day see a time where no actor technically dies. If they've said enough words throughout their career then hey, what's the problem?
John Williams' Jurassic Park Theme
In the first trailers for Jurassic World, the use of John Williams' iconic theme to Jurassic Park was extremely minimal and played down, using only piano keys. This had the effect of making the first film seem a ghostly presence in this new naive time. This newest promo uses the full-blown score as if taken straight from the 1993 cut. It's likely an effort to reconnect with that sense of child-like wonderment we all felt upon first seeing Jurassic Park. That's understandable. The Star Wars prequels practically used the original score as cheat code to emotionally connect with the audience, but here, the sound and image just don't connect.
Think about Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Jeff Goldblum walking up to that brachiosaur. That music suited their first ever encounter with dinosaurs; the simultaneous sense of shock and curiosity, and the overflowing of emotion complemented the scene. Jurassic World doesn't have that, for it's predicated on the abundance of dinosaurs, and the shared hubris of a bored tourist system that demands more.
Perhaps Jurassic World will save John William's theme until the very end, when the T-Rex has definitely killed the Indominus Rex and Jeff Goldblum has saved everyone by being witty. I can only hope that the filmmakers are playing the long game, and choosing to go back to that classic tone after leading us down a path of confusion. What can I say? I'm a fan. I'm scared of change!