I just saw Jurassic World for the first time last night (late to the bandwagon, I know) and LOVED IT! I was obsessed with the first movie as a kid. Like most fans, I was worried when I heard that they were doing a sequel/reboot/whatever, but Jurassic World pays so much homage to the previous movies that it clearly fits into the franchise.
In no particular order, here are some of the ways (other than easter eggs) that the creators of Jurassic World tipped their hats to the Jurassic Park movies.
WARNING: Spoilers for all four movies ahead. Hold on to your butts.
Well, besides the most obvious part.
1. Velociraptor Communication
Vocal communication between raptors was weirdly a huge plot point in Jurassic Park III. The characters even recreated a velociraptor resonating chamber and conveniently used it to trick the raptors. Although my adult mind can't help but make awkward sexual analogies, using a 3D printer probably seemed innovative at the time.
Chris Pratt's Owen rightly recognized that he lost Alpha status when the Indominus Rex started "talking" with the Velociraptors. The fine line between "humans as prey" and "humans in power" is the entire point of the series so the ability to communicate with the wildlife gives an illusion of power and protection. It is a flimsy shield at best, but I guess it's better than nothing?
I hate to say it, but the encounter looked oddly familiar...
2. "Don't Go Into the Long Grass!"
Remember this scene from The Lost World?
Remember what happened when Owen lost any semblance of control over the raptors? It was equally ugly. And yet it was infinitely cooler because we saw a lot of the attack through night vision cameras strapped to the raptors themselves. I think it's safe to say that Jurassic World scored more points (on multiple levels).
3. Getting Up Close and Personal
One of the big draws to the franchise is the sheer wonder of it. We, the audience, get to experience the awe and amazement of this fantastic world through the eyes of the characters. Dinosaurs are so out of our reach that there is something satisfying about the characters having a (peaceful) tactile experience with one.
In first movie, we watched Dr. Grant listen to a sick Triceratops heart beat and have been entranced ever since. We need these moments in order to try and understand some of the motivations behind InGen. Yes, money is power, but there's much more to it.
Modern human nature is defined by its distance from actual nature. We are separated from it in our daily lives so we feel drawn to its beauty and its power. At least, until we are reminded of why we backed away from it in the first place.
SPEAKING OF TOUCH: Did anybody else have a mini heart attack during the initial petting zoo scene because they thought the baby gallimimuses looked eerily like these evil little creatures?
It's a wonder the petting zoo wasn't a bloodbath before the aviary was destroyed.
4. The T Rex Diet
No wonder the poor T Rexes hate captivity. All they get to eat are goats!
5. The Art of T Rex Wrangling
Apparently all you need are flares.
Hey, if it works, it works.
6. Kids in Peril (and not just goats)
One exhausted idea in the Jurassic Park franchise is to literally use child characters to represent mankind putting its own future at risk.
Man created dinosaurs to test the limits of science and human knowledge. Even though Ellie's quip that women are left to inherit Earth is amusing, it isn't quite true.
Whitney Houston, however, knew what's up. The children are our future and, as such, should be protected. Throughout the franchise, children are constantly in danger to demonstrate the risks humanity takes when meddling with nature.
The brothers Zach and Gray in Jurassic World join a long line of memorable at-risk-of-dino-snacking kids like Lex and Tim from the first film, the little girl that was attacked on the beach in the opening of The Lost World, Kelly Malcolm (also from The Lost World), and survivalist Eric from Jurassic Park III.
Personally, I think that particular card has been overplayed, but there is almost no way it won't come into play in a potential Jurassic World sequel (it 100% made too much money to not have a sequel).
7. Flying to Freedom (almost)
At the end of Jurassic Park, we see our heroes do some bird-watching out the window of the helicopter as they escape to safety. It is ironic because Dr. Grant keeps referring to the similarities between birds and dinosaurs, but the sight of the birds signifies a transition back into the natural order of things.
Jurassic Park III mocks this moment by showing several pteradons flying alongside the escape helicopters. Dr. Grant jokes that they are probably looking for new nesting grounds. For some odd reason, no one is worried about the potential ramifications of several large prehistoric creatures invading North American ecosystems.
Allowing the pteradons to keep on flying is a signal that there is no going back. The world is permanently changed by InGen's experiments.
However, in Jurassic World the process is reversed when mercenaries flying into the park shoot down a stray Dimorphodon as it flies out to sea. It is hilarious when you know what it's referencing. I wish I had a gif or a clip of the moment, but sadly that will have to wait until the movie officially comes out on DVD.
8. Familiar Trap
I'll do a side-by-side comparison when the footage is available so I cannot prove it as of yet, HOWEVER, Jurassic World repeats another important image from the first film. Dr. Grant, Ellie, Lex, and Tim find themselves cornered by velociraptors in the lobby of the park center. Their protective formation has an uncanny resemblance to the one Owen, Claire, Zach, and Gray adopt when they find themselves in a similar situation on the steps of the new park center.
9. T Rex Is Clearly King
Recognize this image? The T Rex in Jurassic World adopts a similar pose while lording over the newly-overrun park.
10. ...And is Stuck Fighting Everyone Else
Think of all of the climatic final battle scenes in the franchise. What do they all have in common? A T Rex battles the big antagonist.
In the first film, it was the velociraptors.
In The Lost World, I guess you could argue that the antagonizing factor was human nature. Personally, I would say the movie's antagonist was itself, but let's not get too meta up in here.
Part three was dominated by the Spinosaurus.
Finally, Jurassic World decided to go for the triple whammy. T Rex and velociraptors (mainly Blue) push Indominus to the water's edge and... BOOM! Problem solved.
The King/Queen of the Dinosaurs is always sticking out his/her (damn you frog genetics) muscular neck for everyone else on these fake Costa Rican islands. Maybe this is a trope that we can all agree to live with.
Overall, one of the most brilliant bookends in movie history has to be the contrast between our first glimpse of the park and the devastating sight of the dead Apatosaurus herd.
See? Doesn't that look idyllic? These brachiosauruses are in sauropod heaven with their tall trees and water features.
It all goes downhill from there.
After Indominus wipes out this Apatosaurus herd for sport, it becomes abundantly clear that InGen took their experiments too far. Their hybrid exists outside of the natural order and leaves only destruction in its wake.
If you look closely at the two gifs, you can probably guess my final point. Get it? Not yet?
12. Our White Knights
A lot of flak has been thrown at the costume department for Jurassic World for making poor Bryce Dallas Howard run for her life in all white and nude heels. Yet side-by-side comparisons with a certain character from the first film bring the idea full circle.
John Hammond was the eccentric businessman who created Jurassic Park in the first place and laid the groundwork for all of the events of the franchise. He is occasionally mentioned in Jurassic World because you are subliminally meant to connect Claire Dearing to John Hammond.
Both have good intentions, but let their business acumen get in the way of common sense. By the end of their respective movies, both realize their mistakes and decide to both physically and symbolically leave the park behind. Also, they both are stuck in, you guessed it, white for their adventures.
Even though white is typically associated with innocence, John and Claire are far from blameless. Countless lives would have been saved had they not been obsessed with control. The two are literal examples of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions and, as such, are visually put up on a pedestal. They look like "white knights" while unintentionally putting everyone around them in danger. The pedestals are toppled by Dr. Ellie Sattler and Owen in their respective movies when they finally tell our "white knights" that there is no such thing as complete control over nature. They both decide to abandon the island for the greater good.
Well, there you have it! Twelve ways in which Jurassic World referenced the other movies in the franchise! I promise to update this when I have more access to the full video. Ta-ta for now!