In this, I will examine the soul of Jurassic Park and maybe shed some light on a topic in a franchise that is subtle and hidden, but by looking at each of the four movies is even more clearer.
Since the release of Jurassic World in July 2015, I have heard many of my friends and even family state how awful the movie was. However they way I look at the entire franchise makes the movies even better and even gives you a look into the soul and essence of what the Jurassic Park franchise is all about.
The essence and deeper soul of the Jurassic Park movie is encompassed in one word: "Family". Yes. Jurassic Park is a family movie. However, I'm not saying you should take your 5 year old to see the movie, however, I was 7 when I saw Jurassic Park in theaters, I'm stating the idea that the entire franchise is based on "family".
What this means, and I will get into the meat of this soon, is that the movies' soul is based on the premise of family and the idea of cross generations, mixed marriages, divorces and even non-biological looking kids. I will now go movie to movie using this idea to explain the soul of the Jurassic Park franchise.
JURASSIC PARK (1993) : Generational Gap Closing
Following the premise of "family" it can be seen from the early setting of the movie with Ellie Sattler and Dr. Grant that family is on the mind, even when Dr. Sattler asks Dr. Grant if he wants kids and they have a back and forth of the pros and cons of having kids. You also see a generational gathering of family as the kids, Tim and Lex visiting the park with their grandfather, Dr. Hammond. Then again, family is there as the five escape the island and the kids are now resting on Dr. Grant, in this scene, back in the 90's you for sure thought they were a family, a family that braved the impossible.
Family isn't just contingent on the humans in this however. The dinosaurs also are effected by the soul of the movie and family is incorporated into this as well. The idea of bringing extinct dinosaurs and bringing them to the modern day is in essence the idea of family. Just as you had Lex and Tim come to the park to see their grandfather's creation, you see the dinosaurs coming to a new generation. At the end of the movie you see a pelican flying off to the distance, a closing statement, if you will, of two generations coming together, the extinct and the present. Family is a huge part of the dinosaur genesis because it's all about their DNA. And, as any high school biology student knows, biology makes a family... sometimes.
THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (1997) : Are You My Daddy?
Enter the new family. The second movie is more about family than the first movie than you think.
You have an idea of a man who looks nothing like his daughter and despite the quips of his cohorts (Vince Vaughn asking "Do you see any family resemblance?"), acts like a loving father to her. In the movie, Sarah is like a mother to Kelly. Family is even harder hit on in the beginning of the movie when Dr. Malcolm says to Kelly, "I'm not the one who dumped you here and split for Paris, so don't take it out on me". Throughout the movie you see a loving unit of family from Sarah and from Dr. Malcolm, and it was strange to see because Kelly didn't look like Dr. Malcolm, but you know what, you don't have to to be family.
The dinosaurs in the movie are the prime example as to why family is the essence of Jurassic World. You see in the beginning Sarah telling Dr. Malcolm that:
"Robert Burke said that the T-Rex was a rogue, who would abandon its young at the earliest opportunity... I can prove otherwise". -Dr. Sarah Harding
This alone should win the gold prize of why family is the essence of Jurassic Park because later in the movie you see that the truth is the opposite, the T-Rex is just as loving a parent as any other specie alive! You see this on multiple occasions: the destruction of the trailer and even the hunt in Los Angeles. The scene of Los Angeles was a scene is which a father would do anything to find their child, something any loving HUMAN parent would do. The destruction of the trailer was done to protect the young T-Rex. Even in the finale when the parent T-Rex lets the baby T-Rex kill Ludlow, he was training the baby to kill, something only a parent would do. You see this with any carnivorous animal on earth, training their young to kill.
JURASSIC PARK III (2001) : Divorce and Regrouping
For many, me as well, the third entry was the worse. However, family does not take a back seat. This movie is ripe with "family"ism and is an incredible movie for doing that.
For the humans, the story seems a little unrealistic, a kid trapped on the Island for weeks on end and survives....Yeah sure. But it's the soul of the movie that really shines. Let's examine the family aspect of this movie. The kid, Eric, goes with his mom's boyfriend, Ben, to Site B, crashes and Ben dies, the mother, Amanda and Paul Kirby go out and seek the help of Dr. Grant to save their son and, presumed alive, boyfriend. What you see in this family and what is stated ever so nicely by Dr. Grant is that both Eric's parents are on the island looking for him even though they are divorced, a combining of love. Even for Dr. Grant family in the movie is prevalent. Ellie Sattler has moved on and married and started a life with someone else. and Billy is the son Dr. Grant never had.
Now, let's get into the meat of the family... Amanda and Paul Kirby are divorced yet they come to the rescue of their son despite their differences and by the end of the movie it's hinted that they would get back together when Amanda says "I dare 'em to nest in Enid, Oklahoma" and Paul Kirby smiles possibly because that's where he lives and she wants to try again. Not only that, but Dr. Grant sees Billy as a son he never had when he begins to think back about Billy after the incident with the Pterodactyls. Dr. Grant says " I have a theory that there are two kinds of boys...". By saying this, he's targeting it to a specific age, childhood, not saying there are two types of men. Boys. He's thinking about Billy almost as a son.
The family aspect of Jurassic Park III's dinosaurs is also very heavily seen in the movie. The idea of stolen eggs, and the Velociraptors hunting the person who took them is very much what any family would do. Not only that, but the quote that Dr. Grant said to Eric that his parents are on the island together, two different people coming together for a common goal also shows in the velociraptors. You saw the velociraptors coming together as a family, pack hunting the people who stole the eggs.
It wasn't just a mommy and daddy, it was the whole crew. In the movie you see another aspect of family, an aspect that could be overlooked at first. The movie introduced the Tricycloplots, I mean, the Spinosaurus. This was a dinosaur that "wasn't on INGEN's list". and it made Dr. Grant ask what else is on the island. This is a direct hint at family for the next movie.
JURASSIC WORLD (2015) : Beyond Species
Remember when I said in the spot of Jurassic Park "any high school biology student knows, biology makes a family... sometimes." Well, here's the exception.
This was by far better than the third movie. And as with the other three movies, family takes center stage. The family aspect and perspective of the movie comes from the kids, Zach and Gray. The movie is not from the perspective of any adult. In the past three movies, the main focus were the adults, not now. For this movie the focus is on the kids. That's why the divorce is mentioned only in one scene, because to the kids, that's all they know, they don't have any more information to give us, the audience!
The essence of family also come from Claire and her relationship, or rather non-relationship, with her sister. You see a complete disconnect between Claire and her nephews. It's almost like they are different species with Claire not even knowing how old they were. By the end of the movie Claire learned a valuable lesson about family and about how families should act. By the end of the movie you see that Claire and Owen will probably get together, another aspect of family. Owen and the dinosaurs also created another family. The velociraptors are family, the four of them along with Owen are a unit and family. Yet they are of different species.
For the dinosaurs, family in this movie takes the most epic and meta logical step. It is the complete essence of what Jurassic Park is all about. THIS IS FAMILY. I have always loved the discussion of Nurture vs Nature and will always finds this topic of interest. You see this regarding family taking a huge role in the soul of the movie. You have the Verizon Wireless Presents : The Indominus Rex, for all intents and purposes is Nurture (fake diunosaur). A genetically engineered and altered killing machine, a dinosaur created to be "perfect". The other dinosaurs are really quite natural even though they are not 100% natural as stated by Dr. Wu:
"Nothing in Jurassic World is natural, we have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if the genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different." -Dr. Wu
However, the dinosaurs were as pure as could be allowed by science. You see a literal Nature vs Nurture battle. You see this as the final climactic battle between the VZW Indominus Rex against the Velociraptors, T-Rex and Mosasaur. Three species of dinosaurs who instinctively knew there was something not right with the Indominus Rex and fought it to the death. You even see an internal struggle in the Velociraptors when they communicated with the Indominus and turned on the humans. But in the end the Velociraptors saw the impurity of the Indominus and came to the T-Rex's rescue to kill the Indominus. the movie showcased a literal battle of Nature vs Nurture. The epic definition of family (partly). You saw three species of dinosaur teaming against the Indominus because they saw it not as a dinosaur, but as a "monster", as Owen says in the movie.
The franchise is about family, clean and cut. Family is in its blood and when the next movie comes out, it too will feature a family aspect. Whether or not you're blood related it doesn't matter, as can be seen by the franchise. If you know you're family, then you are family. If you feel it in your heart and you know it to be true, those around you, your friends and family are all part of the family of your life. An encompassing circle that includes everyone close to you. What Jurassic Park has done is taken the aspect and soul of family and turned it into an exciting movie franchise. While most of you will be thinking about this remember one thing, blood doesn't make family. The saying that blood is thicker than water, well let me tell you something, we all have blood, and that means we are one family. The family of mankind.