The recent news that Jurassic World is the first in what will be a trilogy of films should come as little shock to movie fans. Released last year, Jurassic World broke box office records and currently sits as the fourth highest grossing film in the world. Now that we know the upcoming sequel will be the second installment of a trilogy, we can't help but draw comparisons with the original Jurassic Park trilogy.
The franchise started off with a bang thanks to 1993's revolutionary Jurassic Park, but spawned two lackluster sequels before ending up in development hell for 14 years. Thankfully, Jurassic World turned things around in 2015, and now we sit at what could be a turning point for the franchise. In order to maintain success, it's important that the new trilogy does not end up following in the original's footsteps.
Starting Off Too Strong
Jurassic Park was released universal acclaim and became the highest-grossing films ever at the time. However, in 1997, The Lost World: Jurassic Park was released to a much cooler reception, with many unhappy at the film's direction. There were many reasons for this, including the duller characters and the recycled story but it seemed that most just felt that it failed to recreate the magic of the first film. And 2001's grittier Jurassic Park III didn't help, bringing the franchise into darker territory. This third installment was received even more negatively than the second, and the darker tone hindered it from recreating the family-friendly fun that earned the original praise.
Each film tried to better the first with bigger and fiercer dinosaurs and just ended up missing some of the integral factors that made the first film a major success. Not only did both follow-ups gross much less than the first, but due to a lack of character development, no new ideas and less outstanding moments, they both failed to live up to the iconic original. Jurassic Park was just impossible to replicate.
Now that the franchise has finally been revived with Jurassic World, it's important that both of its sequels do not end up following the same pattern — history can't repeat itself. Whether it was the outlandish plots, or the failure to replicate the original's success, neither Jurassic Park sequel produced a follow-up as compelling or fresh as the 1993 film. And so, the similarities with the original franchise must end here, and Jurassic World 2 must explore territory worthy of not only Jurassic World but Jurassic Park. It can't be just a great film, it should live up to its strong predecessor.
Jurassic Park didn't just tell a great story. It also featured incredibly well-written main characters performed by Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough. The kids also played a major part and were used as a clever plot device to make Neill's character do the impossible — be fatherly. Simply put, the unforgettable cast and characters helped make Jurassic Park the masterpiece it became.
However, one of the main criticisms of the two sequels stemmed from the lack of intriguing new characters. While Goldblum returned in The Lost World, the new characters didn't have the same heart of Neill's and Dern's from the previous film. How could we care as much about the new story if we didn't care as much about the new characters? Unfortunately, this issue didn't get resolved by the time Jurassic Park III was produced. Sam Neill returned as Dr. Alan Grant, but once again the new characters weren't as interesting as those in the first. Furthermore, there was little to no character development here — every single character came out exactly as they went in. Perhaps if both films had stuck with the same characters, we may have seen a more complete trilogy as opposed to three different stories.
But Jurassic World managed to get it right, this time starting from scratch with a new story and a brand new lineup of interesting characters including Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire, manager of the theme park, and Chris Pratt's dino trainer Owen. While Owen may have been a somewhat generic action hero, it was Claire who really developed, allowing the dangerous adventure to change her. Actors Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins were also well-received as brothers at the center of the dinosaur mayhem, and once again we found kids playing a major role in the franchise.
Overall, the new cast was met with positive reviews and managed to reinvent the magic created in Jurassic Park, so it makes perfect sense that both Pratt and Howard are returning for sequels. It's integral that we see strong characters in Jurassic World 2 and the returning cast should allow for that.
If you're a fan of Jurassic World, check these out:
- Everything We Know So Far About Jurassic World 2
- The Lessons Jurassic Park Taught Us About Nature And Science
- What We Need To See In Jurassic World 2
The First Film's Story Must Continue
Based on Michael Crichton's adored novel, Jurassic Park was very much a one film plot. By the time the credits rolled, the story had ended and there were no loose ends. So while both The Lost World and Jurassic Park III were enjoyable in their own ways, they were clearly created to capitalize on the success of the original. Filmmakers invented Isla Sorna, another dinosaur filled island we didn't see in the original movie, to bring more prehistoric threats to the movies, hobbling towards new stories only tangentially tied to the original.
For instance, the plot of The Lost World centered around hunters coming into the deserted island with the intention of taking the biggest creature back to the city for a mainland theme park. It borrowed from Crichton's sequel novel, but in the end the premise is a bit too relevant to that of King Kon. Meanwhile, Jurassic Park III was basically a dino-thriller B-movie instead of a blockbuster sequel, focused on a simple story of Grant saving a kid and not getting eaten by dinosaurs. In both cases, the new plots never quite had the allure of the original because Jurassic Park didn't leave openings for future stories.
The Jurassic World trilogy must steer clear from standalone plots such as these. In order to truly live up to the 2015 film, sequels must continue its story, and they need to have a reason to exist. Thankfully, it seems like director Colin Trevorrow already thought of this, because Jurassic World left some loose ends on for future sequels. In fact, the sequel's director Juan Antonio Bayona actually stated:
“It’s very interesting. The whole Jurassic World is a trilogy that Colin Trevorrow has envisioned. We’re writing the second chapter, and it’s very interesting where he’s leading the story."
Trevorrow's vision has yet to be completed, and one can assume that's why the loose ends were never wrapped up. We saw mastermind Dr. Wu escape the chaotic island during Jurassic World, and we know there were originally plans for the Indominus Rex and other genetically modified dinos to be used as weapons, meaning that plot could play out in the future. Thus, it's highly likely that Jurassic World 2 will build upon the story told in the first film, rather than creating a brand new story for itself.
Venture Into New Territory
The Jurassic Park sequels may have told new stories, but they didn't bring anything new to the table. In 1993, we had never seen anything like Jurassic Park, but the sequels ended up giving us more of the same instead of inspiring us with awe. Sure, they had exciting plots with some returning characters, and they occasionally featured new dinosaurs, but they didn't add anything new to the mythology.
But Jurassic World brought us something new. Adding the genetically modified Indominus Rex brought a dangerous new threat to the film, and adding a fresh angle to the plot. Not only were scientists "playing God" by creating dinosaurs, but they were taking things a step further by engineering creatures that never existed in nature.
While it's likely that upcoming sequels will use seeds planted in Jurassic World, the new trilogy allows them the opportunity to continue venturing into that new direction. Remember Hoskins's plan to use the Indominus Rex for military purposes? Future films could feature a war with dinosaurs! As crazy as that sounds, the new ground covered in Jurassic World allows the sequels to take the franchise towards exciting new territory.
With the first film in the Jurassic World trilogy receiving the best reviews since Jurassic Park, it's vital that the revived series remains on the right path. We need to see an ongoing story that explores the mythology further, bringing back interesting characters while not repeating the mistakes of the Jurassic Park trilogy. We're excited to be back in the park, and to see what happens next.
What do you want to see happen in the next two Jurassic World films? Let us know in the comments!