By now, you must be aware ― Jurassic Park is roaring back into theaters this week. (Or what did you think this whole Park Week thing was about, anyway?) But in a way, this 3D treat is only an hors d'oeuvre for the main course ― a brand-stomping-new Jurassic Park movie hitting theaters next year.
Here’s what we know ― and what we’re desperately hoping for.
Remember back in 1997, when The Lost World: Jurassic Park stole the 1998 Godzilla’s thunder by sending the T-rex to smash around in San Diego at the end of the movie? Well, it’s happening all over again ― but this time, Godzilla arrives first. A new Godzilla is heading into theaters next May, currently shooting in Canada.
And wait ‘til you get a load of the cast ― Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, and David Straitharn, amongst others. Pretty random (and awesome) lineup, right? The film is directed by Gareth Edwards, whose only other movie is the indie Monsters, so we’re definitely curious about what’s on deck with his.
However, nothing could get us more pumped than Jurassic Park IV. The film has yet to be cast and we don’t really know what it’s about, but we do know it’s being written by Rick Jaffa, who wrote another surprisingly good entry in a long-dormant franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And it will be directed by Colin Trevorrow, who made the indie sci-fi/dramedy Safety Not Guaranteed.
There’s apparently a big trend of having up-and-coming indie directors take a stab at blockbuster franchises featuring gigantic reptiles, and for now, we’re totally fine with that. But the Jurassic Park movies have diminished in quality ever since the first, and we want to make sure that trend reverses itself. So here are a few ideas to make sure that the new Jurassic Park doesn’t jump the shark ― or T-rex, or whatever.
1. Bring Back (Some Of) The Original Cast
Jurassic Park sequels tend to (understandably) introduce a new roster of people who are then picked off one by one by dinosaurs. Okay ― a raptor’s gotta eat. But the generic rich family in Jurassic Park III didn’t really engender any sympathy, making that movie a pretty low-stakes affair compared to how long we spent getting to know the characters in the first one.
So for Jurassic Park IV, why not build on the nostalgia we have for the original cast? Jeff Goldblum’s wry comedy has always been welcome, and we’d even be down with Julianne Moore returning as his girlfriend from the second one. (His gymnast daughter we could take or leave.) We’d love to catch up with Lex and Tim now that they’re adults. (Surely Ariana Richards can take some time away from her busy painting career to star in another blockbuster, right?) And what we really need is some Ellie Sattler, AKA Laura Dern, out-running those raptors once again. Her HBO series Enlightened was just tragically cancelled, so we know she’s available, and in fact, we can totally imagine Ellie getting just as enlightened as Amy Jellicoe, taking on the corporation that engineered the dinosaurs and using positive thinking to get over the trauma of almost being a raptor’s snack. Amy Jellicoe fighting a T-rex? Yes, please!
2. Remember The Science
Michael Crichton’s first book went into painstaking detail to convince us of the science of bringing dinosaurs back to life… and we kind of bought it. Ditto the movie. But the sequels left something to be desired in the plausibility department. The first Jurassic Park worked well because it took so much time to allow us to believe that this was really happening, making it all the scarier when everything went awry. It’d be nice if the fourth Jurassic Park similarly took its time building up to the man-versus-monster stuff, and again seemed like something that could really happen.
3. Go Back To Isla Nublar… Maybe
Jurassic Park was an ingenious location, a cross between a zoo and Disneyland featuring the most fearsome creatures to ever walk the Earth. We’ve all been to amusement, so we could totally relate to the awe of these visitors to Isla Nublar. Part of the fun was the way Jurassic Park resembled attractions we’ve all been on ― it felt manufactured as entertainment the way rides and, yes, movies are. The second movies took us to a random island without much personality ― there was nothing magic about that. In Michael Crichton’s book, the first island was destroyed at the end, but that didn’t happen in the movie. So there’s no reason Jurassic Park IV couldn’t go back there and revisit some of the favorite set pieces from the first movie. Those Land Cruisers the T-rex are probably still sitting there, and what’s become of the Visitor’s Center now that dinosaurs have had access to it for a couple decades? Maybe Mr. Arnold’s severed arm is still chilling in that maintenance shed…
4. …Or Go Somewhere Else
While we definitely want to see what’s up on the original island, we’re not sure we want to spend another whole movie there. Is Jurassic Park looking for a fresh location, something we haven’t seen before? That could be. We’re not sure about a big “dinosaurs run amok in the city” thing go down (we did kind of see that in The Lost World) or anything that’s too different from the original ― no dinosaurs in space, please ― but it wouldn’t hurt to take a fresh approach. A few raptors causing havoc on the mainland? Sure, why not?
5. No Talking Dinosaurs, Please
Whatever happens, we’d much prefer no dream sequences with talking dinosaurs, a la Jurassic Park III. Major facepalm moment there, guys.
6. Whatever Happened To Baby Dilophausaurus?
Velociraptors and T-rexes have had prominent roles in all the Jurassic Park movies, but one deadly dino that never showed up in the sequels is the venom-spitting dilophosaurus, which so memorably offed Newman. (Err, Nedry.) Since this one was only a baby, we’d love to see what a full-grown one looks like!
7. Pay Attention, Steven Spielberg
Is it a coincidence that the worst Jurassic Park movie is the one Spielberg didn’t direct? He’s not directing Jurassic Park IV either, but here’s hoping he has a more hands-on approach this time around. (Something tells us the chatty raptor wasn’t his idea.) Jurassic Park needs that signature Spielberg magic if it’s going to come even halfway close to pleasing the many, many rabid fans of the original. Don’t let anyone screw this up, Steve!
8. Don’t Eff With The T-Rex
Another cardinal sin from Jurassic Park III ― they tried to introduce a dinosaur that was even cooler than the T-rex, without realizing that absolutely nothing in this world is cooler than a T-rex. The first two movies knew this, and used the T-rex to great effect. Then Jurassic Park III gave us the lame spinosaurus ― which killed our beloved T-rex. Say it ain’t so! Today, consulting paleontologist Jack Horner (AKA the guy who helped make those original dinosaurs so damn realistic) revealed a juicy tidbit ― that a new creature will become a star in Jurassic Park IV. Which is all well and good with us ― as long as he doesn’t eff with our T-rex, or try to outshine him.
9. Jurassic Jaws?
Speaking of that new dinosaur, if we had to venture a guess ― it could be a swimming dinosaur like an ichthyosaur, because that sure would be something new. And what better way to bring Jurassic Park full-circle with Jaws?
What do you hope for from the next Jurassic Park?