I’ve been a Jurassic Park fan since the release of the original back in 1993 and will always have a soft spot for the franchise. But I’ve got to admit, the latest trailer for the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has poured cold water on much of the anticipation I had for the film. That growing sense of apprehension only increased when I read this interview with EW, in which director J.A. Bayona indicated that the sequel descends into gothic horror in the back half of the movie.
Previous trailers had led us to believe that the thrust of the plot would be the impending destruction of Isla Nublar and the characters’ efforts to save the genetically engineered dinosaurs that have called it home for the last 25 years. Now, we’re learning that this will only be the first act, with the rest of the plot concerned with what happens to the dinosaurs once they’re safely off the island.
This appears to consist of the dangling Jurassic World plotline of the dinosaurs being militarized (which has always struck me as dumb, but whatever) culminating in the creation of a new ‘super’ Velociraptor called the Indoraptor that pretty much seems like your generic evil monster.
Here’s how Bayona describes the film:
“The first half, you have a whole dinosaur movie on the island, so you have what you expect from a Jurassic movie. Then the second half moves to a totally different environment that feels more suspenseful, darker, claustrophobic, and even has this kind of gothic element, which I love.”
Jurassic Park has always had its horror elements, going right back to the classic ‘raptors in the kitchen’ scene in the original, but something about the way we see a dinosaur howling at the moon and sinisterly pawing at a sleeping child rubs me up the wrong way. One of the reasons why the Jurassic films have stood out is that they’ve traditionally treated the dinosaurs as if they were animals. When a T-Rex chomps down on some poor schmoe it’s not because it’s being villainous, it’s because it’s hungry and that’s what an animal would instinctively do.
At least Bayona is a safe pair of hands if the franchise has to go horror. He made his name with The Orphanage, after all, so he’s got impeccable skills in the genre. I guess we’ll know for certain whether gothic horror is a fit for the franchise on June 22nd, when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens in theaters.