I've lost count of how many times I've tried to write something about Fallen Kingdom over the past few months.
I sat down to do it in April, when Michael Giacchino confirmed that he'll be providing the score (which I hadn't been 100% sure about taking as fact when it was first reported back in December). I tried again immediately after the title was announced, but got caught up in reading others' reactions, and didn't quite find my way back to it; and I tried a third time in mid-July, while on holiday. Obviously, however, nothing came of it, and though I've sat down with the intention of finally putting something together many times since, nothing has. Until now.
The original plan was to write a lengthy piece going over any major news about the film, without getting into anything too spoilery — thing is, though, when you take anything too spoilery out of the equation, there's really not all that much to go on. Past treatment of the franchise might not inspire much encouragement, but I hope Universal has a serious marketing campaign in the works, because as I sit typing at 9:53 AM on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, it feels as though Fallen Kingdom has pretty much gone extinct.
The things I'll cover here will be nothing new, will have been covered ad nauseam by other Jurassic fansites, but given that I spent so much time banging on about the film in the run-up to the title reveal, I think it's about time I put my own thoughts out there — and so here they are.
APRIL 17: MICHAEL GIACCHINO CONFIRMS HIS RETURN
As I said above, I hadn't been so sure about this one when it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter back in December. Perhaps my interpretation had something to do with the fact that I was so disappointed with Jurassic World’s soundtrack, but the way the information was presented read, to me, like an assumption on the part of the article's author, rather than confirmation from Giacchino himself.
Whatever the case, though, said confirmation has since come along — and from the horse's mouth, no less.
I can't pretend I don't still feel some slight disappointment at Giacchino's involvement — though I'm a fan of his work in general, I don't think he quite managed to deliver with Jurassic — but my concerns were alleviated somewhat when I listened to a more complete version of Jurassic World’s soundtrack, which made me realise that a good deal of my issues with the score stemmed from how it was presented in the film, rather than from the music itself.
Though I'd be bouncing off the proverbial walls if John Williams was returning, and would be a good deal more interested if frequent J.A. Bayona collaborator Fernando Velázquez was in charge, I'm excited to see what Giacchino brings to the table with Fallen Kingdom. I just hope he draws a little more inspiration from the past than he did last time, to help give Isla Nublar the send-off it deserves.
JUNE 22: THAT'S NOT HOW YOU SPELL EPOCH…
4:00 PM. June 22, 2017.
Like much of the Jurassic community, high on the fumes of rumour and possibility, I was online, obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed, at the exact moment the announcement came.
In one year, life finds a way. pic.twitter.com/32Cu62xn1Y
— Jurassic World (@JurassicWorld) 22 June 2017
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
It was a few seconds before I even realised what I was looking at, and truth be told, I couldn't begin to describe the riot of thoughts that flew through my brain as I stared at that poster. One feeling however, reigned supreme: surprise. Fallen Kingdom? In the days leading up to announcement, I'd grown so sure that the title would be Jurassic World: Epoch, that seeing it called something else — something so completely unexpected — was jarring.
So jarring, in fact, that I really wasn't sure about it in the beginning — but I think that had more to do with shock than anything else, and now that the dust has long-since settled, and my heart-rate long-since returned to normal, I can say that I like the title. I like the sound of it, the implications, that it continues — each time I see it — to grow on me, and the fact that it didn't follow the format established by The Lost World. To me, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sounds infinitely better than Fallen Kingdom: Jurassic World.
Of course, the title isn't the only thing the poster revealed…
Frankly, I'm surprised I like the logo as much as I do, given that it's yet another colourless affair. True, I'd hoped to see something that drew more from film's explosive premise, something inspired by the vivid, fiery orange of lava and the cool black of volcanic rock — but I'm okay with what we've got. It might've gone down the grey road again, but its stony finish makes it much more appealing than the weathered metal of Jurassic World, and the little bits of rubble from the various fractures look great, representing a pleasing attention to detail.
Unfortunately, though, that attention to detail doesn't seem to extend to the text. Jurassic World looks fine — in fact, I think the slightly smaller J and W improve its appearance — but Fallen Kingdom simply isn't centred properly, and once you've noticed it, it becomes very difficult to ignore.
Looks pretty cool animated actually… pic.twitter.com/Lsz1k6dp0F
— Jay McQuade (@DenizenCitizen) 23 June 2017
There's always the possibility it was deliberate — maybe it's supposed to represent the lack of control that is the central theme of Jurassic, or speak to the chaos espoused by the returning Dr. Malcolm — but I really hope it's corrected down the line.
It might not seem like a big deal to some — maybe even to you — but, to me, it embodies the weird lack of concern Universal seems to have for Jurassic. If they're going to allow an imperfect logo to be released (not to mention announce the title with it), then what does that mean for the future of the franchise itself?
JULY 9: INDO-WRAP-TOR
On July 9, after having begun in late February, cameras ceased rolling on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
'This is a wrap for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!' Tweeted director J.A. Bayona. 'What a journey! Thank you to everyone that made it possible.'
Normally, that would've been the most exciting Tweet of the day for Jurassic fans — probably of the entire week, given the painfully slow drip of Jurassic news… — but just a few hours later Colin Trevorrow came along with a Tweet of his own, a Tweet featuring one of his typically great photographic teases.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) 9 July 2017
The photo in question shows Bayona crouching alongside the gaping maw of what will more than likely prove to be Fallen Kingdom’s new hybrid — which, thanks to a hastily-rectified typo from producer Frank Marshall, and a few trademarks that have been registered since, we can be fairly certain will be called the Indoraptor.
And that, friends, is a completely terrible name.
True, it's to-the-point, and with no park to display the animal in, there's no practical need to call it something more interesting — but there's no getting around how generic Indoraptor sounds, how B-movie.
Surely, something more subtle, like a species name — Velociraptor indominus, perhaps, or maybe even the more menacing Velociraptor diabolus — would've been immeasurably better, not to mention a good deal more credible.
Still, dodgy moniker aside, I love the concept. I find the idea of something small, smart and deadly much more appealing than that of a giant beast rampaging around the place, and from what we can see of its jaws, the design looks like it'll be pretty cool, too — that black skin the inverse of the Indominus rex's white.
As for where it'll fit into the film… I think it's fairly obvious if that leaked synopsis of a few months ago is to be believed — but we won't get into that here. As mentioned near the beginning, I plan to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible. That being said, however, there's one 'spoiler' I think we can talk about, A) because it's been publicly confirmed by Frank Marshall, and B) because it's blindly apparent from the smoke and embers gracing not only Fallen Kingdom’s poster, but the preliminary artwork that showed up a few weeks earlier, too…
JULY 10: VOLCANO! FIRE ON THE ISLAND
Look, let's get the obvious issue out of the way: if there's a volcano on Nublar, it should've been mentioned in Jurassic World, even in passing. Depending on how it's handled in Fallen Kingdom, this could prove to be some spectacularly poor writing on Trevorrow and Connolly's part, and I'll certainly have things to say if it simply erupts with no significant explanation.
Then again, it might not; there could be a perfectly valid reason why it wasn't mentioned earlier. As I've said a few times before, I won't be forming any definitive opinions until I've seen the film: I'm willing to give the script a chance.
Whatever the story behind it, a volcano has the potential to be insanely cool. Practically every dinosaur picture I drew when I was a kid had a fiery, lava-spewing peak or two in the background, and if you'd told me, then, that there would one day be a Jurassic sequel featuring a volcano, I probably would've passed out from excitement. Hell, I still get that way when significant news breaks — and I have to stop myself from bouncing off the walls when I imagine the sort of visuals Bayona might deliver next June.
Of course, there'll be an element of sadness there, too.
Assuming Bayona can make us feel as though we're actually back on Nublar with Fallen Kingdom, it'll be thoroughly depressing to watch the island brought to its knees. Despite having expected otherwise, I found Jurassic World to be a strangely emotionless experience — but seeing not only the ruins of Jurassic World obliterated, but those of Jurassic Park, too, might well make Fallen Kingdom a different story.
AUGUST 16: IN CONCLUSION
No doubt because of the severe lack of new information to feed my enthusiasm, I've been worrying about Fallen Kingdom more than usual recently. I think about it, get excited for a moment, and then find that excitement tempered when I remember that — no matter which way you slice it — this is a sequel to the incredibly disappointing Jurassic World.
I have, however, developed a way of dealing with it: I look at the set photo Trevorrow posted back in March.
More than anything that's been shared about the film so far, I find that photo the most promising.
Darker, richer, and altogether more visually appealing than anything we saw in Jurassic World, it represents everything I hope to see from the sequel. I can only hope that when we eventually see some footage, it continues that theme.
And speaking of that photo, we're still none the wiser about that funky-looking ceratopsian skull, are we…?
2011. Yes, you read that right: 2011. That’s the last time there was a Jurassic game of any real significance. Whilst an enjoyable treat, LEGO Jurassic World wasn’t at all what the majority of fans have been waiting for, and with the commercial success of Jurassic World, it should have been but an appetiser for bigger, better things to come. Well… fire the waiter, and send some raptors into the kitchen to see what’s up, because we’re still waiting for the main course.
Jurassic is a franchise that lends itself to any number of genres, and there's certainly no shortage of ideas for possible games. It really is about time one came along. Yes, there are rights involved, deals to be made and permissions to be gotten, but, let's be honest: it's going to happen.
Life will find a way, and someone will make one. Why not you?