“Do you remember the first time you saw a dinosaur? You don’t really believe it. It’s like… a miracle.”
I must admit, I don’t remember the first time I saw a dinosaur. It was probably with The Land Before Time, but I’m as capable of remembering the first time I saw that as I am my first encounter with Jurassic. I’ll tell you what I do remember, though: I remember when Jurassic’s Velociraptors were scary enough without their genes having been spliced with God knows what; I remember when said Raptors were to be avoided at all costs, not called in as backup; I remember when the humour was subtle, lightly sprinkled; I remember when — as much as there can be when dealing with cloned dinosaurs — there was a sense of realism to these films. I think, what I’m trying to say, is that I remember Jurassic Park.
And if Fallen Kingdom’s second trailer did one thing above all, it made it clear that Jurassic World is a different beast. I’m well aware that I should’ve known that by now, but I’d been holding out hope that the first film was an unfortunate misfire, a one-off — an ‘aberrant form’, to reference Mr. Crichton.
It seems, however, that my hope was held in vain. Just as Jurassic World failed to make me feel like I was back on Isla Nublar, so too has the marketing for its sequel. Almost everything we’ve seen of Fallen Kingdom’s time on the island seems just as cold, just as distant — and just as ridiculously, hideously blue — as its predecessor.
Here’s the thing, though: despite it all, Fallen Kingdom looks set to be a significantly better film than that predecessor, and last night’s trailer — even though it was just as disjointed as the first; even though it featured Franklin’s atrocious, tension-shattering scream; even though some of Chris Pratt’s line delivery was right up (or down…) there with, ‘They’re dinosaurs. Wow enough…’ — made that abundantly clear.
In taking us away from the island, and in giving us an official — if, perhaps, premature — look at the film’s hybrid antagonist, it well and truly showcases what director J.A. Bayona is bringing to Jurassic. The tension… the fear. Is the shot of the Indoraptor — still a terrible name, by the way — reaching across the character formerly known as Lucy’s bed cartoonish? Definitely. Does that stop it from being awesome? Sure doesn’t.
It is, in fact, a jaw-droppingly great shot — and it’s not the only one.
From what we’ve seen, it’s clear that whether Fallen Kingdom delivers with its story or not, it’ll more than do so with its visuals.
I still have my fingers firmly crossed that we’ll get some style and substance, but, honestly, I’m trying to keep my expectations as low as possible; I’m trying to remind myself that this isn’t Jurassic Park, and though that’ll always sting, I’m trying to let myself enjoy the ride. It hasn’t been without its bumps, but, for the moment, I am.
Four months to go.