Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and Sam Neill are officially set to return to Jurassic Park, or rather, Jurassic World, according to Collider. Alarmingly, so is Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World and co-writer of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Trevorrow will return to direct the threequel, and has promised that the three original cast members will have a sizable role in the film. But leaning on fond memories of the franchise’s glory days, i.e., the very first movie, might not be enough to tempt people into buying cinema tickets.
Jurassic World promised a self-aware sequel, a reboot that commented on its own cynicism (dinosaurs, but now with genetic tweaking!), and delivered a fun blockbuster with a twisted moral compass, fairly far removed from the wholesome horrors of the original.
But Fallen Kingdom really lowered the bar, the incoherent plot throwing out twists seemingly at random, like the total destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs sold as weapons (do these people not know that drones exist?), and a little girl who turns out to be a clone, for some reason.
The entire film seemed to be laying the groundwork for a slightly more interesting concept – the dinosaurs escaping into the world, so that Jeff Goldblum could say his “welcome to Jurassic World” line for the trailer.
Thus, the third film is going to show us the dire consequences of a world infested with dinosaurs. So, kind of like that scene with the T-Rex from Jurassic Park 2. But longer.
But will the film carry the baggage left over from Fallen Kingdom? The “weaponized” dinosaurs (has no one ever thought about weaponizing chimps? Those things will tear your arm off), the little girl who is also a clone, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s dull, forgettable characters.
Fallen Kingdom did great at the box office, but it wasn’t one of those movies where snooty critics and fun-loving audiences were divided; the Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 48% for critics and 49% for audiences.
That’s pretty damning. In contrast, Jurassic World received 72% and 78% from critics and audiences, respectively.
Fallen Kingdom was not well-received, and the promise of dinosaurs in the big city, joined by the original cast members, sounds like a remix of failed ideas from the franchise rather than an exciting new stage in the story.
Although, it’s hard not to enjoy anything that features a decent amount of Jeff Goldblum. Perhaps the franchise would be wise to follow in Goldblum’s footsteps, shifting tone from deadly serious, to hilarious hipster icon.
Satire might be the smartest direction to take this increasingly ridiculous story; Gremlins 2: The New Batch showed us that a cynical sequel can successfully mock itself, to the point where it surpasses the original. Just look at Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, for a more recent example.
We’ve already seen the dinosaurs wreak havoc, over and over again. We’ve watched as the plot has become progressively more stupid, while still keeping a straight face. We’ve seen the introduction of Marvel one-liners, interjected into serious moments. Why not accept that the franchise can never really recapture the old Spielbergian magic, that earnest sense of wonder?
The embrace of irony is the only way to make this mess of clones, genetically engineered dinos, and misinformed military contractors, fun again.