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(Credit: Universal Pictures)

Film | Opinion

How Universal has failed the 'Jurassic Park' franchise

@Russellisation

Born from the reckless desire of human endeavour and the commercial interests of modern capitalism, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is a dinosaur novel about so much more when you dig deeper. Thanks to the spark of long-preserved DNA and revolutionary science, velociraptors and pterodactyls are farmed and cloned among a whole host of other beasts, with their existence being turned into a mere tourist attraction, the safari ‘Jurassic Park’. 

The crux of Crichton’s classic book and Steven Spielberg’s iconic film adaptation is that this dreamland is never fully realised, with the pioneering creator of the park, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), flying a little too close to the sun. Forgetting the sheer greed and folly of man in such an operation, the team around the visionary inventor corrupts his plan and turns the amusement park into a nightmare.

The journey of Jurassic Park is a powerful one, speaking to the efforts of humanity to exceed our own bounds of capability, only to be crushed, in turn, by the enormity of our mistakes. A timeless parable that is effortlessly unfurled, Spielberg’s original film works to truly highlight just how poor the Jurassic World sequel trilogy has been, with Universal ironically forgetting that at the heart of this story is a capitalist nightmare.

Watch rare behind the scenes footage from ‘Jurassic Park’ by Steven Spielberg

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Though, let’s be clear whilst it’s true that for the story of the original trilogy to succeed the park must fail, the sequel films did not have to abide by such a truth. In fact, to see the park of Jurassic World flourish in all its sparkly greatness in 2015 was an utter joy. Capturing the fervent childlike excitement of exploring a brand new world, the park we are introduced to at the start of the new trilogy bustles with cinematic potential, from the large coliseum structures used to view a Sea Life-esque feeding show to the petting zoo where you could get up close and personal with cute little dinos. 

Seeing the park in full operation, together with smooth monorails and hectic food stalls, brings the vision of John Hammond to life, providing a fresh new direction for the franchise that intends to take the series into a totally new realm. Though, much like how the reality of the park is too good to be true, so too is the promise of the first film in the trilogy, with the original take on the franchise quickly descending into familiar chaos before you know it. 

Playing God with a little too much liberalism, the scientists and business leaders of the park create The Indominus, a transgenic dinosaur that becomes too intelligent for its makers, escaping its enclosure before swallowing most of the park’s guests. This event sparks a chain reaction wherein the other beasts are released from their pens, stomping around the park with random purpose as the franchise goes back to its familiar, tedious roots. 

Things only got worse from then, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom taking the franchise to dramatic new lows with its convoluted plot that involved a comical dinosaur auction and a coming of age story about a young cloned girl. Abandoning all the setup from the first film in the trilogy, Fallen Kingdom was a futile adventure that only worked to consolidate the franchise’s fall from grace. 

Finally, Universal is putting an end to the horror show with Jurassic World: Dominion, dragging out the stars of the original trilogy, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum for one last embarrassing cabaret. With dinosaurs now roaming the city streets of the world, the vision of John Hammond and indeed Michael Crichton has totally collapsed, here’s hoping it will all end with a definitive thud.

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